Minor Leagues

Top Prospects Traded This Offseason

Unlike last offseason when top 25 prospects such as Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, and Michael Kopech were all dealt in blockbuster deals, this offseason has not seen the same type of high caliber youngsters swap hands. Perhaps this is because sellers are valuing volume over top-flight talent or perhaps this is the result of the Miami Marlins getting less-than-desirable returns for Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna, but whatever the case, there have still been several notable prospects dealt this offseason. Most of these guys will not appear on most top 100 prospects lists in 2018, but that does not mean these players will not impact big league rosters in the future. Given the full selloffs of the Miami Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates, it follows that over half this list are players acquired by these two teams. So without further adieu, I introduce the top 10 prospects that have been traded this offseason.

  1. Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Marlins (from Cardinals in Marcell Ozuna trade)
    One could easily swap Alcantara and Guzman on this list, but I chose Alcantara because of his proximity to this Major Leagues. Despite not being able to harness the command on his upper-90s fastball and having two mediocre breaking pitches, Alcantara has a plus changeup and still has one of the highest ceilings of any player on this list. If the Marlins can hit the reset button on Alcantara’s mess of a breaking ball repertoire and improve his command, he could easily emerge as a top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. If not, there is still a spot for him at the backend of a major league bullpen.
  2. Jorge Guzman, RHP, Marlins (from Yankees in Giancarlo Stanton trade)
    Guzman has without a doubt the best fastball of any player on this list, sitting anywhere from 96-102 depending on the day. He also possesses a plus slider and has much better command than most pitchers his age. The major knock on Guzman is his high effort delivery, which screams “reliever” to some scouts, but as long as he stays healthy, there is no reason to think he won’t slot into the front end of the Marlins rotation in a few years. Guzman has failed to develop a third pitch thus far in his young career, but if his changeup develops like his slider has, he could the ace of the future in Miami. While the Marlins failed to acquire a top-50 prospect in either the Giancarlo Stanton or Marcell Ozuna trades, they should feel good about the pair of potential front-of-the-rotation arms that headline this list.
  3. Christian Arroyo, SS/3B, Rays (from Giants in Evan Longoria trade)
    The top prospect going to the Rays in the Evan Longoria deal, Arroyo possesses one of the best hit tools in the minor leagues. While most scouts see him as someone who could hit .300 in an everyday role at third base, he has limited upside due to below average power. Additionally, Arroyo probably won’t be able to stick at shortstop as his thick lower half hurts his range at the position. At best, he is a solid regular at 2B/3B and at worst he is a utilityman.

    Arroyo.jpg
    (San Francisco Chronicle)

  4. **Kevin Maitan, INF, Angels (Free Agent, formerly with Braves)
    Maitan comes with an asterisk because technically he wasn’t traded this offseason, but rather acquired by the Angels after being forcibly let go by the Braves as a part of their punishment for violations in the international market. Maitan’s prospect pedigree has also changed in the last year as he consistently failed to meet expectations in his professional debut. Not only did he gain weight rapidly since coming to the United States, but he was also late on the ball more often than not this season. If he continues to put on weight, scouts see a move to first base in the cards for Maitan, but those same scouts don’t believe he will hit enough to stick there. There are many more questions about Maitan than there were at this time a year ago, but at only 17, there is still plenty of time for Maitan to figure it out.
  5. Nick Neidert, RHP, Marlins (from Mariners in Dee Gordon trade)
    Neidert will never be an ace, but he commands four pitches well and has great movement on all his stuff, which makes up for a lack of velocity. The best pitch at Neidert’s disposal is his changeup, which breakly sharply away from left-handers. I would be shocked if Neidert doesn’t pitch for many years in the big leagues and even more shocked if he ever is an All-Star. He is the definition of a league average starting pitcher, which is valuable in this day and age, especially for a team like the Marlins.
  6. Colin Moran, 3B, Pirates (from Astros in Gerrit Cole trade)
    While Moran has not lived up to the hype that made him the sixth pick overall in the 2013 draft, he looks to be a utilityman at the very least, with a chance to start at 3B for the Pirates in 2019. What is most interesting about Moran is the swing changes he underwent in the 2017 season. Moran finally tapped into his power in 2017 with 19 homers as he focused on getting balls off the ground in favor of driving the ball. While most believe that Moran is nothing more than a stopgap between the end of David Freese’s tenure in Pittsburgh at the start of Ke’Bryan Hayes career, but with a swing that is well-suited for the short left field at PNC Park, Moran could find himself manning either infield corner for the Pirates for years to come.
  7. Bryan Reynolds, OF, Pirates, (from Giants in Andrew McCutchen trade)
    Reynolds was the headliner for the Pirates in the Andrew McCutchen deal. While he doesn’t possess any otherworldly tools, he does everything very solid and has a very good chance of being a big leaguer in 2019. Reynolds has hit everywhere he has gone so far in the minors, and if his power develops he could develop into an above-average regular at the big league level.  A switch-hitter with a smooth stroke from both sides and plus speed profiles Reynolds as a guy with a high floor. While he has the speed and instincts to stay in center if everything goes well, his skillset is probably more suited for an outfield corner.
  8. Magneuris Sierra, OF, Marlins (from Cardinals in Marcell Ozuna trade)
    While Sierra’s well below average power limits his offensive upside, his speed raises his floor. His elite agility and quickness will make him at the very least an elite defensive outfielder and base stealer, with many scouts believing that he could be a perennial gold glover. For better or for worse, he will remind Marlins fans of Juan Pierre with a better arm.

    Sierra.jpg

  9. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, Phillies (from Padres in Freddy Galvis trade)
    De Los Santos is a below average athlete but has a simple delivery and repeatable mechanics that allow him to consistently throw strikes. His fastball sits 92-95 and he has an average 12-6 breaking ball. He doesn’t have the type of stuff to ever make him a guy who a team can slot in at the top end of their rotation, but there is enough pitchability and command in his reportoire to profile him as a number 4/5 starter. If he can fulfill his potential and be a reliable arm at the end of the Phillies rotation, he will be a steal given that one year of Freddy Galvis was all the Phillies had to give up to acquire him.
  10. Yairo Munoz, INF, Cardinals (from Oakland in Stephen Piscotty trade)
    Munoz best tool is his 70-grade arm that ranks among the best for an infielder in the minor leagues. Despite this, most scouts seeing him moving off shortstop due to a lack of lateral quickness. He projects as a guy who can play any infield spot as a valuable utility man who won’t wow anybody at the plate but can hold his own by making plenty of contact.

Honorable Mention:
Juan Then,
RHP, Yankees (from Mariners in Nick Rumbelow trade)
Then is only 17 years old and is yet to play a game in the United States, but makes this list as an honorable mention because of his projectability. With an athletic frame and a fastball that already sits between 91-94, Then is yet another high octane arm in the Yankees system. Obviously, a prospect this young is extremely volatile, but most scouts consider him a steal given the acquisition cost.

 

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About Traven Tapson

I am a recent graduate from Claremont McKenna College pursuing a career in baseball operations for an MLB team. I am fascinated by the analytical side of baseball and use this blog as a platform to share my insights and knowledge with those who share my curiosities.
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