Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report: Bo Bichette & The MLB Trade Deadline Special
For a prospectaholic like myself, the MLB Trade Deadline is pretty much a National holiday. Each year, countless prospects are included in deadline deals and this year was no different. After a slow build up, the last few hours before the 4pm deadline became a whirlwind of deals, most of which including at least one prospect of note. The heck with shark week. Sharknado has nothing on the Prospect-icane that demolished the MLB landscape yesterday. I’m pretty sure I just also set a record for most made-up words used in one paragraph. Oh yeah, on top of all that madness, Bo Bichette and Dustin May were summoned to the Majors over the last few days.
As the dust settles from a crazy trade deadline, here are the prospects from my mid-season top-250 that changed teams at the deadline…
17. Taylor Trammel | CIN to SD
30. Jesus Sanchez | TB to MIA
58. Jazz Chisholm| ARI to MIA
83. Zac Gallen | MIA to ARI
100. Seth Beer | HOU to ARI
102. Corbin Martin | HOU to ARI
122. J.B. Bukauskas | HOU to ARI
196. Logan Allen | SD to CLE
220. Anthony Kay | NYM to TOR
221. Mauricio Dubon | MIL to SF
Are you sitting down? If you’re not, take a seat in the nearest comfy chair you can find because this is going to be a beast of a prospects report. Sit on the damn floor if you have to. Whatever it takes. Go big or go home, right?
If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Eric Cross’ Top-250 prospects, Top-300 Dynasty League Rankings, & 2019 FYPD/J2 Rankings.
Fantasy Baseball Prospects Report: Bo Bichette & The Trade Deadline Special
Before we get into all the prospects that got traded this week, let’s discuss a few high profile promotions.
Bo Bichette Joins Vlad in Toronto
The biggest news in a jam-packed week was the Blue Jays announcing on Sunday night that Bo Bichette was being promoted to the Majors. With Bichette’s promotion, the trio of Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and Cavan Biggio are all back together just as they were in Double-A New Hampshire for a chunk of the 2018 season. That team also has Lourdes Gurriel Jr on it for a stint as well. To say that New Hampshire lineup was loaded is the understatement of the century.
Bichette finished last season with a .286 average, 11 home runs, and 32 steals after posting a .362/14/22 campaign in 2017. Equally as impressive was the fact that he walloped over 40 doubles in each of those seasons as well. This season was more of the same as Bichette was hitting .288 with 18 doubles, eight home runs, and 16 steals, in 233 at-bats before being summoned to the show.
Bo Bichette's first career HR. pic.twitter.com/NzTbPTTM7k
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) July 31, 2019
So now that Bichette has come North of the border, what can we expect this season and long-term from Bichette? The short answer is quite a bit. When he was with New Hampshire last season, I got to see a ton of Bo’s at-bats live and the one constant was hard contact. Bichette’s at-bats routinely ended with loud contact of some sort, whether it ended with a hit or an out. Here’s a blurb from my live scouting report of him from 2018…
“He keeps his weight balanced in the box while waiting for the pitch, then shifts his weight to his rear leg, and times pitches with a moderate leg kick. As you’ll see below, his hand movement is perfectly synced with his leg kick. Bichette combines lightning-quick wrists and bat speed with a swing path that is direct through the zone.”
The bat speed I mentioned above is truly elite. Anyone that watches him for two seconds can realize that. With Bichette’s plus hit tool, plus speed, and average raw power, the ceiling is a .300/20/30 middle infielder that could challenge for batting titles at some point in his career. For the rest of 2019, I’d expect close to double-digit steals, a handful of homers, and a batting average north of .270 or so. Obviously, he’s worth scooping up in all mixed leagues and if you need to use a high waiver to get him, I wouldn’t hesitate.
Dustin May Heading to Hollywood
Bichette isn’t the only big-name prospect to get the call this week. Once the dust settled from the trade deadline frenzy, it was reported that the Dodgers were calling up their top pitching prospect, right-hander Dustin May for his Major League debut on Friday. The “Gingergaard”, as he’s referred to due to his flowing red locks and comparisons to Noah Syndergaard, had only been in Triple-A for five starts before getting the call to Los Angeles. Those five starts combined with 15 in the Double-A Texas League yielded a 3.38 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 9.3 K/9 in 106.2 innings of work.
While I’m not quite on board with the Thor comparisons, there’s considerable upside here. May features a plus fastball in the low to mid-90s with strong arm side run and sink that generates plenty of weak contact on the ground. Offsetting the heater is a plus power curveball that acts like a slider due to its velocity and break, a cutter that flashes plus, and a changeup. While the fastball, curve, cutter combination can be deadly, May’s changeup is well behind the other three pitches, often overthrown without much break. If he can develop his changeup a little more to help offset lefties, May has the potential to develop into a #2 starter capable of low ratios and around a strikeout per inning.
Royce Lewis & Oneil Cruz Promoted to Double-A
A few levels down, we had another pair of high-profile promotions from Class-A Advanced to Double-A, both being high-upside shortstops within my top-100 prospects. The 2019 season hasn’t quite been what we expected from 2017 #1 overall pick Royce Lewis, mainly in the batting average department. After hitting .292 last season with an 8.0% walk rate and 15.3% strikeout rate, Lewis is at .238, 6.4%, and 21.1% respectively this season. His struggles really started once he was promoted to Class-A Advanced in the middle of last season. However, I’m not worried one stinking bit. He’s still running and hitting for some power, and with his plus contact skills and feel for hitting, he should pick up the production soon enough.
Joining Lewis in Double-A, albeit, in a different league, is Pirates farmhand Oneil Cruz. Cruz has been one of the most intriguing shortstops around over the last couple of seasons due to the fact that he’s 6’6 with easy plus raw power. Dare I say, Cruz’s raw power might even be 70-grade. Like with Sanchez, the home run total hasn’t matched up with that raw power quite yet, but Cruz’s annual 50+% groundball rate has a lot to do with that. Once he starts hitting more balls in the air, expect the home runs to come in bunches.
"He has as much raw power as anyone in the system." 👀
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 23, 2019
I’m still not 100% certain Cruz remains at shortstop longterm, but he’s shown adequacy there in the field so far and has a rocket for an arm. If he does need to slide over to the hot corner, his potent bat and arm will allow him to fit in nicely. One thing I’d still like to see Cruz improve is his patience at the dish. He’s been able to hit for respectable averages and keep his strikeouts in check so far thanks to above-average contact skills, but I worry that more advanced pitching will exploit him a little in Triple-A and the Majors. Still, the upside here is considerable. As of now, Cruz is hitting .316 with seven homers and eight steals in 155 at-bats this season.
Trent Grisham Rides Breakout Season to Milwaukee
Leading up to the 2019 season, Trent Grisham’s performance in the minor leagues had been mostly underwhelming. The tools that made Grisham (or Trent Clark at the time), a first round pick back in 2015 were still there, but he just couldn’t translate that into production. Until this year that is. Grisham hit .254 with 13 homers in 63 Double-A games, earning a promotion to Triple-A back in June. Since that promotion, Grisham has bee one of the top hitters in the minors. He slugged another 13 home runs in just 134 Triple-A at-bats while slashing a robust .381/.471/.776/1.247. The plate approach has always been sound, but Grisham lacked aggressiveness. He often settled for the walk instead of looking for pitches to drive. That’s been an adjustment he’s made this season that Brewer’s manager Craig Counsell discussed below.
Craig Counsell breaks down the changes in Trent Grisham’s approach at the plate that led to his major-league callup: pic.twitter.com/RLuKpMzX1N
— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) August 1, 2019
A more aggressive Grisham is a beautiful thing. And with his plus raw power, this power surge he’s showing this season is legit. I’m not entirely sure how much he’ll play with Milwaukee, but he’s worth adding in mixed leagues to see how it shakes out.
Blue Jays Acquire LHP Anthony Kay & RHP Simeon Woods Richardson
The New York Mets rarely make sense with their moves these days. As I’m writing this, the Mets sit 10th in the National League with an uphill climb to even get into the Wild Card hunt. But hey, let’s trade two solid pitching prospects for Marcus Stroman who has struggled with both performance and durability issues over the last few seasons. However, Stroman isn’t our focus here. SWR and Kay are. This is a prospects report after all. So let’s dig into the two arms the Blue Jays received in this deal.
These two arms are at opposite ends of the developmental spectrum. Anthony Kay began the 2019 season with Double-A Binghamton, posting a 1.49 ERA across 12 starts before struggling in seven Triple-A starts. Overall, Kay screams mid-rotation arm to me. He features a low-90’s fastball with run and mixes in a curveball and changeup that both flash plus at times. We could see Kay up with Toronto by the end of the season or early-2020 at the latest.
While Kay is on the cusp of the Majors, Simeon Woods-Richardson is still a couple of years away as he was just drafted last year by the Mets in the 2nd round. The 6’3 right-hander boasts a plus fastball-curveball combination with a serviceable changeup as his third offering. With a clean and repeatable delivery and above-average command, SWR is able to get the most out of his three-pitch mix and projects as a #3 with the ceiling of a #2 starter.
OF Taylor Trammell to San Diego & LHP Logan Allen to Cleveland in 3-Team Trade
Just when it seemed like Trevor Bauer might not get traded, BOOM, a three-team blockbuster. You gotta love the MLB trade deadline. Not only were there some big Major League pieces changing uniforms in this deal, but there were also a couple of prospects of note dealt as well. Most notably, outfielder Taylor Trammell who was my #17 overall dynasty prospect in my mid-season rankings update.
After back to back strong seasons in 2017-2018, Trammell has experienced some difficulties adjusting to the Double-A level this season. Through 94 games, Trammell is hitting just .236 with 17 extra-base hits, six home runs, and 17 steals in 21 attempts. The speed has still been there, but he’s struggled at the plate to make consistent contact like he did prior to 2019. A silver lining though has been the continued sound approach and strong walk rate.
— Emily Waldon (@EmilyCWaldon) July 31, 2019
With his clean mechanics, bat speed, and above-average to plus contact skills that he displayed in the lower levels, I still feel confident that Trammell develops into a .280 type of hitter with an OBP in the .370-.400 range. Add in his plus speed and he looks tailor-made to slot leadoff or #2 in the batting order. Plus, anyone you talk to in the game raves about his makeup and work ethic, which inspires a little more confidence that he’ll turn it around. If anything, his struggles this season have opened a buy-low window in dynasty formats. If that window has opened in your league, scoot your booty in and scoop him up. The upside here is still very high. And I wouldn’t worry too much about the move to pitcher-friendly San Diego. Power isn’t a major part of Trammell’s game anyways.
Departing San Diego and heading to the Cleveland Indians is rookie southpaw Logan Allen. Allen has been a constant on my top-250 for the last few years now, and like Kay above, has the look of an innings-eating mid-rotation arm. He’s struggled with the Padres this season but could sneak some starts in before Corey Kluber returns from the IL.
Diamondbacks Acquire RHP Zac Gallen from Marlins for SS Jazz Chisholm
When this trade initially went down, I immediately thought it made a ton of sense on both sides. One team had plenty of position prospect depth while the other plenty of pitching prospect depth. Trading from areas of depth to fill areas of weakness makes a ton of sense for both teams. The Marlins have really accrued a ton of pitching prospects with upside over the last few years with the acquisition of Sixto Sanchez, through the draft, and with the breakout campaign from Edward Cabrera this season.
However, that Cabrera breakout was overshadowed by an even more impressive performance from Zac Gallen at Triple-A. While most pitchers boasted ERAs north of four, Gallen carved up the Pacific Coast League like a plump turkey on Thanksgiving. Hold the phone Eric, it’s still summer. I know, I know. My apologies. In 14 PCL starts, Gallen recorded a pristine 1.77 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9, and 11.0 K/9 in 91.1 innings. That utter domination has been followed up by a 2.72 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and over a strikeout per inning in his seven starts with the Marlins.
Gallen has been able to succeed without elite stuff due to exceptional command of his entire arsenal. The arsenal itself is still pretty good, consisting of a low-90’s fastball, plus cutter, and a curve and changeup that both flash above-average. The Diamondbacks got themselves a damn good arm with #2 starter upside that can provide value down the stretch too. And in case you’re wondering, I like Gallen more longterm than all the other young Arizona arms, including Jon Duplantier.
Heading the other way is toolsy shortstop, Jazz Chisholm. As with Trammell above, the 2019 season has brought some challenges for Chisholm. Sure, the enticing power/speed profile has still been prominent with 18 homers and 13 steals, but Chisholm has been exposed in Double-A and currently sits with a .204 average and 33.8% strikeout rate.
The aggressive approach he uses, plus a swing with some length to it, needs to be refined or he’s going to continue to be overmatched by more advanced pitching in the upper minors. Plus, he tends to drop his backside a little during his swing, creating an uppercut swing path and has left his susceptible to velocity up in the zone. If Chisholm can refine his swing and cut back on his free-swinging ways, the upside is considerable.
Diamondbacks Acquire RHPs Corbin Martin & J.B. Bukauskas, OF/1B Seth Beer, and INF Joshua Rojas
In a hectic day of wheeling and dealing, the Diamondbacks and Astros pulled off the biggest deal of them all, swapping veteran ace Zack Greinke for four prospects. Three of those four prospects were within my overall top-125 in my mid-season update a few weeks back. Those being Seth Beer (#100), Corbin Martin (#102), and J.B. Bukauskas (#122). Acquiring young pitching was clearly the focus for the Diamondbacks at the trade deadline with the two arms they acquired here along with the aforementioned Gallen.
The most polarizing prospect in this deal without a doubt is Bukauskas. The arsenal is dynamic, but below-average command and control has held him back and currently limits his upside. The command issues combined with his high-effort delivery leads many, myself included, to wonder if Bukauskas is better suited as a bullpen arm moving forward. If that is the case, his plus fastball/slider combination could make him a late-inning asset and potentially a closer with considerable strikeout upside.
There’s some risk surrounding Martin now as well after undergoing Tommy John surgery last month. We can kiss the rest of 2019 goodbye and likely most of 2020 as well. If you’re rebuilding, it wouldn’t hurt to float a buy-low offer for Martin. He nearly made my top-100 prospects for a reason and possesses #2 starter upside thanks to three above-average to plus offerings and solid command.
The return package the Diamondbacks received should really be called “two pitchers of beer.” Get it? Because they acquired two pitchers and a hitter with the last name Beer? Thank you, I’ll be here all week. While I like Beer as a hitter, him moving to the National League clouds his future outlook a tad. Beer is not a good fielder. There’s no way to sugar coat that.
In all reality, Beer has the hit tool and raw power to become a .280/30 type of hitter. However, he’s much better suited as a designated hitter. He played both first base and corner outfield during his collegiate days at Clemson and also during his time in the Astros system. He’ll likely get some run at both positions in the Arizona system. Beer is currently enjoying a superb 2019 season, hitting .309 with 25 home runs in 98 games.
Lastly, we have Joshua Rojas. One might look at Rojas’ numbers this season and get excited. Don’t. While Rojas has certainly impressed over the last two seasons, he projects more as a utility infielder.
Marlins Acquire OF Jesus Sanchez from Rays
If their goal was to beef up their positional prospects, the Marlins nailed it out of the park. In addition to Jazz Chisholm, Miami nabbed Jesus Sanchez from the Rays for pitchers Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson. Ryne Stanek was also acquired in the deal. Sanchez is one of my favorite outfield prospects around right now. Firstly, he’s build like a linebacker at 6’3 and 230 pounds. But don’t let that size fool you. Sanchez has plus athleticism to go along with above-average to plus tools across the board. His mechanics and swing are sound, and Sanchez is able to generate plenty of bat speed and hard contact from the left side of the plate. He’s still growing into his plus raw power and should be able to tap into it more once he starts hitting more flyballs and adds some loft to his mostly linear swing path.
An above-average runner, Sanchez will likely lose a little speed, but still settle in the 10-15 range annually for stolen bases. Combine that with his plus hit tool and 30-homer upside, and you have a well-rounded offensive weapon in the making. Sanchez ranked 30th in my mid-season top-250 and 11th among outfielders.
Prospect Stash Rankings
No, these aren’t rankings of what prospect have the best mustaches. These are the prospects currently in the minors that can make the biggest 2019 impact. This is a combination of ETA and potential 2019 impact.
- Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU | Last: 1
- Gavin Lux, 2B/SS, LAD | Last: 3
- Carter Kieboom, SS/2B, WAS | Last: 4
- Isan Diaz, 2B, MIA | Last: 5
- Jake Fraley, OF, SEA | Last: 6
- Luis Robert, OF, CHW | Last: 7
- Jo Adell, OF, LAA | Last: 8
- Ryan Mountcastle, 1B/3B, BAL | Last: 9
- Jorge Mateo, SS, OAK | Last: 10
- Willi Castro, SS, DET | Last: NR
HM: Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT | Brent Rooker, OF, MIN |
Called Up: Bo Bichette
- Mitch Keller, RHP, PIT | Last: 2
- Anthony Kay, LHP, TOR| Last: 3
- A.J. Puk, LHP, OAK | Last: 4
- Deivi Garcia, RHP, NYY | Last: 5
- Matt Manning, RHP, DET | Last: 5
Photo/Video Credit: Todd Rosiak, Alex Fast, MLB Pipeline, Emily Waldon, Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) and a contributor in the best-selling Fantasy Baseball Black Book. For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
Fantrax is one of the fastest growing fantasy sites of 2019. With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.