The Houston Astros have acquired catcher Evan Gattis and right-hander James Hoyt from the Atlanta Braves, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The teams have since officially announced the deal.
In exchange for Gattis and Hoyt, the Braves acquired right-handed pitching prospect Michael Foltynewicz and Rio Ruiz, along with a third prospect, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that right-handed pitching prospect Andrew Thurman is also included in the deal.
Gattis was reportedly in Houston yesterday for a physical, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported. However, the Astros could not have brought Gattis in for a physical without agreeing to a trade first, tweeted Rosenthal. Shortly thereafter, a trade was agreed upon by the two clubs and reported.
The Astros currently have four catchers already on their roster, with Jason Castro, Hank Conger, Carlos Corporan, and Max Stassi all listed on their depth chart. Gattis could also fill in at left field, as Robbie Grossman is the current starter out there. He has a career .683 OPS in 710 plate appearances.
The 28-year-old Gattis still has four years of team control ahead of him and should fill in nicely in the Astros lineup. Last season, in 401 plate appearances, Gattis hit .263/.317/.493 with 22 home runs and 52 runs batted in, playing mostly catcher last season. He has an Adjusted 125 OPS+ in 108 games last year.
Defensively, Gattis was a below-average fielder at both catcher and left field during his time there. He was particularly bad in left, posting a -24.1 UZR/150 in just 342.1 innings out there. He may be an offensive upgrade as compared to Grossman, but defensively, he is not good at all. However, with the short porch in Minute Maid Park, he may have to cover less ground and could be a better defender.
The 28-year-old Hoyt is a career minor leaguer. After not being drafted, Hoyt pitched in the Independent Leagues and in Mexico (similar to Triple-A). Hoyt struck out 13.9 hitters per nine in 13.1 innings in Mexico, and was signed by the Braves as a result. Last season, Hoyt made it all the way to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he struggled with command and posted a 5.46 ERA, 4.5 BB/9, and 10.9 K/9 in 28 innings pitched.
In return, the Braves are receiving three top Astros prospect. Right-hander Michael Foltynewicz was ranked as the Astros' third-best prospect (per Baseball America). The 23-year-old and former 1st round pick in 2010 posted a 5.08 ERA in 102.2 innings with Triple-A Oklahoma City last season. He had a 1.96 strikeout-per-walk ratio.
Third baseman Rio Ruiz was ranked as the Astros' third-best prospect. He was in High Single-A Lancaster last season, he slashed .293/.387/.436 with 11 homers and 77 runs batted in over 602 plate appearances last season. And finally, the Braves received 23-year-old Andrew Thurman, who went 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA in Single-A Quad Cities last season.