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MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Struggling Prospects Playing Their Way onto the Block

Zachary PeterselFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2012

MLB Trade Speculation: 10 Struggling Prospects Playing Their Way onto the Block

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    One of the toughest parts of being an MLB general manager is judging which struggling prospects you want to trade before their value is all gone, versus other prospects you think can bounce back.

    The 10 prospects on this list all have been highly touted at some point in their career, some as recently as this season, while others have had their stocks falling for a couple of years now.

    However, at this point in the season, all of these prospects are playing their way onto the chopping block. Look for them to be among the many players discussed in trades as the deadline approaches.

New York Yankees: SP Manny Banuelos

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    Manny Banuelos has been one of the Yankees' top pitching prospects for a couple of years now, but his performance this season will not keep him there for long.

    After pitching to a 4.19 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in a so-so debut in Triple-A last season, Banuelos has gotten off to a horrible start this year.

    In his first two starts, he has given up 14 hits and seven walks in just 5.1 innings, leading to an insane 3.94 WHIP. The Yankees are always looking to add pieces to their team at the trading deadline, so if Banuelos continues to pitch in this fashion, they will be more willing to deal him than ever before.

San Diego Padres: OF Donavan Tate

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    The Padres drafted Donavan Tate with the third overall pick in the 2009 draft, but he has never lived up to the potential that came with it.

    Not only has he been a subpar performer on the field, but after a positive drug test and forthcoming 50-game suspension, he has been even worse this season.

    With just a .197/.242/.213 slash line, Tate is yet another prospect bust for the Padres under Kevin Towers. San Diego may look to deal him before his value is all gone.

Texas Rangers: SP Martin Perez

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    Martin Perez has been a rated as a top-100 prospect each of the last four years, starting the last three at Nos. 17, 24 and 31, respectively.

    In spite of that, his performance at Triple-A has left many questions as to what his upside will be and when will he make the major leagues.

    Don't get me wrong—the fact he made it to Triple-A last season at the age of 20 is an incredible accomplishment. However, since his promotion, he has a 5.68 ERA in 71.1 innings with a 1.71 WHIP and a SO/BB ratio of just 1.68. 

    Perez's career ERA above A-ball is 4.98, so it would not surprise me to see the Rangers dangle his name at the deadline as Texas tries to get over the hump and take home a World Series.

San Francisco Giants: OF Gary Brown

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    A former first-round pick of the Giants, Gary Brown checked in at No. 38 on Baseball America's preseason prospect rankings.

    However, last season at the trading deadline, San Francisco dangled Brown to acquire Carlos Beltran but had to go one step further by trading Zack Wheeler.

    After the Giants showed the willingness to deal him last year, Brown's rough .200/.324/.250 start to this season certainly won't do him any favors.

New York Yankees: SP Dellin Betances

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    Dellin Betances is another name on this list that has finished in the top 100 of Baseball America's prospect rankings the last two seasons, but after scouts starting believing he would be better off in the bullpen, his stock has started to fall.

    On top of that, his performance in Triple-A over the past year has been terrible.

    In eight starts, Betances has a 6.81 ERA with 32 walks in 38.1 innings and a 1.80 WHIP. That lack of control is really hurting his value withing the Yankees organization.

Tampa Bay Rays: SP Chris Archer

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    If you haven't noticed, the Rays have a pretty good pitching staff as is. 

    Coming into the 2011 season, Chris Archer would have been icing on the cake, but his status as a top prospect has taken a hit over the past year and a half.

    2011 was his worst full season as a professional, as Archer walked 5.3 batters per nine innings, but thus far in 2012 he has been even worse, walking more than a batter per inning.

    The Rays will be in the race when the trading deadline rolls around, and Archer will no longer be untouchable if he continues to pitch like this.

Texas Rangers: SS Jurickson Profar

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    Jurickson Profar is probably the greatest talent on this list, but because the Rangers have Elvis Andrus, his value is not necessarily as high as it should be.

    Profar was rated as the seventh-best prospect in all of baseball coming into the season, but he has struggled making the adjustment to playing in Double-A.

    Teams have tried to acquire Profar before, and now that he has struggled a bit and both middle infield spots are signed to stay in Texas for the long term, he may be a bit more available this summer.

Miami Marlins: 3B Matt Dominguez

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    The last time Matt Dominguez had a full-season average above .252 was four years ago in 2008. 

    He has always been regarded as a stellar defensive player, and when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes and moved Hanley Ramirez to third base, it left Dominguez without a position.

    Another subpar hitting season thus far in 2012 has not slowed down the potential trade rumors that started growing in the offseason.

Cleveland Indians: Of Nick Weglarz

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    Before the 2009 season, Nick Weglarz was rated as the 58th-best prospect in baseball, but he has never been able to repeat that level of performance.

    After a great 2008 and solid 2010, Weglarz hit just .179 in an injury-plagued 2011 and has struggled out of the gate this year, hitting just .171, striking out in 46 percent of his at-bats.

    There is still some potential value in his bat, but after his continued struggles this season, his time with the Indians has come and gone.

Philadelphia Phillies: Of Domonic Brown

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    Domonic Brown has succeeded at every minor league level and even had his moments with the big club last year, but despite the Phillies' struggles to score runs, he cannot get out of Triple-A.

    Brown has a career .293 average over seven minor league seasons, but after an off year last season where he only had five homers in 195 at-bats, his struggles have continued into this year. Brown still does not have a home run, and he is only hitting .263 while striking out in 21 percent of his plate appearances.

    If Brown is unable to crack the Phillies roster ahead of the likes of Juan Pierre, his struggles in Triple-A do not bode well for his future in Philadelphia.

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