Though the 2020 season has been an unusual one by all measures, this year’s Trade Deadline was still plenty exciting. When it was all said and done, a total of 20 prospects who ranked among their team’s Top 30 prospects had been dealt — a group headlined by No. 59 overall prospect Taylor Trammell.
In the wake of those deals, our MLB Pipeline crew decided that it would be interesting to look at the most well regarded prospect acquired by all 30 teams in the past 10 years, going back to the start of the 2011 season.
Keep in mind that some players who went on to become top-ranked prospects for their new teams weren’t always highly regarded, can’t-miss prospects when they were acquired. That’s why you won’t see guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. (unranked on the White Sox Top 30 when the Padres acquired him for James Shields), Jesús Luzardo (Washington’s 10th-ranked prospect when they dealt him to Oakland) or Oneil Cruz (No. 21 on Dodgers’ Top 30 before joining Pittsburgh in the Tony Watson trade) on the below list.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (No. 4)
The Blue Jays have spent the last 10 years trading more prospects than they’ve acquired while trying to remain competitive in the AL East, but they did get a couple of promising young arms in Woods Richardson and lefty Anthony Kay from the Mets in last summer’s Marcus Stroman trade. The former, a second-round pick in 2018 and one of the youngest players from that Draft, reached Class A Advanced Dunedin at age 18 in his first full season, ultimately posting a 3.80 ERA, 10.6 K/9 and 5.25 K/BB in 106 2/3 innings across two levels.
Orioles: Yusniel Díaz, OF (No. 8)
Díaz was the top prospect acquired by the Orioles from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado blockbuster in 2018, just days after he hit a pair of Futures Game home runs. Injuries certainly hampered him in his first full season with the organization in 2019, limiting him to 85 games, but he’s managed to hit .257/.337/.446 since joining the Orioles. The blend of tools that made the Dodgers spend a total of $31 million to get Díaz are still there; he just hasn’t tapped into them consistently yet.
Rays: Wil Myers, OF
Originally selected by the Royals in the third round of the 2009 Draft, Myers was a fixture on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects list in each of the next three years, eventually ascending to No. 3 on the list when the Rays acquired him as part of the December 2012 James Shields trade. Though he went on to garner AL Rookie of the Year honors the following year, Myers was dealt from Tampa Bay to the Padres in December 2014 as part of a three-team, 11-player trade with the Nationals.
Red Sox: Jeter Downs, SS/2B (No. 1/MLB No. 47)
A 2017 supplemental first-round pick by the Reds, Downs found himself changing addresses after each of his first two full seasons. The Dodgers grabbed him while clearing salary and roster space by sending Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer to Cincinnati in December 2018, then used him as part of a package to acquire Mookie Betts from the Red Sox this February. As a middle infielder with 20-20 potential, he immediately became Boston’s top prospect.
Yankees: Gleyber Torres, SS
The Cubs believed that a closer was the final piece to their puzzle in 2016, and their infield depth at the time led them to part with Torres as the headliner in a trade to land Arodis Chapman — who did help end their 108-year World Series championship drought. Torres ranked No. 1 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list by the end of 2017 and slammed 62 homers and played in two All-Star Games in his first two big league seasons at ages 21 and 22.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians: Trevor Bauer, RHP
Though he was the No. 3 overall pick in a loaded 2011 Draft, the quirky Bauer quickly wore out his welcome with the D-backs, who shipped him to the Indians 18 months later in a three-team, nine-player deal that also sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds and Didi Gregorius to Arizona. Bauer became a solid starter in Cleveland, making the All-Star Game in 2018 before going to Cincinnati in another three-team trade last July.
Royals: Edward Olivares, OF (No. 22)
The Royals have been relatively quiet in the past decade when it comes to acquiring prospects, which is understandable given the team’s perennial strong drafting that led to their World Series title in 2015. The club has been more active this year, though, acquiring Ronald Bolaños prior to the regular season and Lucius Fox and Olivares ahead of the Deadline. While Bolaños currently ranks highest of those three on the Royals’ Top 30, Olivares, whom the club acquired from San Diego for Brett Phillips, came over with more hype after he made the jump from Double-A to the Major Leagues this year to make the Padres’ Opening Day roster.
Tigers: Franklin Perez, RHP (No. 14)
The rebuilding process that has helped vault the Tigers up to No. 2 in our recently released farm system rankings really began in 2017, when the club traded ace Justin Verlander to the Astros for Perez, Daz Cameron and Jake Rogers. Perez, then 19, was the best regarded of the three prospects at the time of the trade, ranking as MLB Pipeline’s No. 32 overall prospect. Since then, however, the right-hander has battled myriad injuries that have limited him to just 59 Minor League innings.
Twins: Eduardo Escobar, INF
The Twins initially got Escobar from the White Sox in a Trade Deadline deal in 2012 and he was Chicago’s No. 4 prospect at the start of that season. He went on to be a very solid contributor for the Twins over parts of seven seasons (5.9 WAR) before being sent to the D-backs in a 2018 Deadline deal that netted Minnesota’s second-best acquired prospect, right-hander Jhoan Duran.
White Sox: Yoán Moncada, 2B
Moncada ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball but had struggled in his brief big league debut when the Red Sox used him (as well as elite pitching prospect Michael Kopech and two other Minor Leaguers) to pry Chris Sale away from the White Sox at the 2016 Winter Meetings. Moncada scuffled during his first two years in Chicago and led the Majors with 217 strikeouts in 2018 before breaking out last year with a .315/.367/.548 season. The White Sox continued to rebuild, acquiring Lucas Giolito from the Nationals in a package for Adam Eaton the day after the Sale trade and Eloy Jimenez from the Cubs as part of a Jose Quintana deal the next summer.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Andrew Heaney, LHP
Initially drafted by the Marlins with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Heaney reached the big leagues in 2014, two years after he was drafted. He was No. 18 on our Top 100 list when he was traded, first to the Dodgers, then minutes later, to the Angels, during the Winter Meetings that December. Elbow issues and eventual Tommy John surgery allowed him to make just six starts in 2016 and 2017, but he made 30 of them in 2018 before shoulder issues limited him to 95 1/3 innings in 2019. He is a part of the current Angels rotation.
Astros: Jon Singleton, 1B
Acquired from the Phillies in a July 2011 deal for Hunter Pence, Singleton ranked as baseball’s top first-base prospect in both 2013 and 2014 and became the first Minor Leaguer to sign a long-term big league contract before reaching the Majors. After inking a five-year deal worth a guaranteed $10 million just before making his debut in June 2014, he posted a .621 OPS in 114 games in two seasons with the Astros, who cut him in 2018 while he was serving a 100-game drug suspension following a third positive test for marijuana use.
A’s: Dustin Fowler, OF
When the A’s sent Sonny Gray to the Yankees at the 2017 Trade Deadline, they got three prospects in return, with Fowler being the best regarded at the time. He was No. 67 on the Top 100 at the end of the 2017 season, a year that saw him produce well in Triple-A and earn his first big league callup, only to suffer a season-ending knee injury in his first game with the Yankees. He appeared in 69 games with Oakland in 2018 (.610 OPS) and had a solid year in Triple-A in 2019, though he’s not been back in the big leagues since that ’18 season.
Mariners: Jarred Kelenic, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 12)
Kelenic was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, taken by the Mets, though his career with that organization was very short-lived. After his debut summer, he was sent to the Mariners in the Robinson Canó/Edwin Diaz deal. No. 62 on the Top 100 at the end of the 2018 season, Kelenic proceeded to reach Double-A and have a 20-20 campaign in first full season of pro ball while moving to the top spot on the Mariners’ Top 30 and close to the top of the Top 100.
Rangers: Willie Calhoun, OF
Calhoun led all junior college players with 31 homers at Yavapai (Ariz.) JC in 2015, mashing his way into the fourth round of the Draft, and he continued to rake in the Minors with the Dodgers. They made him the centerpiece of a July 2017 Yu Darvish trade with the Rangers, and they immediately moved him from second base to the outfield. He’s still trying to lock down a regular role in Texas, but he has homered 24 times in 149 big league games.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Dansby Swanson, SS
The D-backs had the No. 1 overall pick in 2015 and took Swanson out of Vanderbilt. He’d play just 22 games with the organization, however, as Arizona sent him to the Braves in a surprising trade that December. Swanson was the No. 10 overall prospect at the time and he rose to as high as No. 4 prior to the 2017 season after making his big league debut in 2016. He’s now in his fourth full season of being the Braves’ everyday shortstop.
Marlins: Sixto Sánchez, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 24)
The Phillies stumbled upon Sánchez while attending a workout for a Cuban catcher in the Dominican Republic in February 2015, signed him for $35,000 and watched him develop into one of the game’s top pitching prospects. They used him to add J.T. Realmuto from the Marlins in February 2019, and Sánchez has produced a 2.37 ERA with 19 strikeouts in as many innings during his first three big league starts this summer. He’s one of five Top 100 Prospects Miami has traded for in the last two years, along with Lewis Brinson, Monte Harrison, Jazz Chisholm and Jesus Sanchez.
Mets: Travis d’Arnaud, C
The Mets acquired d’Arnaud along with Noah Syndergaard in a package for R.A. Dickey in December 2012, the offseason after the knuckleballing righty had won the NL Cy Young Award. But while Syndergaard has enjoyed more success in the Majors, even leading the Mets to a World Series berth in 2015, d’Arnaud was the more highly touted prospect at the time of the trade, ranking 11th on the Top 100 (Syndergaard was ranked 95th).
Nationals: Trea Turner, SS
The 13th-overall pick in the 2014 Draft had been in San Diego’s system for less than six months when the club sent him to Washington as part of a three-team, 11-player deal with Tampa Bay in December. But as a recent Draft pick, Turner wasn’t allowed to join the Nats until June 2015 — after he had opened the year at No. 62 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. He made his big league debut two months later and ranked 11th on the Top 100 at the outset of 2016, when he finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year race. He has since appeared in 516 games for Washington, batting .296/.353/.477 with 70 homers and 162 steals.
Phillies: Jorge Alfaro, C
The Phillies sent ace Cole Hamels to the Rangers in a blockbuster deal at the 2015 Trade Deadline, bringing in six players. Alfaro and Nick Williams were both Top 100 players (in the 60s) at the time and both made contributions in Philadelphia by 2017. Alfaro gets the nod somewhat because of position scarcity. He’d become the Phillies starter briefly before being sent to the Marlins with top prospect Sixto Sanchez in the Feb. 2019 trade for J.T. Realmuto.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Lewis Brinson, OF
Brinson ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 21 overall prospect when the Brewers acquired him and right-hander Luis Ortiz from the Rangers for Jonathan Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress at the 2016 Trade Deadline. He’d moved up to No. 18 by the start of the ’17 season and made his big league debut that June, though an underwhelming performance down the stretch that year (.106 average, .513 OPS in 21 games) prompted the Brewers to deal the young outfielder and three other prospects to Miami in the offseason Christian Yelich blockbuster.
Cardinals: Matt Liberatore, LHP (No. 3/MLB No. 60)
St. Louis had its sights set on getting Liberatore in the 2018 Draft but was unable to do so after the Rays selected the prep left-hander 16th overall, three picks before the Cardinals selected Kentucky southpaw Zack Thompson. So, it wasn’t a total surprise when the organization went out of its way to get Liberatore, MLB Pipeline’s No. 41 prospect at the time, this past January in the deal that sent José Martínez and Randy Arozarena to Tampa Bay. Currently ranked as MLB Pipeline’s 60th-best prospect, the 20-year-old hurler is more advanced than the typical prep pick, with a deep, four-pitch mix that includes a plus fastball and curveball.
Cubs: Addison Russell, SS
Though the Cubs had more success with more subtle deals for Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Hendricks, their splashiest prospect trade came in July 2014 when they sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Athletics for Russell and fellow former first-round choice Billy McKinnon. Ranked No. 7 in MLB Pipeline’s midseason Top 100, Russell was an All-Star and World Series champion at age 22 in 2016. He received a 40-game suspension in 2018-19 for violating MLB’s domestic-violence policy, and he’s now playing in Korea.
Pirates: Bryan Reynolds, OF
Reynolds had been the Giants’ second-round pick in the 2016 Draft, one who had a solid first full season of pro ball in the California League in 2017. His second year would come with the Pirates as the top prospect received in the January 2018 Andrew McCutchen trade. He had been the Giants’ No. 3 prospect and began the 2018 season No. 6 on the Pirates’ list. His rookie season in 2019 (.314/.377/.503) landed him fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting and made it look like we may have been light in his ranking, though he’s struggled so far in 2020.
Reds: José Peraza, SS/2B
Peraza is only allowed to be involved in three-team trades, it seems. He was first sent from the Braves to the Dodgers in a deal that also involved the Marlins at the 2015 Trade Deadline. He spent just about five months with the Dodgers before being sent to the Reds in December of 2015 in a deal that involved the White Sox. At the time, Peraza was ranked No. 24 on our Top 100, and he made a big splash during his Reds debut in 2016, hitting .324/.352/.411 in 72 big league games. He spent the next three years as a mainstay in Cincy’s lineup, though he never replicated that production before becoming a free agent and signing with the Red Sox for the 2020 season.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Didi Gregorius, SS
Revered for his outstanding defense at shortstop when Arizona acquired him from Cleveland in a three-team trade in December 2012, Gregorius opened the ’13 campaign ranked as MLB Pipeline’s No. 63 prospect and spent much of the year in the Majors, batting .252/.332/.373 over 103 games. He was included in another three-team trade in December 2014, this time going to the Yankees, where he blossomed offensively en route to three straight seasons with at least 20 home runs and back-to-back Top 20 MVP finishes (2017-18).
Dodgers: Andrew Heaney, LHP
The ninth overall pick in the 2012 Draft, Heaney was a Dodger for only a few hours at the 2014 Winter Meetings. He joined Los Angeles (as did Enrique Hernández and Austin Barnes) in a seven-player Dee Gordon/Dan Haren trade with the Marlins before being swapped to the Angels straight up for Howie Kendrick. Heaney bounced back from Tommy John surgery in 2016 and more elbow issues in 2019 to become the Angels’ Opening Day starter this July.
— Andrew Heaney (@Heandog8) December 11, 2014
Giants: Will Wilson, SS/2B (No. 11)
The Giants considered Wilson with the No. 10 overall choice in the 2019 Draft before selecting Hunter Bishop, then acquired him six months later when the Angels (who took him 15th) parted with him in order to dump Zack Cozart’s salary. Despite a so-so pro debut, Wilson offers 20-homer upside as a middle infielder.
Padres: Francisco Mejia, C
As the No. 15 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, Mejia was the highest-ranked catching prospect in baseball when the Padres acquired him from Cleveland for reliever Brad Hand in July 2018. He performed well in his first full season in San Diego, slashing .265/.316/.438 with eight homers and 11 doubles, and he did so while also adding left field to his defensive resume. The 25-year-old has struggled in a more limited role in 2020 (.331 OPS in 41 plate appearances) and has fallen down the organizational depth chart following San Diego’s Deadline acquisitions of Jason Castro and Austin Nola.
Rockies: Jeff Hoffman, RHP
The Blue Jays had drafted Hoffman ninth overall in 2014 out of East Carolina University even though he had Tommy John surgery that spring and he had pitched his way to Double-A in his first full season when he was sent to the Rockies as the key prospect in the Troy Tulowitzki trade at the 2015 Trade Deadline. He had risen to No. 49 on the Top 100 by the end of the 2015 season while making his big league debut and climbing as high as No. 35 in 2016. He’s struggled trying to establish himself as a big league arm and has been pitching out of the Rockies bullpen’ in 2020.