Two shining young Californians are on the move to another sunny state.
The A's on Saturday traded top prospects Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell along with big league catcher John Jaso and cash to the Rays for Ben Zobrist and Yunel Escobar.
Robertson, a 20-year-old shortstop, was ranked by MLB.com as the A's No. 1 prospect and the No. 85 prospect overall. Drafted out of Upland (Calif.) High School with the 34th pick in the 2012 Draft, he batted .310 with 15 homers and 60 RBIs in 132 games for Class A Advanced Stockton last year. He's a two-time A's Organization All-Star and a 2014 Arizona Fall League Rising Star.
"He's the kind of prospect that's difficult to get your hands on," Rays president of baseball operations Matt Silverman told MLB.com. "And it takes a trade, a large trade like this, to be able to acquire someone of his talents.
"He's someone who has great baseball skills, can play in the middle of the diamond, has a hitter's mentality and has great potential to grow into an everyday player. Prospects by nature are uncertain. But he's the kind of guy we're willing to make a bet on and hope that he can make an impact in our organization for many years to come."
Robertson took to Twitter to thank the Oakland organization for "giving me an opportunity to fulfill my childhood dreams."
It's the second time in seven months the A's have dealt a highly prized shortstop prospect in a package for Major League talent. They traded Addison Russell to the Cubs in last summer's swap for pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
Powell, who had been the A's No. 11 prospect, split 2014 between Stockton and Class A Beloit, combining for a .343 average and .451 on-base percentage in 83 games. The 21-year-old outfielder was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for an amphetamine. A native of Irvine, California, he was a 2012 20th-round pick out of Orange Coast Community College.
"His value shows up in many different ways on the field," Silverman said. "We'll put him in the outfield and keep him in the outfield and see what he can do and let him develop. But he's the kind of guy, with the tools that he has, has a chance to be a good Major League player. We'll have the patience to let him develop at his own pace."
Jaso played 99 games for Oakland last year. He returns to the organization that drafted him in 2003 and for which he made his big league debut in 2008. He hit .264 with a .337 OBP and .997 fielding percentage in 2014.
Zobrist, 33, played five positions and also served as a designated hitter in 146 games last year. The two-time All-Star slugged 10 homers while putting up a .272/.354/.395 slash line.
Escobar, a 32-year-old shortstop, batted .258 with a .324 OBP and .340 slugging percentage in 137 games in 2014.
Josh Jackson is a contributor to MiLB.com.