Analyzing the RedHawks-Saltdogs-Miners Deal
In American Association Daily, Robert Pannier analyzes the deal on October 8 between the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, the Lincoln Saltdogs, and the Sussex County Miners. The RedHawks acquired Jayce Ray while the Saltdogs brought in Jake Vieth.
Lincoln, Fargo-Moorhead, Sussex County Make Deal
On October 8, the American Association announced a three-way deal between the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, the Lincoln Saltdogs, and the Sussex County Miners. The trade was the first of two major deals that Lincoln and Sussex County were involved in, with the other involving the Cleburne Railroaders. That occurred on December 5.
As with the deal two months later, there were some big names involved in this transaction. Outfielder Jayce Ray was sent to the RedHawks. The Saltdogs received infielder Jake Vieth and the Miners acquired right-hander Geoff Broussard and left-hander Brandon Baker.
How This Helps Fargo-Moorhead
Jayce Ray may not as well known to many American Association fans, but he should be, and it won’t take long for him to become a fan favorite in the Fargo-Moorhead area. The outfielder started his career in the Frontier league before he was signed by the Wichita Wingnuts in 2015. He appeared in 89 games that season, hitting .310 with 17 stolen bases, 57 runs, and an impressive .422 on-base percentage, thanks to 56 walks.
The following year he was signed by the Boston Red Sox organization, where he split time between Mid-A Greenville, High-A Salem and AA-Portland. In 2017, Ray returned to the American Association, this time with the Sioux City Explorers. He hit .289 in 93 games, with 60 runs and 22 steals.
Last season, the outfielder moved to the Can-Am League, appearing in 86 games for Sussex County. Ray hit .279 with 52 runs and 55 RBI. He also stole a single season high 31 bases.
What makes Jayce Ray such an ideal commodity for the RedHawks is that he can do just about anything. He is lacking in power, with just 20 career homers in nearly 1800 at-bats, but he does everything else exceptionally well. Ray can steal bases, he gets on base, has gap power, and he is an outstanding outfielder.
Ray has lots of speed which allows him to be able to chase down balls, and he has a cannon for an arm. He recorded 15 total outfield assists over the last two seasons, and a GM once explained that Ray had one of the top three or four arms in the league.
He will likely move to the top of the order in the RedHawks lineup.
How This Helps Lincoln
Jake Vieth has just one professional season under his belt, but he made a solid impression. In 10 games, the infielder hit .242 with a .342 on-base percentage.
At 6-0, 225, Vieth is a big kid. His senior season at Gonzaga (2018), the first baseman hit .302 in 56 games, leading the Bulldogs with 10 homers, plus he drove in 36. What makes those numbers even more impressive is that they demonstrate his ability to improve his game. Vieth hit .229 in 2017, but raised his average 80 points and added 130 points to his slugging percentage (.382 to .505).
Not only does the young man have a lot of upside, but he is a solid infielder as well. In his senior season, Vieth did not make an error in 414 chances.
Geoff Broussard was traded to Lincoln from Fargo-Moorhead in September to complete an earlier deal. He started out 2018 with the Sioux City Explorers, but struggled before he was released. With the RedHawks he had big numbers, posing a .267 ERA in 23 appearances. He saved five games.
The right-hander could have been a plus in the Saltdogs bullpen, but Manager Bobby Brown has made pitching his focus in the off-season, and he has already acquired a number of key arms, including Kevin Grendell, Zac Wescott, Travis Ballew, and Austin Boyle. Brown has the luxury of dealing from his bullpen to improve his team.
Featured Image Courtesy of the Sioux City Journal
By Robert Pannier