These prospects could draw trade interest
No one is quite sure what to expect from the Trade Deadline this year. With a shorter season, expanded playoffs and the deadline moved back to Aug. 31, it remains to be seen whether we'll see more or less movement than normal.
We've identified the most tradeable prospect for each of the 30 clubs. In many cases, it's the most talented Minor Leaguer in each organization who might be somewhat redundant. Only players on teams' 60-man lists can be dealt, though those lists are fluid and players to be named later also can be utilized. And while we realize that last-place teams such as the Pirates and Red Sox are much more likely to acquire prospects than trade them, that doesn't stop us from speculating.
(* indicates player is not in team's 60-man player pool)
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Griffin Conine, OF (No. 16)*
Toronto’s 2018 second-round Draft pick led the Class A Midwest League in home runs (22) and slugging (.576) in his first full season, though he also struck out at nearly a 36 percent clip against younger competition. But despite the obvious concerns about Conine’s ability to make consistent contact, the 23-year-old outfielder’s power is very real and could appeal to a variety of teams looking to infuse their system with some pop.
Orioles: Bruce Zimmerman, LHP (No. 29)
Acquired from the Braves at the 2018 Trade Deadline, Zimmerman had a strong first full season in the organization and looked like he would be ready to contribute in 2020 after an impressive Grapefruit League showing before the shutdown. It’s unlikely the O’s will be sellers, but Zimmerman is an advanced lefty who could help out a contending bullpen down the stretch if needed.
Rays: Greg Jones, SS (No. 11)*
The Rays have no shortage of middle-infield talent on their 40-man roster, and perhaps even more at the team’s alternate training site. The organization has historically coveted those types of players, but with a division-best 19-10 record, they also are in a position where they can afford to part with some of that talent. Jones, whom the Rays took with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2019 Draft, could be expendable given his spot on the team’s depth chart, and it’s easy to envision many teams being interested in a switch-hitting shortstop with plus-plus speed.
Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B (No. 3)
Dalbec is hopelessly blocked by Rafael Devers at third base and Michael Chavis could be the Red Sox's right-handed-hitting first baseman of the future. But Dalbec deserves a look somewhere because he has huge raw power (his 59 homers in 2018-19 ranked sixth in the Minors) and plays a nifty third base with a strong arm.
Yankees: Oswald Peraza, SS (No. 4)*
Peraza has plus speed and arm strength, produces some of the best exit velocities among Yankees farmhands and plays a quality shortstop. Poised for a breakout during a 2020 Minor League season that never happened, he might be expendable because he's three years away and New York has talented young shortstops throughout its system.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians: Brayan Rocchio, SS (No. 6)*
With superstar Francisco Lindor on hand through at least 2020 and seven gifted shortstops 21 or younger on our Indians Top 30, Cleveland can afford to deal from a position of strength. Known as "The Professor" because of his high baseball IQ, Rocchio has advanced feel for hitting, sneaky pop and plus speed.
Royals: Michael Gigliotti, OF (No. 29)*
Kansas City is another team that’s unlikely to trade from its prospect depth this year, especially when guys such as Brady Singer and Kris Bubic have already made their debuts. Gigliotti, 24, doesn’t fit into the organization’s long-term plans and has never appeared above the Class A Advanced level, but he has a solid bat, can really run and is a natural center fielder who can play all three outfield spots. He was sidelined for most of 2018 after requiring ACL surgery on his right knee but bounced back in 2019 to slash .282/.369/.368 with 22 doubles and 36 steals in 87 games.
Tigers: Bryan Garcia, RHP (No. 18)
It’s highly unlikely that the Tigers will move any of their young, up-and-coming prospects at this year’s Trade Deadline. They could, however, trade from their 40-man pitching depth, perhaps choosing to extract as much value as possible for a cost-controlled big league reliever. Garcia, 25, struggled during his first Major League audition last year but has fared better in 2020, posting a 2.45 ERA and .233 BAA over 12 appearances.
Twins: Brent Rooker, OF (No. 12)
While Rooker missed time in 2019 with a wrist injury in May and a groin issue later in the year, he still showed his bat is just about ready to contribute (.281/.399/.530), albeit with a lot of strikeouts (33.8 percent K rate last year). He swung the bat well last fall with Team USA in Olympic Qualifying, and while he’s limited defensively, he could contribute to a rebuilding team right now and there’s no real spot for him in Minnesota.
White Sox: Micker Adolfo, OF (No. 10)
The White Sox outfield of the present (Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert, Nomar Mazara) also looks like their outfield of the future because Mazara is the oldest of that trio at age 25. Adolfo offers tantalizing raw power and arm strength, though injuries and the pandemic have limited him to just 1,536 at-bats since he signed as the No. 2 prospect (behind Jiménez) in the 2013 international class.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: D’Shawn Knowles, OF (No. 9)*
The Angels aren’t competing this year, so it’s doubtful they’d trade away prospects. But one area where they do have depth in the system is in the outfield. With Jo Adell trying to get his feet under him in the big leagues, Brandon Marsh not far behind and Jordyn Adams filling out the top three, a player like Knowles, who has yet to make his full-season debut, could be dangled to bring in more talent that’s closer to the big leagues.
Astros: Forrest Whitley, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 21)
Whitley once ranked as the game's top pitching prospect, but he's in the midst of a third straight lost season because of a suspension along with oblique and lat injuries (2018), shoulder inflammation and command issues (2019) and now the pandemic and a sore arm (2020). Would the Astros trade him now before his value takes more of a hit and their championship window closes? Would another team gamble on the ceiling of a pitcher former Houston GM Jeff Luhnow repeatedly deemed untouchable?
A’s: Sheldon Neuse, 3B/SS (No. 7)
Neuse made his big league debut late last year after a huge breakout season in Triple-A. There’s no room for him as a big league regular in Oakland, with Matt Chapman at his best position at third and Matt Olson at first. The A’s could bring him up to help out off the bench at multiple positions -- he can play second and left field along with the hot corner and short -- but his power and run production could be of interest to a rebuilding club.
Mariners: Justin Dunn, RHP (No. 8)
His time in the big leagues has been a bit uneven, though he’s coming off the best start of his career (6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K) and his stuff is still very good. The Mariners are rebuilding and are more likely to see how their young arms can fare, but a contender could come calling with the idea of having Dunn help out of the bullpen during a playoff race, and maybe the rotation if there’s a need.
Rangers: Sherten Apostel, 3B/1B (No. 10)
Apostel already has been involved in a Deadline deal, coming to the Rangers as the player to be named in the Keone Kela trade two years ago. While he possesses a pair of loud tools in his well-above-average raw power and arm strength, Texas also has other quality hot-corner prospects in Josh Jung and Davis Wendzel, its top two picks from the 2019 Draft.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Kyle Muller, LHP (No. 7)
The Braves have been moving a lot of their pitchers around as they’ve tried to find the right mix, especially with Mike Soroka gone for the season. Guys like Muller and top pitching prospect Ian Anderson could be called upon to help out, or someone like Muller could go the way of fellow 2016 draftee Joey Wentz, who was dealt to the Tigers in the Shane Greene deal at last year’s Deadline.
Marlins: Jose Devers, SS (No. 13)
A cousin of Rafael Devers, Jose was traded earlier in his career as part of the package that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees in Dec. 2017. The Marlins have surprisingly hung in the playoff race thus far and have enough shortstop depth to part with the sweet-swinging Devers if they want to bolster their big league roster.
Mets: Mark Vientos, 3B (No. 8)*
One of the youngest players in the 2017 Draft, when the Mets selected him in the second round, Vientos is one of the more projectable power hitters below the Double-A level, even if his numbers-to-date don’t exactly reflect that much. The 20-year-old packs a ton of strength into his projectable 6-foot-4, 185-pound frame, and the hope is that his massive raw power will begin to translate in games as he gains experience and improves as an overall hitter.
Nationals: Eddy Yean, RHP (No. 8)*
No Nats prospect received as much trade interest in 2019 as Yean, who signed for $100,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2017. The 19-year-old righty impressed with his advanced three-pitch mix at two levels during his U.S. debut last summer, compiling a 3.50 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 43/17 K/BB in 46 1/3 innings (10 starts) between the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and Class A Short Season New York-Penn League. With his combination of present stuff and projection, Yean could net Washington a solid return that could improve their playoff chances in 2020.
Phillies: Adonis Medina, RHP (No. 6)
A former Top 100 prospect, Medina still gets good reports on his raw stuff, but his inability to miss bats in 2019 (7 K/9) and frequency of getting hit (8.8 H/9) concerned some. He can rely on his sinker and early contact too much, but he’s also only 23 with a year of Double-A under his belt. The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, but also only four games out, so it’s not out of the question an arm like Medina could be used to bring in big league help.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Payton Henry, C (No. 17)
Minor League catching depth isn’t an issue for the Brewers, who have five catching prospects on their Top 30 list. Henry, the second-highest ranked in that group behind Mario Feliciano, showcased his power potential at Class A Advanced Carolina last season and finished among the Carolina League leaders in home runs (14, tied-fourth) and RBIs (75, third). The 23-year-old backstop does have some contact issues though, and he ranked among the circuit leaders last year in both strikeout rate and whiff rate. But the combination of right-handed power and solid defense behind the plate could make him an intriguing Trade Deadline target.
Cardinals: Elehuris Montero, 3B (No. 8)
Montero garnered Class A Midwest League MVP honors in 2018, when he led the circuit in batting average (.322), slugging (.529) and OPS (.910) in his first full season, but regressed across the board at Double-A Springfield in ’19 and didn’t fare any better in the Arizona Fall League. That he ranks behind fellow third basemen Nolan Gorman and Jordan Walker on the Cardinals Top 30 list makes the 22-year-old theoretically expendable, and his 40-man roster status could make him particularly appealing to a rebuilding club.
Cubs: Chase Strumpf, 2B (No. 9)*
The Cubs appear set in the middle infield for a while with Javy Báez and Nico Hoerner, and they just spent their 2020 first-round choice on shortstop Ed Howard, so Strumpf -- a 2019 second-round pick -- is expendable. He's an offensive-minded player whose bat has drawn comparisons to Ian Kinsler and is similar to Hoerner's.
Pirates: Ji-Hwan Bae, 2B/SS (No. 12)
The Pirates are clearly playing for next year at this point and they do like Bae’s ability with the bat (career .309 hitter with a .391 OBP in 121 games) and his speed (41 steals), so this would be a long shot. But the Pirates do have depth up the middle, with many seeing 2020 first rounder Nick Gonzales and Starling Marte trade acquisition Liover Peguero as the future double-play combination, leaving Bae without a home.
Reds: Jonathan India, 3B (No. 5)
The club’s first-round pick in 2018, taken fifth overall, fought through a wrist injury in his first full season, hurting his production, though he did reach Double-A. The Reds are within shouting distance of a Wild Card spot, though it’d be surprising for them to be major buyers. A healthy India’s power potential, along with his ability to play a strong third as well as a solid second, could be of interest to other teams if the Reds make a run.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Luis Frias, RHP (No. 9)
Listed at 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, Frias is one of many promising young hurlers in Arizona’s system, already boasting an electric arm that produces a pair of plus pitches (fastball, spike curveball). Splitting the 2019 season between Class A Short Season Hillsboro and Class A Kane County, the 22-year-old righty posted a 2.83 ERA with 101 strikeouts and 29 walks in 76 1/3 innings. They traded away 2019 first-round comp pick Brennan Malone in the offseason Starling Marte trade and have the type of arms to swing another big deal.
Dodgers: Keibert Ruiz, C (No. 3/MLB No. 78)
The Dodgers have resisted parting with Ruiz in the past, but also have Will Smith behind the plate in Los Angeles and Diego Cartaya (MLB Pipeline's top-rated amateur in the 2018 international class) in their system. That's an abundance of catching riches and Ruiz's upside as a solid all-around backstop could fetch quite a lot on the trade market.
Giants: Alexander Canario, OF (No. 7)
For the second-straight year, the Giants surprisingly find themselves contending for a Wild Card berth as the Trade Deadline approaches. Though they're in rebuilding mode, they could consider dealing Canario, a potential center fielder with solid tools across the board, because the club has a wealth of outfield prospects that also includes Heliot Ramos, Hunter Bishop and Luis Matos.
Padres: Gabriel Arias, SS (No. 8)
The Padres house one of baseball’s very best players in shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., and it’s highly unlikely that Arias will supplant Tatis at the position anytime soon. As a result, teams could target Arias, a toolsy 20-year-old shortstop who slashed .302/.339/.470 with 17 homers and 75 RBIs last season during a breakout campaign at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore and the Padres, winners of seven straight games, are in a position to capitalize on their high-end prospect depth.
Rockies: Colton Welker, 3B/1B (No. 9)
Welker started off his 2019 season on fire then cooled considerably in the second half of his first year in Double-A before finishing off with a so-so performance in the Arizona Fall League. He started getting more time at first base during the ’19 season and in the AFL (It’s not like he’s going to supplant Nolan Arenado at third), but the Rockies have many options at first as well.