Top 10 Traded Prospects
Ranking the prospects who swapped teams
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It makes sense that the team that traded the best players—the Indians—should wind up with the best prospects. Our look at the top 10 prospects who changed hands at the trade deadline, with a couple of sleepers thrown in:
1. Brett Wallace, 3b/1b, Athletics (from Cardinals).
Wallace could succeed Eric Chavez at third base or take over at first in Oakland, which is a more natural fit for him. Either way, he's a perfect fit offensively for the punchless A's, and as a Northern California native he might become a long-term franchise fixture.
2. Zach Stewart, rhp, Blue Jays (from Reds).
It's unclear why Cincinnati wanted Scott Rolen so badly, though GM Walt Jocketty was the one who signed Rolen to his albatross of a contract (eight years, $90 million) when they were both in St. Louis. Stewart could make Cincinnati regret the deal no matter how Rolen performs. As a starter, he showed three average to plus pitches, including a surprisingly improved changeup and a fastball with true boring action as well as sink. The Jays not only held on to Roy Halladay, but added the best pitcher at the deadline—not to mention righthander Josh Roenicke, who also was thrown into the Rolen deal.
3. Nick Hagadone, lhp, Indians (from Red Sox).
Remember the hubbub when BA's Jim Callis ranked Hagadone third among Red Sox prospects last offseason? Hagadone has a better pure arm than Stewart, with a fastball that has reached 97-98 mph. He has less track record and a longer injury history than Stewart, as he's coming back from Tommy John surgery. Hagadone's upside won't really come into focus until next year, when he is allowed to go longer than three innings in a start.
4. Aaron Poreda, lhp, Padres (from White Sox).
Poreda has moved quickly as a 2007 first-round pick, and gives San Diego the kind of power arm it hasn't drafted enough of lately. His success as a starter in Double-A hints he could remain in that role as a starter. He'll have to command his early-breaking slider and changeup enough so that they are average complements to his plus 90-95 mph fastball.
5. Jason Knapp, rhp, Indians (from Phillies).
Knapp and Poreda rival Hagadone for pure arm strength. Knapp, whose fastball can sit in the 96-98 mph range at times, also has the makings of a power breaking ball, and his changeup has shown flashes. He's rough around the edges (4.11 BB/9, minors-high five balks) and was shut down with shoulder fatigue in July. With refinement, he could be a front-end starter or shut-down closer.
6. Tim Alderson, rhp, Pirates (from Giants).
Alderson has come as advertised since being the top prep pitcher in Arizona in 2007. He shows excellent command (as he did as a prep, when he had a 34-inning walkless streak) despite a funky delivery. He still throws a plus curveball. However, one front office executive said his club's scouts always have had Alderson's fastball sitting in the 86-90 mph range, nothing more. Many scouts have long considered Alderson's combination of intimidating height (6-foot-7), command, deception and one plus pitch a perfect fit at the back of a bullpen, and that still seems like the best fit.
7. Josh Bell, 3b, Orioles (from Dodgers).
Bell has hard-to-find raw power and is starting to tap into it, hitting .296/.386/.497 at Double-A Chattanooga with 30 doubles. He switch-hits but has found little success from the right side (one career homer), and defensively he is close to outgrowing the hot corner. That said, he has plate discipline and feel for hitting from the left side and gives the Orioles a needed corner bat.
8. Lou Marson, c, Indians (from Phillies).
Marson is who he is, an athletic backstop with average tools. Some scouts will never grade him very high because his arm strength might be his weakest attribute. It's fringe-average for some, below-average for others. He'll never shut down a running game but he generally holds his own (25 percent success rate this season in Triple-A) thanks to a quick release and accuracy. He's a polished hitter with modest power. His chances of being an all-star are low, but his chances of being a solid regular are quite good. His offensive production in the minors closely tracks Jason Kendall's.
9. Jason Donald, inf, Indians (from Phillies).
More from the Cliff Lee deal. The Indians traded Mark DeRosa earlier this season, and now they get a future DeRosa in Donald. Like Donald, DeRosa came up as a shortstop, but neither is well-suited for the position. Donald's arm strength fits him best at third base, and he has average power, which probably isn't enough for an everyday job at third. Donald can handle second as well and has the arm and athletic ability to become a super utilityman, capable of playing the outfield corners.
10. Carlos Carrasco, rhp, Indians (from Phillies).
The Phillies finally soured on the hard-throwing Carrasco, including him in the Lee deal. In six years in the system, Carrasco never shook the fact that he's mostly a fastball/changeup righthander, and he also never showed a consistent ability to minimize damage and avoid big innings. His 89-94 mph fastball and change could make him a great set-up man, but he lacks the intangibles to close.
And five more honorable mentions:
Dexter Carter, rhp, Padres (from White Sox).
Carter has a long arm action but he has power stuff, which will help him move up in the changeup/control system San Diego has assembled. Carter's low 90s fastball has life on it, and his breaking ball can be an out pitch. He's likely a reliever long-term thanks to that arm action and the resulting command issues, but he may be athletic enough to repeat it and throw enough strikes to be a fourth starter.
Tyler Ladendorf, ss, Athletics (from Twins).
Minnesota is extraordinarily slow with some prospects, and Ladendorf was one of them. He had a poor pro debut in 2008 after signing as a third-round pick, then didn't make a full-season club this spring. He's 21, so he's a bit behind, but his tools remain strong. He's a solid runner with good baserunning instincts, and average power as well thanks to a strong frame.
Roque Mercedes, rhp, Diamondbacks (from Brewers).
Felipe Lopez wasn't going to bring a huge piece, but Mercedes could contribute soon in Arizona's bullpen. He has improved his slider considerably in the last year or two; some reports have it pushing 85 mph with late bite. He complements his slide piece with a low-90s fastball, and those two pitches generally miss low when they miss.
Mauricio Robles, lhp, Mariners (from Tigers).
Considering Jarrod Washburn is a rental, Robles is a good player to get back in return. He's erratic, but when he's at his best, he's a 20-year-old lefty with two plus pitches. His fastball at times sits in the 90s, touching 96, and his curveball can be a power low-80s breaker. It could take a while for Robles to become consistent, though, as he's still very raw.
Hunter Strickland, rhp, Pirates (from Red Sox).
The definition of a projectable righthander, Strickland has size (6-foot-5, 200 pounds), long levers and the potential to have a big fastball. He hit 94 mph in consecutive starts before he was traded, then showed his potential again with seven no-hit innings in his first post-trade start, with low Class A West Virginia.