Trade Deadline Prospects Ranked, Part 3

At the expiration of the Major League Baseball trading deadline, 35 prospects had changed hands (beginning July 19 with Milwaukee’s acquisition of Felipe Lopez). Over the next week, FanGraphs will take a look at each prospect, while also ranking them individually in value from 35 down to one. Players such as Justin Masterson, Clayton Richard, Kevin Hart, and Jeff Clement were not considered in this list because they have expired their rookie eligibility. However, they can still technically be considered “prospects” because they are young and have yet to establish themselves at the MLB level.

On Monday, we looked at the players ranked 35-29. On Tuesday, we looked at the prospects ranked 28-22.

  • 21. Argenis Diaz, SS
    From Boston to Pittsburgh

    A slick fielder, Diaz does not currently project to hit enough to play every day in the Majors. Prior to the trade, the 22-year-old shortstop was hitting .253/.309/.310 in 277 double-A at-bats. The Pirates organization immediately promoted him to triple-A after the trade but he’s hitting below .200 in his first 10 games. With Brian Friday and Jordy Mercer looking like MLB utility players, the Pirates have no clear cut future regular at shortstop.

  • 20. Jason Donald, SS
    From Philadelphia to Cleveland

    Donald, 24, has followed up his offensive-breakout campaign in 2008 with an injury-filled ’09 season. An average fielder at shortstop, Donald will likely have to move to second base in the Majors, although the hot corner is an option if he develops more power (which is not expected to happen). He hasn’t looked overly sharp since coming back from his injury.

  • 19. Aaron Pribanic
    From Seattle to Pittsburgh

    Pribanic was the Mariners’ 2008 third-round draft pick. The right-hander does not strike out many batters (5.59 K/9 in ’09) but he induces a ton of ground balls (63.5 GB%). He’s also allowed just one home run this season. Pribanic has good bloodlines as his grandfather Jim Coates was an MLB all-star who played parts of nine seasons in the Majors. Pribanic works in the low 90s with his fastball and also has a curveball, slider and splitter.

  • 18. Dexter Carter RHP
    From Chicago AL to San Diego

    Despite leading the league in strikeouts (143 in 118 IP), Carter was left in low-A for the entire season to work on his secondary pitches. The 22-year-old was a 13th-round pick in the 2008 amateur draft by the White Sox. With a good fastball and a 6’6” 195 lbs frame, Carter could develop into a dominating closer if his breaking ball and changeup do not show enough improvements. His numbers are impressive in ’09 but he’s old for the league.

  • 17. Mauricio Robles, LHP
    From Detroit to Seattle

    The key to the Jarrod Washburn trade, Robles had been flying under the radar in a weak Detroit system. The 20-year-old southpaw will face a stiff challenge in High Desert, which is a great hitter’s park. In Detroit’s system prior to the trade, Robles allowed 79 hits in 91.1 innings, along with 111 Ks and 41 walks. Control is an issue for the left-hander, who could also stand to work down in the zone more consistently. His fastball can touch 94 mph when he’s on. Robles also flashes a curveball and a changeup.

  • 16. Connor Graham, RHP
    From Colorado to Cleveland

    Graham, 23, is a hard-throwing, right-handed pitcher who is probably better suited for set-up or closer chores than he is for starting. He has a good slider and a fastball that can touch 95 mph. Prior to the trade, the 6’6” former fifth-round draft pick allowed 68 hits in 80.1 innings of work, along with 41 walks and 87 Ks. The 4.59 BB/9 rate is worrisome but Cleveland immediately promoted Graham to double-A after the trade.

  • 15. Shane Peterson, OF
    From St. Louis to Oakland

    A 2008 second-round pick out of Long Beach State, Peterson has shown the ability to hit .280-.300 but he lacks the power for a corner outfield spot and the range to play center field on a regular basis. The left-handed hitter also has not walked much in 2009. Peterson has the ability to steal 10-15 bases a season, while hitting 10-12 homers. He could develop into a solid regular, but he’ll likely never be a star.

    Check back Thursday for prospects 14 to eight.

  • Print This Post

    Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

    14 Responses to “Trade Deadline Prospects Ranked, Part 3”

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    1. alskor says:

      Seems a little low for Carter. I think he’s moving up strong this year. Big guy, big fastball… lots to like here.

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    2. Marc says:

      He has a good fastball but questionable secondary stuff, and control issues… and he’s old for the league – yet neither the Sox nor the Padres have promoted him past low-A. I have to see him perform at a higher level before I am comfortable rating him higher. Right now, he’s an older prospect beating up on younger players. The talent is there, though, to move up in value very quickly.

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    3. Tim says:

      Are you seriously going to rank Steve Johnson in the top 14? Or have you left him out completely?

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      • Matthew says:

        steve johnson is 21 years old striking out 15 in 10 innings in AA. This guy is in the top 5 FOR SURE

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    4. KMils says:

      Why do this over five days? Do you really need to stretch content that badly?

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    5. pm says:

      I’m pretty sure you missed the 2 prospects that the Nationals traded for Joe Beimel. I’m not surprised that you guys forgot. You have a bias against teams on the east coast.

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    6. Joseph Honeysuckle says:

      If Mauricio Robles was “the key to the Washburn trade, then why is he ranked lower than Luke French?

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    7. Joseph Honeysuckle says:

      PS PM, Joe Beimel sucks

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      • pm says:

        I never said he didn’t. But, actually he is quite solid. He had a 1.69 ERA and 0.975 WHIP in the season if you take out his injury plagued May. My problem is that it looks like Fangraphs will forget to list the prospects that the Nats got in return for Beimel.

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    8. Fresh Hops says:

      I’m starting to question how we’re valuing prospects here. Luke French is not a special ball player, no doubt. But isn’t a guy who’s shown that he can throw in the majors, has made it through all levels in the minors, without injury, simply a better commodity that a single-A pitcher with half a season under his belt?

      French figures to be between replacement level and major league average for the next five seasons.

      Can we reasonably say, of any single-A pitcher drafted later than the 3rd round, that he figures to be that good? Don’t most single-A pitchers, even ones drafted in the third round, usually not make it to the majors at all?

      Maybe I’m just wrong about the typical success of single-A pitchers who have a good half first season, but I’m a little skeptical of these valuations.

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      • Teej says:

        French has made it to the majors, which is to be commended, but his mediocre skills put him close to replacement level, and he doesn’t figure to get much better. So he’s not much of a commodity, whereas while Robles could flame out and never reach the bigs, at least has that higher ceiling.

        In other words, French is good enough to pitch in the majors, but just barely, and there are a lot of guys in AAA who could take his place. Robles could be better than that. He’s probably harder to replace. I guess that’s the way I’m seeing it.

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        • marc w. says:

          Whoa, replacement level? He’s better than league average right now by FIP or tRA. If you think that’s small sample size nonsense, why?

          I’m with you on the larger point here; I’m someone who thinks that a few of the ‘single A pitchers’ are too low on this list. But I also don’t think French is chopped liver.

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        • Teej says:

          Marc, I’m mostly going off what I read at USSM and LL. I think Dave said he had worse stuff than Rowland-Smith and was more in the Vargas/Olson vein. So maybe not replacement level, but I have a hard time believing he’ll be a league-average starting pitcher. Maybe I’m underrating him, I don’t know.

          As for this year’s numbers, I imagine he’s going to look worse when a few of those fly balls start leaving the yard.

          But overall I’m still thrilled that the M’s were able to trade Washburn for Cheap Washburn + something else. Didn’t mean to imply that French was worthless. Just that his ceiling is probably something like a No. 4 guy. I hope I’m wrong.

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