Two weeks before this years July 31st trade deadline, the Texas Rangers sent Relief Pitcher Jason Frasor to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for 26 year old minor league Reliever Spencer Patton.
After a very solid 2013 in the Rangers bullpen with a 2.57 ERA in 49 IP, 36 year-old Frasor signed a 1 year, team friendly deal for only 1.75 million. Prior to being traded, the righty owned a 3.34 ERA in 29⅔ IP, while striking out about one batter per inning (9.1 K per 9).
Although having possibly the most dominant back end of a bullpen in all of baseball, the Royals pen’ ranked only 16th in the MLB in bullpen ERA at the time. This was largely do to the fact that outside of their top guys and a poor year from reliever Aaron Crow, they didn’t have much else and with hopes of playoffs a proven veteran reliever seemed like a logical move.
Four months into this season, Frasor had been a solid option in the Texas bullpen and his remaining contract only owed $717K. This appealed to the smaller market Royals and they pulled the trigger sending minor leaguer Spencer Patton to Texas.
After joining the Royals bullpen, Frasor was dominant down the stretch. Appearing in 23 games with the Royals, Frasor posted a 1.53 ERA throwing 17⅔ innings, allowing only 3 runs and was just the pitcher that the Royals needed. Frasor appeared in the the 12th inning of the Wild Card game vs. the A’s throwing a wild pitch and allowing an inherited runner to score from third after an Alberto Callaspo base it to left. He got out of the jam with a strikeout and a foulout, and as some of you may have seen, KC eventually walked-off in the bottom half of the same inning.
The returning piece in this trade for Texas, Spencer Patton, looked great in his time in the Texas pen’ this September. Prior to the trade, Patton spent his age 23 and 24 seasons in Rookie ball until an absolute breakout season in 2013 after being promoted to High-A Wilmington. During his time for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, Patton threw 64⅓ innings striking out 10.6 batters per nine innings and owned a 1.96 ERA. Before the 2013 season ended, Patton was promoted to Double-A Northwestern Arkansas where he threw 18 innings giving up only 3 runs. Before the trade, the righty had a 4.08 ERA in 46⅓ innings at Triple-A Omaha and then a 3.38 ERA in his 16 innings at Round Rock for the Rangers affiliate. Patton threw 9⅓ innings as a september call-up in 2014 and made a strong case to be back in 2015 after only allowing 1 run in 9 games.
For those that did not get to see him pitch, Patton is listed as 6’1 185 pounds and throws a fastball in the 90-93 range with deception in his delivery that allows some swing and misses. He also throws slider that features some sharp break to it and an occasional changeup. Some scouts view him as a younger version of the man he was traded for as they both are not overpowering but still have the ability to strike guys out.
With Frasor’s contract running up at the end of the season, there was really no point to keep him in this lost season for the Rangers. Thanks to Kansas City, Texas potentially have added a solid bullpen guy who hopefully can contribute to a playoff run in the near future. I believe Patton will be a reliable reliever for Texas and am looking forward to seeing what he is capable of next year in Arlington.