Prospect Talk

Trade Deadline – Who’s Who of Prospects – NL Edition

What a trade deadline! You never know how much activity you’ll see year to year at the deadline, but 2021 didn’t disappoint, with former MVPs, Cy Young winners, and multiple All-Stars changing teams. Jared and Ken give you a short introduction to the prospects who changed teams. There were so many we had to split it into two articles, this one highlighting prospects joining NL teams, with the AL edition to follow.

Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers

Keibert Ruiz, C, 23, Majors

Ruiz has seen the majors but is still very much unproven there with only 15 career at-bats. In the minors, Ruiz was known for having a very good hit tool with a .300 career average, and very good plate discipline (177/127 K:BB in 439 minor league games). This year the power has really come around, as he already has 16 round-trippers, besting his previous career-high by four in 170 fewer at-bats. He’s also enjoying the by far his best ISO (.320). Keep in mind, his power spike this year was happening in Oklahoma City. Formerly a park in the PCL, it’s one of the best hitting environments in all of baseball. Keibert is likely already owned in any league rostering 200 prospects or more, and the Nationals are now fully committed to Ruiz being their ‘catcher of the future’ maybe as early as 2022. With his hit tool, and how shallow the position is, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ruiz found his way onto a couple of All-Star teams throughout his career. (Ken Balderston)

Josiah Gray, RHP, 23, Majors

Another near MLB-ready prospect, the Dodgers looked to be trying to find innings for Gray before the trade. He features a fastball sitting 93-96 and a slider that touches the high 80s. In order to maximize his potential, he’ll need to get more consistent with his curve and changeup. He’s only been pitching full-time since 2018, so there’s a good chance he can continue to improve one or both pitches and become truly dominant. Though his minor league career, Gray has struck out an impressive 228 batters in 198 innings and also shown impressive control, walking only 50. That 4.5/1 K:BB ratio should have fantasy owners drooling. It’s very unlikely Gray is available on waivers in your league, but if you like guys with upside, or are looking at making your team younger, Josiah Gray is an excellent trade target. Just ask the Nationals. (Ken Balderston)

Gerardo Carrillo, RHP, 22, AA

One of the lesser-known names in the blockbuster deal, Carrillo throws a sinker in the high 90s from a 3/4 arm slot, a slider with promise, and a curve and change that have yet to develop as hoped. He gets a good amount of groundballs, but he’s also fairly wild, sporting a 4.5 BB/9 in 2021 and just under 4.0 for his minor league career. Small in stature at 5’10 and 170 lbs, and only going an average of four innings per start, Carrillo screams quality relief pitcher. Maybe he gets a shot to close games at some point, but unless you’re in a very deep league there may be better options out there. (Ken Balderston)

Donovan Casey, OF, 25, AA   

Casey was having a very good season despite being quite old for the level, using his quick bat to hit .296 with 11 home runs and 15 steals before the trade. It’s a nice follow-up to his breakout 2019 campaign, when he hit .260 with 23 home runs and 22 steals across two levels. His strikeouts are a bit high and his walk rate is a tad low, which are consistent with his career minor league numbers, but the power and speed have also been consistent. This is the type of player who could still be available in your league, and the power and speed upside make him worth a pickup if you have an open roster slot. (Ken Balderston)

Javier Baez and Trevor Williams to the Mets

Pete Crow-Armstrong, OF, 19, A                              

Quite a return for a rental of Javier Baez (and Trevor Williams), PCA was a first-round pick in the 2020 FYPD and was off to a hot start before a shoulder injury ended his season in May. He’s known to have a good hit tool thanks to a quick, fluid swing that’s direct to the ball, and good bat-to-ball skills. Helping his fantasy stock is his plus speed, which shows well on the bases and in center field, where PCA is expected to stick long-term. The tool in doubt was his power, which was below average when signed, though some thought if he changed his swing path it could become average as his body matured. This is where the shoulder injury becomes an issue. If he has a hard time recovering it will be difficult to maintain any power he does have, let alone take that next step forward. The shoulder injury may have clouded PCA’s future enough for the Mets to include him in this trade, in what I felt was a good return for Baez. While PCA is no doubt rostered in your dynasty league, if you believe he can recover from said injury it might open a window for you to trade for him, the same as it did for the Cubs. (Ken Balderston)

Anthony Rizzo to the Yankees

Kevin Alcantara, OF, 19, FCL

With a large 6’6 frame, Alcantara is still slender at 188 lbs, but is young and has time to mature physically. Currently a plus runner, if he were to add some weight his power-speed combo would be very attractive in roto leagues. He does present a large zone, so strikeouts will likely be an issue, but so far he’s done a good job minimizing them (21.7%). With so much development in front of him, there’s no sure thing, but Alcantara is the type of prospect who can gain serious helium as he works his way up the ladder. Normally I’d suggest taking a wait-and-see approach, but given this was a high-profile trade, and the tools hint significant upside, you might want to grab Alcantara in leagues rostering 300 prospects while you can. (Ken Balderston)

Alexander Vizcaino, RHP, 24, A+

A slender 6’2, 170 lb frame has already pushed Vizcaino to pen arm and spot starter, and the pen is a realistic future for him. He spent 60 days on the IL earlier in the year and has struggled mightily with command (10 BB in 6 IP). The good news is he’s back healthy now and doesn’t have a history of control issues, so Vizcaino will get a fresh start in South Bend. Look for a fastball topping out at 97, a slider with good break that lacks consistency, and a changeup that needs work. With the bullpen risk and slow development (he’s 24 in High-A ball) this is a solid piece for the Cubs to have gotten back, but someone to keep more on your radar than go out and grab off your waiver wire. (Ken Balderston)

Kris Bryant to the Giants

Alexander Canario, OF, 21, A+

The Cubs completed the blow-up of their team by sending Kris Bryant to the Giants for two prospects. Canario opened eyes with the numbers he put up in 2019, leading the Giants to add him to their 40-man roster. He showed significant flaws in his hit tool even in that season, still sporting a 32.4% strikeout rate. He has cut that back to 28.8% in 2021 but that is still very high. A lot of people seem to be high on Canario but his 40-grade hit tool has many still reluctant to get on board. His biggest attributes are power and speed. He has incredible bat speed, but unless he fixes his hit tool we are going to see a lot of swings and misses. Canario is probably worth stashing in most dynasty leagues in the hopes that he figures it all out. (Jared Perkins)

Caleb Kilian, RHP, 24, AA

Kilian was the second piece in the trade to the Cubs. The 2019 eighth-round pick out of Texas Tech has turned some heads this year. He started in High-A pitching to the tune of an absurd 42.7% strikeout rate and a 13.29 K/9. He did see his strikeout rate cut nearly in half (26.2%) when he was promoted to Double-A. There isn’t much of a concern there as that is still very good. On top of that, he pounds the strike zone and rarely walks anyone. Since being promoted to Double-A, he is rocking a 3.3% walk rate. He isn’t going to overpower anyone with elite stuff, but he’s got three average secondaries (cutter, curveball, changeup) and does a fantastic job mixing up his pitches. He should get a shot in the major leagues sometime in the near future and is worth rostering in your dynasty leagues. (Jared Perkins)

Kyle Schwarber to the Red Sox

Aldo Ramirez, RHP, 20, A 

A player highlighted this year in TDG’s Digging for Diamonds, Aldo Ramirez is not someone who ranks super high on prospect lists, but he does have lots of potential. He’s pitched effectively in both of his seasons in pro ball, striking out over a batter an inning both years, and also walking just over 2.25 batters per nine. He sports two potential above-average pitches in his fastball (92-95) and his change. His curve is a bit of a work in progress, but it’s shown well and gives reason to believe it can be a solid third offering. I think the Nationals did well to acquire a guy like Aldo for a couple of months of Kyle Schwarber, and if you have the spot he’s a decent add in dynasty leagues rostering 300 prospects or more. (Ken Balderston)

Daniel Hudson to the Padres

Mason Thompson, RHP, 23, Majors

Already clearly a relief pitcher, having not started a game in the minors this season in 23 appearances. A career minor league ERA of 5.18 probably keeps him off your fantasy radar until he puts up playable stats at the earliest. (Ken Balderston)

Jordy Barley, SS, 21, A

Barley was having a good season before the trade, with a .240 average, eight home runs, and 33 steals in 39 attempts. He strikes out often, an average of once every three at-bats, partially due to below-average bat speed. Depending on how deep a league you play in, you might want to keep an eye on Jordy and maybe even add him. (Ken Balderston)

Adam Duvall to the Braves

Alex Jackson, C, 25, Majors 

A former first-round pick, sixth overall by the Mariners in 2014, Jackson is finally putting up positive numbers in a supercharged AAA. His average is at .287, up from a career .237, and his ISO is sitting at .407, also much higher than his career .212 mark. He’s still striking out more than you’d like (29.4%) and is hitting twice as many balls in the air as on the ground. If you are desperate for a catcher, you might keep an eye on Jackson but realistically he shouldn’t be relied on for much production at the major-league level. (Ken Balderston)

Spencer Howard, Kevin Gowdy and Josh Gessner to the Rangers

Hans Crouse, RHP, 22, AA

It was interesting to see Crouse head back to the Phillies with Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy. He has dealt with a few injuries recently that have set back some of his development, and some seem to think that the injuries will lead to him becoming a reliever in the future. The Rangers were still developing him as a starter and expect the Phillies to do the same. During his time in AA with Texas, he compiled a 3.35 ERA with 54 strikeouts in 51 IP. He has the stuff and pitch mix to become a starter, but the goal will be to keep himself healthy and show that he has the durability to do so. A good gamble for the Phillies, but you might not want to jump to add Crouse to your dynasty team yet. (Jared Perkins)

Jon Lester to the Cardinals

Lane Thomas, OF, 25, Majors                    

Thomas was once a popular prospect after he hit 27 home runs and stole 17 bases across two minor league levels in 2018. His triple slash was very similar in 2019, but he only played half the minor league season as he was called up to the bigs twice before spending the last month of the season on the 60-day IL. He possesses all-field power, though he does stay mainly pull side, and he has the ability to steal bases as well. If you’re rebuilding Thomas is worth a speculative add to see if he can get hot down the stretch. (Ken Balderston)

Richard Rodriguez to the Braves

Ricky DeVito, RHP, 22, A+

Despite being a bit old for the level, DeVito was putting up a pretty good season before the trade. He’s missed some time due to injury, but in five starts, he put up 27 strikeouts and only seven walks in 20 innings, with a 2.66 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. You might worry he’s only throwing an average of four innings per start, which could be a sign he’ll convert to the bullpen, but at the moment he’s showing promise in the rotation. DeVito throws a fastball sitting 92-94 with plenty of movement, a changeup with good sink, and a breaking ball he has difficulty throwing for strikes. I really like what the Pirates are doing in their minor league system, so I’ll be keeping an eye on DeVito in leagues rostering 300 prospects. (Ken Balderston)

*Bryse Wilson also sent to the Pirates

Jake Marisnick to the Padres

Anderson Espinoza, RHP, 23, A+

The Cubs completed a smaller trade as they received a former top pitching prospect from the Padres. Espinoza has been through every trial and turmoil you can think of. He is recovering from not one, but two Tommy John surgeries as well as missing a year of development in 2020 due to COVID-19. He is currently making his comeback in High-A, where his 5.02 ERA and walk rate over 10% might give pause. The stuff he was known for prior to the two surgeries looks to be back as he carries a 29.4% strikeout rate. The Cubs obviously saw something they liked and took a good gamble on an arm that used to be considered elite, but it might be worth waiting to see if he can bounce back before adding him to your dynasty roster. (Jared Perkins)

John Curtiss to the Brewers

Payton Henry, C, 24, AAA

Henry has twice put up double-digit home run totals in the minors and has boosted his average to .297 this season, an improvement on his career .248 figure. Payton comes from a wrestling family, so he’s strong and has a long-time commitment to weight training, suggesting he hasn’t tapped into his full power potential yet despite being 24 years old. This feels like a solid return for the Marlins, and someone to keep an eye on in this new system. (Ken Balderston)

To the Phillies

Braeden Ogle, LHP, 24, AAA

Already a reliever, after only starting two games going back to 2019, Ogle has a career minor league ERA of 3.10 and has struck out a batter an inning through his 162 career minor-league IP. While he might not carry much weight as a prospect, don’t be surprised if the Phillies call him up as they try to make some noise down the stretch. (Ken Balderston)

To the Pirates

Abraham Gutierrez, C, 21, A

Gutierrez is a good contact hitter who doesn’t strike out too much (just 15.3%). Don’t look for much power though, which limits his fantasy appeal. (Ken Balderston)

Brad Hand to the Blue Jays

Riley Adams, C, 25, Majors

An MLB-ready catcher with some pop at the expense of putting balls in play. He’s likely to spend most of his career as a backup if he can stick at the position, especially after the Nationals also added Keibert Ruiz. (Ken Balderston)

Eduardo Escobar to the Brewers

Cooper Hummel, OF, 26, AAA

Hummel is a career minor leaguer with 37 home runs and 13 steals in more than 1,100 at-bats. He has been productive this year in AAA though, so he could get a look by his new team down the stretch and warrants a speculative add if he does. (Ken Balderston)

Alberto Ciprian, INF, 18, DSL

Ciprian is slender at 5’10 and only 160 lbs. but has above-average raw power thanks to the use of his hands. There are questions about his hit tool, but keep an eye on him, he’s still quite young and has plenty of time to develop. (Ken Balderston)

Yimi Garcia to the Astros

Bryan De La Cruz, OF, 24, AAA

De La Cruz was having a very good year in AAA, with a .324 average, 12 home runs in 272 at-bats. He stands tall in the box and uses his body well to generate power pull side, while also covering the plate well and limiting strikeouts. Look for the Marlins to give De La Cruz a cup of coffee this summer, and he is worth stashing to see how he does. (Ken Balderston)

Ryan Tepera to the White Sox

Bailey Horn, LHP, 23, A+

Horn, a fifth-round pick in the 2020 FYPD, has struggled so far in pro ball. He’s split time between the rotation and the bullpen and put up a 5.63 ERA with 18 walks in 38.1 innings. On the bright side, he also has 45 strikeouts and has been effective in keeping the ball on the ground. There are some things to like here, but if he’s already getting bullpen looks, that’s likely where his future lies. (Ken Balderston)

Josh Harrison and Yan Gomes to the A’s

Drew Millas, C, 23, A+

Despite being a bit old for the level, Millas has put up some notable stats this season. First, he’s stolen 10 bases, which for a catcher is quite good. Also, his plate discipline is very good, with a 39:41 K:BB ratio in 220 at-bats. He doesn’t pack much power, so expectations should be tempered unless he can continue stealing bases through the upper minors. (Ken Balderston)

Seth Shuman, RHP, 24, A+

Shuman has been bouncing back and forth from the bullpen and the rotation the last two seasons with success. His ERA sits at 2.25 and he’s struck out 62 batters in 56 innings. He’s a fairly extreme flyball pitcher, but so far has allowed less than a home run per 10 innings, both this season and through his minor league career. While he’s not an elite prospect, he’s someone to monitor, especially if he can continue to produce as he rises up the minors. (Ken Balderston)

Rich Guasch, RHP, 23, A+

Similar to Shuman, Guasch has been bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen all three seasons in pro ball. Guasch is more likely to remain in the pen, as his command is not quite there (4.8 BB/9) and he’s struggled at preventing runs (4.67 ERA). If these trends continue, he can continue to wait on your league waiver wire. (Ken Balderston)

Andrew Chafin to the Athletics

Greg Deichmann, OF, 26, AAA

A former second-round pick, Deichmann has shown decent power through the minors, with a career ISO of .184. His plate discipline is solid, but he has never developed into useful batting averages until this year, as he’s hitting more balls on the ground but still owns a career ground outs/air outs ratio of 0.65. It’s always interesting to see what a new organization does with a player, but Deichmann strikes me as a fourth outfield or platoon type. Not a bad return for the Cubs, but maybe not someone you want to hold on to in fantasy baseball. (Ken Balderston)

Daniel Palencia, RHP, 21, A

Palencia was getting all he could handle in his first taste of pro ball, allowing a 6.91 ERA, six walks, and three home runs in 14 innings. He has also struck out 14 but will need to show more before being picked up in your fantasy league. (Ken Balderston)

Tyler Anderson to the Mariners

Carter Bins, C, 22, AA

Bins is a solid receiver but does little damage when putting the ball in play. He also has strikeout concerns but is great at drawing a walk, with a career minor league walk rate of 18%. Unless you’re in an OBP league that rosters around 400 prospects, you can probably leave Bins on the waiver wire. (Ken Balderston)

Joaquin Tejada, RHP, 18, DSL

Tejada has a below-average fastball, but a slider and curve that both could become above average. He’s slender at 5’11 and 160 pounds but has several years to add some weight and maybe a few mph on his fastball. He’s an interesting prospect that can stay on our radars, but his profile is fairly common and should only be added in the deepest of dynasty leagues. (Ken Balderston)

Clay Holmes to the Yankees

Diego Castillo, INF, 23, AA

Castillo has made quite a bit of progress this season. He has a career ISO of .090, but already has 12 home runs in 2021. He’s also twice shown he can steal double-digit bases and has eight this season with a month left. If you like gambling on small sample improvements, he should be available in your league. (Ken Balderston)

Hoy Park, INF, 25, AAA

Park is enjoying a modest breakout in 2021, with a .297 average, 11 home runs, 11 steals, and a 52:54 K:BB ratio in only 212 at-bats. It’s a breakout because Park is a career .254 hitter with a .117 ISO across a larger sample of 2,044 at-bats, so it could be tied to the hitting environment in AAA. Still, there’s a good chance Park gets a September callup, and the plate discipline and modest power-speed combo make him worth a speculative add in deeper leagues. (Ken Balderston)

Mychal Givens to the Reds

Case Williams, RHP, 19, A

Williams, a fourth round pick in the 2020 FYPD, was struggling to a 5.55 ERA through 47 innings with only 34 strikeouts. A trade to Colorado further reduces his fantasy appeal, and he can be left on waivers in most leagues (Ken Balderston)

Noah Davis, RHP, 24, A+

Davis has been sneaky good for the Reds in High-A this year, where he carried a solid 10.66 K/9. He has a decent four-pitch mix, with a fastball that has some decent sink to it. The issues he has faced this year have been related to his control. He probably has a ceiling of a fifth starter. You probably won’t want to jump to add him to your fantasy roster, especially now that he could potentially be pitching in Colorado. (Jared Perkins)

Adam Frazier to the Padres

Tucupita Marcano, INF, 21, AAA

Another prospect that was featured in TDG’s Digging for Diamonds series (maybe major league GMs have been checking it out), Marcano is a contact-first bat who also has great plate discipline (128:103 K:BB ratio in 1,005 career minor league at-bats). He can also steal a base, three times putting up double-digit steals in four years. It’s likely he is owned in leagues rostering 300 prospects, but if he’s not he’s definitely worth an add. He’s no longer blocked in Pittsburgh and could see a cup-of-coffee callup this September. (Ken Balderston)

Jack Suwinski, OF, 23, AA

Suwinski swings a fairly powerful bat, but also has some swing-and-miss to his game, and some difficulties hitting lefties. This type of profile generally finds its way to a pinch-hitter role, with a ceiling of a platoon player. This is all well and good for the Pirates, but not super attractive to fantasy owners. (Ken Balderston)

Michell Miliano, RHP, 21, A+

Miliano has closer stuff if he can ever harness the control. Armed with a big fastball, he has held opponents to a .165 average and struck out 59 in 31 innings. The control issues have ballooned his WHIP to 1.42, thanks to 26 walks, and he’s also hit 15 batters across 95 career minor league innings. There’s some work to be done, but Miliano has talent. He’s worth an add if you like rostering ‘closer of the future’ types. (Ken Balderston)

Billy McKinney to the Dodgers

Carlos Rincon, OF, 23, AA

Rincon is a power bat, with 15 home runs so far this year, and he has twice hit 20 in a season. He also has contact issues, and hits a lot of balls in the air, meaning he’ll likely never hit for a high average. It’s a solid return for the Mets, but fantasy owners have to wonder if he’ll ever get regular at-bats in the major leagues. (Ken Balderston)

Stephen Vogt to the Braves

Mason Berne, 1B, 25, A

Mason Berne is a 25-year-old struggling between rookie and A ball, nothing to see here. It’s likely the Dbacks sold Vogt’s contract or allowed him to make a push at the playoffs. (Ken Balderston)

Joc Pederson to the Braves

Bryce Ball, 1B, 23, A+

Ball gained some fantasy helium in 2019 when he took off between two levels, Rookie and Low-A. A lot of his success came from keeping his strikeout rate down (17.3% in Rookie and 22.2% in Low-A). In 2021, he has seen his strikeout rate increase to 28.5%. The downside to Ball is that he is a bat-only prospect, so if he doesn’t turn around his down year, he definitely loses some value. The upside is that he possesses 70-grade raw power, and it is definitely worth taking a flier on a guy like that as not many carry that kind of power upside. He also carries an 18.7% walk rate, so there are tools there that give you hope. You might consider rostering him in deeper dynasty leagues in the hopes he cleans up his plate approach and cuts down on the strikeouts. (Jared Perkins)

The Author

Ken Balderston

Ken Balderston

20+ years of fantasy baseball experience & currently only playing in dynasty leagues. Christian, proud father of 3, husband to the strongest woman in the world, accountant, golfer, cook.

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