HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 18: Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow answers questions during a press conference to introduce right-handed pitcher Lance McCullers, who was selected in the compensation first round (41st overall) of the 2012 MLB First Year Player Draft at Minute Maid Park on June 18, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Today the Houston Astros made yet another trade, sending closer Brett Myers along with cash to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league pitchers Matt Heidenreich and Blair Walters, as well as a player to be named later. Looking at Houston's last two trades, including the ten-player trade involving the Toronto Blue Jays, it's quite clear what Astros GM Jeff Lunhow is looking for: pitching. Houston's acquired five pitching prospects combined in these two trades, with the potential of adding two more through the "player to be named later" placeholder.
Taking a look at only their returns in the Myers deal, Houston essentially bought themselves a pair of pitching prospects for a few million dollars while Chicago gets a bullpen arm they can rely on in late-inning situations. While these prospects heading to Houston seem to be depth arms, you can't expect top prospects in return for an average reliever.
Walters, 22, seems to be the more interesting name here. Baseball America ranked him as the White Sox's 26th top prospect in their system. He was drafted out of college in the eleventh-round of the '11 draft. Standing at 6'0'' and 200 pounds, Walters has been able to generate strikeouts so far in the minor leagues. But that's as a 21 and 22-year-old pitcher in the low levels of the minors.
Heidenreich, 21, was a fourth round selection in the '09 draft. He's a 6-foot-5, 185 pound righty pitcher that's shown a grasp of control (1.8 BB/9) but has been unable to generate the swings and misses thus far.