The off-season is officially under way and Jerry Dipoto isn't wasting any time. Wednesday, Dipoto and the Los Angeles Angels traded catcher Hank Conger to the Houston Astros in exchange for right-handed pitcher Nick Tropeano and catcher Carlos Perez. In addition, the Angels sent right-handed pitching prospect, Mark Sappington to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for left-handed reliever, Cesar Ramos.
Conger, 26, a native to Huntington, California, was drafted by the Angels 25th overall in the 2006 draft, and spent five years with the big club. In his time with the Halos, Conger had a slash of .224/.294/.353 with 17 home runs and 71 runs batted in.
"This is my home," Conger told MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez. "The dream was just to play in the big leagues. To play with the Angels was more than I could ever ask for."
Conger was known for his pitch framing during his Major League time with the Angels, and should be a large impact as a starter for the Astros for coming years.
Tropeano, 24, was a fifth round pick for the Astros in the 2011 draft and has pitched in four Major League games, all in 2014. Over those four games, Tropeano posted a 4.57 ERA and 1.292 WHIP.
In 2014, Tropeano won the Pacific Coast League ERA title with his 3.03 earned run average. Also worth noting was his 0.987 WHIP, 6.5 H/9, 2.4 BB/9, and 8.7 K/9.
Tropeano was listed as the Astros 13th ranked prospect by MLBPipeline.com. Tropeano's scouting report consist of an aggressive style, beginning with his low 90's fastball with natural sink. He also comes with a strong changeup that has become his put away pitch. Where the flaws rise is his breaking pitches, which is primarily a slider that needs small amounts of work to become a natural slider as opposed to a slurve.
"It caught me off guard," said Tropeano to MLB.com's Gonzalez. "But, I’m excited for the new opportunity. I’m privileged & honored that the #Angels would trade for me."
Perez is known for his defensive qualities, and strong arm. He could be the backup catcher in for the Angels in the 2015 campaign, but it is more likely the Halos will look to the free agent market for a more solid backup.
Sappington, 23, became an elite prospect for the Angels after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft. His electric fastball and wipeout slider made many believe he'd be an effective starter. After some struggles in early 2014, he was moved to the bullpen where he became one of the most solid relievers in the Angels system.
"The Angels have been the most amazing organization and I appreciate the opportunity," Sappington told MLB.com's correspondent, Will Boor. "I'm looking forward to a new opportunity with the Rays. I'm going to miss everybody. I love a lot of people with the Angels."
Ramos, 30, has spent five years with the Tampa Bay Rays, posting a career 3.90 ERA and 1.358 WHIP. The Angels went into this off-season looking to add a lefty to their bullpen, and found one immediately in Ramos.
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