The price of improving a playoff team at the deadline keeps going down.
Now that the trade deadline has passed, it’s remarkable how few elite prospects were traded. By our count 69 prospects were moved in trades that involved other players in the six weeks before the non-waiver trade deadline (an additional two were dealt for international bonus allotments). Only two are current Top 100 Prospects.
Additionally the Pirates traded recently graduated prospects Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow (who were both Top 100 Prospects before they graduated). Meadows would have ranked No. 2 on this list while Glasnow would have been No. 3 if they were eligible.
But many of the prospects who were traded are players who project as role players, up-and-down relievers, swingmen or players who are so far away from the majors that they have a significant risk of never making it.
Top 25 Prospects
1. Francisco Mejia, C, Padres
(Acquired in trade that sent RHP Brad Hand and RHP Adam Cimber to Indians)
Mejia is the only Top 25 prospect to be traded so far (he ranked 24th on the current Top 100). There are scouts who worry about his over-aggressive approach at the plate and Mejia still has to improve his receiving to prove he can be a full-time catcher. But he’s a 22-year-old catcher in Triple-A with a track record of hitting, which gives him a very high upside if he can improve his defense and his selectivity and pitch recognition.
Top 50 Prospects
2. Yusniel Diaz, OF, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Manny Machado to Dodgers)
Diaz was the headliner of Machado trade. He has a high likelihood of being a useful big leaguer with a solid chance of being an everyday outfielder. Diaz, who ranked 46th on the current Top 100, makes solid contact and projects as an above-average defender in the corner outfield spots with a chance to be an average defender in center. For Diaz to be an impact big leaguer, he’s going to either need to drive the ball more or improve defensively in center field. But he’s one of the safer prospects traded this month.
3. Brett Phillips, OF, Royals
(Acquired in trade that sent Mike Moustakas to the Brewers)
Phillips likely ends up as a second-division starter, but he has some attributes (speed, defense and an incredible throwing arm) that give him a shot to exceed those expectations. Phillips has shown he can hit for average and he’s shown he can hit for at least average power. He’s just not yet shown he can do both at the same time.
4. Luis Ortiz, RHP, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Jonathan Schoop to Brewers)
Ortiz is a now twice-traded prospect whose career had stalled in Double-A. He first reached Double-A as a Ranger in 2016 and now three seasons later, he was still pitching in Double-A for the Brewers’ Biloxi affiliate. The Brewers kept Ortiz away from the horrendous pitching conditions of Triple-A Colorado Springs. He likely will move faster with the Orioles. Ortiz has to watch his conditioning, but his fastball/slider combination give him a solid floor as a high-leverage reliever. With the Orioles embarking on a full rebuild, they have every reason to let him start for the big league team in 2019.
Decent Chance To Contribute
Mejia and Diaz are the only Top 100 Prospects who has been traded. After them, there’s already a significant drop-off in the prospects traded. Most of the best of the rest among the traded prospects are potentially useful bullpen pitchers, starting pitchers who are viable depth options and bench bats.
5. Oscar Mercado, OF, Indians
(Acquired in trade that sent OFs Conner Capel and Jhon Torres to Cardinals)
Mercado should help Cleveland relatively quickly as a center fielder who can slide over to a corner also if needed. He has plus speed and enough power to make pitchers pay if they make a mistake. He’s got a likely role as a second-division regular/fourth outfielder on a championship-level club but with a chance to be a first division regular with further improvement.
6. Hector Perez, RHP, Blue Jays
(Acquired in trade that sent Roberto Osuna to Astros)
Perez’s secondary offerings aren’t as refined as his fastball, but his fastball is a plus-plus pitch when he’s locating it. His control, his slider and his split all need further refinement, but Perez has more upside than almost anyone who has been traded in the leadup to the deadline.
7. Dillon Tate, RHP, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Zach Britton to Yankees)
At this point, disregard the fact that Tate was the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft. If that draft could be done over, Tate, who ranked 10th on the Yankees midseason Top 10, would not be picked anywhere near that spot. But Tate has bounced back from a brutal 2016 season that saw him be traded for the first time (from the Rangers to the Yankees in the Carlos Beltran trade). Tate most likely ends up as a useful sixth/seventh-inning power reliever, but he also has a chance to be a back-of-the-rotation starter. Given the current state of the Orioles, there’s every reason for them to try to start for now.
8. Jorge Alcala, RHP, Twins
(Acquired in trade that sent Ryan Pressly to the Astros)
There’s a chance Alcala remains a starter, improves his consistency and turns into a mid-rotation starter. But it’s much more likely that he eventually moves to the bullpen where he could be a fire-breathing, 100-mph throwing high-leverage reliever with a power slider. The case could be made for ranking Alcala above Tate. Tate’s secondary offerings are more consistent, while Alcala has a better fastball.
9. Taylor Hearn, LHP, Rangers
(Acquired in trade that sent RHP Keone Kela to Pirates)
This is Hearn’s second deadline deal in the past three seasons. Originally a National, he was sent to the Pirates in the trade that sent Mark Melancon to D.C. two years and a day before he became a Texas Ranger. Hearn has a big arm and has proven to have more starter traits than scouts saw in him when he was traded two years ago. Hearn is a nearly big league ready reliever, but he has a chance to be a No. 4 starter, so the Rangers have reasons to be patient.
10. Kodi Medeiros, LHP, White Sox.
(Acquired in trade that sent Joakim Soria to Brewers)
Medeiros’ lower arm slot has long led scouts to believe his best role long-term is as a power arm in the pen who should eat up lefthanded hitters. His mid-90s fastball and slider are nightmarish for a lefthanded hitter (as evidenced by lefties .160/.254/.280 stat line this year against Medeiros). Medeiros isn’t helpless against righthanded hitters, but his control issues and lower arm slot do seem to predict an eventual move to the bullpen.
11. Willi Castro, SS, Tigers
(Acquired in trade that sent OF Leonys Martin to the Indians)
Castro has the defensive ability to potentially be a Jose Iglesias-type all-glove, little-hit shortstop depending on how much a team emphasizes infield defense. On a team looking for more offensive punch, he should be at least a solid utilityman who can capably handle second base, shortstop and third base.
12. Cody Carroll, RHP, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Britton to Yankees)
Carroll is a nearly big league ready reliever who has a track record of durability and a blazing fastbal that has touched 100 mph and sits 95-98. Carroll’s slider is average. He’ll need to improve it or his splitter if he’s going to be more than a sixth/seventh-inning reliever. Carroll has not have to be added to the 40-man roster yet, but will need to be added this offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. That means he has all of his options remaining, which makes him even more useful for a big league bullpen.
13. Gilberto Celestino, OF, Twins
(Acquired in trade that sent Ryan Pressly to the Astros)
Celestino is a 19-year-old in short-season ball, so he’s still four steps away from the big leagues. But his feel for defense in center field, strong arm, bat speed and developing power give him a shot to be a fourth outfielder one day with a shot to better than and be an everyday second-division regular.
14. Dean Kremer, RHP, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Machado to Dodgers)
Kremer has had a breakout season this year, as he’s used a 90-96 mph fastball, a curveball he can locate and a developing slider and changeup to rank among the minors’ leaders in strikeouts. Kremer could end up as a back-end starter, but more likely he will eventually move to the bullpen where his fastball and pair of breaking balls will serve him well.
15. Jhoan Duran, RHP, Twins
(Acquired in trade that send Eduardo Escobar to D-backs)
Duran is a very promising 20-year-old righthander with a lot of work ahead of him. His mid-90s fastball could become a high-90s fastball if he moves to the bullpen one day as expected and his power curve would give him a second potentially plus pitch. But he’s in low Class A and has a lot of work to do to get to his relatively lofty ceiling of a high-leverage reliever.
16. Jalen Beeks, LHP, Rays
(Acquired in trade that sent Nate Eovaldi to Red Sox)
Beeks has easily had the best year of his pro career this season, posting a 5-5, 2.89 mark for Triple-A Pawtucket while striking out a career-best 12 batters per nine innings. Beeks has learned to use a quality cutter that plays well off of his low-90s fastball. The fastball plays up a little because of extension and location, but Beeks lacks a true plus pitch. Scouts see him as a likely up-and-down starting pitcher who has a chance to be a fifth starter if he puts it all together.
17. Bobby Wahl, RHP, Mets
(Acquired in trade that sent Jeurys Familia to Athletics)
Wahl has been an injury-plagued pitcher for the A’s, but when he’s healthy, he has the quality of stuff that would fit very well in a big league bullpen. Wahl was outrighted off the A’s 40-man roster last offseason, which is a reminder that he lives on the fringes of a big league roster, but he’s been healthy this year with a high-90s fastball that misses plenty of bats. If he can remain healthy, he could be useful low-cost middle reliever with two options remaining, with a chance to be a little bit more than that.
18. Tommy Eveld, RHP, Marlins
(Acquired in trade that sent Brad Ziegler to the D-Backs)
The Marlins have done a good job of acquiring useful relievers in a variety of minor deals. A few years ago, the Marlins traded the final few months of Steve Cishek’s season before free agency for Kyle Barraclough, who has been just as good (and much less expensive) since the trade. Ziegler will help the D-backs right now, but Eveld could be a similarly useful long-term reliever for the Marlins.
19. Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Kevin Gausman to the Braves)
Enacarnacion could end up being one of the best players traded at the deadline. He has plus-plus raw power potential to go with the arm and glove to be an above-average defender at third base. But there are a number of potholes he will have to navigate around to get from here (a 20-year-old in low Class A) to there. Encarnacion swings at most anything right now, which explains his 100 strikeouts and only 13 walks. His defense needs plenty of refinement even if the tools are there to be a solid third baseman. The Orioles have plenty of time to be patient, which is what Encarnacion needs.
20. Wei Chieh-Huang, RHP, Rangers
(Acquired in trade that sent Jake Diekman to the D-Backs)
Huang has taken a step forward this season as he’s throwing strikes more consistently, allowing his average fastball and above-average curveball to be more effective. He’s a nearly ready low-leverage reliever.
21. Justin Williams, OF, Cardinals
(Acquired in trade that sent Tommy Pham to the Rays)
The Cardinals had a glut of outfielders in 2015 as Randall Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham coming up behind Jason Heyward, Peter Bourjos, Jon Jay and Matt Holliday. Now all seven of those outfielders are no longer Cardinals and the Cardinals still have an outfield glut with Williams joining Randy Arozarena, Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader as the young outfielders trying to establish themselves in St. Louis.
22. Brett Cumberland, C, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Kevin Gausman to Braves)
Cumberland is a bat-first catcher whose defense has improved to the point where it seems plausible that he can be a bat-first backup catcher at the big league level. Cumberland has some legitimate power and draws walks, but scouts worry that he will be a well below-average hitter.
23. Zach Pop, RHP, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Machado to Dodgers)
Pop fell in the 2017 draft because an arm injury forced him to sit out the final months before the draft. But he’s managed to stay healthy this year, showcasing potentially two plus pitches thanks to a 92-96 mph fastball and a hard slider. Pop could be a quick-moving reliever who pitches in the back of a bullpen, but there remain durability and control questions.
24. Rylan Bannon, 3B, Orioles
(Acquired in trade that sent Machado to Dodgers)
Scouts see Bannon as most likely ending up as a versatile bench bat who can play an adequate second and third base while providing plenty of power despite an undersized frame. He has shown an ability to hit 15-20 home runs given regular at-bats, which is a useful skill.
25. Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Mets
(Acquired in trade that sent Asdrubal Cabrera to Phillies)
Kilome ranked as the Phillies’ No. 7 prospect after both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but he was passed by several other promising arms on the Phillies prospect pecking order because his stuff has wavered a little and the secondary offerings have yet to take the step forward scouts hoped to see. Most likely now he ends up as a power arm in the bullpen, as his 90-94 mph fastball can play up to 95-96 in shorter stints. Success will depend on improving the sharpness and consistency of his curveball.
Likely Role Players/Far Away Gambles
From this point, these are prospects who have an intriguing tool or two, but are either far enough away from the majors to remain very risky prospects or prospects who project as up-and-down big leaguers/solid upper-level minor leaguers.
26. Genesis Cabrera, LHP, Cardinals
27. Giovanny Gallegos, RHP, Cardinals
28. David Paulino, RHP, Blue Jays
29. Ty Buttrey, RHP, Angels
30. Seth Elledge, RHP, Cardinals
31. Evan Phillips, RHP, Orioles
32. Williams Jerez, LHP, Angels
33. Jason Bahr, RHP, Rangers
34. Billy McKinney, OF, Blue Jays
35. Conner Capel, OF, Indians
36. Jorge Lopez, RHP, Royals
37. Michael Perez, C, Rays
38. Jean Carmona, SS, Orioles
39. Luke Voit, 1B, Yankees
40. Bryson Brigman, SS, Marlins
41. Luke Raley, OF/1B, Twins
42. Jhon Romero, RHP, Nationals
43. Patrick Sandoval, LHP, Angels
44. Brian Shaffer, RHP, Rays
45. Josh Rogers, LHP, Orioles
46. Chase De Jong, RHP, Twins
47. Bruce Zimmerman, LHP, Orioles
48. Kelvin Gutierrez, 3B, Royals
49. Luis Rijo, RHP, Twins
50. Jhon Torres, OF, Cardinals
51. Will Toffey, 3B, Mets
52. Santiago Espinal, SS, Blue Jays
53. Forrest Wall, OF, Blue Jays
54. Chad Spanberger, 1B, Blue Jays
55. Roel Ramirez, RHP, Cardinals
56. Corey Copping, RHP, Blue Jays
57. Devin Smeltzer, LHP, Twins
58. Kyle Dowdy, RHP, Indians
59. Jacob Waguespack, RHP, Blue Jays
60. Yohanse Morel, RHP, Royals
61. Blake Perkins, OF, Royals
62. Gabriel Maciel, OF, Twins
63. Rollie Lacy, RHP, Rangers
64. Jacob Condra-Bogan, RHP, Nationals
65. Breyvic Valera, 2B, Orioles
66. Tyler Thomas, LHP, Rangers
67. Wilber Perez, RHP, White Sox
68. Ryan Costello, 1B, Twins
69. Ernie de la Trinidad, OF, Twins