I hate this trade. There I have said it, it is an absolute gut punch. From a baseball perspective it really is not that horrible, prospects like Sam McWilliams rarely turn out. The Phillies took an 8th round pick and turned him into a major league starting pitcher, that is actually pretty good. McWilliams is just a dream, a dream without limits. He is big, he throws hard, he may throw harder, he has some feel for pitching, but he is a dream. McWilliams is 20 years old now and is likely to go beyond short season in 2016. He is years and years away from the major leagues, and for a starting pitcher that is a journey full of pitfalls and failure.
Here is the scouting report on McWilliams. He is a 6’8″ RHP who sits 90-92 and can get to 95, the pitch has good movement and plane due to his height. He has shown some feel for a curveball, but it is a fringy pitch right now. He has shown little feel for a changeup throughout the season (more of a straight change). He was going to be in the back of the Top 30 on my Phillies’ list. His upside his immense, his downside is he never makes it past low-A. He also experienced some arm discomfort this fall causing him to miss the end of the GCL season and all of Fall Instructs. The upside is large though, he is a blank canvas to build on, if you look hard enough you can see the makings of a Franklyn Kilome or Tyler Glasnow.
Hellickson is a major league starting pitcher. He is not a good starting pitcher, but the Phillies need starting pitchers and Hellickson does have some upside. His biggest issue has been that he has been homer prone (due to a mediocre arsenal), but if you can help him keep the ball in the yard he can be a serviceable back end starter. Let’s be honest too, they got more for Roberto Hernandez at the deadline than they just gave up.
It is painful that the Phillies gave up a nice looking asset for him, but it is an asset they could afford to give even if it wasn’t necessarily wise. The rebuild is going to be full of moves like this.