As Stephanie and Ryan have already pointed out – and, yes, I’m a little late to the party – the Indians pulled off their first (only?) significant deal of the offseason on Monday, sending former sixth round pick Joey Wendle to the retooling/rebuilding/who knows A’s for underrated masher Brandon Moss.
And at this point – or even prior to the trade – the word’s been out on what type of player Brandon Moss can be. In short: no worse than a righty killer with some potential to move away from a platoon role.
But I wanted to delve in and breakdown the guy the Tribe traded away: Joey Wendle, a 2012 sixth round pick out of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, home to just three former big leaguers (John Mabry, Lance Clemons, and Pat Kelly).
Wendle, a lefty-swinging second baseman, rippled some waters as a potential prospect sleeper following his breakout 2013 season when he slugged .295/.372/.513 with 32 doubles, five triples, 16 homeruns and 10 stolen bases. Per Weighted Runs Created Plus, his production topped the Carolina League average mark by 43%.
But that came at the ripe ol’ age of 23. And in an age-appropriate level of competition. Warning flags raised.
Wendle followed up his impressive campaign with the worst of his three-year career, .253/.311/.411, one that happened to be interrupted – though, he was far from lighting the world on fire previously – by hand surgery. Any way you look it, the season was a down year.
So what do we know about Wendle?
Well, his offensive toolkit screams vanilla. There’s not one standout tool in the bunch – average hit tool, patience at the plate, power, and speed. And defensively it’s much the same.
And CAL, the player classification system I developed which stands for Comparison And Likeness, doesn’t look to fondly on Wendle’s future either. His top five comparables: Ryan Flaherty, Drew Anderson, LJ Mazzilli, Jesus Guzman, and Steve Singleton. Only Guzman, another late blooming prospect, carved out a noticeable big league career. After debuting at the age of 25 (for 12 games), Guzman totaled just over 1100 plate appearances between the ages of 27 and 30 while producing at the exact level of the league average, most of which was buoyed by a BABIP-driven 2011 season.
CAL points to this as Wendle’s ultimate peak – a league average, short-lived big leaguer. And when you look at the overall skillset, it makes a lot of sense.