Inbox: Trammell's future? M's farm rising?

September 2nd, 2020

The dust from the Trade Deadline has passed, and while there weren’t many big-name prospects to change teams, there were plenty of deals to break down. A total of 20 Top 30 prospects were moved, and there were several other interesting Minor Leaguers traded beyond the ranked guys.

That invariably leads to questions about players involved in deals and the farm systems they’re now with. That’s exactly the focus of this week’s Pipeline Inbox.

I got a couple of questions about Trammell and his future now that he’s been traded twice at the Deadline. There is that human reaction where you wonder why a guy has been deemed tradeable twice in as many years. He’s currently No. 59 on the Top 100 and now No. 6 on the Mariners’ Top 30, so he’s clearly still well-regarded, but there is a tendency to think perhaps a player is overvalued when he’s dealt multiple times. Is that unfair, especially in a year when no one has seen Trammell actually play? Perhaps, but it happens.

I’m still one who believes Trammell will be an impact everyday outfielder in the big leagues, and it’s important to note that he’s still only 22 years old. Now, how that works out in Seattle is a little tricky, with Kyle Lewis doing Kyle Lewis things in the big leagues and top prospects Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez likely ready to help out by 2021. But we can cross that bridge when we get there.

I know at least one person who has no doubts about his ability to impact a big league lineup, and that’s Trammell himself.

We’re glad you asked, since we just put out our revamped rankings of all 30 farm systems. As you’ll see the Mariners didn’t quite make it up to No. 2, but they did make a healthy leap from No. 9 this preseason to No. 4 now. As we explained in the re-rank story, there weren’t as many variables impacting how a system could move up or down. It was really only high-impact Draft picks, trades (Trammell was the only one that involved a Top 100 prospect) and prospect graduations that caused us to move an organization in either direction.

In the Mariners’ case, the acquisition of Trammell and the drafting of Emerson Hancock No. 6 overall were the big factors in their continued climb up the rankings. It’s exciting at the top, with Kelenic and Rodriguez leading Seattle's group of six Top 100 players, and it’s getting deeper thanks to some good Drafts the last couple of years.

If you thought the M’s should have climbed higher, keep in mind that Trammell is the only prospect they got in the Austin Nola deal, with the others all younger players but no longer eligible for prospect ranking.

Arias was the top prospect sent from the Padres to the Indians in the Deadline deal for Mike Clevinger, and he’s pretty good. He hadn’t hit our Top 100 just yet, but he’s definitely come up in the conversation. He’s now the No. 5 prospect on the Indians’ Top 30, and there is some considerable upside here, especially offensively.

The right-handed hitter is coming off a year where he hit .302/.339/.470 with 17 homers as a 19-year-old in the Class A Advanced California League. His swing can get long, leading to a 25 percent strikeout rate in 2019. That’s actually better than it was during his full-season debut in 2018 (29.6 percent), but his walk rate also went down to 4.9 percent from 8.1. He’ll need to improve his approach at the plate in order to keep getting to his considerable power, and he has the potential to hit 25 or more homers annually. He also has the arm, hands, range and instincts to be an excellent defender at shortstop for a long time.

Now, anyone who has ever seen us talk about prospects knows that we (I’m speaking for myself and Jim Callis here) don’t like comps. But for you, I’ll make an exception. The one I heard that speaks to me is a better defensive version of Trevor Story. How do you like that, Cleveland fans?

This was a little tougher than I anticipated, for a few reasons. Outfield was tough -- Brandon Nimmo will be a free agent after the 2022 season, so I had to push young 2020 draftee Pete Crow-Armstrong into an Opening Day role. There's a surplus of infielders, especially considering Robinson Canó is actually under contract through the 2023 season, which will be his age-40 season. For the sake of mentioning more young players, we’ll say the Mets found a way to part ways with Canó, opening what’s sure to be a universal DH spot. That allows me to sneak in 2019 first-round pick Brett Baty into the lineup because I think he’s going to be ready. Maybe there’s a rotation where Baty plays some third and some first (with Pete Alonso getting some DH at-bats).

1B: Pete Alonso
2B: Andrés Giménez
3B: Ronny Mauricio
SS: Amed Rosario
C: Francisco Alvarez
OF: Dominic Smith
OF: Pete Crow-Armstrong
OF: J.D. Davis
DH: Brett Baty