MLB Prospects: 15 Prospects Who Benefited Most from the July 31 Trade Deadline
At the same time, the deadline also opened the door for countless prospects over the final two months of the season, as they will be called upon to fill organizational voids caused by departed players.
Furthermore, these prospects, most of whom are currently housed in the upper minors, are technically auditioning for a role with the parent club in 2013. For others, the recent trades have led to a new, promising role as part of a new organization.
Here are 15 prospects who find themselves in a more favorable position following the July 31 trade deadline.
Brett Jackson, OF, Chicago Cubs
Minors: .256/.338/.479, 49 XBH (15 HR), 27 SB, 158 K/47 BB (106 G)
MLB: 2-for-4, R, K, BB (1 G)
After the Cubs traded Reed Johnson (along with LHP Paul Maholm) to the Atlanta Braves on the night before the deadline, and demoted speedster Tony Compana to Triple-A, the door was officially opened for 24-year-old Brett Jackson, who was 2-for-4 in his big league debut on Sunday afternoon.
Nick Castellanos, RF/3B, Detroit Tigers
Minors: .352/.390/.497, 41 XBH (9 HR), 51 RBI, 90 K/27 BB (108 G)
Castellanos has been working exclusively in right field since the All-Star break, and has drawn rave reviews for his quick adjustment to a new position. GM Dave Dombrowski, who has a history of accelerating young prospects' ascent to the major leagues, has tossed around the idea that the 20-year-old may be able to contribute this season, so the fact that the Tigers opted not to upgrade either corner outfield spots is a potential vote of confidence in their youngster.
Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Minors: 9-5, 111.1 IP, 2.43 ERA, .240 BAA, 106 K/34 BB (20 GS)
Don’t look now, but the Arizona Diamondbacks are still in the thick of the National League West pennant race. Within the 24 hours leading up to the trade deadline, there was a strong rumor that the organization may make a big-time move to acquire a reputable starting pitcher. However, that didn’t happen. So, if the team needs a boost in their rotation over the final two months, it seems likely that they’ll call on left hander Tyler Skaggs, who’s posting impressive numbers at Triple-A Reno.
Jarred Cosart, RHP, Houston Astros
Minors: 5-7, 96.2 IP, 3.82 ERA, .259 BAA, 78 K/41 BB (17 GS)
Other than the Phillies, no team was more active around the deadline than the Houston Astros, who brilliantly added a large crop of talented prospects to their already-impressive farm system. In particular, the team’s decision to move Wandy Rodriguez opened a large hole in the starting rotation. A hole that Jarred Cosart could slide into during September, after logging more experience at Triple-A.
Jean Segura, SS/2B, Milwaukee Brewers
Minors: .304/.358/.413, 25 XBH (7 HR), 37 SB, 61 K/27 BB (102 G)
MLB (Angels): 0-for-3, 2 K (1 G)
The Brewers received quite the return for Zack Greinke in Segura, RHP John Hellweg and RHP Ariel Pena. After trading Alcides Escobar to Kansas City for Greinke prior to the 2011 season, the team finally restocked their farm system with a promising middle infielder in Segura. He was assigned to Double-A following the acquisition, but don’t expect him to stay in the minors for the rest of the season.
Zack Wheeler, RHP, New York Mets
Minors: 10-6, 116 IP, 3.26 ERA, .225 BAA, 117 K/43 BB (19 GS)
Although there was plenty of speculation that the team may make a bold move and promote top prospect Zack Wheeler over the more-seasoned Matt Harvey, the team ultimately chose the latter. However, Wheeler was correspondingly promoted to Triple-A to fill Harvey’s spot in the rotation, and there are grumblings that Wheeler may be up later this year to get his feet wet—possibly in a relief role.
Derek Norris, C, Oakland Athletics
Minors: .271/.329/.477, 25 XBH (9 HR), 41 K/21 BB (58 G)
MLB: .200/.265/.333, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 25 K/8 BB (24 G)
Although the deal happened several days after the deadline, the A’s took a step toward the future when they traded catcher Kurt Suzuki to the Washington Nationals on Friday afternoon. They followed the move by announcing that prospect Derek Norris would assume everyday catching duties, with George Kottaras serving as his backup.
Tommy Joseph, C, Philadelphia Phillies
Minors: .259/.314/.386, 25 XBH (8 HR), 71 K/24 BB (86 G)
The key chip in the deal that sent Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants, Joseph was the Giants’ top catching prospect at the time of the trade. Now, he enters a Phillies system that has Sebastian Valle (Triple-A) ahead of him on the depth chart, but not making the type of progress that the Phillies’ envisioned. With Carlos Ruiz on the disabled list for 4-to-6 weeks, Valle may get the first crack at playing time, but Joseph certainly isn’t far behind.
Starling Marte, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
Minors: .286/.347/.500, 46 XBH (12 HR), 21 SB, 91 K/28 BB (99 G)
MLB: .238/.250/.429, 2 HR, 2 SB, 11 K/0 BB (10 G)
In the week before the trade deadline, the Pirates promoted top outfield prospect Starling Marte, who has since been a fixture in the team’s starting lineup. There were rumors that they may use the toolsy 23-year-old as a trade chip for a much larger return—for example, dealing him as part of a package for Hunter Pence or Shin-Soo Choo—but in the end, Marte remains entrenched in the Bucs’ outfield and ready to make an impact over the final two months.
Andrew Susac, C, San Francisco Giants
Minors: .229/.351/.345, 19 XBH (7 HR), 80 K/48 BB (80 G)
With the trade of catcher Tommy Joseph to the Phillies, Susac immediately became the Giants’ top catching prospect. He’s still a few years away from contributing at the major league level, but now there’s no other catching prospect blocking his path.
Joseph has responded well to the Giants’ boost of confidence, as he’s 6-for-13 with two doubles and eight RBI in the four games since the deadline.
Shelby Miller, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
Minors: 7-9, 106.1 IP, 5.25 ERA, .272 BAA, 20 HR, 115 K/46 BB (22 GS)
Prior to the deadline, rumors circulated that the Cardinals were targeting a starting pitching upgrade; they were looking for a reputable arm to fill in the backend of their rotation and possibly eat some innings late in the season in order to rest other starters. Well, that didn’t happen, which is good for Shelby Miller.
After a disappointing season thus far at Triple-A Memphis, highlighted by shaky command and a loss in velocity, the highly touted right hander has pitched significantly better over his last two outings: 2-0, 14 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 16 K/0 BB. If he can continue to show improvements, he may receive a September call-up after all.
Hak-Ju Lee, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
Minors: .268/.342/.370, 29 XBH (10 3B), 37 SB, 91 K/50 BB (110 G)
Given the lack of offensive contribution from the Rays' middle infielders this season, the team has desperately needed an upgrade. However, it seems as though they are content with their current configuration and would rather bank on the future than make unnecessary acquisitions—at least in their opinion. Lee, 21, who has had a mediocre season at Double-A, still appears to be their future shortstop, and if the Rays find themselves well out of contention by September, he could be one of several prospects that receive a big-league promotion.
Mike Olt, 3B/1B, Texas Rangers
Minors: .288/.398/.579, 46 XBH (28 HR), 82 RBI, 101 K/61 BB (95 G)
MLB: .286/.364/.286, 3 RBI, 2 K/2 BB (3 G)
In a matter of 48 hours, Olt went from a prospect on the verge of inclusion in a blockbuster trade, to playing three out of every five games in the major leagues. After the Rangers’ offense scuffled for most of July, Olt’s power and newfound versatility will hopefully jolt the offense as he works to become a regular on the Rangers’ infield in 2013.
Anthony Gose, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
Minors: .292/.375/.432, 33 XBH (10 3B), 29 SB, 93 K/47 BB (92 G)
MLB: .229/.275/.292, 3 2B, 2 SB, 17 K/3 BB (14 G)
Although Gose has received consistent playing time at all three outfield spots since Jose Bautista landed on the disabled list, he was still losing playing time here and there to Travis Snider. However, with Snider now in a different uniform following a trade to the Pirates, Gose will receive significantly more playing time over the final two months of the season.
Donnie Joseph, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Minors: 8-3, 18 SV, 54.1 IP, 1.99 ERA, .197 BAA, 69 K/20 BB (46 G)
In my opinion, Joseph was ready to pitch out of the Reds’ bullpen at the time he was traded along with J.C. Sulbaran to the Royals for Jonathan Broxton. The left hander has been dominant this season at both Double- and Triple-A, and should reach the major leagues this season and audition for the closer role in 2013.