Trade Deadline Prospects Ranked, Part 4

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.

We’ve already taken a look at prospects 35-15 on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

  • 14. Steve Johnson, RHP
    From Los Angeles NL to Baltimore

    It’s been a slow climb through the minors for Johnson. The former high school drafted pick has struggled with his command and control throughout his career. He’s also working hard to improve his secondary pitches. Johnson spent the majority of his time in the Dodgers’ system this year at high-A, where he allowed 94 hits in 96.2 innings. He also posted rates of 3.91 BB/9 and 9.50 K/9. Prior to the trade, the right-hander made two double-A starts. His stuff would probably be better coming out of the bullpen (He can occasionally hit 93 mph as a starter), where he could focus on one secondary pitch to go with the heater. His ceiling is that of a set-up man or No. 4 starter.

  • 13. Clayton Mortensen, RHP
    From St. Louis to Oakland

    Mortensen, 24, was a supplemental first round draft pick back in 2007 by the St. Louis Cardinals. He doesn’t have star potential, but the right-handed sinker/slider pitcher could be a valuable No. 3 or 4 starter for the Oakland Athletics. In 17 triple-A starts for the Cardinals organization in 2009, Mortensen allowed 103 hits in 105 innings of work. He also posted a walk rate of 2.91 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 7.03 K/9 – both of which represented significant upgrades over his rates in 15 triple-A appearances in 2008. Since coming over to Oakland’s system, Mortensen has made two starts. He’s allowed nine hits in 11 innings, but he’s also walked seven. An improved changeup could definitely benefit Mortensen, who struggles against left-handed hitter (.303 career average vs LH hitters, .225 vs RHs).

  • 12. Bryan Price, RHP
    From Boston to Cleveland

    The trade from Boston to Cleveland could really benefit Price, who was blocked by a number of other talented starting pitchers in his former organization. The right-hander began the year in low-A where he allowed 37 hits in 44 innings of work and posted solid walk and strikeout rates. Promoted to high-A, Price’s ERA rose from 2.45 to 6.54 but his FIP was a solid 3.22. The Texan allowed 62 hits in 52.1 innings, while also posting a walk rate of 3.27 and a strikeout rate of 9.80. He had a nice debut in the Cleveland system with six shutout innings in high-A. Price’s repertoire includes a fastball that can touch 95 mph, a plus slider and a changeup. A reliever in college, he has a chance to be a solid No. 3 starter in the Majors.

  • 11. Scott Barnes, LHP
    From San Francisco to Cleveland

    Barnes is rated a little higher here than many people might expect, but you have to appreciate what he’s done in a very short period of time. The southpaw was nabbed in the eighth round of the 2008 draft out of college after flying under the radar. He had a dominating debut and continued to pitch well in ’09 despite jumping up to high-A in a very good hitter’s league. In 98 innings with the Giants’ club, Barnes allowed 82 hits and posted a walk rate of 2.66 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 9.09 K/9. He’s handled right-handed hitters very well in his career with a batting average allowed of just .207 (.224 vs LH hitters). Barnes has a very good changeup and deception in his delivery. His fastball works in the upper 80s, but he can touch 91-92 mph. If his curveball can improve a little more, Barnes could very well end up as the steal of the trade deadline.

  • 10. Josh Roenicke, RHP
    From Cincinnati to Toronto

    Roenicke has more MLB experience than any other player on this list and he immediately slid into the Toronto bullpen after the trade. A late bloomer who was 23 years old when he was drafted out of UCLA, the right-hander has a big-time fastball that can touch 99 but sits around 94 mph. He also utilizes a cutter and a slider. Roenicke has the potential to be the Jays’ closer of the future, especially if he can gain more consistency with his control. In 28 triple-A innings in 2009, Roenicke allowed 30 hits while posting a walk rate of 1.93 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 10.28 K/9. In 15.1 big-league innings, he’s allowed 16 hits, seven walks and 18 Ks. He has yet to allow a homer this year and has allowed just six in 159 pro innings. Roenicke’s younger brother Jason also pitches in the Jays’ system and the family is familiar with Canada, as father Gary played briefly with the Expos.

  • 9. Lou Marson, C
    From Philadelphia to Cleveland

    Marson’s value has taken a bit of a hit in 2009. He’s shown that he can consistently hit for average but the right-handed hitter has struggled to hit the ball with authority. Scouts were already knocking the catcher for his lack of power prior to 2009, but his ISO has dropped from .120 in ’07 to .102 to .076 in ’09. He’s hit just one homer and 14 doubles this year in 228 at-bats. On the plus side, he continues to get on base via the walk (12.4 BB%) and keeps the strikeouts to a minimum (19.0 K%). With Carlos Santana already established as the catcher of the future in Cleveland, Marson is headed for a back-up role if he’s not traded again.

  • 8. Zach Stewart, RHP
    From Cincinnati to Toronto

    The trade of veteran third baseman Scott Rolen to Cincinnati still has people shaking their heads. Not only did the Jays shed salary and pick up a potential closer in Roenicke but the Reds also surrendered Stewart, who was the club’s third round draft pick in 2008. The right-handed former college closer has seen his value rise significantly in 2009 as he’s shown the ability to stick in the starting rotation. Stewart began the year in high-A ball where he allowed 47 hits in 42.1 innings of work. He then moved up to double-A where he allowed 29 hits in 37 innings of work and posted a walk rate of 2.43 BB/9 and a strikeout rate of 7.54 K/9. Cincinnati then promoted him to triple-A where he moved back to the bullpen in anticipation of him helping out at the MLB level late in ’09, if needed. The 22-year-old allowed 11 hits and eight walks in 12.1 innings of work while also striking out 16 batters. Toronto has committed to moving him back to the starting rotation, although that may not occur until 2010 (which would help control his innings total for the year).

    Check back tomorrow for the Top 7 prospects traded at the deadline.




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


    23 Responses to “Trade Deadline Prospects Ranked, Part 4”

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    1. Matthew says:

      Slow Climb for Johnson? hes only 21 and hes in AA and hes doing great! Hes a strikeout machine and i wouldnt be suprised if he becomes a number 3 pitcher or number 2 because not only can he strike people out with his great stuff but he has has a lot of deception in his delivery.

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      • Tim says:

        Most scouts seem to think he doesn’t have great stuff, which is what keeps him from being more highly rated. Let’s hope the deception continues to work for him, I’m psyched to see another quality pitcher in the Orioles organization.

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    2. djw says:

      Whoa…are the guys the Mariners picked up for Betancourt really in the top seven? Or are they excluded for some reason?

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    3. Marc Hulet says:

      The Betancourt trade occurred 9 days before I cut off the coverage at July 19 with the Felipe Lopez trade.

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      • Big Oil says:

        Will the Nationals only have one of the three (or four, I can’t remember off the top of my head) minor leaguers they received for both Johnson and Beimel ranked?

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    4. Brooksy Boy says:

      “and a strikeout rate of 7.54 BB/9″ ???

      How does one strikeout a walk rate?

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    5. Nate says:

      Dumb question. Is FIP listed on player pages for minor league stats adjusted for what the major league FIP would be?

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    6. Wrighteous says:

      Please, dear God, do not put Brett Wallace at #1 on this list.

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    7. pm says:

      Fangraphs is retarded. How can Ryan Mattheus and Robinson Fabian top 7 prospects traded in the deadline? They are fringe prospects.

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    8. Shush says:

      I have trouble believing that Marson and Roenicke are better prospects than Luke French, who already has had major-league success and pitched reasonably well last night.

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      • fletchdm says:

        I think you’ve properly rated Barnes here. There isn’t much not to like with his statistical track record. As a Giants fan, I HATE the Barnes-Garko trade. Garko can’t hit righties, and I think Jesus Guzman is a better hitter anyway. I think this trade should have been more widely panned.

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    9. Marc Hulet says:

      Marson was highly ranked by most, if not all, prospect publications entering the year and he’s taken a hit, but he still has potential… Roenicke’s ceiling as a closer is higher than French’s as a No. 4 or 5 starter.

      As for the Beimel trade… it was the one trade I overlooked when making the list. Neither Fabian nor Mattheus would have ranked high. They would have been in the 37-32 range. If the two players had been included to go 37 strong, than Fabian (23 yrs old, 105 hits in 83 IP in low-A) would have been 36 in front of Rottino and Mattheus (middle reliever upside, poor secondary stuff, shoulder woes but nice GB rates) would have been 35.

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      • Matt says:

        Marc, you almost always lead with hits and innings for minor league pitchers. I’m just curious about this — is there a reason not to focus solely on K, BB, and HR?

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      • Matt says:

        By the way, not a criticism. I love your posts and read them avidly. I was just wondering because I get the impression from the rest of the site that this way of measuring pitching success is no longer used. Is there something different about the minors?

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      • daniel says:

        A closer is more valuable than a #4 starter?

        Ladies and gentlemen, the 21st century, where a pitcher who throws 60 innings a year tops and is rated by an arbitrarily defined stat than can only be earned in a certain inning is considered harder to find than a guy who can throw 180+ innings a year. Sigh.

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        • Andrew says:

          I’m not sure exactly that Marc was saying that, but I’d agree that the “closer” is an overvalued role on a baseball team.

          How do you even rate guys at that position? Hell, I’d rather the credit go to the swing guy who pitched the starter out of a jam in the 6th or 7th innings instead of a guy that comes on with none on in the 9th. We’re only talking about three outs here!

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    10. Matthew says:

      why? cause he was a former boston prospect and everyone in the world is in love with boston????

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    11. R.Dwyer says:

      I would have to go back and check, but…

      there seems to be a NL->AL trend for these deals.

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    12. Judy says:

      I’m already surprised that Hagadone would be in the top 7, seeing that Stewart isn’t. I’m not that familiar with all the other traded prospects, though, but that seems quite strange to me.

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    13. Phil says:

      Why would Cleveland trade for Marson if they have Santana waiting in the wings?

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      • Drew says:

        I think Cleveland wanted Marson just-in-case Santana needs to move positions at some point. Much like I expect my Orioles to take a few catchers in the next couple of drafts in the event they decide Wieters needs to move to 1B.

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      • Judy says:

        Why wouldn’t they take whoever were the best prospects being offered to them regardless of position or need?

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    14. TimberLee says:

      Let’s wait a few years before we argue about how these prospects have been ranked, shall we? Marson, Stewart, Hagadone : I’ll tell you for pretty certain in 2019.

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