Ranking the top prospect hauls of all-time

August 3rd, 2022

The Trade Deadline is now in our rearview mirror, but boy did it not disappoint. A grand total of 47 ranked prospects changed teams in and around the Deadline, many in a flurry of activity in the waning minutes.

Many of those trades involved bundles of prospects, and that got us at MLB Pipeline thinking how those packages stack up against previous prospect returns in trades over the years. While the decisions behind trades at the Deadline might differ than those made in the offseason, it’s still a fun exercise to rank the top prospect hauls we’ve ever seen. Here’s our top 10, based on the buzz it created at the time of the trade and not using hindsight to see how prospects dealt long ago turned out.

1. Aug. 2, 2022: Nationals get MacKenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Robert Hassell III, James Wood, Jarlin Susana from Padres (Juan Soto, Josh Bell)

Maybe a little recency bias here, but it’s hard to come up with a bigger (or younger) superstar and a larger return. Gore and Abrams are no longer prospects, but both have been close to the top of our Top 100, while Hassell and Wood are currently on the list.

2. July 31, 2007: Rangers get Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones, Jarrod Saltalamacchia from Braves (Mark Teixeira)

Teixeira netted four prospects that were on, or eventually landed on top prospect lists. We only did Top 50s in 2007, but Andrus was on it and eventually would climb into the top 25. Baseball America did Top 100 lists back then and Harrison was on its 2007 list, as was Saltalamacchia (he was also in our Top 50). Feliz would climb into our top 10 in 2009 and 2010, first appearing in BA’s Top 100 in 2008.

3. Dec. 6, 2016: White Sox get Yoán Moncada, Michael Kopech, Luis Alexander Basabe, Victor Diaz from Red Sox (Chris Sale)

This belongs on the list solely because of Moncada’s presence in the trade. He was the No. 1 prospect in baseball at the time, and it marked the first time in 25 years the No. 1 guy had been included in a trade. Adding the flame-throwing Kopech, who was also a Top 100 prospect, was just icing on the cake.

4. Nov. 24, 2005: Marlins get Hanley Ramirez, Aníbal Sánchez, Jesus Delgado, Harvey Garcia from Red Sox (Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell)

Ramirez was in our top 25 both before the 2005 season (pre-trade) and after the trade heading into 2006 (BA had him top 10 in 2005). Sánchez may have seemed like an afterthought, but he climbed to No. 43 in our Top 50 heading into 2006.

5. June 27, 2002: Cleveland gets Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Lee Stevens from Expos (Bartolo Colon, Tim Drew)

The first of two trades on this list involving Lee, this was when he was one of the better left-handed pitching prospects in the game. This was before we did rankings, but Lee came in at No. 30 on BA’s Top 100 prior to the 2003 season (post-trade). Phillips is the one player who was a ranked prospect that year, in BA’s top 20 entering the 2002 season. Sizemore would go on to be a top 10 prospect for us in 2004.

6. July 29, 2009: Cleveland gets Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Lou Marson, Jason Donald from Phillies (Cliff Lee, Ben Francisco)

This is the second Lee deal, this time with him being the big leaguer dealt to a contender. Cleveland got four prospects who all were on or would be on a Top 100 rankings in 2009 or 2010. Carrasco was the headliner, at No. 28 in our Top 50 in 2009, while Marson was at No. 43. Donald was BA’s No. 60 prospect heading into that season, while Knapp would show up at No. 64 on BA’s Top 100 at the start of 2010.

7. July 30, 2022: Reds get Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo, Levi Stoudt, Andrew Moore from Mariners (Luis Castillo)

The other entrant from this year’s Trade Deadline to make the top 10, the Reds got a pair in Top 100 prospects in Marte, one of the game’s most exciting young players, and Arroyo, who has the chance to play shortstop for a very long time. Add in Stoudt and this is three of the seven new members of their Top 30 the Reds brought in via trades.

8. July 13, 2017: White Sox get Eloy Jiménez, Dylan Cease, Matt Rose, Bryant Flete from Cubs (José Quintana)

A crosstown trade was a continuation of the White Sox rebuilding effort on the heels of a December 2016 trade mentioned below. Jimenez was our No. 14 prospect to kick off the 2017 season and would be in our top four in 2018 and 2019. Cease was No. 77 in ‘17, topping out at No. 21 in ‘19.

9. Dec. 9, 2012: Rays get Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, Patrick Leonard from Royals (James Shields)

Myers shows up twice on here, this time as a prospect, and one of the best in baseball. He was No. 3 overall on our list, but this deal was also exciting because Montgomery was our No. 31 prospect in 2012 and Odorizzi was No. 47 that year.

10. July 31, 2015: Phillies get Jake Thompson, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Alec Asher, Jared Eickhoff, Matt Harrison from Rangers (Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman)

The sheer volume of names in this trade make it really stand out, but there was quality, not just quantity here. Alfaro was one of the best catching prospects in the game, ranked No. 45 on our Top 100 heading into 2015. Thompson cracked our Top 100 in 2015 and Williams would be No. 64 on our list in 2016

Best of the rest:

Dec. 7, 2016: White Sox get Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López, Dane Dunning from Nationals (Adam Eaton)

Dec. 6, 1989: Cleveland gets Sandy Alomar and Carlos Baerga from Padres (Joe Carter)

Dec 16, 2009: Blue Jays get Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud, Michael Taylor from Phillies (Roy Halladay)

Dec. 29, 2020: Rays get Luis Patiño, Francisco Mejia, Cole Wilcox, Blake Hunt from Padres (Blake Snell)

Dec. 19 2014-June 14, 2015: Nationals get Trea Turner (as PTBNL), Joe Ross from Padres in three-team deal that sent Wil Myers from Rays to Padres

Dec. 9, 2015: Braves get Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair from D-backs (Shelby Miller, Gabe Speier)

Dec. 3, 2018: Mariners get Jarred Kelenic, Justin Dunn, Gerson Bautista from Mets (Robinson Canó, Edwin Díaz)

Feb. 10, 2020: Red Sox get Jeter Downs, Alex Verdugo, Connor Wong from Dodgers (Mookie Betts, David Price)

July 29, 2011: Astros get Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, Domingo Santana, Josh Zeid from Phillies (Hunter Pence)