Inbox: Trade Deadline aftermath

August 4th, 2022

Like most of you, we’re still wrapping our heads around all that happened during the Trade Deadline. We’ve worked to make sense of it in writing, with Sam Dykstra’s ranking of all the Top 30 prospects who were dealt and me trying to provide some historical context, ranking the top prospect trade hauls of all time. We’ve talked about it a lot, devoting all of this week’s Pipeline Podcast to breaking down the Deadline.

That included an expanded mailbag, when we answered multiple Trade Deadline-related questions. Knowing not everyone listens (though you should!), I’m answering those questions below.

With the Juan Soto and Josh Bell trade happening, how does the Nationals farm system rank with the new crop of prospects entering their system? -- @StevieDAles97

We often get questions about where systems rank after trades, and particularly this time of year. We haven’t really dug into farm system rankings -- we will after we re-rank all of our lists in a couple of weeks – but given the enormity of this trade, it makes sense to take a look.

The Nationals were No. 23 on our list when we did our preseason farm system rankings and they’re obviously going to move up based on this trade, but it’s a little unclear how much. One thing that impacts the … well, impact, is that MacKenzie Gore and C.J. Abrams are no longer prospects. Both graduated off of lists this year and Nats fans should be very excited to have both of them under control for a long time, but they don’t move the needle in terms of farm system ranking.

So then it becomes about how much the trio of Robert Hassell III, James Wood and Jarlin Susana moves them up. Hassell and Wood are both Top 100 guys, and both are currently in the top 50 in our Top 100 (which will also get re-ranked soon). There are some who feel Wood is as good, if not better than, Hassell, and he does have a higher ceiling. Getting two outfield prospects of this caliber, while not being a top 10 type, certainly bolsters the top of the Nats list. And Susana has a ton of upside, but is so far away, it might take some time for us to really get a sense of his impact in this way.

We expanded the look at the system to include the 2022 Draft and the addition of Elijah Green, their first-round pick, will obviously help. We’ll see where we land when we truly examine the system rankings, but our best guess was that the Nats would move up to the middle of the pack, around No. 15 or so.

Who is the most underrated prospect that was traded this deadline? -- @antman_92

I cherry-picked a bit from the top of Sam's rankings to answer this one, while Jim Callis did a bit of a deeper dive. I actually picked two players: Spencer Steer and Susana (discussed above). Steer will get some consideration for our new Top 100, though I’m not sure he’ll quite make it with the addition of 2022 draftees. He’s now No. 7 on the Reds Top 30 and it’s pretty clear to me that his bat, especially power-wise, is legit. He never hit for power at Oregon, but it showed up last year, his first official full season of pro ball, finishing with 24 homers across High-A and Double-A. He’s reached Triple-A this year and already reached the 20-homer plateau. Drawing walks and limiting his strikeouts gives me more faith that he’s going to continue to hit for power once he gets to the big leagues. (In my opinion, the Reds should give him that opportunity soon.) His positional flexibility doesn’t hurt, either. Third base might be his best chance at an everyday gig, but he’s capable at second and still plays a little shortstop, his college position.

Jim went with Nick Frasso, now a Dodgers prospect, acquired from the Blue Jays in the Mitch White trade. Frasso has really good pure power stuff, with a fastball that has reached triple digits this year and a hard slider that misses bats while he continues to work on his changeup. This is a quintessential Dodgers pickup, with Frasso, a 2020 draftee, having Tommy John surgery in June of 2021. They’re so good at helping pitchers come back from injury and harnessing their stuff, so it wouldn’t surprise any of us if Frasso takes off and moves up rankings the further he puts the elbow injury in his rearview mirror.

How do you think the Reds did overall? -- @rfletcher247

The simple answer is that they did really well. They had Luis Castillo, the best starting pitcher on the trade market and we think they did quite well in the return, getting two Top 100 prospects in Noelvi Marte and Edwin Arroyo and adding a Top 30 arm in Levi Stoudt. (Unranked Andrew Moore is also interesting, so keep an eye on his progress.) Marte was the top-ranked prospect to be traded and I have a feeling he’s going to move back up the list some. We had moved him down a touch because he struggled early this year, but he’s really figured things out of late and hit two homers in just his second game in the Reds organization on Wednesday. He’s hitting .361/.426/.735 in his last 30 days.

Arroyo has been a really nice surprise after being drafted last year in the second round out of the Puerto Rico high school ranks and entering pro ball with the reputation of a premium defender with good contact skills, albeit without strength to impact the ball. He’s clearly worked on that and has a .311/.382/.505 line to go along with his glovework. Reds fans should look forward to the day when Arroyo is their shortstop and Marte moves over to the hot corner.

That trade alone would mean a successful Trade Deadline for the Reds, but they did well in their other moves, too. The Tyler Mahle trade brought in Steer (see above), Christian Encarnacion-Strand and Steve Hajjar, while they added Victor Acosta in the Brandon Drury deal. In total, that’s an addition of seven Top 30 players, with all but Hajjar landing in their top 20. While the Nats did well in their return for Juan Soto (and Josh Bell), I think I’d give the Reds the award for having the best overall Deadline.