Teams Are Getting Better At Picking Prospects In Trade Deadline Deals
Prospects acquired in trade deadline deals rarely go on to major league success, but teams are getting better at picking prospects to acquire in those trades.
Between 2001-17, a total of 676 prospects were dealt at the non-waiver trade deadline. Of those, 143 went on to have a consequential MLB career, defined here as playing the majority of at least two seasons in the majors and posting a positive career WAR, as measured by Baseball-Reference. That comes out to 21.2% of all prospects moved in deadline trades, or just over 1 in 5.
There is, however, a notable split in the data. Of all prospects traded between 2001-09, only 16.1%—or about 1 in 6—went on to have consequential big league careers.
Of the prospects traded between 2010-17, 25.5%—or just over 1 in 4—went on to have big league careers. That number has a chance to increase further as promising young players still in the early stages of their careers, such as Oneil Cruz and Isaac Paredes, play additional seasons.
(Note: Many prospects traded at the 2018 deadline or later are still making their way up the minors and cannot be fully evaluated yet).
To be clear, it’s still a low hit rate. Even in the timeframe that teams have improved, nearly 75% of all prospects acquired at the non-waiver trade deadline have failed to have any kind of sustained major league career. Most never make it to the majors at all.
But the improvement is notable, and it has led to some big hits. Players acquired as prospects at the non-waiver trade deadline since 2010 include Corey Kluber, Zack Wheeler, Patrick Corbin, Kyle Hendricks, Joe Musgrove, Nate Eovaldi, Josh Hader, Jean Segura, Frankie Montas, Yordan Alvarez, Eloy Jimenez, Dylan Cease, Gleyber Torres and Pablo Lopez.
Whether teams can sustain this improvement remains to be seen, and the results of trade deadline deals from 2018 and on still have to play out. But overall, teams appear to be getting better at acquiring future big leaguers in their trade deadline prospect hauls.
*MLB career defined as playing the majority of at least two seasons in the majors and having a positive career WAR.
Below is the full sample of players who were traded as prospects at the non-waiver trade deadline between 2001-17. Players in bold have played the majority of at least two major league seasons and have a positive career WAR.
2017: Dylan Cease, Eloy Jimenez, Bryant Flete, Matt Rose, Tyler Webb, Garrett Cooper, Jesus Luzardo, Sheldon Neuse, Jose King, Sergio Alcantara, Dawel Lugo, Ian Clarkin, Tito Polo, Blake Rutherford, Brayan Hernandez, Brandon Miller, Lukas Schiraldi, Pablo Lopez, Tyler O’Neill, Marco Gonzales, Ryan McBroom, Esteury Ruiz, Huascar Ynoa, Ryan Cordell, Jose Gomez, Alejandro Requena, J.D. Hammer, Shaun Anderson, Gregory Santos, Casey Gillaspie, Gabriel Moya, Drew Smith, McKenzie Mills, Ricardo Cespedes, Merandy Gonzalez, Garrett Cleavinger, Andre Davis, A.J. Puckett, Zack Littell, Dietrich Enns, Pedro Gonzalez, Seth McGarry, Tyler Watson, Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes, Tobias Myers, Brendon Davis, A.J. Alexy, Willie Calhoun, Dustin Fowler, James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo, Luis Madero, Tayler Scott, Teoscar Hernandez, Gerson Bautista, Jamie Callahan, Stephen Nogosek, Jeferson Mejia, Samad Taylor, Thomas Pannone, Hendrik Clementina, Oneil Cruz, Angel German.
2016: Pat Light, Grant Holmes, Jharel Cotton, Frankie Montas, Jhonleider Salinas, Nathan Lukes, Phil Bickford, Nick Green, Erik Swanson, Dillon Tate, Alan Busenitz, Alex Meyer, Guadalupe Chavez, Jonah Heim, Tito Polo, Stephen Tarpley, Max Wotell, Jesus Castillo, Lucius Fox, Michael Santos, Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, Ryan Cordell, Yordan Alvarez, Harold Ramirez, Reese McGuire, Ben Heller, Clint Frazier, J.P. Feyereisen, Justus Sheffield, Charlie Tilson, Vicente Campos, Ariel Miranda, Taylor Hearn, Brett Eibner, Hector Olivera, Tayron Guerrero, Josh Naylor, Adalberto Mejia, Lucas Harrell, Dario Alvarez, Travis Demeritte, Hansel Rodriguez, Gleyber Torres, Billy McKinney, Rashad Crawford, Jordan Pries, Dan Vogelbach, Paul Blackburn, Anderson Espinoza, Jose Almonte, Luis Alejandro Basabe, Eric Jokisch, Wendell Rijo, Aaron Wilkerson.
2015: Jorge Alfaro, Jerad Eickhoff, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jake Thompson, Malik Collymore, Zach Davies, Rob Rasmussen, Jake Brentz, Nick Wells, Chih-Wei Hu, Alexis Tapia, Jimmy Cordero, Alberto Tirado, Ivan Pineyro, Elliot Soto, Adrian Sampson, Junior Lake, Tomas Telis, Cody Ege, Luis Cessa, Michael Fulmer, Rob Kaminsky, Daniel Norris, Matthew Boyd, Jairo Labourt, Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham, Kevin Guzman, Jose Ramirez, Ramon Flores, Jose Peraza, Hector Olivera, Zack Bird, JaCoby Jones, Adrian Houser, Brett Phillips, Josh Hader, Domingo Santana, Adam Duvall, Keury Mella, Miguel Castro, Jeff Hoffman, Jesus Tinoco, Aaron Brooks, Sean Manaea, Eduar Lopez, Nick Pivetta, Eric Stamets, Casey Meisner, Brandon Finnegan, Cody Reed, John Lamb, Kyle Barraclough, John Gant,Rob Whalen, Daniel Mengden, Jacob Nottingham, Yhonathan Berrios, Chris Reed, Grant Dayton, Rafael Lopez, Manuel Rondon.
2014: Harold Riggins, Addison Russell, Billy McKinney, Zach Borenstein, Joe Krehbiel, Cesar Carrasco, Alex Sogard, Spencer Patton, Trevor Gott, Taylor Lindsey, Jose Rondon, R.J. Alvarez, Elliot Morris, Rafael De Paula, Corey Knebel, Jake Thompson, Stephen Pryor, Edwin Escobar, Heath Hembree, Jonathan Martinez, James Ramsey, Corey Littrell, Anthony Banda, Mitch Haniger, Stephen Kohlscheen, Eduardo Rodriguez, Zach Walters, Peter O’Brien, Kiké Hernandez, Austin Wates, Colin Moran, Francis Martes, Victor Caratini, Willy Adames.
2013: Steve Ames, Josh Wall, Angel Sanchez, Ivan Pineyro, Russ Canzler, Tim Alderson, Brandon Jacobs, Parker Frazier, Carl Edwards Jr., Mike Olt, Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Nicky Delmonico, Corey Black, Danry Vasquez, Cory Rasmus, Juan Herrera, Joe Thatcher, Matt Stites, Kyle Smith, L.J. Hoes, Josh Hader, Avisail Garcia, Brayan Villareal, Frankie Montas, Cleuluis Rondon, J.B. Wendelken, Grant Green.
2012: Matt Dominguez, Rob Rasmussen, Todd Redmond, Carlos Perez, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, David Rollins, Kevin Comer, Matt Heidenreich, Blair Walters, Chris Devenski, D.J. Mitchell, Danny Farquhar, Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly, Brian Flynn, Robbie Grossman, Rudy Owens, Colton Cain, Tyler Bortnick, Nate Eovaldi, Scott McGough, Jean Segura, Johnny Hellweg, Ariel Pena, Charlie Culberson, Eduardo Escobar, Pedro Hernandez, Bobby Borchering, Marc Krauss, Jake Brigham, Arodys Vizcaino, Jaye Chapman, Leon Landry, Logan Bawcom, Ethan Martin, Stefan Jarrin, Tommy Joseph, Seth Rosin, Zack Cox, Gorkys Hernandez, Kyle Kaminska, Juan Carlos Sulbaran, Donnie Joseph, Steven Wright, Lars Anderson, Kyle Hendricks, Christian Villanueva.
2011: Danny Ray Herrera, Adrian Rosario, Henry Sosa, Jason Stoffel, Julio Rodriguez, Antonio Cruz, Bill Rhinehart, Chris Manno, Zach Stewart, P.J. Walters, Zack Wheeler, Carlton Smith, Abner Abreu, Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid, Domingo Santana, Francisco Martinez, Chance Ruffin, Erik Komatsu, Kendal Volz, Yamaico Navarro, Zach Walters, Drew Pomeranz, Alex White, Joe Gardner, Matt McBride, Thomas Neal, Aaron Baker, Alex Castellanos, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, Juan Abreu, Jordan Norberto, Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland, Tim Federowicz, Stephen Fife, Juan Rodriguez, Trayvon Robinson, Chih-Hsien Chiang, Josh Fields.
2010: Michael Main, Blake Beavan, Josh Lueke, Matt Lawson, Tyler Pastornicky, Tim Collins, Sean O'Sullivan, Will Smith, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez, Tyler Skaggs, Giovanni Soto, Lucas May, Elisaul Pimentel, Anthony Gose, Jonathan Villar, Brett Wallace, Evan Reed, Omar Poveda, Wynn Pelzer, Wilson Ramos, Joe Testa, David Holmberg, Ryan Tatusko, Tanner Roark, Zach McAllister, Jimmy Paredes, Mark Melancon, Matt Gorgen, Pedro Ciriaco, Corey Kluber, Nick Greenwood, Brett Wallach, Kyle Smit, Wilkin Ramirez, Andrew Lambo, Matt Cusick, Andrew Shive, Gregor Blanco, Chris McGuiness, Roman Mendez, Michael Thomas, Dan Turpen.
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2009: Al Alburquerque, Jon Meloan, Craig Italiano, Ryan Webb, Brandon Allen, Dan Cortes, Derrick Saito, Cole Gillespie, Roque Mercedes, Argenis Diaz, Hunter Strickland, Connor Graham, Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, Shane Peterson, Scott Barnes, Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin, Aaron Pribanic, Carlos Carrasco, Jason Knapp, Jason Donald, Lou Marson, Tim Alderson, Robert Manuel, Josh Bell, Steve Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio, Josh Harrison, Mauricio Robles, Luke French, Tyler Ladendorf, Chase Weems, Zach Stewart, Aaron Poreda, Adam Russell, Dexter Carter, Nick Hagadone, Bryan Price, Ryan Mattheus, Robinson Fabian, Aaron Thompson.
2008: Matt LaPorta, Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, Michael Brantley, Sean Gallagher, Matt Murton, Eric Patterson, Josh Donaldson, Evan Scribner, Adrian Cardenas, Josh Outman, Matt Spencer, Steve Hammond, Darren Ford, Emilio Bonifacio, Chad Reineke, Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Dan McCutchen, Jon Meloan, Carlos Santana, Luis Perdomo, Stephen Marek, Danny Richar, Gaby Hernandez, Alberto Gonzalez, Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris, Craig Hansen, Brandon Moss.
2007: Chris Cody, Danny Christensen, Jerry Blevins, Jeff Kennard, Will Inman, Joe Thatcher, Steve Garrison, Max Ramirez, Michael Dubee, Leo Rosales, Calvin Medlock, Brian Shackelford, Shaun Cumberland, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Neftali Feliz, Beau Jones, Matt Maloney, Drew Butera, Sean Danielson, Jon Link, David Murphy, Engel Beltre, Jesus Merchan, Will Startup, Steve MacFarland.
2006: Terry Evans, Travis Chick, Mitch Talbot, Ben Zobrist, Brendan Harris, Daryl Thompson, Jeff Keppinger, Max Ramirez, Joel Santo, Fabian Jimenez, B.J. LaMura, Tyler Lumsden, Daniel Cortes, Blake Johnson, Julio Pimentel, Shin-Soo Choo, Shawn Nottingham, Laynce Nix, Julian Cordero, Nelson Cruz, Shairon Martis, Wilfrido Laureano, C.J. Henry, Matt Smith, Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Monasterios, Justin Germano, Brian Rogers, Zach Ward, Joselo Diaz, Jose Ceda, Jesse Chavez, Joel Guzman, Sergio Pedroza, Denny Bautista, Scott Dohmann.
2005: J.J. Davis, Doc Brooks, Omar Quintanilla, Jason Dubois, Chip Ambres, Juan Cedeno, Matt Lorenzo, Matt Kata, Travis Chick, Justin Germano, J.J. Furmaniak, Eduardo Sierra, Ramon Ramirez, Nathanel Mateo, Kyle Bono, Kenny Perez, Ryan Meaux, Yorman Bazardo, Mike Flannery, Roman Colon, Zach Miner.
2004: Peter Ciofrone, Jon Rauch, Gary Majewski, John Hattig, Scott Kazmir, Joselo Diaz, Bartolome Fortunato, Justin Huber, Jeff Keppinger, Matt Peterson, Jose Bautista, Alfredo Simon, Jon Huber, Bill Murphy, Anderson Machado, Brad Correll, Josh Hancock, Abraham Nunez, Matt Merricks, Travis Chick, Koyie Hill, Reggie Abercrombie, Henri Stanley, Justin Jones, Brendan Harris, Francis Beltran, Matt Murton.
2003: Royce Ring, Edwin Almonte, Andrew Salvo, Anthony Webster, Josh Rupe, Frank Francisco, Alejandro Machado, Wes Obermueller, Scott Mullen, Victor Rodriguez, Gookie Dawkins, Scott Dunn, Adrian Gonzalez, Will Smith, Ryan Snare, Clay Hensley, R.D. Spiehs, Victor Diaz, Joselo Diaz, Kole Strayhorn, Dave Gassner, Anderson Garcia, Ryan Bicondoa, Jason Anderson, Mike Watson, Ryan Ludwick, Frank Brooks, Anastacio Martinez, Mike Gonzalez, Matt Bruback, Bobby Hill, Jeremy Hill, Kenny Kelly, Scott Dunn, Tim Bittner, Phil Dumatrait, Tyler Pelland, Jon-Mark Sprowl, Jason Fransz, Jeff Bruksch, Joe Valentine, Charlie Manning, Brandon Claussen, Freddy Sanchez, Anastacio Martinez, Ryan Hannaman, Scott Proctor, Bubba Crosby.
2002: Johnny Raburn, Pedro Liriano, Frank Francisco, Byeong An, Jason Romano, Josh Reynolds, Jason Bay, Mark Corey, Robert Stratton, Marshall McDougall, Sun Woo Kim, Seung Song, Enemencio Pacheco, Doug Nickel, Felix Diaz, Ryan Meaux, Francisco Cruceta, Ricardo Rodriguez, Tim Drew, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Tom Farmer, Jason Frasor, Jon Adkins, David Espinosa, Noochie Varner, Jorge Cordova, Shane Nance, Ben Diggins, Brian Mallette, Lance Caraccioli, Luis Garcia, Coco Crisp, Justin Wayne, Claudio Vargas, Don Levinski.
2001: Brad Voyles, Alejandro Machado, Rich Rundles, Tony McKnight, Adrian Burnside, Kris Foster, Geronimo Gil, Zach Day, Kevin Joseph, Roberto Miniel, Ruben Quevedo, Peter Zoccolillo, Ryan Vogelsong, Brett Jodie, Darren Blakely, Jason Smith, Adam Walker, Onan Masaoka, Gary Majewski, Jeff Barry, Mario Encarnacion, Jose Ortiz, Todd Belitz, Nick Biedbrodt, Jason Conti, Todd Ozias, Erasmo Ramirez, Chris Magruder, Robin Jennings.
Editor's Note: A formatting issue led to some players being incorrectly bolded when this story was first published. The errors have since been corrected.