The Rangers will acquire prospect Sherten Apostel from the Pirates, as first reported by John Dreker of PiratesProspects.com (via Twitter) and as has since been announced. Apostel was chosen as the player to be named later in the deadline-day swap that sent reliever Keone Kela to the Pirates.
Apostel, 19, has been in the Bucs system for the past three years. The Curacaoan third baseman has put up strong offensive numbers in 2017 and 2018. This year, he’s slashing .259/.406/.460 with seven long balls along with a 42:32 K/BB rate over 175 plate appearances in the Rookie-level Appalachian League.
Though he has many hurdles to clear before he’ll be seen as a likely major-league asset, Apostel has certainly carved out a place for himself on the prospect map. He entered the current season ranked 16th among the pre-MLB players on the Pittsburgh farm by Fangraphs, based upon his intriguing upside. (Truly passionate Pirates supporters will want to consider a subscription over at PiratesProspects.com, where there are loads of stories documenting the progress of Apostel and his now-former prospect brethren.)
It seems, then, that the swap will infuse the Texas farm system with some quality new assets. Lefty Taylor Hearn was already acquired as the headliner of the package and could be a factor in the MLB mix as soon as 2019, if he develops as hoped. Apostel will no doubt be viewed as an increasingly important part of the Rangers’ future if he can continue to progress, though his outlook perhaps hinges most upon the question whether he will be able to handle third base defensively at full physical maturity. (Fangraphs just inserted him at 13th on its current ranking of Rangers prospects, which features Hearn in the #6 slot.)
It always figured to require a reasonably steep package of talent to get Kela, given his strong work this year and remaining seasons of arbitration eligibility. For the Pirates, Kela’s initial performance has at least helped validate the acquisition cost. The still-youthful reliever has allowed only one earned run in six frames for the Bucs, striking out six batters and issuing one walk. He’ll remain under club control through 2020.