Here are the 5 best Deadline prospect hauls

August 4th, 2021

Following the Trade Deadline can be a frustrating thing for a fan of a non-contending team or for a person covering prospects. Peruse most of the “Who won the Trade Deadline?” analyses and it’s invariably a list of teams that traded for big league talent in the hopes of reaching, and playing deep into, the postseason.

But the truth is not every team has the chance to contend every year, even teams that are typically expected to. And while many teams can decide to be in “selling” mode, that doesn’t mean they always do well in getting prospects back in return. There were scores of prospects dealt right up until Friday’s Deadline, with 15 teams receiving Minor Leaguers (not all of them were noncontenders). Like with anything prospect-related, knowing who the real winners were on this side of the coin will take some time. But here’s a quick list of who stood out and why.

1. Nationals
Keibert Ruiz, C (No. 1, from LAD); Josiah Gray, RHP (No. 2, from LAD); Gerardo Carrillo, RHP (No. 10, from LAD); Aldo Ramirez, RHP (No. 11, from BOS); Riley Adams, C (No. 13 from TOR); Mason Thompson, RHP (No. 16, from SD); Drew Millas, C (No. 24, from OAK); Donovan Casey, OF (No. 27, from LAD); Jordy Barley, SS (No. 28, from SD); Richard Gausch, RHP (No. 30, from OAK)

Realizing they were out of it and that the window on an aging roster might be closing, general manager Mike Rizzo pulled the switch and brought in quality and quantity. It obviously started with having talents like Max Scherzer and Trea Turner on the block, with Scherzer being a rental and Turner still having one, not inexpensive, year of control, but they were able to maximize it by not only getting two Top 100 prospects in Keibert Ruiz and Josiah Gray, but both are also ready to contribute in the big leagues. Beyond that, they added depth with 10 new members of their Top 30 combined, getting four from the Dodgers alone, but also netting interesting talent from the Padres, A’s, Red Sox and Blue Jays.

2. Twins
Additions: Austin Martin, SS/OF (No. 2, from TOR); Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (No. 3, from TOR); Joe Ryan, RHP (No. 8, from TB); Drew Strotman (No. 15, from TB)

The Twins are in this spot more because of quality than quantity, but, boy, did they maximize the return in the moves they did make. The big one, of course, was sending José Berríos to the Blue Jays for the other two Top 100 players dealt at the Deadline, Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson, both of whom are already at the Double-A level. Minnesota also did well in the Nelson Cruz trade, getting Joe Ryan, who some scouts like nearly as much as Woods Richardson, and Drew Strotman, both of whom are in the Twins Top 15 currently.

3. Cubs
Additions: Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF (No. 6, from NYM); Alexander Canario, OF (No. 7, from SF); Alexander Vizcaino, RHP (No. 8, from NYY); Kevin Alcantara, OF (No. 11, from NYY); Caleb Kilian, RHP (No. 16, from SF); Greg Deichman, OF (No. 19, from OAK)

This wasn’t quite Nationals-level turnover, but keep in mind the three main big league pieces on the move -- Kris Bryant, Javy Báez and Anthony Rizzo -- are all free agents at the end of this year. Given that these were three two-month rentals, the Cubs do get credit for bringing in some depth. Those three players brought in four new members of the Cubs’ Top 10 and they were able to add one more Top 30 player courtesy of the Bryant deal and a sixth in the Andrew Chafin trade with the A’s. Their haul will look better if the injured Pete Crow-Armstrong (from the Mets in the Báez deal) turns into a more elite-level prospect and if the additional depth (the Cubs got three more prospects who were on other team Top 30s but didn’t make the Cubs current list) develop into solid talent.

4. Rangers
Additions: Josh Smith, SS (No. 7, from NYY); Ezequiel Duran, 2B/SS (No. 8, from NYY); Trevor Hauver, RHP (No. 18, from NYY); Glenn Otto, RHP (No. 25, from NYY)

While the Rangers did get a pair of prospects from the Phillies in the Kyle Gibson deal (along with not-long-ago top prospect Spencer Howard), they mostly make this list because of the Joey Gallo deal with the Yankees. They didn’t get any Top 100 types, but they did get four new members of their Top 30. Two of them, Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran, are infielders now in the Top 10 while Trevor Hauver and Glenn Otto have the chance to be capable big leaguers.

5. Pirates
Additions: Tucupita Marcano, SS/2B (No. 7, from SD); Carter Bins, C (No. 30, from SEA)

This was all about quantity and depth for the Pirates, as they did very good work before this Deadline in restocking the system. They only added two Top 30 players in top 10 prospect Tucupita Marcano and end-of-the-list Carter Bins, but they added several prospects who fit in that 31-40 range.

Honorable mention: Phillies. The Phillies weren’t actually sellers in this market and made moves to try to make a postseason run. But they get a shout out for being able to bring in a very intriguing pitching prospect in Hans Crouse, now No. 4 on their Top 30, in the process.