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August 1, 2012

Future Shock

Ranking The Traded Prospects

by Kevin Goldstein

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While it wasn't exactly a star-studded trade deadline, it was certainly a busy one, with ten trades featuring a total of 15 prospects on the final day alone. All in all, 43 prospects (as defined by Rookie of the Year eligibility) changed teams in the month of July; since people like rankings, I consulted with scouts and front office personnel, and here's how I line up the prospects who moved:

1. Jacob Turner, RHP, Marlins (from Tigers)
Scouting Profile: 21-year-old with big frame and the potential for three average-to-plus pitches in 91-95 mph fastball, and advanced curve/changeup combination for age. Good delivery but occasional control issues. Ceiling as good No. 3 starter, but that might also be floor.

Path With New Club: Turner goes to a Miami team that is suddenly in no rush, so he'll get back on a more reasonable development path while still being very young for the Triple-A level. A good run at New Orleans could give him a needed run of statistical success, as he was expedited through the Detroit system and thus rarely dominated. He could get a look in September and should compete for a rotation job next spring.

2. Jean Segura, SS, Brewers (from Angels)
Scouting Profile: 22-year-old Dominican is compact athlete with impressive tools. Plus hitter, plus speed and could be an impact player if he can stay at shortstop, where there is debate about his instincts and range. Surprising pop for size and could end up a .280 hitter with 10-15 home runs and 30+ stolen bases annually, which will even have value at second base.

Path With New Club: Shortstop was a black hole of a position for Milwaukee, both at the big league level and within the organization, so Segura is a perfect fit, and he'll get every chance to stay at shortstop while getting a long look next spring.

3. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Cubs (from Braves)
Scouting Profile: 21-year-old Dominican who dominated at times last year out of big league bullpen. Tommy John surgery in spring, back for spring 2013. Undersized, with violent delivery, but stuff plays up out of the bullpen with a fastball that sits at 96 and touches 98, as well as a plus power breaking ball. Closer potential.

Path With New Club: The Cubs have plenty of room for their prospects, and once fully healthy and rehabbed, Vizcaino could assume a role in the back of the bullpen as a closer-in-training while Carlos Marmol plays out the last year of his contract.

4. Johnny Hellweg, RHP, Brewers (from Angels)
Scouting Profile: 23-year-old has physical similarities to a right-handed Randy Johnson: 6-foot-9 with difficult angles, adding to mid-90s fastball that can touch 98. Curveball and change are average. Long levers create control issues, but while it's still below-average, he's made significant progress. Could become anything from a No. 2 starter to a No. 5 to a closer depending on development.

Path With New Club: Starters are certainly more valuable than relievers, so Hellweg will stay in that role until there's a good reason to move him. With Zack Greinke gone and Shaun Marcum not long for Milwaukee, there should be plenty of opportunities with the Brewers.

5. Robbie Grossman, OF, Astros (from Pirates)
Scouting Profile: Outfielder with outstanding plate discipline and average tools across the board. Numbers hurt by slow start. Average runner, but enough speed to be acceptable in center field with high on-base percentage and 15 home runs and stolen bases per year. Can get through slumps with consistent on base ability.

Path With New Club: There's no such thing as being blocked in Houston right now, and Jordan Schafer is clearly not a long-term solution, Grossman will likely begin next year at Triple-A, and could get a look in the second half.

6. Ariel Pena, RHP, Brewers (from Angels)
Scouting Profile: 23-year-old classic power righty. Low 90s fastball that can touch 95 mph. Gets ahead in count to set up plus slider, his best pitch. Changeup is a tick below average and needs work. Clean delivery and carries velocity deep into games. Future No. 3 or 4 starter.

Path With New Club: While Pena doesn't have Hellweg's upside, he is the more polished product of the two and closer to the big leagues because of it. Both have 2013 ETAs, but Pena will likely be the first to get a look.

7. Tommy Joseph, C, Phillies (from Giants)
Scouting Profile: 21-year-old catcher with unique collection of strengths and weaknesses. The kind of big raw power that is rare to find in a backstop, but undoes himself with poor approach and pull-happy swing. Cuts down the running game with strong arm and quick release, but is a below-average receiver who does not block well or frame pitches effectively. Could be star catcher, could be solid regular, could be backup if development doesn't occur.

Path With New Club: While Carlos Ruiz is having a career year that makes his 2013 option at $5 million an absolute bargain, he'll be a free agent prior to the 2014 season while also turning 35 that January. That could lead to an ugly overpay, and the Phillies would love to see Joseph at least give them something to think about.

8. Christian Villanueva, 3B, Cubs (from Rangers)
Scouting Profile: 21-year-old whose greatest strength is a lack of weaknesses. Sound approach with good bat speed and the potential for average power once he fills out. Plus defender with plus arm and athletic with at least average speed. Projects as solid-average starting third baseman with some chance at a higher ceiling.

Path With New Club: Villanueva is behind Josh Vitters on the Cubs depth chart, but he's also behind him in terms of development, as Villanueva is slated to begin the 2013 in Double-A, while Vitters will get a long look for the big league job. Villanueva's picture gets more cloudy if top prospect Javier Baez slides from shortstop to the hot corner down the road.

9. Rudy Owens, LHP, Astros (from Pirates)
Scouting Profile: High ranking mostly because he's already at his floor and ready to pitch in big leagues. Not a stuff guy at 88-92 mph with average breaking ball and changeup. Absolutely pounds the strike zone and always gets ahead of hitters. No. 4 or 5 starter ceiling, but already there.

Path With New Club: Owens will likely make his Astros debut at some point during the second half and open the 2013 season as a permanent part of the Houston rotation.

10. Donnie Joseph, RHP, Royals (from Reds)
Scouting Profile: 24-year-old is among best southpaw relief prospects in the game. Two bat-missing pitches in a low-to-mid 90s fastball and nasty slider. Inconsistent control is only real issue, but ability to throw strikes has completely disappeared at times in the past.

Path With New Club: Some scouts believe Joseph could be in the big leagues right now and be every bit as good as Broxton. He has the ceiling of a good setup man, with stuff that falls just short of being closer-worthy.

11. Ethan Martin, RHP, Phillies (from Dodgers)
Former first-round pick has bounced back due to improved command; the athleticism, fastball and curve were always there.

12. Rob Brantly, C, Marlins (from Tigers)
Solid defender has the ability to hit for average, but lacks power or patience.

13. Marc Krauss, OF, Astros (from Diamondbacks)
The anti-Brantly with plus power and tons of walks, but has no defensive value and questions about the hit tool.

14. Joe Musgrove, RHP, Astros (from Blue Jays)
2011 supplemental first-round pick has a good starting point for development with big body and good velocity.

15. Jake Brigham, RHP, Cubs (from Texas)
Slow-to-develop starter has back-end starting potential with good command of low 90s fastball and solid breaking ball.

16. Matt Dominguez, 3B, Astros (from Marlins)
Former first-round pick is a potential Gold Glove third baseman who still has big questions about his bat.

17. Zack Cox, 3B, Marlins (from Cardinals)
Has not lived up to expectations of big bonus out of 2009 draft, as power has not developed and plate discipline has dwindled.

18. J.C. Sulbaran, RHP, Royals (from Reds)
Inconsistent velocity, inconsistent secondaries, inconsistent command, but when he puts it all together, he looks like a big league starter.

19. D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Mariners (from Yankees)
Groundball machine might work as No. 5 starter, but more likely will turn into valuable middle relief piece.

20. Carlos Perez, C, Astros (from Blue Jays)
Athletic for a catcher with good approach and contact skills, but little power and inconsistent defense.

21. Colton Cain, RHP, Astros (from Pirates)
Big left-hander has lost some velocity since high school, but has command of three-pitch mix.

22. Asher Wojciechowski, RHP, Astros (from Blue Jays)
Big right-hander projects betters as reliever with decent fastball and good slider.

23. Pedro Hernandez, LHP, Twins (from White Sox)
Undersized lefty throws strikes and has a plus changeup, but scouts don't see the stuff or frame for rotation work.

24. Scott McGough, RHP, Marlins (from Dodgers)
Might be the best sleeper on the list with the ability to pitch late innings if he can refine the slider that goes with mid-90s heat.

25. Logan Bawcom, RHP, Mariners (from Dodgers)
A safe bet to reach the big leagues, and maybe quickly, but no more than a middle-relief ceiling.

26. Bobby Borchering, OF, Astros (from Diamondbacks)
Former first-round pick is a switch-hitter who still shows plus power, but has been undone by swing-at-everything style.

27. Matt Heidenreich, RHP, Astros (from White Sox)
Second sleeper on the list has size, plus sinker and enough strike-throwing ability to maybe become a No. 5 starter.

28. Rob Rasmussen, LHP, Astros (from Marlins)
Short lefty has solid stuff and command, but no potential to make an impact beyond a bullpen role.

29. Gorkys Hernandez, OF, Marlins (from Pirates)
Outstanding defender with plus speed, but a card-carrying member of the Future Fourth Outfielders Club due to lack of secondary skills.

30. Leon Landry, OF, Mariners (from Dodgers)
Left-handed stick who can run and play all three outfielder positions, but a free-swinger with little power.

31. Danny Farquhar, RHP, Mariners (from Yankees)
Unique reliever who changes arm angles from three-quarters to sidearm, but it hampers command.

32. Steven Wright, RHP, Red Sox (from Indians)
Converted knuckleballer has great numbers at Double-A, but he's 27 and walks too many.

33. Lars Anderson, 1B, Indians (Red Sox)
Former highly-regarded prospect has a great approach, but his bat has slowed and power never blossomed.

34. Charlie Culberson, 2B, Rockies (from Giants)
Good pop for a middle infielder, but not enough speed to play shortstop, not enough bat to play second base.

35. Seth Rosin, RHP, Phillies (from Giants)
Strike-throwing reliever with slightly above-average fastball and no other true plus offering.

36. Kyle Hendricks, RHP, Cubs (from Rangers)
Extreme command, but very fringy stuff with 86-90 mph fastball and no notable secondary pitch.

37. Blair Walters, LHP, Astros (from White Sox)
Strike-throwing sinker specialist with some relief possibilities.

38. Todd Redmond, RHP, Reds (from Braves)
27-year-old has been a consistent solid performer at the upper levels, but that's based far more on command than stuff.

39. Jaye Chapman, RHP, Cubs (from Braves)
Minor League veteran has outstanding changeup, but few believe his trick will work in big leagues without another good pitch.

40. Brian Flynn, LHP, Marlins (from Tigers)
Six-foot-eight southpaw has an imposing mound presence, but has lost velocity since college and has unrefined arsenal.

41. David Rollins, LHP, Astros (from Blue Jays)
Decent numbers in the Midwest League, but older for the level and gets by as lefty with a decent slider.

42. Tyler Bortnick, 2B, Diamondbacks (from Rays)
25-year-old at Double-A with good feel for strike zone and some speed, but not enough bat and he can't play on the left side.

43. Kyle Kaminska, RHP, Pirates (from Marlins)
Throw-in prospect. Big reliever who can't get Double-A hitters out.

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  Prospects,  Transactions,  Deadline

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