1 intriguing prospect trade chip for each team
After getting pushed back a month to Aug. 31 a year ago, the Trade Deadline is back in its normal place on the calendar in 2021.
The deadline looms on July 30 at 4 p.m. ET, moved from July 31 so it doesn't land on a Saturday with a bunch of day games on the schedule. Since a 2019 rule change, players can't be traded via waivers afterward, so any deals have to be completed by next Friday afternoon.
Below, we've identified a tradeable prospect from each of the 30 teams. This is all highly speculative, and in most cases we've selected a talented Minor Leaguer in each organization who may be somewhat redundant. We do realize that last-place clubs such as the D-backs and Orioles probably aren't going to be dealing youngsters in the next week, but that doesn't stop us from projecting possibilities.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Jordan Groshans, SS/3B (No. 3/MLB No. 32)
At 48-44 and 4 1/2 games back of a Wild Card spot entering Thursday, Toronto is right on the line of making a Trade Deadline push. If the Blue Jays do decide to get aggressive ahead of July 30 -- and they should to take advantage of their young core -- Groshans could make sense as a trade piece. The 21-year-old plays short just like Bo Bichette and his current Double-A teammate Austin Martin but lacks the ceiling of either. (Orelvis Martinez also plays the six behind Groshans.) Overall, he still looks the part of a solid hitter in terms of both average and power, which gives him weight in a deal, and he could be the shortstop (or third baseman) of the future for a rebuilding club elsewhere.
Orioles: Jordan Westburg, SS/3B (No. 6)
The Orioles’ pick in Competitive Balance Round B just a year ago, Westburg has been having a very solid first full season with a .310/.414/.483 line across two levels of A ball while playing short and third. Baltimore is still rebuilding, so trading away prospects doesn’t make a ton of sense, but with prospects like Gunnar Henderson and Terrin Vavra, not to mention 2021 draftees like Connor Norby, there is some infield depth here.
Rays: Xavier Edwards, 2B (No. 4/MLB No. 66)
This would essentially make Edwards this year’s edition of Taylor Trammell -- a Top 100 prospect moved at the Deadline in the second trade of his career before leaving Double-A. The defending AL champs are neck-and-neck with the Red Sox in the East. They’ve had multiple middle-infield prospects make the Majors already this season in Wander Franco, Vidal Bruján and Taylor Walls. Even though he’s starting to play some third, Edwards -- a plus-plus runner who excels at being a slap switch-hitter -- has the deck stacked against him in cracking that group, and he might have more value in a system not already loaded up the middle. If Tampa Bay pulls off a blockbuster -- beyond the deal that brought Nelson Cruz to the Rays on Thursday -- Edwards would make some sense as the prospect headliner.
Red Sox: Brayan Bello, RHP (No. 18)
Bello's preseason ranking on our Red Sox Top 30 belies the fact that he has emerged as the organization's best healthy pitching prospect while logging a 3.00 ERA with a 76/16 K/BB ratio in 54 innings between High-A and Double-A. Signed for just $28,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, he has a mid-90s fastball and flashes a plus slider and changeup in the mid-80s.
Yankees: Luis Medina, RHP (No. 7)
Clubs that want to go all-in on ceiling will certainly be attracted to Medina, who can showcase a fastball that reaches 102 mph, a plus-plus hammer of a curveball and a well-above-average changeup. He has had trouble harnessing his high-octane stuff since signing for $280,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. He has posted a 3.65 ERA, .192 opponent average and an 80/36 K/BB ratio in 56 2/3 innings between High-A and Double-A this year.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians: Brayan Rocchio, SS (No. 7)
Twelve members of the Cleveland Top 30 are middle infielders, so they have a surplus to deal from. Nicknamed "The Professor" because of his high baseball IQ, Rocchio signed for $125,000 out of Venezuela in 2017. A switch-hitter with advanced bat-to-ball skills and plus speed, he's hitting .268/.332/.430 with eight homers and 13 steals in 57 games in High-A while making his full-season debut at age 20.
Royals: Lucius Fox, SS/2B (No. 25)
The AL Central cellar dwellers are going to be sellers, if anything, so don’t expect the big prospect names to go anywhere. Fox, who was moved at last year’s Deadline for Brett Phillips, only makes sense among the ranked group as a potential trade filler. The 24-year-old switch-hitter is a plus runner and earns good reviews for his defensive work on the dirt. The bat is a problem -- he has a .566 OPS in 74 Triple-A plate appearances this season -- but everything else could work off the bench.
Tigers: Derek Hill, OF (No. 27)
A rebuilding club like Detroit shouldn’t look to move any ranked prospects, especially as the club seems to be making the turn in that rebuild. (The Tigers are 38-30 since the start of May.) But if there is a prospect who could add additional value in a deal without sacrificing the future, it could be Hill. The 25-year-old is a plus-plus runner and exceptional defender, but his subpar bat makes him a fourth outfielder at best for a contender. Adding him to a deal -- perhaps in one for infielder Jonathan Schoop -- would certainly boost Detroit’s return, but in all likelihood, the organization will hold onto its prospect pieces to better determine who has a place in the club’s budding future.
Twins: Brent Rooker, OF (No. 10)
While Rooker hit well during his brief callup in 2020 before getting hurt in September, his time in the big leagues this year didn’t go quite as well. He is continuing to hit for power in Triple-A, but he’s also now 26 years old. The injury to Alex Kirilloff might make dealing Rooker less likely (though he wasn’t called up when Kirilloff hit the injured list), but both Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach have passed Rooker on the depth chart.
White Sox: Bryan Ramos, 3B (No. 12)
With 2017 first-rounder Jake Burger healthy and productive again, the White Sox could part with one of their best young hitters who plays the same position. A Cuban who signed for $300,000 in 2018, Ramos offers raw power with feel for hitting and is batting .230/.338/.402 with nine homers and as many steals in 67 games in Low-A as a 19-year-old getting his first taste of full-season ball.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: D’Shawn Knowles, OF (No. 7)
The Angels are fading from the playoff scene right now, but if they wanted to bolster the big league lineup, they could trade from an area of depth in their system: the outfield. Brandon Marsh is establishing himself in the big leagues, Jordyn Adams has a huge ceiling and we still shouldn’t forget about Jo Adell. The 20-year-old Knowles also has considerable upside, but he’s far away and that upside could help bring in help.
Astros: Joe Perez, 3B (No. 26)
Perez reached 98 mph with his fastball and flashed a plus slider before his elbow gave out and he required Tommy John surgery in 2017, which didn't stop the Astros from drafting the Florida prepster in the second round as a third baseman. Finally making his full-season debut this year, he has shown plus raw power and well-above-average arm strength while batting .294/.364/.520 with 11 homers in 56 games from Low-A to High-A to Double-A.
Athletics: Nick Allen, SS/2B (No. 3)
Currently a member of the U.S. Olympic team, Allen might be the best defensive shortstop in the Minors, one who can also play plus defense at second, and he’s having his best offensive year at the plate in Double-A this season. He’s one of three middle infielders in the A’s top 10, and they just added another in first-round pick Max Muncy, so there’s depth here. The fact that Allen is close to big league ready helps, too.
Mariners: Brandon Williamson, LHP (No. 8)
The Mariners are pitching-rich, with Logan Gilbert establishing himself as a potential Rookie of the Year candidate in Seattle and two other former first-rounders in George Kirby and Emerson Hancock getting their first real year of pro ball in. Lefties are always coveted, and Williamson is a 6-foot-6 one who recently got promoted to Double-A, which could make him more attractive as someone now at the upper levels of the system.
Rangers: Sherten Apostel, 3B/1B (No. 9)
The Rangers aren't in a position to be trading prospects, but they do have a logjam of corner infielders at the upper levels of their system, a group that also includes Josh Jung, Davis Wendzel and Curtis Terry. Originally signed by the Pirates for $200,000 out of Curacao in 2015, Apostel came to Texas as part of the Keone Kela trade three years later. Both his raw power and arm strength grade as well above average, and he's batting .248/.329/.445 with six homers in 39 Double-A games.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Freddy Tarnok, RHP (No. 10)
Upper-level pitchers like Kyle Muller and Tucker Davidson have made contributions in the Majors and could be counted on to help the Braves try to climb back into the playoff race, though as big league-ready arms, they could fetch a good return. Assuming they stay on the Major League staff, the Braves could deal from their pitching depth in the Minors and the 22-year-old Tarnok was just promoted to Double-A.
Marlins: Braxton Garrett, LHP (No. 7)
After watching Trevor Rogers blossom into an All-Star and drafting Dax Fulton and Jake Eder a year ago, the Marlins might be enticed to part with another talented southpaw in Garrett, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 Draft out of an Alabama high school. Armed with a plus curveball, solid changeup and average fastball, he has a 4.41 ERA in 10 Triple-A starts and a 5.17 ERA in four outings with Miami this season.
Mets: Ronny Mauricio, SS (No. 2/MLB No. 50)
Big trades have to hurt. Moving a Top 50 prospect would certainly hurt a New York system known for being top-heavy. But if the Mets are serious about adding to their rotation or bringing in a big-time bat, moving Mauricio -- a 6-foot-3 switch-hitting shortstop with power and a plus arm -- would tick a lot of boxes. The 20-year-old is blocked at the six by the recently extended Francisco Lindor, and if his future is at third, he’ll compete with fellow Top 100 talent Brett Baty there. The Mets will want to hold onto Mauricio best they can, but including him would make any big Deadline swing a lot easier to pull off.
Nationals: Cole Henry, RHP (No. 3)
Who will the Nats be at the Deadline? They may not even know at this juncture, though GM Mike Rizzo typically leans toward buying whenever possible. If he chooses that route again, he seems truly reluctant to pay a price that includes the organization’s only two Top 100 prospects in Cade Cavalli or Jackson Rutledge. That makes Henry the next-best option. The 2020 second-rounder is currently out with elbow soreness, which complicates any deal, but before then, he looked the part of a solid back-end starter with a three-pitch mix and good control. A club willing to overlook the current IL stint could take advantage of the Nats’ focus on adding to the Majors and get a good pitching prospect in return.
Phillies: Rafael Marchan, C (No. 4)
He’s big league-ready, especially defensively, even though he hasn't swung the bat well in Triple-A this year. With J.T. Realmuto signed through 2025, Marchan doesn’t have a path to be a starter in Philadelphia and good backstops are hard to find.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Brice Turang, SS/2B (No. 2/MLB No. 74)
Milwaukee has a real opportunity to seal its second division title in the last four years and head to its first World Series since 1982. Any big moves made toward those ends will cost the Brewers, but the long-term presences of Luis Urías and Willy Adames on the left side of the infield make it easier to deal someone like Turang, a left-handed hitter with plus hitting potential and good speed.
Cardinals: Ali Sánchez, C (No. 18)
St. Louis has played itself into sell territory, so don’t expect any huge names to go anywhere. Sánchez only gets a mention here because he could be useful as a trade throw-in to any club looking to build up catching depth as part of a larger deal. The 24-year-old is a gifted receiver and shows a plus arm behind the plate. His lack of in-game power blunts any potential to start, but the glove could help anyone in a pinch.
Cubs: Reginald Preciado, SS (No. 10)
The Cubs look like sellers, not buyers, but they do have a number of promising young shortstops, including Preciado, the best prospect from the Yu Darvish trade with the Padres last December. Signed for a Panamanian-record $1.3 million in 2019, he has a chance to hit for average and power from both sides of the plate and also features solid arm strength. Making his pro debut in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League, he hit .382/.469/.545 in his first two weeks.
Pirates: Ji-hwan Bae, 2B (No. 13)
While Bae missed a chunk of time this year with a knee injury, he’s showing in Double-A what he’s shown pretty much everywhere: that he can hit and run, though questions remain about how much he can impact the ball. Now playing second base exclusively, there’s a logjam up the middle in the Pirates system, with Nick Gonzales at second and Liover Peguero at short one level behind Bae, and Oneil Cruz at shortstop (though he likely won’t stay there) in Double-A.
Reds: Michael Siani, OF (No. 5)
The Reds have a glut of young hitters, drafted as high schoolers over the past couple of years, at the lower levels of their system, and they added several more bats via the 2021 Draft. Siani’s bat hasn’t fully come around yet, but his plus speed plays on both sides of the ball as a basestealer and plus defender in center field.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Seth Beer, 1B (No. 13)
This one can’t be stressed enough. Arizona shouldn’t trade any prospects, ranked or otherwise. The 30-68 ballclub is already looking ahead to the future and needs to keep its system as stocked as possible. We only include Beer here out of a desire to see him with an AL team. The 24-year-old has an all-bat profile with above-average power but has a future as a DH because of his defensive struggles. (Arizona mitigated some of those by making him first base-only this season.) Even then, the potential of a universal DH should keep Beer with the D-backs for July 30 and beyond.
Dodgers: Keibert Ruiz, C (No. 1/MLB No. 41)
If the right blockbuster came along for the Dodgers, they could consider parting with Ruiz because they already have one of baseball's best young catchers in Will Smith. Signed for $140,000 out of Venezuela in 2014, he's a switch-hitter with premier contact skills, burgeoning power and the tools to become a solid backstop. He's batting .294/.369/.589 with 13 homers in 46 Triple-A games and slammed a big league homer off Kyle Hendricks in May.
Giants: Alexander Canario, OF (No. 9)
Four of San Francisco's top nine prospects are outfielders, including Canario, who has tremendous bat speed, well-above-average power and a plus arm. Signed for $60,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, he's hitting .246/.331/.451 with nine homers and 14 steals in 61 games in Low-A.
Padres: Luis Campusano, C (No. 3/MLB No. 31)
The 22-year-old backstop looked like San Diego’s catcher of the future coming into 2021, and he still may very well be. But Campusano has broken through for only 11 games with the big club this season and hasn’t made much of an impact by going 3-for-34 (.088) with 11 strikeouts. His Triple-A numbers (.269/.338/.462, 94 wRC+) are also fairly pedestrian. Campusano still possesses good power and a strong arm and remains young for the upper levels, meaning he’d hold significant weight in any deal San Diego needs to pull off next week.
Rockies: Grant Lavigne, 1B (No. 12)
Lavigne seems to have rediscovered his footing this year in a repeat of Low-A ball after a rough first full season in 2019, but it’s hard to see where he might fit in this organization. Futures Game star Michael Toglia is ahead of him level-wise and on the organizational depth chart, while Colton Welker, who is serving a suspension for PEDs, is on the 40-man roster at the same position.