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The Blue Jays just acquired one of the top performers in the minor leagues

At only 18 years of age, Simeon Woods Richardson is dominating Low-A hitters.

Houston Astros v. Texas Rangers

In case you somehow missed the news that reigned over Baseball Twitter late Sunday afternoon into the evening, there was a trade that perplexed the minds of many.

One of the top arms on the trading black in Marcus Stroman is no longer available and is now currently a Met. This all seems like a single piece to the puzzle that is a larger plan for the Mets, as the possibility of future trade(s) and extension(s) still looms. For the Blue Jays, their return seemed lighter than what they were originally expected to bring back for one of their top assets. In return, they get pitching prospects Simeon Woods Richardson nad Anthony Kay, neither of whom find themselves as a consensus top 100 prospect, but their profiles still bring plenty of intrigue to the table.

The main draw for the Blue Jays looks to be Woods Richardson, a highly-regarded right-handed starter who was selected by the Mets in the second round of last year’s draft. While he currently finds himself out of most top 100 lists, it was noted back in February over at FanGraphs that Woods Richardson could be flying up rankings in a short amount of time. Compared to other high school prospects, it was brought up that he had a high floor, along with a relatively good ceiling as a mid-rotation starter.

Woods Richardson works so quickly that it often makes hitters uncomfortable, though scouts love it. He’s also shown some nascent changeup feel, but it will be hard to turn the cambio over consistently from his arm slot. Though he was one of the 2018 draft’s youngest prospects, his frame is pretty mature, so we’re not rounding up on the fastball even though he’s still a teenager. His reasonable floor is that of a high-leverage or multi-inning reliever (a role that would seem to suit his fiery on-mound presence), but if a third impact pitch develops he could be a mid-rotation starter.

After appearing in seven games across two rookie levels in his debut season, Woods Richardson has spent the full duration of the 2019 season pitching for the Mets Low-A affiliate, starting in 20 games accumulating to 78 13 innings.

To say he’s been fantastic would be an understatement, as supported from his ranks among 55 qualified South Atlantic League starters. All of this while being the youngest pitcher of that group.

  • FIP: 4th
  • xFIP: 1st
  • K%: 7th
  • BB%: 13th
  • K-BB%: 1st
  • SwStr%: 14th
  • HR/9: 18th
  • GB%: 10th
  • IFFB%: 1st

Pitching as an 18-year-old at the Low-A level is impressive in its own way. Putting up league-leading results is at a whole other level. To put Woods Richardson’s performance into a historical perspective, there have been 27 pitchers age 18 or younger to pitch at the Low-A level since 2006 (minimum 70 innings). Woods Richardson is one of them. His ranks out of those 27 pitchers go as...

  • FIP: 4th
  • xFIP: 1st
  • K%: 3rd
  • BB%: 6th
  • K-BB%: 2nd
  • HR/9: 15th

The only pitcher that can really hold a comparison to Woods Richardson’s 2019 season from an age and performance standpoint is 2008 Madison Bumgarner (2.06 FIP in 141 23 innings). It took Bumgarner one year after that to log innings in Double-A and another year two years to mold himself into one of the game’s best pitchers. Obviously, those standards are completely unfair to hold to Woods Richardson, but with a similar polish to Bumgarner, a fastball that tops in the mid-90s, and an early track-record of strong numbers, it wouldn’t be unreasobale to think that Woods Richardson could have that same ascendance up the minor league ladder and the prospect ranks.

Patrick Brennan loves to research pitchers and minor leaguers with data. You can find additional work of his at Royals Review and Royals Farm Report. You can also find him on Twitter @paintingcorner.