The MLB trade deadline was perhaps one of the most normal things that occurred in 2020. Good players on bad teams were sent to good teams, and good young prospects on good teams were sent to not-so-good teams in return. There were some oddities, no doubt, and a huge part of the reason Mike Clevinger was traded is COVID-19 related, but it was fun to feel like a normal day of baseball was going on, at least for the few hours leading up to the trade deadline.
26 prospects changed hands officially over the weekend, with well more who will get moved as players to be named later, an oft-used workaround this year to bypass MLB’s rule that only players on the 60-man roster can be dealt.
I decided to take on the task of ranking all 26 of those prospects as fantasy assets, so those who play in dynasty leagues can evaluate which names may have had their stock rise or fall with their new digs.
It won’t be a surprise to anyone that former San Diego Padres prospects dominate this list, but there are still plenty of other guys that switched teams that could be worth a look in dynasty leagues.
1. OF Taylor Trammell (SD -> SEA)
We’ll start with Trammell, who was No. 53 on our Top-1oo prospect list this offseason,and No. 3 on our Padres list. Trammell is a 22-year-old outfielder who could become a true five-tool threat. The speed is already there with 110 minor league steals, and the defense is potentially elite–although he’s likely limited to left field because of a poor throwing arm.
The bat is coming around, and a swing change made by San Diego may have unlocked some added power, which is extra exciting. Seattle has a really crowded outfield mix, with Trammell, Jake Fraley, Mitch Haniger, and Jarred Kelenic all set to compete to start alongside Kyle Lewis for a starting role starting in 2021 (if not sooner).
If/when Trammell earns a regular gig, don’t be surprised to see him 12-team relevant right away thanks to his speed and burgeoning power.
2. 3B/2B Hudson Potts (SDP -> BOS)
Potts transitioned to second base briefly in the minor leagues last year, which makes him a more intriguing fantasy asset. He’s a big power guy from the right side of the dish, although his strikeout issues are going to hold him back from being a star.
Still, he has the potential to be a reliable 20 home run guy at 3B or 2B, or at the very least a plus-hitting utility infielder. He’s worth rostering in many dynasty formats, and moving to Boston in the Mitch Moreland trade should allow Potts to bang plenty of doubles off the Green Monster and home runs over it, probably as soon as 2021.
3. SS Terrin Vavra (COL -> BAL)
Vavra, the headliner in Colorado’s acquisition of Mychal Givens, was the Rockies’ No. 7 ranked prospect in our offseason rankings. He was a third round pick in 2018 who blasted 10 home runs with 18 steals and an excellent .318/.409/.489 slash line in Single-A last season. Any time a hitting prospect moves away from Colorado, they become less appealing because of park factors, but more appealing because they likely won’t have their playing time jerked around like Colorado does with their young guys.
Vavra is a potential 15/15 type guy, and can play nearly every infield spot on the diamond. And a move to Baltimore, a team that will almost certainly let him play as soon as he is ready, and to Camden Yards no less is a blessing for Vavra. He’s an appealing dynasty target if he’s still available.
4. SS Gabriel Arias (SD -> CLE)
A shortstop with excellent glovework and developing power, who blasted 17 home runs in High-A as a ridiculously young 19-year-old? Yeah, the Indians are really hoping they found Francisco Lindor 2.0 here with Arias. Arias has a super sky-high ceiling, but strikeout issues are definitely a concern, as he has a lot of work to do on his plate discipline if he wants that power to play out in games.
Still, Arias is a borderline top-1oo prospect who has a higher ceiling than anyone else on this list, but comes in at No. 4 because the floor, like it is for most 20-year-olds, is pretty low. If you’re the gambling type, Arias is a great name to stash.
5. LHP Joey Cantillo (SD -> CLE)
Cantillo is perhaps the prospect with the most to gain from a trade this weekend. Not that San Diego is bad at developing unheralding pitching prospects into stars, but Cleveland is absolutely elite at it. And Cantillo is a former 16th round pick who sits at barely 90 miles per hour but who exploded into an incredible 2019 season in Fort Wayne last year.
Letting Cleveland’s development staff do their magic here has me truly believing that Cantillo could be an easy mid-rotation arm in a few years or so, which makes him a very valuable pitching prospect. If he shows a slight velo spike, he’ll be an easy top-100 prospect. He’s a great guy to start stashing now if you can.
6. SS Owen Miller (SD -> CLE)
Miller has a lower ceiling than Arias and Cantillo, but he’s much closer to being a big league contributor. Miller is a high-contact hitter with enough power to be fantasy relevant, having mashed 13 home runs in AA as a 22-year-old last year. He can handle shortstop and second base with ease, and seems likely to be a solid, if unspectacular, big league regular–possibly as soon as 2021 if afforded the opportunity.
Miller is one of the safer names on this list, but for dynasty owners looking to strike gold he won’t be as popular of a pick.
7. RHP Andres Muñoz (SD -> SEA)
Muñoz is the second prospect piece in the big Austin Nola trade, joining Trammell and a pair of young position players in Ty France and Luis Torrens. Muñoz is a 21-year-old flame-thrower who regularly sits 99 and has hit 103 on the gun.
He already made his big league debut, striking out 30 in 23 innings in 2019, but an arm injury in March led to Tommy John surgery, so the Mariners won’t get to see him or his legit 80-grade fastball on the bump until late 2021 at the earliest.
Still, he’s worth keeping an eye on in deeper dynasty formats as a potential future closer.
8. OF Edward Olivares (SDP -> KC)
Olivares originally joined the Padres in the Yangervis Solarte trade ahead of the 2018 season, and he put together two stat-stuffing seasons in the minor leagues, mashing 30 home runs and stealing 56 bases between 2018 and 2019, played at High-A and Double-A, respectively, before getting dealt to Kansas City for Trevor Rosenthal.
Oliveras earned a surprise spot on San Diego’s Opening Day roster in 2020, but he sputtered to a .176/.222/.294 line with a 39% strikeout rate and a sub-6% walk rate in just 36 plate appearances.
With Franchy Cordero and Nick Heath both on the injured list, Cordero could come in and compete for playing time right away in Kansas City, and he’s a prime candidate to take over in left field if Alex Gordon is not retained after 2020.
Olivares has the tools to be a fantasy asset down the line, but until those strikeouts come down, he’s a rather boring dynasty target. Moving from one huge park to another huge park, now with a team with a worse offense around him doesn’t exactly do him any favors at this time.
9. 1B/3B Tyler Nevin (COL -> BAL)
Nevin was the second piece in the Givens trade, in what amounted to be a very solid haul for the O’s. Coming in at No. 16 on our Rockies prospect list, Nevin profiles as a high-average corner infielder, although he’s played a little outfield as well.
If he can hack it at third base, he will up his value immensely. Right now he looks like a high-average, low-power 1B-only type guy, which holds very little value in fantasy leagues. Camden Yards is not the worst place for guys who are still hoping for a power breakout, so I’m still pretty intrigued, but the defensive profile limits the overall value here.
10. OF Stuart Fairchild (CIN -> AZ)
The return for Arizona in the Archie Bradley trade, Fairchild is a defense first outfielder with a cannon arm who should stick in center or be a plus fielder in right. Fairchild has raw power and speed as well, and his improvements in plate discipline last year are notable, but I still think the hit tool is concerning enough that I’m not willing to buy in just yet.
If Arizona can help him tap into some game power, he could be a deep sleeper to keep a close eye on, but until that happens I think he’s fourth-outfielder material.
11. OF Jeisson Rosario (SDP -> BOS)
Rosario is just 20 years old, but his uber-athleticism and good plate discipline makes him a very intriguing prospect to keep an eye on. He has plenty of speed to burn as well, and the main thing holding him back from being a fringe top-1oo type guy is his lack of power. If that ever comes, watch out.
Even if not, however, he’s not a bad dart throw in deeper dynasty leagues.
12. OF Marcus Smith (OAK -> TEX)
Smith was the prize return in the inter-division deal between the Rangers and A’s that sent Mike Minor to Oakland. A third round pick in 2019 who came in at No. 8 on our preseason ranking of Oakland’s prospects, Smith is an extremely fast outfielder who tore up rookie ball pitching as an 18-year-old in 2019, slashing .361/.466/.443.
The power is non-existent, so he’ll need to continue to hit for a high average to be fantasy relevant. Moving from Oakland to Texas can’t hurt in that regard, if and when he reaches the show, which likely won’t be for a few years.
13. SS Lucius Fox (TB -> KC)
Fox came in at just No. 30 on our preseason Rays prospect rankings, despite his status as a former top prospect. Fox has blazing speed (123 minor league steals, including 39 in 2019) but his hit tool has yet to show up, with a career .244/.337/.325 slash line over the past four years.
Perhaps the Royals see something they believe they can unlock with Fox, who is 23 and saw action in 15 games at AAA last year, but more likely they view him as a glove-first utility infielder/pinch runner type guy, which likely means he will have little relevance in fantasy.
14. OF Griffin Conine (TOR -> MIA)
Conine is a 23-year-old outfielder with 70-grade raw power and massive strikeout issues whose father, Jeff, played in the MLB for over a decade. If that doesn’t sound exactly like a Blue Jays prospect, I don’t know what does.
Conine will need to cut down on the strikeouts if he wants to be a big league contributor (36% in Single-A last year) but the potential to mash home runs with regularity is definitely there, which now makes him sound like a typical Marlins prospect–hence the move.
Miami just added Starling Marte, and Conine’s big league timeline is at least a year or more away as it is, so dynasty owners shouldn’t be expecting to see Conine anytime soon.
When they do, he could be a high-power, low batting average corner bat–but only if those Ks come down.
15. LHP Kevin Smith (NYM -> BAL)
In a farm system stocked with decent pitching talent, including David Peterson, Thomas Szapucki, and Matthew Allan, it was Kevin Smith who was the team’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2019 after he dominated High-A hitters and held his own in a brief cameo at AA.
Smith has the makings of a rotation piece, with a plus slider and above-average changeup, but his fastball is fringey and so is his command–issues the Orioles will need to work out for him to avoid being a bullpen piece.
If I was more confident in Baltimore’s ability to develop pitchers I’d have him higher on this list, but I think there’s considerable bullpen risk here, even if his stuff is better than a lot of the other pitchers to follow. I’m not dramatically changing my ranking on Smith, but I’m dropping him a little with this move.
16. SS Zack Short (CHC -> DET)
The Tigers traded Cameron Maybin for the third time in his career (lol) this time sending him to the Cubs for 25-year-old infielder Zack Short.
Short is a high-OBP infielder who can play second, short, or third base and who has shown glimpses of some power and some speed in the past. The hit tool is average at best, however, which likely limits him to being a toolsy, high-OBP utility infielder at the next level.
Detroit could easily give him a look this season, but the fantasy relevance is very slim here unless he lucks his way into an everyday role down the line.
17. LHP Packy Naughton (CIN -> LAA)
The Cincinnati Reds snagged left-handed hitting outfielder Brian Goodwin right at the trade deadline, sending 24-year-old left-hander and 1920s noir detective Packy Naughton to the Angels in return.
Naughton was No. 35 on our preseason list of Reds prospects, although other sites tend to value him higher. Our primary issue is his lack of strikeout volume, which limits his fantasy return. His profile looks like that of a future reliever as well, and not one that seems destined for high-leverage roles.
Naughton may very well be a fine major league pitcher, but there is a very limited chance he has much, if any, fantasy relevance.
18. RHP Humberto Mejia (MIA -> AZ)
Acquired in the Starling Marte trade, Mejia made three starts for the Marlins this season, throwing 10 innings of 5.40 ERA ball with 11 strikeouts, six walks, and three home runs allowed. His command has been spotty in 2020 but was good in the minor leagues, and if he develops a better feel for his changeup, he could be a back-end starter type. If not, his stuff might play up well in the bullpen, although likely in a multi-inning or middle relief role.
19. RHP Israel Puello (PHI -> MIL)
Puello is one of three young arms headed to the Brewers in the David Phelps trade, and in my opinion he’s the most interesting. The 19-year-old spent each of the past two seasons in the DSL, and the results last year were electrifying: 1.92 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 32.3% strikeout rate, and a 7.4% walk rate.
His fastball already gets up into the mid-90s, and a plus slider makes him a really intriguing arm–albeit one that needs to face higher-level hitting before we can accurately assess his long-term fantasy outlook. Still, in very deep or NL-only dynasty leagues, he’s a guy I’d keep a close eye on–although Milwaukee’s struggles to develop pitching are well-documented.
20. 1B Dustin Harris (OAK -> TEX)
Harris was No. 46 on our preseason A’s list, an 11th round pick in 2019 who hit very well in both rookie-ball and short season A-ball after getting selected. As a 1B only defensive player, the power really needs to develop for Harris to be anything more than organizational depth for the Rangers – although a move from Oakland to Texas won’t hurt in that department if/when he reaches the show.
21. LHP Julio Frias (MIA -> AZ)
Frias is a 22-year-0ld left-hander who excelled in short-season A-ball last season, making 14 starts and posting a 2.86 ERA in 70 innings pitched with a 1.21 WHIP and a 73:23 K:BB ratio.
Frias has a live fastball that sits 97 with a lot of movement thanks to his low arm slot, but he’s wild and his secondaries are spotty, making him a likely reliever long-term–although a move into the late innings is not out of the question.
22. RHP Gerardo Reyes (SD -> LAA)
Reyes, 27, threw 26 innings as a member of San Diego’s bullpen this season before heading to Los Angeles as the return for Jason Castro.
Those 26 innings have been interesting, to say the least, as Reyes has returned a 3.41 FIP, 1.35 FIP and an outstanding 38:11 K:BB ratio, but a ghastly 7.62 ERA thanks in part to a 47.3 LOB rate. Reyes has long posted elite strikeout numbers in San Diego’s farm system, and his 70-grade fastball and 55-grade slider make it easy to see why. Unless his command can get under control (pun intended) he will be a volatile middle reliever, which is hardly useful in fantasy.
I think LA will give him plenty of looks this season, however, and with an unsettled bullpen, it’s not out of the question he will work his way into the late-inning mix if he performs well down the stretch.
23. RHP Matt Brash (SD -> SEA)
After AJ Preller and Jerry DiPoto sent seven players back and forth, they decided to effectively tack on two more after agreeing to send Taylor Williams to San Diego in exchange for fellow right-handed reliever Matt Brash.
Brash is a 22-year-old who was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB draft out of Niagara University. He’s only thrown 5.1 pro innings with zero earned runs and eight strikeouts, but his profile seems like a two-pitch reliever (Fastball/Curveball) who will likely be a middle inning guy. Seattle could have their eye on something to unlock here, but more than likely he’s organizational depth and an eventually middle relief arm, nothing to get too excited about.
24. RHP Brandon Ramey (PHI -> MIL)
The second piece in the Phelps deal, Ramey is a 6’3″ right-hander with a unique arm slot who carved up rookie-ball hitters as a 19-year-old last season. His changeup is solid, but like Puello we need to see him against higher caliber hitters before we can predict what kind of pitcher he will be.
Without much look at his breaking stuff–it’s hard to imagine anything other than a relief role for Ramey at this point, especially in Milwaukee’s system which cranks out high-octane relievers.
25. RHP Juan Geraldo (PHI -> MIL)
The third piece in the Phelps deal, and yet another teenage pitcher who dominated rookie-ball hitters last year. Milwaukee is definitely hoping to hit on one of these three arms, and seem likely to get a handful of bullpen arms out of the deal at worst.
Geraldo is the least scouted of the group, giving me even less to go on here, but his command is solid and his strikeout stuff was serviceable. We’ll know more, a lot more, once we see him stateside–likely in 2021.
26. LHP Travis Bergen (TOR -> AZ)
Acquired in the Robbie Ray trade, Bergen is a 26-year-old left-handed reliever who has a 5.06 ERA and a 23.1% strikeout rate in 21 big league innings, most coming last year with the Giants. This trade doesn’t make him any more or less appealing as a dynasty target, and unless he dramatically turns things around, he can be left alone in all formats.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)