Top 10 prospects dealt before Deadline
Cubs newcomer Russell heads list of young talents who changed teams in July
The Athletics made the boldest moves in July, bookending the final month of trades without waivers by completing a pair of blockbuster deals.
Oakland already had the best record in the Major Leagues when it sent one of the game's elite prospects (shortstop Addison Russell) and its 2013 first-round pick (outfielder Billy McKinney) along with Dan Straily and a player to be named to the Cubs on July 5 for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. The A's further strengthened their rotation with another stunning move on the morning of the non-waiver Trade Deadline, acquiring Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes from the Red Sox in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes and a supplemental second-round pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft.
Those trades further reinforce the A's position as the strongest favorite to win the World Series (though they'll still have to navigate three rounds of the postseason). But you knew that already.
There's plenty of analysis all over MLB.com and other corners of the Internet as to what the flurry of July deals means for the present. We're here to tell you what effect they'll have on the future, by ranking the best prospects who changed addresses in the last month:
1. Addison Russell, SS, Cubs (from Athletics): No. 7 on the MLBPipeline.com Top 100 Prospects list, Russell has shown five-tool potential and earned Barry Larkin comparisons since signing for $2.625 million as the 11th overall pick in the 2012 Draft. Right hamstring injuries sidelined Russell for two months earlier this year, but he's back and performing well in Double-A as a 20-year-old. The only real question is where he plays for Chicago, which already had an embarrassment of riches at shortstop with All-Star Starlin Castro and Javier Baez (No. 6 on the Top 100).
2. Colin Moran, 3B, Astros (from Marlins): Houston strongly considered taking Moran with the No. 1 overall choice in the 2013 Draft before opting for Mark Appel, leaving Moran to go at No. 6 to Miami. A year later, the Astros got him along with Jake Marisnick and hard-throwing sleeper right-hander Francis Martes in exchange for Jarred Cosart, Enrique Hernandez and outfield prospect Austin Wates on Deadline day. No. 72 on the MLBPipeline.com Top 100 Prospects list, Moran is a gifted hitter who generates mixed reviews on his power and defense. He could contend for batting titles one day and has a high floor, as he should at least be a decent regular.
3. Jake Thompson, RHP, Rangers (from Tigers): Texas has endured a trying season, with one of the few highlights coming when it turned Joakim Soria into Thompson and Corey Knebel (see below) on July 23. Detroit's top pick (second round) in the 2012 Draft, Thompson is a physical starter who could develop three solid-to-plus pitches. He has a lively low-90s fastball and also has reached Double-A at age 20.
4. James Ramsey, OF, Indians (from Cardinals): Traded straight up for Justin Masterson on Wednesday, Ramsey was the 23rd overall choice in 2013 and signed for $1.6 million, one of the largest bonuses in Draft history for a college senior. With plus speed and average-to-solid tools across the board, as well as the makeup to get the most out of them, Ramsey projects as a big league regular in center or right field.
5. Billy McKinney, OF, Cubs (from Athletics): In addition to Russell, Chicago also landed McKinney, whom scouts rated as one of the best pure hitters in the 2013 Draft. Signed for $1.8 million as the 24th overall pick, he has held his own as a 19-year-old in Class A Advanced. McKinney should produce high batting averages and on-base percentages with average power while eventually settling into left field.
6. Willy Adames, SS, Rays (from Tigers): Detroit countered Oakland's deal for Lester by acquiring Tampa Bay ace David Price just before the Deadline in a three-team deal. The Tigers sent Austin Jackson to Seattle and Drew Smyly and Adames to Tampa Bay, and the Rays also received Nick Franklin from the Mariners. While Adames had by far the lowest profile in the deal, some scouts inside and outside Detroit's organization thought he was the system's best prospect -- even before Thompson left via the Soria trade. Adames is a solid hitter with average power potential who will likely move to second or third base.
7. Corey Knebel, RHP, Rangers (from Tigers): It's not a stretch to say that the day when Knebel is just as effective a big league reliever as Soria could be coming very soon. The 39th overall choice a year ago, he became the second player from the 2013 Draft (following Indians left-hander Kyle Crockett) to reach the Majors. With a 91-98 mph fastball that features nasty life and plane and a hard curveball, Knebel has the ingredients to become a closer.
8. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Red Sox (from Orioles): It didn't grab as many headlines as Boston's Deadline deals involving Lester and John Lackey, but the Red Sox also made a smaller trade that sent Andrew Miller to Baltimore for Rodriguez. No. 68 on MLBPipeline.com's preseason Top 100 Prospects list, he has taken a step backward this season but is still a promising lefty. Rodriguez has a ceiling as a No. 3 starter with three average or better offerings, starting with a 90- to 94-mph sinker.
9. Edwin Escobar, LHP, Red Sox (from Giants): Boston also was busy before Deadline day, doing a nice job of parlaying Jake Peavy into Escobar and right-hander reliever Heath Hembree on Saturday. Like Rodriguez, Escobar is a preseason Top 100 Prospect (No. 95) who has slipped a notch in 2014. He still has a low-90s fastball and a chance for at least an average slider and changeup, however.
10. Jose Rondon, SS, Padres (from Angels): By sending Huston Street and righty prospect Trevor Gott to the Angels, San Diego landed four of the Halos' best prospects: Rondon, second baseman Taylor Lindsey, right-handers R.J. Alvarez and Elliot Morris. However, the Angels have perhaps the thinnest system in baseball, so that return was more quantity than quality. Rondon has a higher ceiling than the others, as a potential shortstop with a solid line-drive bat and speed, though he might be more of a second baseman or utility man.