1. Pierce Johnson for Victor Vodnik and Tanner Gordon
A week before the deadline, the Rockies were able to flip former closing pitcher Pierce Johnson for not one, but two minor league prospects from the Atlanta Braves. This move is exciting to me when you consider the success the Braves farm system has produced in young quality pitchers over the years.
Both prospects were ranked in the top 30 of the Braves farm system with Vodnik ranking in at 10 and Gordon ranking at 26.
Vodnik has been a great pitcher for the Braves during his minor leage career with a 3.42 ERA. What was originally going to be a starting pitcher, Vodnik has now transitioned into a reliever role and could end up becoming a closer or a quality set up man in the future. This year, he has a total of five saves.
The red flag on Vodnik is he has had issues on staying healthy and that has affected his development as a pitcher and why he hasn't cracked a major league roster. The ruling also shows that he has struggled with command issues in the past. But, when healthy and in the zone, Vodnik is a great strikeout pitcher who will excel when everything is clicking for him.
During his four year professional career, Tanner Gordon has proven he can be a decent back end rotation starting pitcher one day in the major leagues. Gordon transitioned up to AAA for the Braves earlier this year. After being traded to the Rockies, Colorado decided to opt him to AA Hartford Yard Goats. This year, he has a record of 6-9 with a 5.69 ERA in the minor leagues with 82 strikeouts. In his debut with Hartford, Gordon pitched in a total of 5.2 innings and gave up only two runs and struck out six batters.
According to FanGraphs, Gordon is a pitcher who will strikeout hitters almost 30% of the time, and hitters have an average of .292 against him with a WHIP of .152. Gordon does have some things he needs to work on, but as time goes on, he could develop into a nice pitcher for Colorado. He will need a few more years in the minors to really put it all together.