The day he was expected to rejoin the team following a lengthy injured list stint, outfielder Jordan Luplow has been traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Luplow, along with reliever DJ Johnson, are being sent to the Rays in exchange for minor-league right-handed pitcher Peyton Battenfield.
Battenfield was ranked as the Rays’ No. 29 prospect in MLB Pipeline’s latest rankings, with positive marks for his low- to mid-90s fastball, cutter, and above-average control. The 23-year-old was originally a reliever in the Astros’ system in 2019, but shifted over to a starter and eventually traded to the Rays prior to 2021. This season he has a 32.4% strikeout rate and 4.9% walk rate in 36.1 innings.
The Guardians are losing one of the best lefty mashers in the business in Jordan Luplow. Since the start of 2019, Luplow’s .995 OPS against lefties ranks 11th among batters who have faced southpaws at least 200 times. He’s also walked 17.1% of the time against them in that span (5th overall). The guy is just a terror against anyone who has trouble finding scissors in a pinch.
Unfortunately, it appears Cleveland wasn’t content with keeping an often injured, elite platoon bat who struggles mightily against same-armed pitchers. Despite a few lengthy shots at full playing time, Luplow has never been able to replicate his lefty-mashing mastery, and as a result, finds himself out of Cleveland. Surely it wasn’t the only reason for the trade, but it’s worth noting that Luplow would have entered his first year of arbitration this offseason.
Either way, as with the Cesar Hernandez trade yesterday, trading Luplow paves the way for younger players to get some more playing time, and for Cleveland to see what they have before they have to start making tough roster decisions in the offseason.