Phillies, Giants trade Yunior Marté for Erik Miller

The Phillies and Giants made a trade today, according to announcements by both clubs. right-handed Junior Marte goes to the Phillies with Lefty Eric Mueller go the other way.

Marté, 28 next month, spent most of his career with the Royals but never cracked their roster, reaching free agency in the minor leagues after 2020. The Giants then signed him to a minor league deal and saw him post a 3.49 ERA over 56 2/3 triple-A innings in 2021. He knocked out 24.6% of batters, walking on 9 .1% and got grounders on 49.4% of the balls in the game. That was enough for the Giants to get him into the 40s in November.

In 2022, Marté made his MLB debut with a 5.44 ERA in 48 innings for the Giants. That came with a strikeout rate of 20.6% and a walk rate of 10.4%, both numbers slightly below the league average. He got Grounders at a strong rate of 48.6% and may have been unlucky with a 63.2% strand rate. Statcast found his work well-received, placing him in the 97th percentile for barrel rate, 84th for average exit speed, and 94th for fastball speed averaging 97.8 mph . He also pitched 25 2/3 triple-A innings with a 3.16 ERA and a tremendous 37.2% strikeout rate, though his 38.8% groundball rate was lower down there.

Marté still has a few option years left, so he’ll give the Phils an intriguing arm that they could potentially keep in the minors until needed. The bullpen has been a focus area for the team this winter as they have signed free agents Craig Kimbrell and Matt Strahmin addition to swinging a trade for Gregory Soto this weekend and Marté today. For the Giants, it seems like Marté was pulled out of her plans when she was signed Luke Jackson today so they have to open a roster slot with this trade. While it was certainly difficult to part with a talented pitcher like Marté, at least they get something in return.

Miller, who turns 25 next month, was a fourth-round pick for the Phillies in 2019. He’s been considered one of the brighter prospects in the Philly system ever since, with Baseball America having him in each of the club’s top 30 for the past three years. Between the canceled minor leagues in 2020 and an injury-ravaged 2021, he hadn’t played much in 2022. But he seemed to get into a groove on double-A, throwing 36 1/3 innings with a 2.23 ERA. He knocked out 30.1% of batters faced but also walked to 11.6% of them. He was promoted to Triple-A, but his control problems worsened. In 10 games at this level, he has defeated 21.5% of opponents, resulting in a 7.50 ERA.

Miller attracted some attention here at MLBTR as the Rule 5 draft approached, but he was ultimately not selected. That means the Giants have now traded one intriguing arm for another, with Miller not taking up a roster spot. Baseball America highlights that its fastball can reach 98 mph with a plus slider and a switch. However, they note that a lack of consistency has so far kept him from truly realizing his potential.

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