Arizona Diamondbacks trade Dominic Fletcher to Chicago White Sox for pitching prospect

The Diamondbacks have traded outfield propsect to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Cristian Mena.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Angels
Arizona Diamondbacks v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Arizona Diamondbacks have swung a trade with the Chicago White Sox. It’s a one-for-one swap where the Diamondbacks will be sending outfield prospect Dominic Fletcher to the Southside for right-handed pitching prospect Cristian Mena. Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun Times confirmed the deal on Twitter/X.

Fletcher was one of the Diamondbacks’ multiple top outfield prospects. He made his debut last year, only coming to the plate 102 times, but batted well in the small sample size. Fletcher had a .301/.350/.441 triple-slash, 21.6% K-rate, 6.9% walk rate, and 113 wRC+. He showed off strong defensive prowess, collecting +4 defensive runs saved and +2 outs above average in less than 300 innings in the outfield. He saw time at all three outfield positions, but he frequented center field most often.

Fletch also hit well at Triple-A Reno, with a .291/.399/.500 slash and .400 wOBA. Even though the Pacific Coast League is extremely hitter friendly, he still registered a well above average 120 wRC+. Fletcher also had a respectable 12.6% walk rate and 18.6% K-rate, both of which are career bests. Again though, do keep in mind that the PCL had the automated ball-strike zone in place. But overall, Fletcher’s 2023 minor league season was decent. Fletcher was considered a top 15 prospect in the Diamondbacks’ system by FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline.

Diamondbacks acquire Cristian Mena from White Sox for Dominic Fletcher.

In return, the D-Backs are getting Cristian Mena. He is a 21-year-old right-hander who made it to Triple-A in just his age-20 season. His numbers weren’t all that impressive, however. He had a below average 4.85 ERA, 4.57 FIP, and 1.41 WHIP between the Sox’s Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. But he did have some solid peripherals. His 11% walk rate isn’t good on paper, but above average between the two levels. He also had a quality 26.9% strikeout rate, and a respectable 1.21 HR/9.

His numbers aren’t impressive on paper, but do keep in mind that he was in just his age-20 season and didn’t turn 21 until a few days before Christmas. He is the 17th youngest pitcher to log at least 15 starts at Double-A and the 14th youngest arm to start at least three games at Triple-A over the last decade. 

Mena does not throw very hard with his four-seam fastball sitting in the low-90s and topping out at 94-95 MPH. The best pitch in his arsenal is his curveball, an offering that he spins well and has plus potential. He has also worked on a slider, and while the pitch has potential, he needs to throw it more consistently. Sometimes it looks more like a cutter, but other times it has sweeping action. Mena has a good feel for his change-up, but needs to separate it more from his fastball. Mena has a very low effort delivery and quick arm action, which could help his command develop further. Baseball America, MLB Pipeline, and FanGraphs all ranked Mena as one of the White Sox’s top ten prospects.

This trade gives the Diamondbacks a high-upside pitching prospect while trading away only one of their half-dozen outfield prospects. Outfield is still by far the strongest position group in the D-Backs’ system, but they lack any significant pitching depth. I think this is a decent trade for the Diamondbacks, but could end up as a win-win for both teams.