After struggling through much of the season, at least in terms of meeting preseason expectations, the Washington Nationals swung a deal for outfielder Scott Hairston, adding needed depth to their much maligned bench. Heading back to the Cubs is 21-year-old right-hander Ivan Pineyro. Chicago will reportedly add less than $500K towards Hairston’s contract next season.
Hairston’s struggled mightily this season in a part time role, hitting a paltry .172/.232/.434. His total offensive production, according to Weighted Runs Created Plus, has been 27% lower than the league average. But the corner outfielder is still showing strikeout and walk rates close to his career norms (22.3% and 6.3%, respectively), and his trademark skill, above-average power, is still quite prevalent. He’s posted an Isolated Power of .263 this season.
The problem for Hairston, however, has been bad luck — a lot of bad luck, actually. His batting average on balls in play, or BABIP, is more than 140 points below his career average, at .129. He’ll likely be used as a fourth outfielder/useful bat against southpaws, whom he’s batted .268/.318/.500 against in his career.
As for the Cubs, they continue to stockpile young prospects.
In 13 starts in A-ball, an age-appropriate level of competition, Pineyro showed a decent ability to miss bats (8.9 K/9) and a pretty strong feel for the strike zone (2.3 BB/9). He’s also posted an above-average 3.16 Skill Independent ERA. He also made two nondescript starts for Potomac prior to the trade.
Long term, it’s hard to get a feel for Pineyro. He’s throw just over 200 career innings, none of which have come against older competition. So his peripherals — strikeout and walk rates — are likely to decline as he continues moving up the ladder. He maybe develops into a decent #5 or useful bullpen option.
As for Washington, it’s a solid move, and one that could add another win through the end of the season. The Cubs and Nationals will also reportedly swap PTBNL at some undetermined time.
Photo of Scott Hairston Courtesy of USATSI via CBSSports.com