Breaking Down the Value of Traded Prospects
There aren’t many single days better than trade deadline day during the middle of the regular season. So many players and prospects on the move creates plenty of excitement and new opportunities. This year, there might not have been any stud prospects on the move, but there were plenty of intriguing names changing organizations. What does their future outlook look like with their new team? That’s why we’re here today as I sort through the traded prospects of note and dive into their value both now and moving forward.
For all the Major Leaguers that were traded, check out Doug Anderson’s beast of an article, breaking everything down at the Major League level.
Keep up with all the latest Fantasy Baseball happenings with Van Lee, Jeff Zimmerman and Rob Silver on the Launch Angle Podcast.
Top Traded Prospects
Yusniel Diaz (OF) and Others to Baltimore
This trade was a couple weeks before the trade deadline, but I wanted to wait until all the prospect trades had been completed to rant about Yusniel Diaz. The former Dodger’s farmhand immediately becomes arguably the top prospect in Baltimore’s system alongside Ryan Mountcastle. Diaz often doesn’t get enough love due to the fact that he doesn’t have any tools that currently grade as plus. What he does have are three above-average offensive tools with the upside for more in the future.
The last player to homer twice in a #FuturesGame was a skinny #Yankees prospect named Alfonso Soriano in the very first edition 20 years ago. @Dodgers' Yusniel Diaz did it tonight. More: https://t.co/v4sBRVSQ0b pic.twitter.com/KuE4mn1giY
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 16, 2018
The hit tool is where I want to focus. Currently a 55-grade, I believe there’s upside for much more here, even as high as 65-grade. Diaz makes a ton of contact and has a very advanced plate approach, which is evident when you see his 47/49 BB/K rate. Continuing this progression should lead to some .300/.400 seasons, making Diaz a dangerous top of the order hitter when you factor in his 20-plus SB potential. While his swing is more geared for line drives, Diaz has enough power to manage double-digit home run seasons in the Majors with the potential for around 20 if he adds loft to his swing.
Tyler Glasnow (RHP) and Austin Meadows to Tampa Bay
Okay, these two aren’t technically prospects anymore, but close enough. They’re young players of note, how about that? Better? Okay, moving on. In one of the biggest deals of the day, Tampa Bay received Meadows and Glasnow in exchange for Chris Archer. Both of the guys, at one time or another, were top-20 overall prospects, but unfortunately, both have lost a little bit of that star power over the last 12-24 months, especially Glasnow. Let’s start there.
When assessing Glasnow’s professional career so far, you need to look at both Glasnow’s. He’s baseball’s version of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. In the minors, we got the good Tyler, the promising Tyler. Then in the Majors, his evil twin brother, who we will call Taylor, takes over and ruins everything. Just take a look below at the difference between minor league and Major League Glasnow.
|Minors (593.1 IP)||2.02||1.07||5.4||0.4||4.2||11.9|
|Majors (144.1 IP)||5.74||1.69||9.5||1.3||5.7||9.8|
Basically, every conceivable statistic that you could think of has gotten worse for Glasnow in the Majors. Obviously, control and command are the main reasons for his struggles at the Major League level. You can hide command issues to a degree in the minors as hitters usually don’t have as much patience. Not so much in the Majors. Glasnow has a plus fastball and curveball when he can control it, but unfortunately, that’s not very often. His changeup is also a major work in progress that will need to be developed if Glasnow wants to remain a starter long-term.
The struggles for Meadows have been of a different variety. His stats have been fine for the most part, but Meadows has had a difficult time staying on the field since being drafted in 2013. In just one season, that being 2015, Meadows has eclipsed 100 games and/or 500 at-bats. Every other minor league campaign has seen him finish with less than 87 games and 352 at-bats.
Another problem has been the lack of playing time for him in the crowded Pittsburgh outfield. The Starling Marte suspension last April gave Meadows a huge opportunity, but he squandered that away by hitting .195. He never did get a shot last year as those struggles lingered for a while and various injuries set in again, limiting him to just 92 at-bats after May.
Fresh off being named NL Rookie of the Month, #Pirates No. 2 prospect (@MLB No. 39) Austin Meadows hit a game-tying solo ? in the 9th today, his 5th HR in 14 @MLB games. @Pirates prospects stats: https://t.co/9W6MvAhAc4 pic.twitter.com/EbppJpgg1z
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) June 2, 2018
This is the first year that production, opportunity, and health have gotten along for Meadows. Yes, he’s back in Triple-A following his trade to Tampa Bay. but that’s likely not to last for long. Meadows plus hit-tool, above-average speed, and developing power make him an intriguing stash in fantasy leagues down the stretch and a desirable dynasty target for the right price. Who doesn’t like a guy with the potential to hit .300 with around 20 home runs and 30 steals annually?
Genesis Cabrera (LHP) and Justin Williams (OF) to St. Louis
The Rays were busy on deadline day. In addition to dealing Archer, they acquired Tommy Pham from the Cardinals for the two men listed above. While neither Cabrera or Williams carry high fantasy upside, there’s some sneaky good value here in dynasty formats.
First, let’s look at Cabrera. In 20 starts and one relief appearance at Double-A, he’s compiled a 4.12 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 4.5 BB/9, and 9.8 K/9. The added strikeouts this season have been welcomed, but unfortunately, that career-best strikeout rate has come with a career-worst walk rate. The Dominican southpaw features a low to mid-90’s heater with arm side life and a sharp slider that has flashed plus potential. What Cabrera needs to work on is his control and changeup development. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before. If progress is made in those two areas, Cabrera has the upside of a #3 or #4 Major League starter.
On the other side of the ball, Williams has the makings of a four-cat fantasy asset. Both his hit tool and raw power grade out as average as it stands today, but both have the chance to become at least above-average with the power projecting as plus if he can generate more loft on his swing. Long-term he projects as a .270-25-10 type of player. Keep an eye on him to get a call-up once rosters expand in September with the chance to nail down a starting job next spring.
Jalen Beeks (LHP) to Tampa Bay
This might not have been on the trade deadline, but it’s worth bringing up. The first three outings of Beeks’ career didn’t exactly go as planned. The 25-year-old southpaw allowed 17 earned runs in 9.2 IP combined in those three outings and looked very out of place. His fastball was a meatball and his cutter and curveball weren’t doing much cutting or curving.
The problem is that the expectations for Beeks were too high coming into the Majors due to his success this season and last in the upper levels of the minors. At the time of his call-up, Beeks was leading the Triple-A International League in strikeouts. Yes, even ahead of Michael Kopech. Expectations need to be tempered. Beeks is talented, but expecting him to become a top of the rotation arm isn’t realistic.
Beeks’ arsenal consists of a low-90’s fastball, a mid to high 80’s cutter, an above-average change-up, and sometimes a curveball which is well behind the other three offerings. With the exception of that curveball, the rest of his arsenal grades out as average or above-average, but Beeks’ command of those pitches, or lack there of at times, turns those into very hittable pitches. There’s still some decent upside here, but the ceiling is more in the SP3 or SP4 range as opposed to a frontline starter.
Francisco Mejia (C) to San Diego
The perceived value of Francisco Mejia has been all over the place this season. He was blocked in Cleveland to start the season and didn’t help his case by hitting just .189 through April and May with just a trio of taters. It was at that point where the doubters and haters came out in full force, questioning his long-term value and whether he would stay behind the plate. Then June happened. Mejia hit .455 with four home runs and 23 RBI that month, silencing his doubters.
There’s still a chance he moves from behind the plate, but until that happens, Mejia is still the top catching prospect in the minors. His combination of a plus hit tool, plate discipline, and moderate power give him the upside of a top-5 offensive catcher in the near future. If any sort of buy-low window has been created in your league due to the reasons I mentioned last paragraph, now is the time to pounce and make an offer for Mejia.
Jean Carlos Encarnacion and Others to Baltimore
The Orioles restocked their farm system this year, acquiring several intriguing prospects from various teams. He might not be the biggest name, but Jean Carlos Encarnacion has sneaky good value in dynasty leagues. The 20-year-old Dominican native has impressive raw tools with plenty of future upside. His hit tool currently is 50-grade, though he does have some swing and miss tendencies and could start to work to walk a little more often. That approach will need to improve if he wants to hit higher than .250 in the Majors.
— Jason Woodell (@JasonAtTheGame) July 24, 2018
The hit tool isn’t why you’re going to want JCE in dynasty leagues. It’s his plus raw power. Encarnacion makes a ton of hard contact thanks to his quick wrists and bat speed. Though, most of these hard hit balls are more of the line drive variety leading to more doubles than home runs. With some added loft to his swing, Encarnacion’s raw power could begin translating into 30-plus home run seasons.
Oscar Mercado (OF) to Cleveland
The Cardinals wanted to clear up their outfield logjam for guys like Tyler’O’Neil and Harrison Bader, so a lesser prospect like Oscar Mercado ends up getting shipped away to Cleveland for another outfielder in Connor Capel who is further away from the Majors. Mercado might not be on the same level as O’Neil or Bader, but he’s still a decent prospect in his own right. His plus speed is his most not-worthy tool with the upside of 30-plus steals per season to go along with a .270 average or so and double-digit pop. Keep him on your radar in dynasty leagues.
Other Noteworthy Prospects Traded
Luis Ortiz (RHP) and Jean Carmona (SS) to Baltimore
Like I said, Baltimore acquired plenty of prospects over the last few weeks. Ortiz definitely helps an improving group of Baltimore pitching prospects. He has the upside of a No. 3 starter if he can improve his changeup and keep his control in check. At the very least, his plus fastball and slider will make him a back-end starter or solid bullpen arm. Much further away, Carmona has impressive tools, but he’s still very raw as a prospect. His speed should play well as he advances.
Willi Castro (SS) to Detroit
The 21-year-old Castro joins a Detroit system that already has Isaac Paredes at the same level. Both have played second base in their minor league careers, with Paredes also playing some hot corner this season, so playing time won’t be a problem at Double-A Erie. Castro possesses plus speed with decent bat to ball skills, though his power upside is limited and his walk rate is only 4.7% in his minor league career.
Chad Spanberger (1B) and Forrest Wall (2B) to Toronto
These aren’t the biggest names in the prospect world. However, both Spanberger and Wall have the upside to become valuable offensive contributors at the Major League level. Spanberger gets buried down prospect lists due to being a hit-first prospect, but that’s what we like in dynasty leagues, isn’t it? The upside here is high due to his plus power and at least average hit tool. Wall is more of a hit tool and speed prospect, though he’s struggled to hit for a high average at the Double-A level.
For more from Eric, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04. Also, make sure to check out Eric’s waiver wire recommendations every Friday and Dynasty Dugout piece every Tuesday, here on FantraxHQ.