Prospect Values Impacted by Trade Deadline Day

The dust has settled after the trade deadline storm. Or was it more of a tropical depression?

As we survey the altered landscape, we can see that a number of prospects have benefited from change? At the same time, a few prospects that changed hands saw their values hurt by their respective deals.

Let’s take a moment to review in more depth.

The Good

Joey Wentz, LHP (From Braves to Tigers): I’m a Wentz fan and this move gets him out of the logjam of pitchers in Atlanta and puts him into an organization that is trending upwards — especially in the pitching category. Detroit has amassed an impressive group of upper-level arms in its own right now and we could see a rotation in a year or two of Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Tarik Skubal and Wentz. If Matthew Boyd sticks around, who’s still only 28, it’s even better.

Joshua Rojas, UTIL (From Astros to Diamondbacks): Rojas is a name you may not be overly familiar with but he was a great late-round draft selection by the Astros, an organization that has a history of finding value in strange places. The 25-year-old can play all over the diamond so his versatility is a huge plus. And the bat is not so bad, either. He has 20 home runs in 97 Triple-A games. If you’re in a league that rewards walks, like Ottoneu, well, he has a BB-K of 55-64. And how about some steals? He’s not fast but he’s a smart baserunner and has 32 steals in 42 attempts this year. Arizona is also a pretty nice place to hit so this guy should be on your radar.

Chris Vallimont, RHP (From Marlins to Twins): I wrote about Vallimont earlier this year and really like his potential, even if he’s not on many radars. In some ways, his value is hurt by moving to an organization with strong pitching depth but he’s also going to a team with a very strong player development group (something often overlooked when talking about and projecting prospects). The 22-year-old hurler has 122 strikeouts and 37 walks in 105.1 innings split over two A-ball levels and may just be scratching the surface on his potential. At 6-5, 220 pounds, he has the makings of an innings-eating workhorse with an as-yet-to-be-determined ceiling.

Peter Fairbanks, RHP (From Rangers to Rays): Another prospect moving to an organization that earns high marks for player development, Fairbanks is a late bloomer with a big-time fastball that could really take off in Tampa Bay. After struggling with the Rangers’ Triple-A club (11.37 ERA in seven games), he now has a 1.50 ERA with a K-BB of 9-2 in six games. There is high-leverage upside here.

Kyle Johnston, RHP (From Nationals to Blue Jays): The Jays made some poor trades. I won’t dwell on it but this might be the only deal where there is a little light at the end of the tunnel that’s not a train. Johnston had been throwing in the starting rotation in High-A ball for the Nationals organization but he’s miscast as a starter. If Toronto realizes this quickly, then he could jump on the fast track to the Majors as a reliever with two plus offerings (fastball, cutter).

Travis Demeritte, 2B (From Braves to Tigers): The new MLB is made for players like Demeritte where power is king and no one cares if your strikeout rate is 30%. A former first-round pick way back in 2013, the second baseman will get a shot at the Majors with Detroit because the team’s middle infielders have mostly been a pile of hot garbage this year. If he can keep the Ks at a modest level (He’s struck out 170+ times twice in his minor league career), Demeritte has a real shot at some playing time given the lack of depth, his potential for 20+ homers and his willingness to offset the Ks to a degree with a walk rate that often surpasses 10%.

The Bad

Anthony Kay, LHP (From Mets to Blue Jays): Kay has gone from potentially pitching to teams in the National League East and throughout the DH-less NL to potentially pitching in Toronto, Boston, and New York on a regular basis. That’s a significant downgrade for any pitcher, let alone one with No. 4/5 starter upside (But then as Ross Atkins will proudly point out, he has six guaranteed years of control). Kay has a chance to have three average or slightly-better-than-average offerings but his command hasn’t been good enough in Triple-A to fully take advantage of his repertoire.

Kolby Allard, LHP (From Braves to Rangers): This prospect has some positives. He’s just 21, he’s a former first-rounder and he’s left-handed. But the move from the National League to the American League is definitely going to hurt a pitcher like Allard. He has modest velocity on his fastball and his command is still developing. When he misses his spots, he’s going to get creamed. Allard probably had No. 4 starter upside in the NL but it’s down to No. 5/swingman in the AL – even with his increased ground-ball rate in 2019.

Lewin Diaz, 1B (From Twins to Marlins): The Marlins had a weird trade deadline. They made a terrible trade by swapping Zac Gallen for Jazz Chisholm. They made a good deal in acquiring Jesus Sanchez and Ryne Stanek from the Rays. And they also made another bad deal in sending Chris Vallimont along with Sergio Romo to the Twins for Diaz. I have a lot more faith in the Twins player development than I do the Marlins and this young first baseman already went off the rails once in his development so I fear he’ll do that again in Miami. On the plus side, he has absolutely no roadblocks to an eventual role in the big leagues.

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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3 years ago

Calling the Gallen/Jazz swap “terrible” for either side seems like a hot take now, but I’m sure one team will really rue it in a few years.

3 years ago
Reply to  vslyke

Zac Gallen is a rookie major league pitcher who absolutely dominated & crushed the PCL. A lot of scouts discount him due to pedestrian velocity around 93 mph… but he amped it up over 96 during his last start. Jazz is a power-speed SS in Double A, but he’s small (165 lbs) and Ks in a third of his plate appearances. He could be Ketel Marte, or he could be Franklin Barreto.

It is frankly weird for either of these guys to be traded. I could see either one of them (or both) becoming a star. Zac just needs to keep progressing on the same trajectory while Jazz needs a course correction, but power-speed SS are gold.

Marlins are taking a gamble, but i don’t see this as terrible, & I’m a Gallen fan.

3 years ago
Reply to  BMac

franklin barreto could still be ketel marte.

3 years ago
Reply to  vslyke

Longenhagen wrote this; “I’ll spare you what can easily be discerned by looking at our prospect coverage, namely that we prefer Chisholm to Gallen by a decent-sized margin, while also acknowledging that Gallen is a more stable prospect. ”

Do we trust Hulet or Longenhagen?

3 years ago
Reply to  Mike

McDaniel >> Longenhagen >> Hulet