Teams with top prospects to trade

July 26th, 2022

It’s a quick turn this year, from the All-Star break to the Trade Deadline, so expect things to heat up between now and the Aug. 2 deadline.

Believe it or not, there are 19 teams in or within five games of a playoff spot. Not all of those teams are serious contenders and not all of them have the pieces needed to make big trades for playoff pushes. Do any of these teams have what it takes to land Juan Soto? We’ll have to wait and see.

This is the cross-section being explored here: teams who are trying to compete for the postseason who also have the farm systems to use prospects to bring in the big league pieces needed for that push. Bonus points are accrued for prospects at higher levels who might help a selling team sooner.

Here’s a list of nine teams that fit in that Venn diagram nicely, listed alphabetically:

Cleveland Guardians: The Guardians have some impressive infield depth, with eight who can play up the middle in their Top 30. That includes five in the top 10 alone: Gabriel Arias, Brayan Rocchio, Tyler Freeman, Jose Tena and Angel Martinez, with all but Martinez in Double-A or higher.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers are loaded as usual, with talent to spare in their system. There are six Top 100 guys here and depth spread across all levels. If a trade partner is looking for an advanced prospect who could get to the big leagues soon, Michael Busch, Miguel Vargas and Ryan Pepiot are all Top 100 prospects in Triple-A.

Minnesota Twins: Last year, the Twins were in selling mode, but this year they stand atop the AL Central and have never been afraid to deal. No one in this system, which is more deep than elite-prospect heavy, seems untouchable, but bats like Spencer Steer or Matt Wallner, the Futures Gamers, are at the upper levels and could help fetch a nice return.

New York Mets: The Mets have some serious offensive talent pooling at the upper levels of their system, with six hitters in their top 10 who are in Double-A or higher. It might seem unlikely to see Francisco Álvarez or Brett Baty go anywhere, but could Ronny Mauricio or Mark Vientos be had in the right deal?

New York Yankees: The Yankees have five Top 100 prospects, led by Anthony Volpe (he’s likely not going anywhere). But does his presence make Oswald Peraza or Trey Sweeney obtainable? Or maybe teams will be interested in some of New York’s pitching depth (seven of the top 15 in the system, five of whom are in Double-A or higher). The Yankees obviously won’t shy away from any deal that might help them win.

St. Louis Cardinals: Eight of the Cardinals’ top 10 are in Double-A or higher. There’s some pitching depth, with lefty Matthew Liberatore and right-handers Gordon Graceffo and Michael McGreevy all in the upper third of their list. Jordan Walker, Iván Herrera and Masyn Winn are the top three hitters, with Herrera currently in the big leagues.

San Diego Padres: The Padres aren’t quite as talent-rich at the upper levels, but there is a ton of talent with loud tools just getting started thanks to their aggressive efforts on the international market. Teams looking for players closer to the big leagues could aim high with someone like Luis Campusano or someone like infielder Eguy Rosario, both of whom are in Triple-A.

Seattle Mariners: Jerry Dipoto has some talent to use as trade bait if he so chooses. The Mariners have done a great job of getting their first-round arms to the big leagues (Logan Gilbert and George Kirby), but could the now-healthy and resurgent Emerson Hancock be dangled? Slightly lesser arms like Levi Stoudt could be sent in a deal and if the M’s really wanted to go big, they do have two very talented shortstops in Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays are always in position to make deals using their top-notch system to bring in talent, much like they did last year in acquiring Nelson Cruz from the Twins. There’s all sorts of talent to be dangled here, but there is some particularly good infield depth with Curtis Mead, Carson Williams, Greg Jones, Xavier Edwards, Willy Vasquez and Carlos Colmenarez all in the Rays’ top 10.