Atlanta Braves and Oakland: is there a deal for an outfielder possible?
By Fred Owens
The Astros drafted Laureano in the 16th round of the 2014 Rule 4 draft. After a slow start in rookie and low A ball, the 21-year-old Dominican from Miami lit up A+ ball in 2016 posting a .317/.426/.519/.945 line in 80 games.
That earned him a move to AA Corpus Christi where he continued to mash, hitting to a .323/.432/.548/.981 line in 124 AB over 33 games.
Then 2017 happened. In 123 games his line crashed to .225/.296/.367/.663, and he fell from being #13 on the Astros’ prospect list to #29.
Houston’s system featured a plethora of outfielders, and rather than take a chance that those numbers were the real Laureano, they traded him to Oakland for an A+ ball arm. Given the opportunity to make that decision again, they probably wouldn’t make that trade.
The 2018 season
Laureano started 2018 with a broken finger but returned to hit .297/.380/.524/.905 with 14 homers,12 doubles, striking out 70 times and walking 31 in 284 PA. That earned him a trip to Oakland.
Once he put on the green and gold, he was there to stay. In 176 PA he hit to a .288/.358/.474/.832 line with five homers, 12 doubles and stole seven bases in eight attempts. Those numbers were good enough for 2.1 fWAR, a .357 wOBA and 129 wRC+.
Laureano played mostly right field in the minors, showing off a plus arm to notch 16 assists. That arm, his speed, and a bat that profiles at 10–15 homers profiles as a center fielder in major league play.