Just when you thought the market for White Sox pitchers had settled, Rick Hahn struck another quality deal. Miguel Gonzalez was sent to the Texas Rangers in the eleventh hour before the Sept. 1 waiver deadline and netted a peculiar young prospect.
The Rangers’ move to acquire Gonzalez is curious in and of itself since they remain four games out of wild-card contention and with the Yankees and Twins competing for wild-card births themselves, the Rangers postseason odds seem slim.
But there are plenty of questions surrounding this whole deal; the most pressing: why would Texas give up a 21-year-old prospect with a high ceiling for a mediocre pitcher who will be a free agent at the end of the season?
At first glance, this deal smacks of a prospect dump. Edward TiQuan Forbes was a second-round pick in 2014 and the top prep-prospect out of Mississippi that year. He was ranked as the 18th best high school prospect nationally by Perfect Game and signed for $1.2 million. Moreover, Forbes was ranked as the No. 15 prospect in the Rangers organization the same year he was drafted.
Time to make it happen https://t.co/l6f93ZPgZQ
— Ti'Quan Forbes⚾ (@TiquanF) September 1, 2017
Perhaps his overwhelming ceiling has stalled with Texas brass. His batting average has declined each of the past four seasons while his power has just begun to surface.
The Mississippi-slugger is batting .236 between Full-Season-A and High-A in 2017 while rifling 11 home runs. Forbes’ 11 dingers this season accounts for most of his career power numbers considering he has managed a meager 15 home runs in four years of professional baseball. Meanwhile, Forbes has fanned an alarming 130 times this season.
Forbes is a classic right-handed match-up for pitchers. Left-handers are his bread and butter, batting .291 against southpaws and struggling with right-handers (.200).
Yet, Forbes turned 21 years old in late August and still has maturing to do. He possesses the intangibles to become a big leaguer with a 6-foot-3-inch frame at a lean 180 pounds. Most experts might like to see more heft to such a long frame but he is strong in the right places and adds exceptional speed with long, quick strides.
Forbes was a shortstop in high school and moved to third base as a professional. Scouting reports indicate he has the arm and instincts to hang at the hot-corner but if the infield puzzles the youngster he could easily switch to center field.
Offensively, evaluators must be waiting for Forbes to develop an approach and maturity. Video illustrates some insecurities about how to attack an at bat and control the match-up at the plate.
The bat speed is impressive and he is still very young. Perhaps this is a classic case of needing a change of scenery. Forbes doesn’t appear to have haunting character issues like other White Sox trade targets have in the past and maybe the slugger is just beginning to tap his potential.