The rebuilding Royals added two top prospects and a promising teenaged pitcher to their farm system Monday, acquiring third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez, outfielder Blake Perkins, and right-handed pitcher Yohanse Morel from the Nationals in exchange for big league reliever Kelvin Herrera.
Washington announced the trade via a press release.
Gutierrez, who was ranked 10th in the Nationals system and became the Royals' No. 8 prospect, is sporting a .285/.344/.388 slash line over six Minor League seasons. His plus-speed has been on display over that time with 22 triples and 55 stolen bases. The 23-year-old infielder appeared in 58 games with Double-A Harrisburg this season and amassed 63 hits and 16 walks in 230 at-bats. He posted 14 extra-base hits, including five dingers, scoring 36 runs and driving in 26. The native of the Dominican Republic has plus-scouting grades of 65 for his arm and 55 for his bat and fielding. He has seen time at shortstop and first base.
Perkins, who was ranked directly behind Gutierrez in their former organization and stands No. 15 with Kansas City, has amassed a .655 OPS across four professional seasons. Selected out of an Arizona high school in the second round of the 2015 Draft (No. 69 overall), the 21-year-old switch-hitter is a natural center fielder who has spent this season with Class A Advanced Potomac. In 65 Carolina League games, Perkins is hitting .234 with 11 doubles, 42 walks, 39 runs scored and 12 stolen bases. His speed and ability to get on base project him to be an ideal top-of-the-order hitter. He received the highest signing bonus from Washington (despite being their second pick) in 2015, $800,000, because the organization was high on his five-tool potential.
Morel, 17, is in his first professional season and has made one start in the Dominican Summer League. The native of Dominican Republic surrendered four runs -- three earned -- on six hits and a walk while fanning five over 3 1/3 innings on June 2.
The 28-year-old Herrera has posted 14 saves in 16 opportunities with a 1.05 ERA over 25 2/3 innings this season as the Royals' primary closer. His 11 strikeouts-per-walk ratio is among the best in baseball. Herrera sports a 1.26 ERA with 38 punchouts in 22 postseason appearances. The veteran reliever is a two-time All-Star over eight Major League seasons, all with the Royals, who signed him out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He made his Major League debut on Sept. 21, 2011.