We have not yet reached the Winter Meetings, but the first big prospect swap has happened as Jake Cronenworth joins Tommy Pham on the way to the San Diego Padres, while Xavier Edwards is heading to the Tampa Bay Rays along with Hunter Renfroe. Edwards and Cronenworth were teammates this offseason with Team USA in the Premier 12, where they failed to qualify for the Olympics but have another shot in March.
Edwards is the best of the two prospects involved in the trade and a virtual lock to make my Rays top 10 prospect list (those will be rolled out starting the first week of the year). Edwards has seen time at both middle infield spots but best fits as a second baseman long term. He has near top scale speed that pairs very well with his well above average contact ability that has seen him hit over .300 at all four levels he has played thus far in his Minor League career. His quick twitch abilities will allow him to fill in at short in a pinch but at second he is an above-average defender and will likely be a staple at the top of the Rays lineup sometime in 2022.
Cronenworth was a two-way player in college at Michigan but played primarily at short in his pro career. He can absolutely hold down the position defensively and has a good bat when it comes to contact, but the power is limited and doesn’t have a true plus tool outside of potentially his arm. That arm led the Rays to give him some run on the mound in 2019 where he did not allow a run and struck out 9 in 7.1 innings. He has a quality fastball and has shown the makings of a quality curve that could see him making the big leagues as a reliever, although his defensive ability will make it hard to move him to a full time pitcher. He will likely debut this coming season in San Diego and provide incredible flexibility in the NL that we have not seen in quite some time.