The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired infielder Ryan Schimpf from the San Diego Padres in exchange for minor league infielder Deion Tansel.
Schimpf, 29, has huge power potential, having averaged one homerun per every 15 plate appearances thus far in his brief major league career (527 plate appearances). Per the team press release, his 12.97 AB/HR ratio over the last two seasons ranks sixth in the majors and third in the National League (min. 500 PA), behind Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (11.74) and Los Angeles’ Cody Bellinger (12.31).
A New Orleans native, Schimpf has spent the past two seasons with the San Diego Padres, but was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round of the 2009 draft. The Padres picked him up when he became a minor league free agent following the 2015 season.
Schimpf began last season as the Padres starting third baseman and hit .158/.284/.424 (26-for-165) with 14 home runs and 25 RBI in 53 games (47 starts). Through the end of May, the left-handed batter led the Padres and tied for fifth in the National League with 14 home runs. He was optioned to Triple-A El Paso on June 9 and remained there through the end of the season, batting .202/.311/.475 (49-for-242) with 19 home runs and 44 RBI.
Although Schimpf provided plenty of pop at the plate, he struggled to bring anything else to the table for the Padres. He struck out over 35% of the time (over 40% of time over his final 70 plate appearances leading up to is demotion) and that mark actually got worse in Triple-A where he finished the year with at a 37.0 strikeout percentage.
However, when he hits the ball, magic happens. In his career, per the team press release, 67.4 percent of his hits have gone for extra bases (28-1B, 19-2B, 5-3B, 34-HR), the highest ratio in the majors (min. 500 PA) over that span (since 2016).
We've acquired INF Ryan Schimpf from San Diego for minor league INF Deion Tansel.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) December 12, 2017
67.4% of his hits have been XBH - the top ratio in MLB since 2016 (min. 500 PA). #JumboSchimpf pic.twitter.com/FXBwOAH3sv
In 2016, Schimpf was selected to the Padres active roster on June 14 and went on to hit 20 home runs in 276 at-bats in the majors. His 20 home runs that season tied for fourth among major league rookies and ranked third at the time for a single season among Padres rookies, behind Nate Colbert (24) in 1969 and Jedd Gyorko (23) in 2013. All 20 home runs came from July 1 through the end of the season, leading National League rookies and tying Gary Sánchez (Yankees) for the most among major league rookies over that span.
With the trade of Schimpf, the Padres cleared a spot on their 40-man roster that was needed in order for the club to complete their trade that was made earlier today with the New York Yankees that brought 3B Chase Headley back to San Diego along with Bryan Mitchell.
Per the team press release, Tansel (23) has hit .280/.345/.392 (83-for-296) with four home runs and 43 RBI in 85 games over parts of two seasons in the Rays organization. He spent last season with Short-A Hudson Valley, batting .277/.336/.403 (53-for-191) with three home runs and 33 RBI in 53 games.
Tansel received collegiate Defensive Player of the Year honors in both his junior and senior seasons (2015-16) at Toledo. Selected by the Rays in the 32nd round of the 2016 June Draft, Tansel was not considered a top prospect in the Rays system.