The 2023 MLB Trade Deadline is right around the corner. In fact, we’ve already seen a couple trades, Shintaro Fujinami and Pierce Johnson which you can read about in the Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline Tracker. This year’s trade deadline is expected to be a wild one with a ton of players on the move. We’ve all heard the rumors of Shohei Ohtani, Marcus Stroman, Lucas Giolito, and perhaps Cody Bellinger being on the move. Those moves will take prospects to land a difference making major league for the playoff stretch run. For this week’s prospect report, we’ll talk about the prospects who could find themselves on other teams at the trade deadline and how that changes their fantasy baseball value going forward. We’ll have an updated Top-400 Prospect Rankings following the Trade Deadline too. Last year we saw a fair number of prospects change teams, and several had been mentioned in this article. So let’s dive in and see who fantasy baseball managers need to be checking in on come the 2023 MLB Trade Deadline.
Prospects that could be on the move
The Rays aren’t necessarily known for making Trade Deadline deals but this year is different. They’ve been one of, if not, the best team(s) in the AL all year despite having a plethora of injuries to their pitching rotation. Seriously, they have a top-three rotation on the IL right now. Tampa also has a very deep and talented farm system and we could see them package prospects together to help add depth in their rotation with Osleivis Basabe potentially being involved. The righty-hitting 5’11”, 180-pound infielder is a guy we like to call a “baseball player”. He does a lot of things solidly but no one thing amazingly. Basabe has a lot of holes defensively and isn’t a liability at the plate either with his plus-Hit tool. The power leaves a little lacking but above-average speed is nice too and played out well with his .311/.369/.433 slash line over 350 minor league games with 67 steals. Teams love to get their hands on Rays’ farmhands and Basabe is a prime example of a guy who other teams would like to add to their lineups.
Orelvis Martinez — SS/3B Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are in the thick of an AL Wild Card race and need some more help and depth. So why not trade a prospect who’s blocked around much of the infield at the major league level? Martinez fits that bill with Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.. Jr. blocking where he fits. The power is the calling card with the big righty-hitting infielder with 83 homers in 331 career minor league games, or a 41-HR 162-game pace, with 120 RBI and 90 R 162-game pace as well. The bat is an issue with a .235/.323/.498 slash line in that same 331 game span. He’s clearly a masher who doesn’t make consistent contact and plays adequate defense at shortstop and third base. The power upside might be enough to make him interesting in a trade deal to bolster the pitching staff or offensive depth.
Victor Acosta and Ricardo Cabrera — SS Cincinnati Reds
The Reds are expected to be movers and shakers at the Trade Deadline with the surge their youngsters have brought. We talked about a few of their prospects who could be moved in a Shohei Ohtani deal but there are more prospects we could be looking at for more minor, less blockbuster-esque deals. Acosta and Cabrera are two of those players. They are similar in their abilities, age, size, and positions going forward with both being teenage shortstops in the lower minors. Cabrera is an 18-year-old righty at Rookie Ball with average-to-above-average skills across the board who should add more traits as he physically matures from his 5’11”, 178-pound frame and he could ultimately move to third base. As for Acosta, the 19-year-old switch-hitting shortstop who’s at Class-A Daytona, the Hit and Speed tools are slightly better than Cabrera’s but the Power is slightly lower. Over his 168 games in the minors so far, Acosta is slashing .256/.384/.395 with eight homers, 93 R, 68 RBI, and 39 SB in 555 at-bats. While Cabrera is better suited for third or short long-term, Acosta will be a versatile defender at short, second, or even center field.
Michael Busch — 2B/OF Los Angeles Dodgers
What is it going to take for Busch to stick with the Dodgers fully? He’s hit 15 homers in 65 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year while slashing .307/.430/.572. When we add in the 111 games he played at Triple-A a year ago, the combined line is .281/.377/.514 with 36 homers, 141 R, 138 RBI, and five steals. It’s hard to ignore those stats right? Well, unless you’re the Dodgers major league team apparently. The fact that he has second base and outfield experience makes him really intriguing too. The Dodgers have the deepest system in baseball and can make a ton of different packages to improve the major league roster and strengthening their run for the NL West title. Frankly, at this point moving Busch will be best for him and the Dodgers.
Jake Eder — LHP Miami Marlins
There have been reports for a few weeks of scouts watching Eder’s starts at Double-A Pensacola. Who can blame them? He’s one of the best left-handed pitching prospects in baseball and is in a system known for developing high quality starting pitchers. Eder though, might be expendable for the Marlins in an effort to improve their offense at the Major League level. Even with some minor struggles this year, coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2022, scouts (and fantasy managers) have to like what Eder offers with two plus-pitches and a third above-average offering. The 6’4” southpaw has very good control and high strikeout stuff that’s produced 137 Ks in 105 minor league innings and a 3:1 K:BB ratio. Eder is likely to be one of the more talked about prospects in trades as the August 1 Trade Deadline approaches.
The Mets are in a weird spot right? The most expensive payroll in baseball, ever, and yet under .500 and yet, the fan base is still expecting the playoffs. So what does ownership do? Well, Steve Cohen doesn’t seem like a sit on his hands kind of guy and he has some prospects at his disposal to make a move for a final push. That’s where Mauricio comes in. He is currently blocked at short by Francisco Lindor, no matter what fans and fantasy managers alike think of him, and at second by Jeff McNeil. That could make him a valuable trade piece, especially with how well he’s playing. Over 87 games at Triple-A Syracuse he’s slashing .297/.344/.508 with 16 homers, 56 RBI, 54 R, and 15 steals. That follows a 26-20 year in 2022 as well. If, and it’s a big IF, the Mets want to make a splash and get some help for their struggling roster Mauricio getting a change of scenery could very well be part of that.
The Giants recent surge in the standings have likely shifted their view of the Trade Deadline. If they’re looking at being buyers to get some offensive help, or bolster their rotation, we could see them move Whisenhunt. He’s one of their top pitching prospects but they have depth in that category with Kyle Harrison and Reggie Crawford also being southpaws in the system. Whisenhunt has pitched 66.1 innings across four stops in the Giants’ system while posting 97 Ks and a 2.17 ERA. He uses a combination of solid pitches and craftiness from the left side to be an effective starter with a floor and ceiling that are similar to each other as a solid strikeout mid-rotation starter. Plenty of teams can use another arm in their system and the Giants could use help in the majors which makes Whisenhunt a guy to watch around the Trade Deadline.
Blaze Jordan — 1B/3B Boston Red Sox
It’s been a weird year for the Red Sox already, including running into a triple play on a fly out to center on Tuesday night, but they’re still in AL Wild Card contention. With them being in contention and getting some offensive help back soon, it appears the Red Sox will be buyers at the deadline. One of the players who could be moved is Blaze Jordan who appears to be blocked going forward by Rafael Devers and the surging Tristan Casas. The calling card for the 20-year-old corner infielder is copious amounts of power. He was hitting tape measure shots as a pre-teen and hasn’t stopped. The Hit tool is about MLB-average as is his fielding but for a corner infielder that’s just fine. Jordan, over his 230 minor league games, is slashing .302/.367/.488 with 31 homers (13 in the last 82 games), 153 RBI, 130 R, and eight steals. Teams are looking for power and depth in the infield and Jordan offers that and gives the Red Sox a trade chip to bolster their pitching staff.
Sims is perhaps the most interesting name on this list because of the gap between his potential upside and his production so far. Drafted in the 2022 MLB Draft coming off of Tommy John surgery, he’s only pitched nine total innings in the D-Backs system so far which clearly isn’t a lot to go off of for samples or stats. However, Sims does have the stuff to be an effective MLB starter with two double-plus pitches — a 65-grade fastball and 70-grade slider — with a third offering developing. When healthy, Sims should profile as a high-strikeout starter who could turn into a Spencer Strider type starter or at worst an electric high-leverage bullpen arm who pairs nicely with a few other prospects in the Diamondbacks burgeoning system that could net them the help they need down the stretch to land in the NL playoffs.
Daulton Rushing — C Los Angeles Dodgers
How many good catchers does one farm system need? The Dodgers have Will Smith, you know one of the best catchers in the majors, plus Diego Cartaya another elite catching prospect. Then there’s Rushing. A second round pick in 2022, following Henry Davis going number one overall out of Louisville the year prior, Rushing has plus-Hit and Power tools and he’s put those to use so far in the minors. Over three stops in the Dodgers’ system, Rushing is hitting .297/.454/.548 with 17 homers, 70 RBI, 69 R, and two steals in 96 games. The Dodgers are currently in first in the NL West but need help in a few places and Rushing could headline a package to get that help at the deadline.
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