7 MLB Prospects Who Will Be Untouchable at the 2021 Trade Deadline
With Friday's MLB trade deadline fast approaching, rebuilding clubs are scouring the minor league teams of contenders in hopes of bolstering their farm systems with blockbuster packages of prospects.
The Chicago Cubs showed how highly a contender can value what it views as the missing piece when they shipped highly regarded shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres to the New York Yankees for two months of Aroldis Chapman in 2016.
However, there are some prospects who are simply untouchable in trade talks.
Ahead we've highlighted seven top-tier prospects on contending teams who won't be going anywhere this summer, as they are too important to their organizations' long-term plans and have too much upside.
CF Garrett Mitchell, Milwaukee Brewers
B/R Top 100 Prospect Rank: 59
Slowly but surely, the Milwaukee Brewers are restocking a farm system that had thinned considerably in recent years.
When UCLA standout Garrett Mitchell fell into their laps at No. 20 in the 2020 draft, he immediately became the No. 1 prospect in the system, and he is off to an excellent start in his pro debut.
The 22-year-old hit an absurd .359/.504/.620 with 12 extra-base hits and 12 steals in 28 games at High-A Wisconsin to earn a promotion to Double-A Biloxi.
Questions about his ability to hit for power were part of the reason he slipped in the draft, but even if he maxes out at 15 homers, his polished approach and defensive profile in center field give him an extremely high floor.
The National League Central-leading Brewers will be buyers, but don't expect Mitchell to be included in any potential deals.
C Tyler Soderstrom, Oakland Athletics
B/R Top 100 Prospect Rank: 41
The Oakland Athletics paid a steep price to sign Tyler Soderstrom as the No. 26 pick in the 2020 draft, inking him to a $3.3 million bonus that was $650,000 above slot value.
It already looks like a wise investment.
The 19-year-old was billed as one of the best pure hitters in the class, and he is living up to the hype with a .306/.390/.568 line that includes 20 doubles, 12 home runs and 49 RBI in 57 games at Single-A Stockton.
While he has the defensive tools to stick behind the plate, he is also athletic enough to handle another position if the Athletics want to expedite his bat to the majors.
The A's are in the thick of the American League West race, and they could use some bullpen help and an upgrade at second base, but the cost-conscious organization can't afford to mortgage a potential homegrown star for a short-term upgrade.
1B Triston Casas, Boston Red Sox
B/R Top 100 Prospect Rank: 36
Triston Casas climbed to the top of the Boston Red Sox farm system when he hit .256/.350/.480 with 26 doubles, 20 home runs and 81 RBI in 120 games in Single-A and High-A at the age of 19 in 2019.
Now he's suiting up for Team USA in the Olympics after hitting .271/.354/.424 with 12 extra-base hits in 46 games at Double-A Portland to start the year.
The 21-year-old is the future for the Sox at first base, and he is just scratching the surface of his 65-grade power.
It would also take a blockbuster addition to pry middle infielder Jeter Downs loose, but Boston might be slightly more inclined to part with him after selecting prep shortstop Marcelo Mayer with the No. 4 pick in this year's draft.
The Red Sox have traded top-tier prospects in recent years—Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Manuel Margot and Anderson Espinoza—but don't expect Casas to be dealt any time soon.
RHP Shane Baz, Tampa Bay Rays
B/R Top 100 Prospect Rank: 33
The ill-fated 2018 deal that landed the Pittsburgh Pirates Chris Archer for Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows is about to get even worse.
The third piece of that puzzle was pitching prospect Shane Baz.
Selected with the No. 12 pick in 2017, he was still pitching in rookie ball at the time of the trade as a raw right-hander with electric stuff but a lot of work to do in polishing his command and refining his secondary stuff.
Fast-forward three years, and he is one of baseball's best pitching prospects.
The 6'2", 190-pounder has a 2.26 ERA, 0.84 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 55.2 innings in Double-A and Triple-A, and he has walked just 10 hitters for a career-best 1.6 bases on balls per nine innings.
Armed with a 70-grade fastball and 70-grade slider, he has the power stuff the Rays often value, and the strides he has already made give him frontline potential if he continues to develop.
C Francisco Alvarez, New York Mets
B/R Top 100 Prospect Rank: 32
If the New York Mets were willing to trade catcher Francisco Alvarez, they might have swung a deal to acquire Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant before the season even started.
However, the team balked at the idea of including its potential catcher back in February, according to Pat Ragazzo of Sports Illustrated.
It's not hard to see why.
The 19-year-old made a splash in his pro debut in 2019, and he is backing it up in his first taste of full-season ball with a .270/.399/.513 line that includes 13 doubles, 11 home runs and 38 RBI in 58 games in Single-A and High-A.
Slugging third baseman Brett Baty might also be off limits in trade talks.
SS CJ Abrams, San Diego Padres
B/R Top 100 Prospect Rank: 12
Baseball fans won't get to see any more of CJ Abrams in 2021 after he suffered a fractured left tibia and sprained MCL on June 30.
However, that doesn't mean the San Diego Padres would even consider throwing in the towel on one of the most dynamic prospects in the game.
The 20-year-old hit .296/.363/.420 with 16 extra-base hits and 13 steals in 42 games at Double-A San Antonio, and he is a .343/.398/.529 hitter in 348 minor league plate appearances.
With 80-grade speed and a 70-grade hit tool, he is going to wreak havoc at the top of the lineup once he reaches the majors, and he is athletic enough to handle shortstop, second base or center field.
There is also sneaky power potential in his 6'2", 185-pound frame, giving him all the ingredients to be a future superstar.
He's not going anywhere.
SS Marco Luciano, San Francisco Giants
B/R Top 100 Prospect Rank: 8
The smart money is on Kansas City Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to supplant Wander Franco as baseball's No. 1 prospect, but don't sleep on Marco Luciano.
The San Francisco Giants landed Luciano for a $2.6 million bonus as one of the prizes of the 2018 international class, and he made a splash in his pro debut with a .302/.417/.564 line that included 13 doubles, 10 home runs and 42 RBI in 47 games.
His full-season debut was among the most anticipated of 2021, and he has only fanned the hype flames by hitting .287/.379/.557 with 14 doubles, 16 home runs and 51 RBI in 282 plate appearances for Single-A San Jose.
The 19-year-old checks all the boxes to be an elite player once he reaches the majors.
"Luciano is one of the game's most electrifying prospects. He uses huge bat speed and strength to produce tons of loud contact—he was one of just five players 17 and younger who hit double-digit home runs in 2019—and reached a peak exit velocity of 118 mph at the alternate site," according to Baseball America.
He may wind up at third base, if for no other reason than his bat will be ready before he gets a chance to fully develop at shortstop, but he has the offensive profile to play anywhere.
Luciano is going to replace Buster Posey as the face of the franchise.