What to Make of Mets-Angels Trade as Eduardo Escobar Heads West

The New York Mets sent former All-Star Eduardo Escobar west, as the 34-year-old heads to the Angels for two AA pitchers. With Escobar headed to southern California, here’s a look at what both sides are getting from this deal.

Related: What to Expect from Pirates Second Baseman Nick Gonzales

A Look at Escobar

New Angels third baseman Eduardo Escobar‘s 2023 campaign was a quiet one up to this point. A year removed from a 20 home run campaign, the 34-year-old hit just .236/.286/.409 with four home runs and nine extra base hits over 40 games.

A power-hitting infielder with six 20+ home run campaigns, Escobar is a known killer of left-handers but a pitcher prone to whiffing on breaking balls. Escobar’s seen a significant jump in the amount of breaking stuff he’s seen this season, as opposing hurlers have thrown breaking balls to him over 30% of the time — nearly a 3% increase from 2022 — this season.

Another issue for Escobar is the fact that he’s topped out on a lot of baseballs in 2023. Escobar’s Topped% rate has jumped by 15% points from last season, and Statcast data points that much of those ground balls have been off of sinkers and changeups in the zone.

In return for Escobar, the Angels traded away two top-30 prospects in Coleman Crow and Landon Marceaux. Both were in Rocket City (AA) at the time of the trade. Crow struck out 31 batters over four starts (24 IP) in 2023, and scouting reports peg Crow as a talented righty with an above-average slider and a good change that pairs with his low-90s fastball. Marceaux, meanwhile, was a former third-round pick that missed plenty of bats at LSU, but has been a pitch-to-contact hurler as a pro.

Additionally, the Angels recalled David Fletcher from Salt Lake (AAA).

A Look at the Returns and Benefits

From the Angels’ perspective, the deal allows Los Angeles to fill a hole in its infield. Gio Urshela didn’t show much pop with the Angels this season, but did hit .299 before a fractured pelvis ended his 2023 campaign. Between that injury and Anthony Rendon landing on the IL, it made sense for the Angels to target another infielder — and one that costs Anaheim very little from a financial perspective.

For the Mets, the additions of Crow and Marceaux help fill out a farm system that’s quite bat-heavy, but doesn’t offer much in the way of upper-level pitching depth. The Mets do have a couple of intriguing arms in AA and AAA in Dominic Hamel and Mike Vasil, as well as Jose Butto. However, none are elite names.

Now, neither are Crow and Marceaux. However, both do project as back-end starters that can provide value for the Mets long-term.

Additionally, the Mets now clear the way for Brett Baty to become the undisputed third baseman in Queens. He pretty much was at this point, but Escobar did gets starts from time to time after the Mets called Baty up earlier in the year. The trade of Escobar gave the Mets the opportunity to call up Danny Mendick, another versatile middle infielder to pair with Luis Guillorme on the bench.

One last point of interest for the Mets is that this may not be the only piece New York sells off between now and the Trade Deadline. New York entered the day on June 24 fourteen games back of the Braves for first in the NL East and eight games out of the third NL Wild Card spot. The Mets need to jump six teams, plus either the Dodgers, Giants, or Marlins to sneak into a playoff spot. It’s still June, but the Mets’ path has become narrow.

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