Prospect Stock Watch: Alford, Garrett, Newcomb, Okert

Today, we’re looking at a few players that could be impacted by the trade deadline — either as trade bait or players that could be looked to to fill voids within the next year or two.

Anthony Alford, CF, Blue Jays: I wrote about Alford back in July of 2014 prior to the news that he would officially give up playing college football. Committed fully to baseball in ’15, the speedy outfielder has been a revelation and has seen his value increase more than almost any other minor league player this season. Drafted the same year as Toronto’s first round pick D.J. Davis — another fleet-of-foot outfielder from the same state (Mississippi) — Alford has left his draft-mate in his dust despite having about a 1,000 fewer at-bats of experience. To be fair, his success has been fuelled by a very high BABIP but he’s also the kind of guy that’s probably going to produce higher-than-average rates. In about half the at-bats, Alford has shown a lot of improvements in the plate since moving form A-ball to High-A ball. His strikeout rate is down about 10%, he’s hitting with more pop, and his on-base percentage is still above .400 despite a lower walk rate. The talented outfielder is also known for being an excellent clubhouse guy that other players gravitate towards; imagine a big league clubhouse with both Alford and Daniel Norris setting the tone. There aren’t many organizations that can boast two potential above-average center-field prospects (with Dalton Pompey) like the Jays can, but that could change by the trade deadline. [Value Up]

Amir Garrett, LHP, Reds: If the rumor mill is true, Cincinnati is set to effectively tear down its starting pitching rotation and start over. Impending free agents Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake are on the trading block and generated a significant portion of the club’s impact innings in the first half. With Homer Bailey recovering from Tommy John surgery, the top arms in the rotation will be Anthony DeSclafani and Michael Lorenzen — both of whom have little experience and project as more No. 3-4 starters than top-of-the-rotation guys. Garrett, 23, has a chance to develop into that impact arm the club needs. A two-sport star in college (basketball), the lefty is developing at an impressive rate given how raw he was when he signed. He’s extremely athletic and, if his secondary stuff rounds out, he should have swing-and-miss stuff. At 6-foot-5, Garrett has the height to develop excellent downward plane on his heater but he’s currently more of a fly-ball guy at present. He’s spent 2015 to date in High-A ball but might taste Double-A by the end of the season with an eye on hitting the Majors near the end of 2016 or early 2017. [Value Up]

Sean Newcomb, LHP: The Angels aren’t known for developing prospects because, well, they trade them all away. The homegrown talent they’ve developed, though, has been pretty impressive (Mike Trout, anyone?). Newcomb could be the next big thing to come out of the club’s system and the sooner the better. The Angels are set to lose two innings-eating starts after the 2016 when the contracts for Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson are up. Newcomb, the club’s first round draft pick in 2014, has split the ’15 season between two A-ball affiliates and has looked good despite so-so control (He’s walking more than 4.5 batters per nine innings). When he finds the zone, the lefty blows his mid-90s heat past hitters — as seen by his strikeout rate of more than 11.5 per nine. The 22-year-old hurler should be on target to arrive in The Show in 2016, and, even if he’s not ready to be a stud starter right away, he should chew up lots of innings. [Value Up]

Steven Okert, LHP, Giants: I first heard about Okert in the winter of 2012 — and wrote him up in 2013 as a sleeper — after his pro debut in the low minors and the Giants were quite fond of him already. A former fourth-round pick, he hasn’t moved all that quickly for a college-trained reliever but he ranked 7th amongst Giants prospects on Kiley’s pre-season evaluation of the organization after he struck out 92 batters in 68.1 innings. The hard-throwing lefty has been solid in Triple-A in 2015, although his control has wavered a bit while striking out 45 in 39.2 innings. He’s much more effective against same-side hitters and could develop into a very good reliever for the Giants if/when Javier Lopez hangs up his cleats. It’s also possible he could be dangled at the trade deadline to shore up a more glaring hole. [Value Up]

Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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Walt Jocketty
Walt Jocketty

I’m thinking about trading Amir Garrett for David Eckstein, So Taguchi, and Jason Isringhausen