The Reds received David Holmberg from the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the three-team deal that sent catcher Ryan Hanigan to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Basics: Holmberg is a 22-year old left-handed pitcher. He’s 6’3″ and 225 lbs. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the second round of the 2009 amateur draft. Holmberg went to Arizona as part of the Edwin Jackson deal.
2013: Holmberg made 26 starts at AA last season, throwing 157 innings. It was the third season in a row that Holmberg has thrown over 150 innings. His ERA was 2.75. His strikeout rate has been low, at 6.5 K/9 over 250 innings in AA the past two seasons. As a result, his FIP was 3.80 in 2013. He made a single appearance for the D-Backs in August, which is meaningless.
Baseball America ranks Holmberg the #6 prospect in the D-Backs system in 2013 and say he has the “Best Control” of any prospect in their system.
Marc Hulet at Fangraphs ranks Holmberg the #7 prospect in the D-Backs system for 2014: “He doesn’t have a big-time fastball or wipeout breaking ball but he’s durable, and has above-average command/control of his four-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball with fringe-average velocity, two average breaking balls in a curveball and slider, as well as a plus change-up.” Before Holmberg’s single start for the D-Backs last year, Hulet wrote: “In his prime, the young pitcher has a chance to fill a third or fourth slot in a big league starting rotation, and his big, strong frame should allow him to provide plenty of innings in that role.”
MLB.com ranks Holmberg Arizona’s #5 prospect: “Tyler Skaggs rightfully gets the buzz in the organization as the top lefty prospect, but Holmberg isn’t that far behind him. Holmberg has the chance to have four average or better pitches with good command of all of them. He works quickly and goes right after hitters, working both sides of the strike zone with his solid average sinking fastball. His fading change-up is an above-average off-speed pitch and he throws both a tight biting curve and short, cutting slider. With good mechanics and size, he should be ready for the middle of the rotation soon.”
Bottom-line: When you analyze major league trades it’s important to keep in mind that the trade is about contracts as much as it is about the players. In that context, the Reds traded one year of Ryan Hanigan (who hit .198/.306/.261 and has struggled to stay healthy) for six years of team control of a solid left-handed AA-pitcher. The trade adds pitching depth for the organization and is about all one could realistically expect as a return for Hanigan.