The Arizona outfield became a little less crowded today, with the news that the D-backs have dealt Dominic Fletcher to the Chicago White Sox, in exchange for starting pitcher Cristian Mena. Fletcher made his MLB debut in April and appeared in 28 games, with an initially impressive line of .301/.350/.441 for a .791 OPS and an OPS+ of 115. However, that was largely the result of an inflated BABIP of .377, and so was certainly unsustainable. For comparison, ZIPS projected Fletcher to hit .255/.316/.383 in 2024, for an OPS+ of just 92. Though the 477 PA there seems high, considering Dominic was probably only the fifth-best left-handed outfielder on the Diamondbacks’ 40-man roster.
So, suffice it to say the team was dealing from depth there. What did we get in exchange? Menia is a young prospect, having only turned 21 in December, shortly after being added to Chicago’s 40-man roster. Last year, he split time between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. Overall, he combined to go 8-7 with a 4.85 ERA, and a K:BB ratio of 156:64 over 133.2 IP. He entered the 2023 season rated as the White Sox’s No. 6 prospect by Baseball America and No. 7 by MLB Pipeline - their system is generally regarded as mid-tier. Considering that was Menia’s age 20 season, making him almost seven years younger than league average, it was a good showing, and time is certainly on his side.
It is worth noting that White Sox assistant GM Josh Barfield was the director of player development in Arizona, until moving to Chicago last September. So he would seem intimately aware of the D-backs’ prospects. Still, you’d be hard-pushed to say that Fletcher is likely to have been a major component in the D-backs’ plans for 2024, and Mena seems like a nice addition to our starting pitching depth, especially for 2025 and beyond. I imagine he’ll likely start off the year in Reno, but I will also be interested to see how he fares in spring training, when we’ll get our first live look at him.