Which MLB Team Has Uncovered the Most Elite International Talent?

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2021

Which MLB Team Has Uncovered the Most Elite International Talent?

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    Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

    Even with ample data and video available, the MLB draft is still largely a crapshoot with a high probability of misses even on high draft picks.

    It's no surprise then that it is even harder to gauge talent on the international market, where data and video is generally scarcer and teams rely on limited in-person scouting.

    Still, it's a worthwhile endeavor—as Fernando Tatis Jr., Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr., Eloy Jimenez and many others have shown in recent years.

    We set out to determine which MLB team does the best job uncovering elite amateur international talent.

    To do that, we came up with a simple point system, which we explained ahead.

Methodology

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    Jose Abreu
    Jose AbreuSue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    A lot needs to be established before we dive in to the rankings, so let's get that out of the way.

    • Who qualified as an amateur international free agent? To be considered for inclusion, a player must have signed when they were under the age of 24 and had fewer than six seasons of professional experience if coming from Japan or Cuba.
    • What about international free agents? International players who entered the majors with significant professional experience were not included. That means players such as Jose Abreu, Yuli Gurriel, Shogo Akiyama and Ha-seong Kim did not help their teams' rankings.

    Now let's explain who and what was included on each slide.

    • MLB Standouts: Any MLB player projected for at least 1.0 WAR during the upcoming season, courtesy of the depth charts at FanGraphs, was included in this article.
    • Top 100 Prospects: Any player who appeared on the 2021 Baseball America Top 100 prospect list and was signed as an amateur international free agent.
    • Point Total: At the top of each slide is a point total, which determined the rankings. The number is simply the total of all the 2021 WAR projections for eligible players signed by that team, whether they are still with the team or playing elsewhere, along with two points for any prospect who ranked Nos. 1-50 on the Top 100 list and one point for any prospect who ranked Nos. 51-100.

    Easy enough, right? Let's get started.

30. Oakland Athletics (0.0 Points)

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    Renato Nunez
    Renato NunezNorm Hall/Getty Images

    MLB Standouts

    • None

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    One of just two teams without a player who qualified for inclusion in the article, the Oakland Athletics have a few notable international prospects worth keeping an eye on. Shortstop Robert Puason headlines that list after receiving a $5.1 million signing bonus in 2019. That's the same bonus the New York Yankees gave Jasson Dominguez that year.

    Slugger Renato Nunez (0.8 projected WAR), now with the Detroit Tigers, was the closest to making the cut.

29. Milwaukee Brewers (0.0 Points)

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    Orlando Arcia
    Orlando ArciaAshley Landis/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • None

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Orlando Arcia (0.9 projected WAR) came the closest to qualifying for a team that has generally ignored the international market.

    Shortstop Eduardo Garcia ($1.1M in 2018), outfielder Luis Medina ($1.3M in 2019) and outfielder Hedbert Perez ($700K in 2019) are among the Milwaukee Brewers' more promising recent forays into international spending, but none is close to leaguewide top 100 lists yet.

28. Colorado Rockies (1.2 Points)

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    Antonio Senzatela
    Antonio SenzatelaJack Dempsey/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Antonio Senzatela (1.2 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    There's not much the Colorado Rockies have done well as an organization over the last few years, and international free agency is another weak spot.

    Antonio Senzatela posted a 3.44 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 12 starts last season to bounce back from a disastrous 2019 campaign. He's the Rockies' lone notable international signing among active MLB players.

27. Pittsburgh Pirates (2.0 Points)

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    Starling Marte
    Starling MarteAssociated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • CF Starling Marte, MIA (2.0 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    It looked like the Pittsburgh Pirates had a pair of international outfielders headed for stardom in Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, but Polanco has failed to live up to expectations.

    The Buccos traded Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks last offseason as the first big piece to move in their fire sale. He was dealt again at the trade deadline, joined the Miami Marlins as they pushed for a surprise playoff berth.

26. Texas Rangers (2.4 Points)

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    Martin Perez
    Martin PerezRick Scuteri/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Martin Perez, BOS (1.4 projected WAR)
    • IF/OF Jurickson Profar, SD (1.0 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    The Texas Rangers spent big on Nomar Mazara ($5M) and Ronald Guzman ($3.5M) on the international market, but they failed to live up to expectations.

    They do look to have a long-term piece in center fielder Leody Taveras who could jump back onto top 100 lists by midseason if he hasn't exhausted his prospect eligibility by then. For now, Martin Perez and Jurickson Profar, who are both playing elsewhere, are all they have to show for their recent international spending as determined by the parameters of this article.

25. Arizona Diamondbacks (3.0 Points)

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    Geraldo Perdomo
    Geraldo PerdomoChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    MLB Standouts

    • None

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SS Geraldo Perdomo (No. 75 prospect)
    • SS Jazz Chisholm, MIA (No. 77 prospect)
    • OF Kristian Robinson (No. 93 prospect)

    The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Jazz Chisholm and Kristian Robinson out of the Bahamas, and Chisholm became just the seventh player in MLB history born in that country to reach the majors when he made his debut with the Miami Marlins last year.

    The emergence of Geraldo Perdomo, who was signed for just $70,000 in 2016, paved the way for the one-for-one swap that sent Chisholm to the Marlins for budding ace Zac Gallen in 2019.

24. Baltimore Orioles (4.1 Points)

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    Jonathan Schoop
    Jonathan SchoopJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Eduardo Rodriguez, BOS (2.5 projected WAR)
    • 2B Jonathan Schoop, DET (1.6 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    After years of ignoring the international market, the Baltimore Orioles finally made a splash with a franchise-record spending spree this year.

    Previously, they found an All-Star second baseman in Jonathan Schoop out of Curacao, and they used left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to acquire Andrew Miller at the 2014 trade deadline in what turned out to be a short-sighted move.

23. Los Angeles Angels (4.5 Points)

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    Shohei Ohtani
    Shohei OhtaniAshley Landis/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • DH/SP Shohei Ohtani (2.7 projected WAR)
    • 2B Jean Segura, PHI (1.8 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Shohei Ohtani is one of the biggest X-factors in baseball for a team looking to return to the postseason for the first time since 2014.

    Shortstop Jean Segura played one MLB game with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012 before he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers as part of a three-player package for Zack Greinke. He has since been traded three more times and made a pair of All-Star Game appearances.

22. Detroit Tigers (5.0 Points)

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    Eugenio Suarez
    Eugenio SuarezPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • 3B Eugenio Suarez, CIN (2.8 projected WAR)
    • SS Willy Adames, TB (2.2 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Eugenio Suarez has developed into one of the best power hitters in baseball since he was used to acquire Alfredo Simon from the Cincinnati Reds. A 22-year-old shortstop at the time of the trade who posted an 85 OPS+ with four home runs over 277 plate appearances in his lone big league season, he has racked up 158 home runs in six seasons with the Reds.

    Shortstop Willy Adames was still a teenager when he was included alongside Drew Smyly and Austin Jackson in the three-team deal that sent David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Tigers.

21. Kansas City Royals (5.1 Points)

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    Adalberto Mondesi
    Adalberto MondesiOrlin Wagner/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SS Adalberto Mondesi (2.6 projected WAR)
    • C Salvador Perez (2.5 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Salvador Perez cost the Kansas City Royals just $65,000 when he signed out of Venezuela in 2006, and by 2011 he was in the big leagues. Somehow still only 30 years old, he has a chance to go down as one of the best players in franchise history.

    The speedy Adalberto Mondesi is still developing his all-around game, and it won't be long before top prospect Bobby Witt Jr. is breathing down his neck for playing time at shortstop, but he remains one of the most promising young pieces for a team in transition.

20. Toronto Blue Jays (5.2 Points)

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3.2 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • C Alejandro Kirk (No. 70 prospect)
    • SS Orelvis Martinez (No. 96 prospect)

    The Toronto Blue Jays have assembled one of the best collections of young talent in the game thanks to a combination of good drafting, a few blockbuster trades and their spending on the international market.

    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the clear headliner of that spending, but polished hitter Alejandro Kirk, toolsy shortstop Orelvis Martinez, catcher Gabriel Moreno, middle infielder Miguel Hiraldo, and right-hander Eric Pardinho all have impact potential.

19. San Francisco Giants (5.8 Points)

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    Marco Luciano
    Marco LucianoBob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Luis Castillo (3.8 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SS Marco Luciano (No. 12 prospect)

    The San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins are both guilty of trading Luis Castillo before he reached the majors, with the shipping him out in an ill-fated deal that sent veteran third baseman Casey McGehee from Miami to San Francisco.

    As the Giants continue to rebuild, Marco Luciano has as much upside as any prospect they've ever signed on the international market. He could be joined on leaguewide top 100 prospect lists in short order by outfielders Luis Matos and Alexander Canario, so don't be surprised if the Giants climb these rankings in the years to come.

18. St. Louis Cardinals (6.0 Points)

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    Carlos Martinez
    Carlos MartinezCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Carlos Martinez (1.4 projected WAR)
    • SP Sandy Alcantara, MIA (1.4 projected WAR)
    • LF David Peralta, ARI (1.2 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • RF Randy Arozarena, TB (No. 17 prospect)

    The trade of Randy Arozarena last offseason could haunt the St. Louis Cardinals for a long time if he comes anywhere near duplicating what he showed last postseason over a 162-game schedule. He was signed for $1.3 million after playing in the Mexican League following his defection from Cuba.

    Sandy Alcantara was another regrettable loss, as he was flipped to the Miami Marlins in the Marcell Ozuna trade. Credit the Cardinals for landing them as amateurs, but they have made some regrettable trades in recent years.

17. Philadelphia Phillies (6.9 Points)

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    Carlos Carrasco
    Carlos CarrascoJ. Meric/Getty Images

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Carlos Carrasco, NYM (3.3 projected WAR)
    • 2B Cesar Hernandez, CLE (1.6 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SP Sixto Sanchez (No. 6 prospect)

    The Philadelphia Phillies included Carlos Carrasco in the blockbuster deal to acquire reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee from Cleveland before the 2009 trade deadline. He made his MLB debut that year and tallied 21.3 WAR in 11 seasons before he was traded to the New York Mets in January.

    Even with J.T. Realmuto re-signed to a long-term deal, the Phillies may wind up regretting the decision to part with Sixto Sanchez to acquire the star catcher. The 22-year-old posted a 3.46 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in seven starts last season, tossing five scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in his postseason debut for good measure.

16. Miami Marlins (6.9 Points)

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    Edward Cabrera
    Edward CabreraJeff Roberson/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • LF Marcell Ozuna, ATL (3.5 projected WAR)
    • SP Domingo German, NYY (1.3 projected WAR)
    • SP Jose Urena, DET (1.1 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SP Edward Cabrera (No. 81 prospect)

    The Miami Marlins sold high on Marcell Ozuna following a career year, sending him to the St. Louis Cardinals with two years of club control remaining for a four-player package that included Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen.

    The hard-throwing Edward Cabrera has a chance to be the team's best homegrown pitcher in a long time, and he should get a look in the big leagues before the 2021 season ends.

15. New York Yankees (7.1 Points)

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    Deivi Garcia
    Deivi GarciaNick Wass/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Luis Severino (1.9 projected WAR)
    • C Gary Sanchez (1.2 projected WAR)
    • RP Giovanny Gallegos, STL (1.0 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • CF Jasson Dominguez (No. 33 prospect)
    • SP Deivi Garcia (No. 55 prospect)

    After years of trading their top young talent for veterans during the 1990s and 2000s, the New York Yankees have focused more on internal player development in recent years. The result is a farm system loaded with high-ceiling talents, many of whom were acquired on the international market. None has a higher ceiling than uber-prospect Jasson Dominguez, who has a chance to be a generational talent if he lives up to the hype.

    As for the short term, a case can be made that Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez and Deivi Garcia are the three biggest X-factors on the roster for 2021.

14. San Diego Padres (7.2 Points)

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    Dinelson Lamet
    Dinelson LametGregory Bull/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SP Dinelson Lamet (2.8 projected WAR)
    • DH Franmil Reyes, CLE (1.4 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SP Luis Patino, TB (No. 23 prospect)
    • SP Adrian Morejon (No. 76 prospect)

    The San Diego Padres are made up almost entirely of acquired talent, with Dinelson Lamet and Adrian Morejon the only two notable homegrown players likely to break camp with a spot on the Opening Day roster.

    Lamet had a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 as an amateur out the Dominican Republic, but it fell through because of a documentation issue. Two years later, just shy of his 22nd birthday, he signed with the Padres for $100,000, and he has proved worth the wait despite the late start.

13. Washington Nationals (7.6 Points)

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    Juan Soto
    Juan SotoNick Wass/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • RF Juan Soto (5.9 projected WAR)
    • CF Victor Robles (1.6 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Victor Robles was billed as the future face of the franchise during his time in the Washington Nationals farm system, and while he still has plenty of time to develop into a star (he's entering his age-24 season), there is little question who the Nats' headliner is.

    Juan Soto just hit .351/.490/.695 with 14 doubles, 13 home runs and 37 RBI in 47 games in his age-21 season, tallying more walks (41) than strikeouts (28) and winning his first batting title. He is already one of the game's elite offensive players, and he's just getting started. He's been worth every penny of a $1.5 million signing bonus.

12. Tampa Bay Rays (7.6 Points)

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    Diego Castillo
    Diego CastilloJae C. Hong/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SP German Marquez, COL (3.5 projected WAR)
    • RP Diego Castillo (1.1 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SS Wander Franco (No. 1 prospect)
    • 2B Vidal Brujan (No. 56 prospect)

    German Marquez might be the most underrated pitcher in baseball as he toils away for the Colorado Rockies, and he joined them as a throw-in in the Corey Dickerson-for-Jake McGee swap in 2016.

    If Wander Franco develops into the generational talent and perennial batting title contender that many are predicting he'll become, the Tampa Bay Rays should have no trouble cracking the top 10 in the near future. Second baseman Vidal Brujan with his 70-grade speed and 60-grade hit tool is an exciting prospect in his own right.

11. Cincinnati Reds (9.5 Points)

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    Didi Gregorius
    Didi GregoriusAl Behrman/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SS Didi Gregorius, PHI (2.3 projected WAR)
    • SS Miguel Rojas, MIA (2.1 projected WAR)
    • RP Aroldis Chapman, NYY (1.9 projected WAR)
    • SP Johnny Cueto, SF (1.1 projected WAR)
    • RP Raisel Iglesias, LAA (1.1 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SS Jose Garcia (No. 79 prospect)

    Aroldis Chapman and Raisel Iglesias both developed into top-tier closers for the Cincinnati Reds after they were signed to multiyear deals out of Cuba, and both were eventually traded for pennies on the dollar relative to their peak value.

    Johnny Cueto walked in free agency after a solid eight-year run in Cincinnati, a young Didi Gregorius was traded in a deal that brought back Shin-Soo Choo, and Miguel Rojas was a late-bloomer who departed Cincinnati by way of minor league free agency before making his MLB debut.

10. Los Angeles Dodgers (9.6 Points)

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    Julio Urias
    Julio UriasEric Gay/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • DH Yordan Alvarez, HOU (3.6 projected WAR)
    • SP Julio Urias (2.0 projected WAR)
    • RF Yasiel Puig, FA (1.0 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SS Oneil Cruz, PIT (No. 50 prospect)
    • C Keibert Ruiz (No. 53 prospect)

    For as much as they have spent in recent years, it's a bit surprising that the Los Angeles Dodgers do not have more notable players on this list. Touted signings Yadier Alvarez, Yusniel Diaz and Omar Estevez are among the significant investments that have failed to pan out.

    The front office would be wise to stop trading high-ceiling prospects for bullpen help. Slugger Yordan Alvarez and promising shortstop prospect Oneil Cruz were shipped out in separate deals in exchange for Josh Fields and Tony Watson, respectively.

9. Chicago White Sox (10.5 Points)

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    Luis Robert
    Luis RobertPaul Beaty/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SS Fernando Tatis Jr., SD (5.7 projected WAR)
    • CF Luis Robert (3.5 projected WAR)
    • 3B Eduardo Escobar, ARI (1.3 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    General manager Rick Hahn has built the Chicago White Sox into a contender, despite a trade that has a chance to go down as one of the worst in MLB history. The deal that sent a 17-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. to the San Diego Padres for an overpriced and underperforming James Shields will haunt him for years to come.

    Luis Robert cost the White Sox a $26 million signing bonus with a matching tax penalty, but it looks like he's going to be well worth the investment. A young Eduardo Escobar was traded to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Francisco Liriano at the 2012 trade deadline.

8. Houston Astros (10.5 Points)

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    Jose Altuve
    Jose AltuveDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • 2B Jose Altuve (3.6 projected WAR)
    • SP Framber Valdez (2.6 projected WAR)
    • RF Teoscar Hernandez, TOR (1.8 projected WAR)
    • SP Jose Urquidy (1.4 projected WAR)
    • SP Elieser Hernandez, MIA (1.1 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Jose Altuve was famously signed for just $15,000 in 2007 out of Venezuela as he was largely overlooked due to his small stature and limited physical projection. Framber Valdez and Jose Urquidy represent key arms for a pitching staff in transition.

    Teoscar Hernandez was traded at the 2017 deadline for Francisco Liriano, and he broke out in a big way for a Toronto Blue Jays team on the rise last year. Elieser Hernandez was plucked from Houston's minor league ranks as a Rule 5 pick in 2017.

7. New York Mets (10.5 Points)

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    Ronny Mauricio
    Ronny MauricioRich Schultz/Getty Images

    MLB Standouts

    • DH Nelson Cruz, MIN (2.2 projected WAR)
    • SP Jose Quintana, LAA (1.9 projected WAR)
    • IF Amed Rosario, CLE (1.4 projected WAR)
    • RP Rafael Montero, SEA (1.0 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • C Francisco Alvarez (No. 48 prospect)
    • SS Ronny Mauricio (No. 65 prospect)
    • IF Andres Gimenez, CLE (No. 66 prospect)

    The New York Mets traded away two of their biggest recent international success stories in Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario to acquire Francisco Lindor from Cleveland, and those two will now battle for playing time on a new team.

    Nelson Cruz spent time with the Mets, Athletics and Brewers before breaking out with the Rangers, so multiple teams whiffed on his future potential. Ronny Mauricio ($2.1M in 2017) and Francisco Alvarez ($2.7M in 2018) have lived up to their lofty bonuses so far to emerge as the headliners of the farm system.

6. Minnesota Twins (11.6 Points)

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    Max Kepler
    Max KeplerTony Dejak/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • RF Max Kepler (3.1 projected WAR)
    • IF Luis Arraez (2.5 projected WAR)
    • 1B Miguel Sano (2.1 projected WAR)
    • 2B Jorge Polanco (2.0 projected WAR)
    • RP Liam Hendriks, CWS (1.9 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Aside from spending in traditional amateur talent hot spots, the Minnesota Twins have also found Max Kepler in Germany and Liam Hendriks in Australia.

    Miguel Sano is still trying to live up to the hype that accompanied a $3.15 million signing bonus when he was signed in 2009 out of the Dominican Republic. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Luis Arraez signed for just $40,000 in 2013.

5. Seattle Mariners (12.0 Points)

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    Julio Rodriguez
    Julio RodriguezSue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • 2B/CF Ketel Marte, ARI (3.3 projected WAR)
    • SP Michael Pineda, MIN (2.4 projected WAR)
    • SP Pablo Lopez, MIA (2.2 projected WAR)
    • 1B Ji-Man Choi, TB (1.1 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • OF Julio Rodriguez (No. 3 prospect)
    • SS Noelvi Marte (No. 73 prospect)

    Unfortunately, the Seattle Mariners have very little to show for their decisions to trade away Ketel Marte, Michael Pineda, Pablo Lopez and Ji-Man Choi.

    Marte was traded along with Taijuan Walker in exchange for Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis; Pineda was sent to the Yankees for top prospect Jesus Montero, who turned out to be a bust; Lopez was part of a package to acquire reliever David Phelps; and Choi was lost as a minor league free agent.

    All of that will be forgotten if Julio Rodriguez lives up to his full potential.

4. Atlanta Braves (12.8 Points)

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    Ronald Acuna Jr.
    Ronald Acuna Jr.John Amis/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • RF Ronald Acuna Jr. (5.7 projected WAR)
    • 2B Ozzie Albies (3.8 projected WAR)
    • SS Elvis Andrus, OAK (1.3 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • CF Cristian Pache (No. 7 prospect)

    The Atlanta Braves signed Ozzie Albies ($325K in 2013) and Ronald Acuna Jr. ($100K in 2014) for a combined sum of less than the league-minimum salary, and both have developed into cornerstone pieces and two of the best young players in baseball.

    Cristian Pache has a chance to join that duo in short order as he gets set to assume everyday center field duties in 2021 following a promising debut.

3. Cleveland (12.9 Points)

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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • 3B Jose Ramirez (5.7 projected WAR)
    • 3B Giovanny Urshela, NYY (2.5 projected WAR)
    • SS Willi Castro, DET (1.7 projected WAR)
    • RF Anthony Santander, BAL (1.7 projected WAR)
    • 1B Yandy Diaz, TB (1.3 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    Cleveland has a chance to move up this list once highly regarded prospects George Valera, Brayan Rocchio and Aaron Bracho have a chance to prove themselves in the lower levels of the minors.

    For now, Jose Ramirez represents one of the best homegrown international stars in the game, while Gio Urshela has exceeded expectations offensively to emerge as the everyday third baseman for the Yankees. Can Willi Castro and Anthony Santander build on a promising 2020 season to cement their place on rebuilding rosters?

2. Chicago Cubs (14.6 Points)

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    Willson Contreras
    Willson ContrerasMatt York/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SS Gleyber Torres, NYY (4.3 projected WAR)
    • LF Eloy Jimenez, CWS (3.2 projected WAR)
    • 1B Jeimer Candelario, DET (2.3 projected WAR)
    • C Willson Contreras (1.9 projected WAR)
    • DH Jorge Soler, KC (1.9 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • SP Brailyn Marquez (No. 52 prospect)

    The Cubs rebuilt their roster into a contender under Theo Epstein on the ability to develop position-player talent, both in the draft and through international free agency. Willson Contreras and Jorge Soler both contributed at the MLB level, with Soler eventually flipped to Kansas City for All-Star closer Wade Davis.

    Gleyber Torres was the centerpiece of the Aroldis Chapman trade that paved the way for a World Series title in 2016, Eloy Jimenez was moved in a similar deadline deal for Jose Quintana the following year that didn't pay the same dividends, and Jeimer Candelario brought back Justin Wilson and Alex Avila in a trade with the Detroit Tigers.

1. Boston Red Sox (16.8 Points)

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    Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers
    Xander Bogaerts and Rafael DeversTony Dejak/Associated Press

    MLB Standouts

    • SS Xander Bogaerts (4.2 projected WAR)
    • 3B Rafael Devers (3.7 projected WAR)
    • 3B Yoan Moncada (3.1 projected WAR)
    • SS Jose Iglesias (2.3 projected WAR)
    • SP Frankie Montas (2.2 projected WAR)
    • RF Manny Margot (1.3 projected WAR)

    Top 100 Prospects

    • None

    The one-two punch of Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers now represent the face of the Boston Red Sox franchise in the wake of last year's Mookie Betts trade. Devers was one of the most hyped international prospects in recent memory when he joined the organization.

    Yoan Moncada was flipped in the Chris Sale trade after he was signed out of Cuba for a $31.5 million bonus, Jose Iglesias and Frankie Montas were part of the same three-team deal that brought Jake Peavy to Boston in 2013, and Manny Margot was the centerpiece of the trade to acquire Craig Kimbrel from San Diego.

         

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.