Trade Deadline deals in Major League Baseball can be viewed through many different prisms. A lot of analysis focuses on the major league players that are the centerpieces of most trades. However, the sellers in these deals often strengthen their farm systems tremendously with the acquisition of top prospects. In this post, we take a look at the top position prospects who changed organizations at this year’s trade deadline.
Lewis Brinson – OF – Milwaukee Brewers (Acquired from the Texas Rangers along with RHP Luis Ortiz and a Player To Be Named Later for C Jonathan Lucroy and RHP Jeremy Jeffress) – A first round selection out of Coral Springs High School (FL) in 2012, Brinson brings the entire tool box to his new organization. Power, speed and athleticism….Brinson has it all and the potential is there to be a star at the major league level. His approach at the plate still needs some refinement, as does his defense in center field, but when it all comes together, Brinson should look like an Adam Jones clone. Promoted to Triple-A upon joining the Brewers, Brinson promptly logged four hits in his first game and hit a grand slam in his second, providing a glimpse at what this trade deadline deal offers the franchise.
Travis Demeritte – 2B – Atlanta Braves (Acquired from Texas Rangers for RHP Lucas Harrell and LHP Dario Alvarez) – Like Brinson, Demeritte is a former Rangers first round pick out of high school (2013, Winder-Barrow HS in Georgia) and has been one of the top power hitters in the minors in 2016. Moved from shortstop in 2014, Demeritte, like Dansby Swanson before him, is coming home to Georgia for a shot at playing for his hometown team. Demeritte can work a count, but has trouble making contact at times (125 strike outs in 331 at bats), but has well above-average pop for a middle infielder. There is no shortage of talent in Atlanta’s organization up the middle, so another position switch is a possibility, but he is a good enough athlete to stick in the outfield or at the hot corner.
Brett Eibner – OF – Oakland Athletics (Acquired from Kansas City Royals for OF Billy Burns) – Eibner is an Athletics-type of player and Oakland will appreciate his skill set. He’s shown an ability to get on base consistently in Triple-A the last two seasons and has also flashed some power and speed. It’s his ability to play all three outfield spots well though, that will help him stick in the majors. At age 27, Eibner is a late bloomer, but given an opportunity in Oakland through this trade deadline deal, he could have a nice career as a fourth outfielder-type.
Lucius Fox – SS – Tampa Bay Rays (Acquired along with 3B Matt Duffy and RHP Michael Santos from the San Francisco Giants for LHP Matt Moore) – Moving back to the Bahamas as a high school senior netted Fox a 6 million dollar signing bonus as an international free agent from the Giants last year and he’ll join a Rays organization that is flush with talented shortstop prospects. Fox has elite speed and has already flashed it in the South Atlantic League this summer where he stole 25 bases. An incredible athlete, the 19-year-old is still very raw, but gives the Rays a lot of options development-wise. Fox is an intriguing player and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him move to center field where his plus-plus speed would be a tremendous asset for a franchise that places a premium on defense.
Clint Frazier – OF – New York Yankees (Acquired along with RHP Ben Heller, RHP J.P. Feyereisen and LHP Justus Sheffield from the Cleveland Indians for LHP Andrew Miller) – Having set the market price on closers exorbitantly high when dealing Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs in an earlier trade deadline deal, Brian Cashman managed to surpass that haul when he was able to get Frazier in a package for Andrew Miller. Cashman is already gushing about Frazier and his “electric bat” and with good reason…the 21-year-old profiles as a middle-of-the-order hitter. His development hasn’t been without hiccups, but the fifth-overall pick in 2013 has slugged .453 over two levels so far this season. Defensively, he has the speed to patrol center and the arm to play a corner spot and along with fellow prospect Aaron Judge gives the Yankees a great future in the outfield.
Reese McGuire – C – Toronto Blue Jays (Acquired along with LHP Francisco Liriano and OF Harold Ramirez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Drew Hutchinson) – It remains to be seen if McGuire will hit enough to be a regular at the major league level, but he has already established himself as an asset defensively behind the dish. A first round selection in 2013 out of Kentwood High School (WA), McGuire’s bat is still a work in progress. He makes good contact and demonstrates good judgement of the strike zone, but has shown little power to date. The 21-year-old possesses above-average speed and athleticism for a catcher and that paired with his defensive chops make him a prospect worth grooming.
1B – Josh Naylor – San Diego Padres (Acquired along with RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps and RHP Luis Castillo from the Miami Marlins for RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Colin Rea, RHP Tayron Guerrero and cash ) – In an effort to upgrade their rotation for the stretch run, the Marlins dealt Naylor, their best position prospect, at the trade deadline to the farm-rich Padres. Scouts are divided on whether Naylor will eventually end up as a DH due to defensive liabilities, but what is unquestioned is Naylor’s plus-plus power. The lefty-swinging Canadian, who was the Marlins first round pick last year, has already been promoted to the High-A California League by his new organization. He has the upside to park 30 balls a year into the seats and if he does that, the Padres will live with the below-average defense at first.
OF – Harold Ramirez – Toronto Blue Jays (Acquired along with LHP Francisco Liriano and C Reese McGuire from the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Drew Hutchinson) – An international signee out of Colombia, Ramirez is a prospect who does a lot of things well, but still needs some more development time. There is a lot to like about him as a hitter and in 338 minor league games, Ramirez carries a .306 average. He’s an aggressive swinger who uses all fields and has nice raw power. The 21-year-old also has plus speed and is an adequate defender, albeit with a weak arm. He has a lot of tools for the Blue Jays to work with and was a crafty trade deadline pickup by the organization, who somehow managed to get a veteran starting pitcher and two nice prospects from the Pirates for maligned starter Drew Hutchinson.
Gleyber Torres – SS – New York Yankees (Acquired along with RHP Adam Warren, OF Billy McKinney and OF Rashad Crawford for LHP Aroldis Chapman from the Chicago Cubs) – Upon his acquisition, Torres temporarily became the best position prospect in the Yankees organization and now is second only to Frazier. Torres uses good strike zone awareness and elite bat speed to hit balls all over the field. The 19-year-old Dominican’s power is starting to surface as well, and he’s club 37 extra base hits this season at the High-A level. Defensively, he has the range and arm to be an above-average defender at shortstop. His running game needs some work, but the speed is there and the total package could be a 20/20 player at a premium position.
"“Torres is a high-level prospect that’s extremely valuable within the industry.” – Yankees GM Brian Cashman"
Dan Vogelbach – 1B – Seattle Mariners (Acquired along with RHP Paul Blackburn from the Chicago Cubs for RHP Jordan Pries and LHP Mike Montgomery ) – With the embarrassment of riches the Cubs organization has in young hitters, Dan Vogelbach was moved in a trade deadline deal to the Mariners for bullpen help. A below-average defender at first, Voglebach is a better fit for an AL club like the Mariners as a future designated hitter. He has elite raw power and after two years of declining production, has put up fantastic numbers in Triple-A this season, where he is slashing .296/.406/.513. A second round pick in 2011, Vogelbach is major league-ready and although the Mariners have plenty of first base/designated hitter-types, he should get a look this September.
Others to Watch:
Yordan Alvarez (Padres) – Recently-signed Cuban import has yet to play in US.
Luis Alejandro Basabe (Diamondbacks) – 19-year-old raw, but athletic outfielder
Jonah Heim (Rays) – Young, switch-hitting catcher with strong arm.
Billy McKinney (Yankees) – Do-it-all outfielder is overlooked piece in Chapman deal.
Charlie Tilson (White Sox) – Tough-luck outfielder injured hamstring in major league debut.