Inbox: Will Reds deal prospects at the Deadline?

July 28th, 2023

I’d like to report that after the Futures Game and the Draft, we all got to catch our breath at MLB Pipeline. Maybe we did for a minute, but very quickly we turned the corner and saw the Trade Deadline and our full re-ranking of all of our lists (coming not long after the Trade Deadline) staring us in the face.

So much to talk about on all the fronts, so let’s get right into this week’s Inbox.

What type of return should the Reds expect if they trade India? -- @pookiejones18

Who do you think the Reds would be more willing to move: Marte, Arroyo, or Collier? -- @TylerCraw00

Who would you be willing to trade from the Reds’ minor leagues for a middle of the rotation stater or top notch reliever? -- @dlights44

Clearly, folks think the Reds are going to be buyers this year. And it makes sense, considering they’re a stone’s throw away from the NL Central lead and in a heated race for a Wild Card spot should they not win the division. They’ve been doing it on the wings of an impressive youth movement, one they won’t want to tamper with too much.

But they do have some depth in certain spots to deal from, should they choose to do so. Add in the buzz that they would be willing to trade -- which might be more noise than real info -- and they have some options and could get creative. Maybe they pair India with one of the aforementioned prospects to pull off something big, but they might have to be blown away to actually part with the former Rookie of the Year.

It's right to think the Reds might trade from their infield depth if they are going to make a deal, and infielders , and  are currently the top three prospects on the Reds’ Top 30. Who would they trade first? The short answer is “Not Marte.” His proximity to the big leagues, combined with how he’s been swinging the bat (.887 OPS at Triple-A Louisville this month), points to a more likely scenario where he gets called up than he gets dealt. I don’t think the Reds are in a hurry to trade Arroyo, who they also got from the Mariners in the Luis Castillo deal last year, or Collier, their 2022 first-round pick.

Arroyo got off to a very slow start, perhaps trying to still justify the trade, but since June 1 has been hitting .291/.374/.467 in High-A. Collier’s transition to pro ball hasn’t been great, but he’s also only 18 years old in what should have been his senior year of high school, so it’s way too early to panic.

That may sound like I’m trying to talk them (or me as the hypothetical GM) out of trading any of their top three infielders, and maybe I am. If I had to rank, I’d say they might trade Collier before Arroyo, given the latter’s premium position, but that’s a guess. I think it might be more likely that they’d be willing to deal from their depth rather than from the top of their Top 30.

Will there ever be Draft pick trading and/or an international draft? -- @buntdouble
We tackled this one on this week’s MLB Pipeline Podcast and, honestly, several other times over the last couple of years. And while I definitely think it would be cool, I really don’t know when or whether pick trading might happen.

Major League Baseball has done a ton to try and promote the Draft as a jewel event, starting with moving it to be a part of All-Star festivities. So I definitely can see adding the intrigue of pick trading, beyond the competitive balance round pick dealing that’s allowed now prior to the Draft, in the future. My guess is there will have to be limits and conditions to make all parties happy, but I, for one, would love to see the excitement of a Draft day trade that involved, say, a big leaguer going to a competitive team and a pick or picks going to the sellers.

And I think the game is moving towards an international draft. In the past, there was concern among those in Latin American scouting that it might be too complicated to find a way to have one international draft when each country operates in such a different way. But since MLB has moved to the international bonus pool format and runs tons of showcases in various countries, I think it’s less of a leap to make. I do agree with what Jim Callis said on the pod, though, that combining the domestic Draft with an international one would not work, but having a separate international event could be cool.

Suddenly the Pirates look like they have starting pitching depth. Of the five prospects, how many are you confident remain starters in the MLB? Paul Skenes, Anthony Solometo, Jared Jones, Bubba Chandler, Thomas Harrington -- @2000sSports

Always happy to answer with something close to home (for those who don’t know, I live in Pittsburgh). And you’re not wrong, there’s some good pitching brewing down on the farm, especially with the addition of Skenes as the top pick in the Draft this year. When we do our re-rank shortly after the Trade Deadline, he’ll be the new No. 1 prospect in the organization. And I can’t say strongly enough how confident I am in his ability to be a big league starter, in a hurry, and for a very long time.

I think good arguments can be made that all of those guys could very well be starters long-term. Solometo might lead the pack, given his feel for pitching and game-planing, not to mention his left-handedness. Harrington feels like a high floor starter, so even if he kind of remains the same, his ability to throw four pitches for strikes points to a rotation spot.

This is where it gets a little more questionable. I think Jones has answered a ton of questions about his ability to start, but there is still work to be done command-wise. I give him every chance to stick as a starter, but man, his stuff would be nasty in shorter stints. And Chandler is a little bit of a lump of clay still. The possibilities are endless, but the former two-sport star and two-way player is still figuring things out as a full-time pitcher, so it’s harder to look into the future on him at this point.

For those of us not familiar with Jim’s famous 2005 mock draft that people reference; can you expound on that sometime? Many of us have enjoyed “getting to know Jim.” This would add to the legend. -- @ballsandgutters

Man, that’s triggering. Jim doesn’t want me to answer this, but it’s my name on the byline. I won’t go into it too much, but Jim nailed the first 18 picks of that mock draft correctly. He also got Cliff Pennington at 19 and the Red Sox picks at 23 (Jacoby Ellsbury) and 26 (Craig Hansen) right. Pure insanity.

Why this makes me shudder is that was the first year I ever tried to do a mock draft. And as it unfolded and saw Jim get pick-after-pick right (He was at Baseball America at the time.), I kept asking myself what I was getting myself into. It took me years before I was sure Jim was human.