Pipeline Inbox: Who did well at the Deadline?

August 4th, 2017

Jonathan Mayo and I spent Wednesday at MLB Network's studios in Secaucus, N.J., recording the annual midsummer Top 100 Prospects show. Along with Greg Amsinger and Harold Reynolds, we broke down several of game's most promising young talents and discuss issues such as the dominance of Latin American talent at the top of our list and which clubs have the best farm systems.

The show will air on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com.

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There was only one trade where a team received three potential impact prospects. The Athletics may not have been able to pry infielder or outfielders and Estevan Florial away from the Yankees in exchange for , but they still did well enough to get outfielder , shortstop/outfielder and right-hander .

Yes, Fowler (ruptured patellar tendon in his knee) and Kaprielian (Tommy John surgery) are out for the year. But Fowler is a center fielder with 20-20 upside, and some scouts think he's a better all-around prospect than Frazier. While Kaprielian has barely pitched the past two seasons, he looked like a front-line starter in the Arizona Fall League last offseason.

Mateo isn't held in quite the same regard as he was when he led the Minors with 82 steals in 2015, but he still has the blazing speed and deceptive power that drew comparisons. Fowler, Mateo and Kaprielian aren't safe bets -- no prospect is -- but all could be difference-makers for Oakland.

is more of a future regular than a star, but he was a nice pickup (along with ) from the Astros in exchange for . He would have had a tough time cracking a Derek Fisher/George Springer/Josh Reddick outfield in Houston, and Kyle Tucker is going to push his way in there in the near future as well. In Toronto, however, Hernandez is a better and more cost-effective corner option than or Steve Pearce.

The 24-year-old Hernandez was hitting .279/.369/.485 with 12 homers and 12 steals in 79 Triple-A games at the time of the trade, and those numbers give a reasonable approximation of the big leaguer he can become. He can hit for decent power and average, draw a healthy amount of walks and steal some bases. Hernandez's plus speed and solid arm allow him to play anywhere in the outfield, with right field his best fit.


Cruz, a third baseman/shortstop whom the Dodgers sent to the Pirates along with right-hander Angel Guzman to obtain Tony Watson, is definitely intriguing. Signed for $950,000 out of the Dominican Republic two years ago, he may be the tallest position prospect in the Minors, listed at 6-foot-6 and perhaps closer to 6-foot-8.

One of the youngest regulars (age 18) in low Class A, Cruz was batting .240/.293/.342 with eight homers and eight steals, but also 110 strikeouts in 89 games in the pitcher-friendly Midwest League when he changed addresses. He's still raw, but his whippy left-handed swing and the leverage in his extra-large frame could generate a lot of power. Cruz also has solid arm strength and surprising body control for a gangly teenager, though his size means he'll probably wind up in the outfield.

Johnson never seems to get much attention -- which is hard to earn when you're an outfielder in the same Nationals system as Victor Robles and Juan Soto -- but he offers a nice mix of performance and tools. He was the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year after leading the league in hitting (.382), homers (12) and steals (29) in 2016, when Washington signed him for $325,000 as a fifth-rounder. In Johnson's first full pro season, he has batted .313/.366/.546 with 20 homers and 14 swipes in 99 games between Class A Hagerstown and Class A Advanced Potomac.

Johnson has more quality tools than a typical fifth-rounder: plus bat speed, double-plus foot speed and similar arm strength. His aggressive approach may not work as well against upper-level pitchers, but he has the physical ability to become a big league regular.