With the 2012 trade deadline steadily approaching at the end of July, prospects throughout baseball are being closely watched to determine whether they may be key pieces of a last-minute trade. While some teams claim that specific players are off limits, we know all too well that if the right offer is presented, a team’s opinion can be swayed.
While most organizations will target top prospects, there are a host of under-the-radar, fast-rising prospects who will inevitably serve as trade bait at the deadline, as teams look to acquire a potential steal as part of a bigger package.
Here are 10 highly intriguing prospects who could be dealt by the July 31st trade deadline.
Double-A: .246/.304/.402, 28 XBH (12 HR), 39 RBI, 73 K/23 BB (84)
After an unexpected slow start to the 2012 season, Schoop has seemingly turned the corner and found his name back in the middle of Orioles’ trade rumors.
After hitting a combined two home runs with 13 RBI between April and May, Schoop has 10 home runs with 26 RBI since the beginning of June.
Double-A: 3-4, 85.1 IP, 3.38 ERA, .224 BAA, 108 K/23 BB (14 GS)
Triple-A: 3-2, 41 IP, 1.10 ERA, .125 BAA, 54 K/13 BB (6 GS)
The minor league strikeout leader this season, Straily is big-league ready. With a three-pitch mix, all of which are at least above-average offerings, he has dominated at Triple-A following a midseason promotion and has nothing left to prove.
However, there’s currently no spot for him in the Athletics’ rotation unless they ultimately trade Bartolo Colon.
But given how well Straily has thrown this season, he may be more attractive trade bait than Colon.
Low-A: .280/.434/.553, 35 XBH (21 HR), 73 RBI, 94 K/79 BB (83 G)
Skole’s knack for getting on base and driving in runs may attract many teams and the trade deadline, as he could serve as an intriguing chip for the Nationals.
Although he does strike out too often, he walks at a high rate and offers power from the left side of the plate.
High-A: .382/.433/.715, 47 XBH (18 HR), 56 RBI, 55 K/23 BB (67 G)
Double-A: .283/.353/.446, 9 XBH, 15 RBI, 27 K/8 BB (24 G)
Already traded once in his career as part of the deal that sent Andrew Bailey to the Red Sox, Head has been one of the more impressive hitters in the minor leagues this season.
High-A: .268/.303/.442, 30 XBH (12 HR), 48 RBI, 63 K/12 BB (92 G)
Rodriguez is a raw, but promising, shortstop prospect, but he’s playing in the same system as 2011 first-rounder Francisco Lindor—undoubtedly the Indians’ future shortstop.
It will take him several years to reach the major leagues, but for a team devoid of a legitimate shortstop prospect, Rodriguez could be an important acquisition.
High-A: .263/.349/.451, 31 XBH (18 2B), 35 RBI, 10 SB, 55 K/26 BB (65 G)
Double-A: .278/.316/.407, 5 XBH, 11 K/1 BB (14 G)
A highly athletic and toolsy outfielder, Marisnick was recently promoted to Double-A—a move that seemed rather premature given that he wasn’t excelling at High-A.
Therefore, it seems likely that the Blue Jays are trying to either jump start his bat or showcase for teams with the trade deadline rapidly approaching.
Double-A: .289/.403/.577, 39 XBH (24 HR), 66 RBI, 88 K/55 BB (82 G)
One of the top power prospects in the minor leagues, Olt has plus power to all fields and has shown a better hit tool this season at Double-A than in previous years.
Recently, he’s received some reps in the outfield, suggesting that the Rangers are looking for a way to get him to the big leagues quickly or highlight his versatility for trade purposes.
High-A: 2-3, 55.1 IP, 4.55 ERA, .270 BAA, 52 K/10 BB (12 GS)
Double-A: 0-2, 16.1 IP, 8.82 ERA, .357 BAA, 13 K/8 BB (4 GS)
Not only is Lee the Dodgers’ top prospect, he’s also their best trade bait.
The 20-year-old right-hander was recently promoted to Double-A, as the team continues to pursue a major league starting pitcher.
Most notably linked to Ryan Dempster (via ESPN), it’s likely that the Cubs would ask for Lee in return.
Double-A: .278/.344/.373, 20 XBH (8 3B), 49 K/29 BB (81 G)
Triple-A: .258/.250/.452, 4 XBH, 7 K/0 BB (8 G)
The Reds’ system is loaded with shortstops, with Zack Cozart enjoying a strong rookie season in Cincinnati and the fastest man in baseball, Billy Hamilton, now at Double-A.
Gregorious, who’s playing at Triple-A after a promotion last week, is a left-handed hitter with top-of-the-order potential and could help a team dealing with an infield injury during the final months of the season.
High-A: .231/.305/.460, 44 XBH (17 HR), 68 RBI, 16 SB, 125 K/37 BB (94 G)
With a tenuous grasp on the AL Central division lead, the White Sox claim to be in on some of the bigger names at the trade deadline.
However, with the worst farm system in the baseball, they don’t exactly have many prospects to offer in return.
One player who could pique a team’s interest is outfielder Trayce Thompson, who's undeveloped but possesses exceptional raw power.
If he can improve his pitch recognition and contact percentage, Thompson offers considerable offensive upside.