2017's Traded Prospects Who Will Burn Their Former Team Most
You've got to give something to get something. That's a truism in life, and it's no less true when it comes to MLB trades.
Still, every year clubs surrender prospects in deadline deals and wind up kicking themselves down the road as those young players achieve stardom elsewhere.
Which of the minor league studs dealt at the 2017 non-waiver and waiver trade deadlines are most likely to burn their former franchises?
Let's take a look, factoring in stats, pedigree, potential and, of course, a healthy dose of gut feeling. Even the most heralded prospects can fizzle, after all. This is more educated guesswork than science.
Mostly, we're looking for traded prospects with the highest ceilings while also taking into consideration the needs/depth chart of the team that traded them and, to a much lesser extent, the players the trading teams received in return.
One more note: For each prospect, we'll assign a "burn rating," from first degree (painful but bearable) to third degree (call a medic).
Dylan Cease, RHP, Traded from Chicago Cubs to Chicago White Sox
A hard-throwing right-hander who was shipped from the Chicago Cubs to the Chicago White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade, Dylan Cease struck out 126 batters across 93.1 Single-A innings. That's serious bat-missing stuff.
The only concern with the 21-year-old is durability. He was shut down with shoulder fatigue Sept. 5, per Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune (h/t CBSSports.com) and has yet to reach 100 innings in a professional season.
Dustin Fowler, CF, Traded from New York Yankees to Oakland A's
Dustin Fowler was a rising star in the New York Yankees system before rupturing the patellar tendon in his right knee in his big league debut. After that, he was shipped to the Oakland A's in the package that netted right-hander Sonny Gray.
Fowler's injury comeback is a question mark, but his combination of power, speed and defense gives him the profile of a potential All-Star.
James Kaprielian, RHP, Traded from New York Yankees to Oakland A's
James Kaprielian is another high-upside injury comeback case who was sent from the Big Apple to the East Bay in the Gray deal.
He's recovering from Tommy John surgery and has logged only 29 professional innings. The 23-year-old has a huge arm, however, and has averaged 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in his limited MiLB action. Given how many pitchers have successfully returned from Tommy John, Kaprielian is a wild card to watch.
Daz Cameron, CF, Traded from Houston Astros to Detroit Tigers
Daz Cameron posted an anemic .212/.287/.321 slash line between Low-A and Single-A in 2016 and started slow this season.
The 20-year-old son of former MLB outfielder Mike Cameron turned it on, however, and finished with a .271 average and .814 OPS with 14 home runs and 32 stolen bases.
Those stats combine his numbers with the Houston Astros' and Detroit Tigers' Single-A affiliates, as Cameron was dealt to Detroit in the Justin Verlander trade.
Verlander has been a stud for the 'Stros, who are making a World Series push, but if Cameron continues his ascent, he could look like the one that got away.
Burn Rating: First degree
Tyler O'Neill, LF/RF, Traded from Seattle Mariners to St. Louis Cardinals
Since the Seattle Mariners traded Tyler O'Neill to the St. Louis Cardinals for left-hander Marco Gonzales, all O'Neill has done is hit.
In 37 games with the Cardinals' Triple-A squad, the 22-year-old outfielder has blasted 12 home runs and posted a .548 slugging percentage.
He also raked through the postseason and helped the Memphis Redbirds win their first Pacific Coast League title in eight years.
"I feel rejuvenated right now," O'Neill said during the Redbirds' run, per Michael Leboff of MiLB.com. "The games have been exciting and we're playing our best right now. I love playing in high-stakes situations and have always wanted to have the opportunity to come up in big spots."
The PCL can inflate stats. Plus, the Cards will have to find room for O'Neill on a crowded outfield depth chart. If he keeps flashing this kind of power, though, he'll make a big league mark sooner than later.
Burn Rating: First degree
Franklin Perez, RHP, Traded from Houston Astros to Detroit Tigers
Another piece sent from Houston to Detroit for Justin Verlander, Franklin Perez absolutely oozes raw potential.
The 19-year-old's debut with the Tigers organization was delayed by a blister, but that is likely just a bump in the road on his way to MLB success.
Projecting teenagers is tricky. Yet, Perez has a fastball that can touch the upper 90s and a curveball, changeup and slider that all profile as emerging plus offerings. He's got an athletic build and room to add more muscle and velocity.
No one's saying he'll fill the shoes of vintage, MVP Verlander, but Perez could be throwing at the top of the Tigers rotation in the not-too-distant future.
Burn Rating: Second degree
Blake Rutherford, CF/LF, Traded from New York Yankees to Chicago White Sox
Blake Rutherford opened a lot of eyes in 2016 when he slashed .351/.415/.570 in rookie ball.
This year, the Yankees shipped the athletic 20-year-old to the White Sox in a seven-player swap that brought veteran infielder Todd Frazier and relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to New York.
Rutherford's 2017 stat line isn't as impressive, as he hit .260 with a .674 OPS in 101 games between the Yankees' and White Sox's Single-A squads.
However, as ChicagoNow.com's Rob Young correctly noted, "Playing in the South Atlantic League two years younger than the typical competition, and pushing through the dog days of August, some less-than-stellar numbers at this point are nothing to be alarmed about. The White Sox believe in the tools..."
The Yanks are still blessed with ample young talent even after their summer buying spree. Rutherford, though, has the skill set of a future star.
Burn Rating: Second degree
Jeimer Candelario, INF, Traded from Chicago Cubs to Detroit Tigers
Jeimer Candelario isn't the player most likely to burn the Cubs. We'll get to him shortly.
Candelario is, however, already a legitimate big leaguer who has hit .354 with a .993 OPS in 77 plate appearances with the Tigers.
Candelario, whom the Cubs dealt to Detroit for lefty reliever Justin Wilson and catcher Alex Avila, was blocked in the Cubs' crowded infield. The 23-year-old switch-hitter profiles as a third baseman, and Chicago has a dude there by the name of Kris Bryant.
Still, Cubs manager Joe Maddon has never been afraid of shuffling his depth-chart deck. If Candelario keeps swinging like this, he'll be the kind of guy you make room for.
Burn Rating: Second degree
Willie Calhoun, INF/OF, Traded from Los Angeles Dodgers to Texas Rangers
The Los Angeles Dodgers are going all-in to win their first World Series since 1988. Nothing wrong with that.
Hence their decision to rent ace Yu Darvish from the Texas Rangers for a package headlined by slugging infielder Willie Calhoun.
Darvish has battled injury and inconsistency since arriving in Southern California, but could still join forces with Clayton Kershaw and lead L.A. to the confetti-strewn promised land.
Calhoun, meanwhile, could develop into a no-joke offensive force.
Before getting the call to the Rangers, Calhoun hit .300 with 27 doubles, 31 home runs and 93 RBI in 128 PCL contests. His defense at second base remains a work in progress, and he also saw action in left field.
Wherever he fits defensively, the 22-year-old has the raw pop to launch 30-40 homers at the MLB level and is young enough to keep developing.
Imagine that slotted next to Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger in a year or two. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, imagine is all they'll be able to do.
Burn Rating: Second degree-plus
Eloy Jimenez, RF, Traded from Chicago Cubs to Chicago White Sox
Whereas the Cubs traded Jeimer Candelario from a crowded part of their depth chart, they dealt Eloy Jimenez from a position of (relative) weakness.
Left fielder Kyle Schwarber has been coming on strong after a slow start. Right fielder Jason Heyward is excellent defensively in right but a drag in the batter's box. Albert Almora Jr. is a nice complementary piece but not a star.
As for depth in the minors, only one of the Cubs' top 10 prospects is an outfielder, via MLB.com.
That brings us back to Jimenez, whom the Cubs sent to the White Sox in the Jose Quintana trade. In 18 games with the White Sox's Double-A club, Jimenez hit .353 with a .956 OPS. Overall, the 20-year-old slashed .312/.379/.568 with 19 homers in 89 minor league games.
"This kid's a major league hitter," White Sox amateur scouting director Nick Hostetler told Matt Spiegel and Danny Parkins on 670 The Score, via CBS Chicago. "You can see it in his approach, the way he takes at-bats, he takes pitches, his strength. Offensively, there's not anything he can't do."
Including, and perhaps especially, burn his former team.
Burn Rating: Third degree