MLB prospect expert weighs in on Pirates' haul for Cole

Earlier on Saturday, the Houston Astros and Pittsburgh Pirates struck a five-player deal. In return for ace Gerrit Cole, the Pirates nabbed pitchers Joe Musgrove and Michael Feliz, as well as infielder Colin Moran and outfielder Jason Martin.

To make sense of the deal, we asked Rotoworld's Christopher Crawford to evaluate the prospects for us. You can follow Crawford on Twitter here.

Do you think the Pirates got fair value for Cole?

I don't. Yes, Cole struggled for large portions of 2017 and outside of 2015 hasn't looked like the pitcher who was the first overall pick in 2011. He's still a hurler who can miss bats and won't be 28 until September. A player of this talent should have gotten top prospects. I don't think they did.

Moran has been a polarizing prospect -- what's your take on him?

This is your definition of a backup corner infielder. His approach has gone backward -- it was a calling-card when he was at UNC -- and there just isn't a ton of power here. He's also not a terrific defender at third, so you're really talking about a guy who shouldn't be playing every day. That's not to say he's useless, he's just not the headliner of the deal he would have been a couple years ago.

What kind of ceiling does Musgrove have?

It's probably easier to talk about the floor of a pitcher like Musgrove than it is the ceiling. Because he throws everything for strikes he should be a solid backend starter. I'm just not sure there's the out pitch here that's required to be more than that. You might see if the stuff plays up in relief, but as is, he's probably a fifth starter.

How about Feliz?

Feliz is interesting. I'd probably keep him in relief, but it wouldn't be a surprise if they give him a chance to start. He can get his fastball up to 97 mph, and he has shown the makings of an above-average breaking ball at times, too. The change comes and goes and the command is way behind the control. I think he could be a high-leverage reliever, so that's the role I'd keep him in.

Who is Martin?

Martin could end up being the best player in this deal. He's an above-average to plus runner, and he's developing power from the left side, too. He needs to put the ball in play more, but he has a swing that suggests an average hit tool, and he's not immune to walks. This type of profile often ends up as a fourth outfielder -- and sometimes not even that -- but there's some upside here that he might be an everyday player.

What kind of impact does this deal have on both farm systems?

Not a lot. None of these guys would go in the Pirates top 10 for me, and none of them are leaving the Astros top 10 for me. This is Houston dealing from a position of strength, and to be completely honest, they're not losing enough to say they even lose depth. It really feels like the Pirates are selling low in this case.


Not exactly what Pirates fans want to hear. We'll see how the deal works out, but for now, it seems like the Pirates took less than they should have in exchange for their ace.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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