These 9 players could use a change of scenery

June 4th, 2023

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the old saying goes. That's certainly often the case with young players, some of whom might fit better with an organization other than the one they're currently playing for.

As much promise as a top prospect may have early in his professional career, sometimes things just don't work out. Their path to the Majors might be blocked, or their first stint or two in the big leagues might simply not go well, souring the club's outlook for the player.

In many of those cases, a change of scenery can be a welcome one, giving the player a fresh start without the baggage of their early struggles.

"To me, it's more about a change of expectations than it is scenery," an American League executive said. "Some players are just built better to perform with their second team."

With the Trade Deadline less than two months away, here's a look at nine players (listed alphabetically) who might benefit from such a change of scenery before this year's Trade Deadline. (All stats through Friday).

, OF, Angels

A Top 10 prospect in the game in 2020, Adell's brief stints with the Angels in three seasons have not gone well. The former first-round pick -- Los Angeles selected him 10th overall in the 2017 Draft -- has slashed .215/.259/.356 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs in 161 games with the Angels, who seem to have written him out of their future plans. Adell is raking at Triple-A once again -- he has 18 homers and a .989 OPS through 52 games -- so perhaps another club could find a way to unlock that talent at the big league level.

, 1B, Cardinals

With Paul Goldschmidt blocking his path to the Majors, Baker has crushed Triple-A pitching this season, belting 18 home runs with a 1.075 OPS in his first 54 games of 2023, before earning a callup on Sunday. The 26-year-old was drafted in the second round of the 2018 Draft and appeared on St. Louis' Top 30 prospect list from 2019-21, so while he's never been considered an elite prospect, a power-needy team could view Baker as a potential trade fit.

, INF, Rays

The speedy Bruján was considered one of the more dynamic top-of-the-order prospects in the game just a couple years ago, when he ranked fourth among the Rays' bevy of solid prospects, ahead of the likes of Shane McClanahan, Shane Baz and Randy Arozarena. Bruján's time in the Majors hasn't been productive (.448 OPS, six stolen bases in 73 games), and while he remains part of Tampa Bay's frequently used depth, there's no clear path for Bruján to earn regular playing time with Brandon Lowe, Wander Franco and Taylor Walls firmly entrenched in the middle infield. Given Bruján's talent, he may be an attractive option for another club.

, OF, D-backs

With a glut of left-handed-hitting outfielders (Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy) ahead of him, Canzone appears to be stuck at Triple-A despite his solid production (.975 OPS, 11 home runs in 47 games). The 25-year-old was an eighth-round Draft pick in 2019 and is ranked as Arizona's No. 19 prospect by MLB Pipeline, but his strong bat could make him an interesting possibility for clubs seeking help in the corner outfield spots or at DH.

, OF, Yankees

Even after the Yankees released Aaron Hicks, Florial -- who is wrecking Triple-A pitching this season with a 1.044 OPS and 12 homers in 40 games -- doesn't appear to be in New York's plans. Florial was a Top 100 prospect from 2018-19 and ranked as the Yankees' No. 1 prospect in '19, but he's appeared in only 30 games in the Majors since making his debut in 2020. Could his performance at Triple-A prompt another club to roll the dice on the 25-year-old?

, INF, Brewers

Milwaukee designated Hiura for assignment at the end of Spring Training, outrighting him to Triple-A after he cleared waivers. The Brewers' No. 1 prospect in 2018-19, Hiura had a strong rookie season in 2019 (19 homers, .938 OPS in 84 games) but has been unable to replicate that performance in the past three seasons (31 homers, .687 OPS in 200 games since the start of 2020). The 26-year-old suffered a PCL injury in mid-May that will keep him out for a few more weeks, but he was thriving at Triple-A (12 homers, 1.074 OPS in 32 games) prior to the injury, showing the promising bat that made him a top prospect in the first place.

, C, Rangers

Huff was the Rangers' No. 2 prospect in both 2020 and '21 according to MLB Pipeline, but he's currently fourth on the team's catching depth chart behind Jonah Heim, Mitch Garver and Sandy Leon, leaving a razor thin path for him to get playing time. The 25-year-old is having a solid season at Triple-A (eight homers, 32 RBIs and an .804 OPS in 35 games) and could be used as part of a package at the Trade Deadline.

, C, Astros

Lee was the Astros' first-round pick in the 2019 Draft, immediately vaulting into the club's Top 10 prospect list the following year. The strong-armed 24-year-old was ranked as Houston's No. 5 prospect this season and has been considered to be the club's catcher of the future, but he's been at Triple-A all year, registering a solid .766 OPS in 46 games. If the Astros don't see Lee as part of their future plans behind the plate, another club might think differently.

, 3B, Rockies

Montero won the third-base job this spring, but his inconsistency at the plate and shaky defense cost him the starting spot -- as well as a place on Colorado's big league roster. The 24-year-old mashed after his return to Triple-A (.383/.435/.765 with 13 homers in 28 games), and while he was recalled last week, do the Rockies believe in his ability to handle the Majors? He's being given a shot to learn first base, but a club looking for a young DH type could view him as a solution.