The Royals announced this afternoon they have traded utility infielder Wilson Betemit to the Detroit Tigers for a pair of prospects, A-ball pitcher Antonio Cruz and Class A-Advanced catcher Julio Rodriguez. Neither prospect made the top 30 prospects list this winter over at Bless You Boys.
In Cruz, the Royals are receiving a 19-year old 5'11' 160 lb left-handed pitcher who is currently 2-6 with a 3.11 ERA in 22 games (10 starts). Over his last 10 games, Cruz has pitched strictly out of the bullpen for West Michigan, and was 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA with 16 strikeouts against just six walks. On the year he has 58 strikeouts and 28 walks in 75.1 innings pitched.
Cruz originally was signed by the Tigers in 2009, as a free-agent out of the Dominican Republic. I found a scouting report courtesy of Bless You Boys as well-
I have to admit to not having heard much about Cruz before 2010. I don't feel too bad about it, though. He spent just one season in the Dominican Summer League as a 17-year-old before coming stateside. Last season, he jumped around between three levels, spent no more than 19.1 innings at any of them (West Michigan), and didn't exactly put up impressive numbers. He's a hard thrower, though, who Jon Matlack says goes 92-94 mph with his fastball and also possesses a promising curveball. There's apparently going to be some stiff competition for bullpen innings in the coming years, and if Cruz can get his stuff under control he could be right in the midst of it.2011 Outlook: I'd look for him to get a bullpen role with West Michigan, Lakeland or both.
Moving onto Rodriguez, he is a 21-year old Dominican native who stands at 6'2" 200 lbs and is a right-handed catcher. An All-Star this season in the Florida State League was batting .283/.325/.354 with Lakeland. He currently has one home run and 27 RBI this year.
An in-depth scouting report on Rodriguez can be found at Detroit Baseball Page.
Betemit batted .281/.341/.409 with the Royals this season in 226 plate appearances, but had recently lost playing time in the past six weeks with the promotion of Mike Moustakas at third base. In filling Betemit's spot on the roster the Royals have re-called Mike Aviles from Triple-A Omaha.