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Rays add pitchers McWilliams, Poche to complete Souza trade

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MLB: Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks
Steven Souza Jr. hasn’t played for the Diamondbacks this season due to a pectoral injury
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On Feb. 20, the Rays took part in a three-way trade with the Diamondbacks and Yankees that sent outfielder Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona and third baseman Brandon Drury from Arizona to New York. The Rays received second baseman Nick Solak from New York plus lefty Anthony Banda from Arizona, as well as two players to be named later.

Tuesday, those players were named. According to Nick Piecoro, the Rays will receive right-handed pitcher Sam McWilliams and left-handed pitcher Colin Poche to complete the trade.

McWilliams, 22, was originally an eighth-round pick by the Phillies in 2014, but the Diamondbacks acquired him for Jeremy Hellickson. In 25 2/3 innings with Class A-Advanced Visalia, the 6’7 starter had a 2.10 ERA with a career-high 32.3 percent strikeout rate and 6.1 percent walk rate. For such a tall pitcher, he has never had a problem throwing strikes.

Baseball America ranked McWilliams as the No. 13 prospect in the organization, noting that he has a 90-95 mph two-seam fastball with an average slider that flashes plus and an improving changeup. With his size, he’s able to generate groundballs at a fair rate as well.

The 24-year-old Poche has been a reliever for most of his professional career, including the 2018 season with Double-A Jackson. In 11 innings this season, he hasn’t allowed a run, and he has 23 strikeouts to just two walks. In his professional career since Arizona drafted him in the 14th round in 2016, he has a 1.75 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 92 13 innings.

BA ranked him as Arizona’s No. 29 prospect, projecting him as a “matchup reliever” with a low-90s fastball and improving slider. Oddly, lefties have a higher OPS against him than righties so far in his pro career.

Poche underwent Tommy John surgery during his collegiate career.

Having been in the organization since the original trade announcement, both Banda and Solak have been off to nice starts with the Rays. In 24 23 innings with Triple-A Durham, Banda has a 4.38 ERA with a career-high 32.1 percent strikeout rate plus a 8.0 percent walk rate. With Double-A Montgomery, Solak is splitting time between second base and left field, posting a .845 OPS with 20 strikeouts and 16 walks in 100 plate appearances.

According to Neil Solondz, each player will remain at the minor league level they were already at: