“Who are some prospects we might see traded for Giancarlo Stanton?”
“What do you think it would take to land David Price?”
“Can you believe what Kevin Towers did?”
Such are the questions we’re most accustomed to seeing when it comes to trade deadline analysis. Engaging in hypothetical trade discussions is fun, allows for midseason rosterbation and also gives us plenty of Twitter fodder. I don’t want these questions to go away.
That being said, they’re not entirely useful from a fantasy POV. Speculating on players who could change teams before they in fact change teams is a fool’s errand, and, unless you’re playing in AL- or NL-only leagues, is unnecessary to boot. When it comes to MLB trades, it’s better to read and react than try to predict.
What’s perhaps more useful than trying to ping down who might be dealt at the deadline is who we’d like to see dealt, from a fantasy POV. And while MLB players may come to mind more readily, it’s a useful exercise for prospects, too.
With this timely notion in mind, here are four prospects I’d like to see moved at the deadline thanks to contextual factors, organizational depth and what we know about each team’s player development.
Josh Bell, OF, PIT
Up until this point in his MiLB career, Bell has been more hype than production. That’s changed this year, as the 21-year-old is hitting .333/.380/.495 in High-A and is skyrocketing up top prospect lists. The Pirates are good at developing hitters and Bell has a ton of natural talent, so why do I wish to see him traded? The answer is simple: I want him to remain in the outfield.
If you read Bell’s scouting reports, the industry seems to be fairly split as to whether he can remain a corner outfielder or will have to move to first base. The good news is his bat is so good that he’d still be a prospect even at baseball’s least demanding position, but he’d obviously have more value as an outfielder. But with the uber-athletic trio of Gregory Polanco, Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte patrolling the outfield in Pittsburgh, it’s quite unlikely Bell sees any MLB time out there if he remains in this org. If he’s dealt to a team with a long-term first baseman already established, he’s likely to call left field his home for at least the first part of his career.
Dylan Bundy, SP, BAL
Bundy was viewed as a very safe arm who could move faster than the average prep arm when the Orioles selected him in 2011. He did indeed fly through the majors, making his MLB debut in 2012 before suffering a torn UCL in 2013, causing him to miss nearly the entire season and some of 2014, too. But that’s not why I want to see Bundy dealt — all pitchers break, it seems, and I have no reason to suggest the Orioles’ treatment of Bundy led to his injury. The O’s have screwed up enough other pitching prospects for me to be skeptical, though, and if Bundy stays in Baltimore contextual factors will never be in his favor.
Coming out of high school, Bundy was lauded for his plus-plus cutter, which frequently popped up when people cited the best pitches in the minor leagues. The O’s took that away, and while it may be (or may not) be a reasonable stance, it likely hurt Bundy’s ETA nonetheless. I’m also looking at what the O’s are doing to Kevin Gausman right now — keeping him on the Triple-A shuttle despite his clear stature as one of their best five starter options — and that’s not thrilling me. Plus, if Bundy’s future home lies in a pitcher-friendly park rather than Camden, he could be a true fantasy monster. He’s probably so good that the Orioles can’t screw him up, but why tempt fate?
Joc Pederson, OF, LAD
Pederson is hitting .324/.445/.572 in Triple-A this year. Yes, he’s being aided by a .445 BABIP, and yes he’s striking out in over a quarter of his PA. But his 17.7 BB% is real, as are his 17 homers and 20 stolen bases, and the 22-year-old is posting a wRC+ of 166. He’s showing off why so many believe he’s the complete fantasy package, and he’d be in the majors already in just about any other organization.
Unfortunately, Peterson is blocked by the cumbersome contracts of Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, plus the inimitable Yaisel Puig. While there’s been much speculation that one of Kemp or Ethier could be dealt, it would be easier for the Dodgers to incorporate Peterson into a deal, perhaps for a young catcher or third baseman. Either way, seeing Peterson depart for an organization where he’d be assured of regular playing time would do this dynasty leaguer’s heart some good, as he doesn’t deserve to be stuck in purgatory on the west coast.
Anthony Ranaudo, SP, BOS
I’ve come around somewhat on Ranaudo as of late. He thoroughly unimpressed me when I saw him in Portland last year, and it’s possible I clung to that snapshot of him for too long. That led me to dismiss his early success this year, but it’s clear to me now that Ranaudo has made an adjustment that’s dramatically improved his control. While Ranaudo is still walking about 10% of the batters he’s facing, he hasn’t walked more than two batters in an outing since June 1, which was his last start before making an adjustment to his delivery.
If this is the real Ranaudo now, I’d argue that he’s a back-end starter and not just a middle reliever, and if he moves to a favorable home ballpark he could be of interest in 16-team leagues. The Sox have a ton of pitching prospects in or near the majors and Ranaudo lacks the upside of a Henry Owens, Rubby De La Rosa or Allen Webster, so here’s to hoping he gets moved to another club — preferably in the NL — in the coming weeks.