Over the next week and a half there will be (hopefully) a bunch of trades made by the August 1st trade deadline. When those trade are made there will be some top prospects moved in those deals, but the question is what prospects may be on the move? Let's take a look at some possible names that may be moved. First, let me say in no way am I advocating the teams trading these players, rather as the saying goes - "in order to get something you have to give something."
Boston Red Sox - Trey Ball, LHP, Lowell Spinners
Trey Ball, a former first round pick in 2013, has had a good, but rather inconsistent season in Salem. The biggest part of his game he needs to work on is his walks- he has walked at least four batters in five of his last ten starts. The potential is clearly there in Ball, but he has to harness his ability and be much more consistent.
I had the fortune of talking to Joe Vasile, the Broadcasting and Media Relations Assistant for the Salem Red Sox, and he gave some thoughts on Trey Ball:
"Tall, hard-throwing lefty who could even ramp up the velocity higher than the 95 he touches once his body fills out. His fastball command comes and goes on a dime, his changeup has good potential but is not quite consistently there yet, he has a big, looping, slow curve, and a slider that he picked up last year that has at times this year been his best friend and his worst enemy. Trey's problem is simple - he walks too many batters and doesn't strike out enough. He was getting good bounces earlier in the season, but now not so much. These are his combined numbers in his last three starts: 10 IP, 17 H, 14 R, 12 ER, 3 HBP, 16 BB, 10 K, 3 WP. That was preceded by this three start stretch in June: 19.1 IP, 15 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 HBP, 8 BB, 13 K, 2 WP. There are days where he dominates and days where he looks lost, a lot of it is a mental game for him. At the end of the day, the walks need to tick down and the strikeouts need to tick up, which should happen if and when he finally figures it all out. A team's judgement of his trade value is going to come from when their scout saw him."
It is clear if it all comes together Ball can be an effective Major League pitcher - the type of arm that may be do or die in the long run, but the question is if his name is brought up in trade talks will Boston move him or hold onto the potential in his arm? Personally if Boston can land an established starter at the trade deadline I would move Ball.
Chicago Cubs - Billy McKinney, OF - Tennessee Smokies
If there is a team on this list that will trade a prospect it is surely the Cubs. Every time we hear a trade rumor it seems like it involves the Cubs. Plenty have them coupled with the Yankees, but no matter who they trade with or trade for, I cannot foresee them dealing Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, or Albert Almora Jr.
That takes us to Billy McKinney. McKinney, drafted 24th overall in the 2013 draft, by the Oakland A's, and later traded to Chicago in the Jeff Samardzija deal. Currently, in the Southern League, he is hitting .258/.363/.330 with one home run and 31 runs batted in. In every stop he has made, McKinney has hit .285 or better, except for his stint in Stockton where he hit .241 in 2014. Mlb.com has McKinney graded as a 60 hit tool, and I agree with that grade - there is little doubt he will hit, the power is where my question comes in, especially for a potential corner outfielder. However, if McKinney can turn his hitting tools into a consistent amount of doubles, then he will be more appealing in the long run.
In his preseason Cubs prospect list, our own John Sickels had this to say in regards to McKinney:
"Grade B: Age 21, hit combined .300/.371/.454 with seven homers, 44 walks, 60 strikeouts in 377 at-bats between High-A and Double-A. Average tools in most respects but has always hit well against older competition and a favorite of scouts due to excellent makeup, still some risk he ends up as a "tweener" without ideal power for a corner."
Cleveland Indians - Triston McKenzie, RHP - Mahoning Valley Scrappers
The Indians' prospect that is moved will depend on the type of player they acquire, impact player or one of a lesser talent. Yesterday, news broke of the Indians discussing Jonathan Lucroy with the Milwaukee Brewers, in light of the injury to Yan Gomes. Lucroy is just the type of player the Indians need to propel them further than just an American League Central title.
The focus of the Indians section is one potential player it may take to land Lucroy from Milwaukee. That player is Triston McKenzie, the 42nd overall selection in the 2015 MLB draft. His professional career has started in a dominant manner. After excelling in only 12 innings in Rookie ball last year, he has continued to find success in the New York Penn League. Through 37.2 innings, McKenzie is 3-2 with a 0.48 ERA with 42 strikeouts and only 14 walks. He has an electric arm that is further along than most high school arms would be this early in their development. While, he may be a few years away from reaching the Major Leagues, McKenzie is the type of prospect and arm the Indians will have to give up to truly make an impact at the trade deadline.
Texas Rangers - Josh Morgan, 2B - High Desert Mavericks
The Rangers almost certainly will make a move to upgrade their bullpen or first base by the trade deadline. According to Fangraphs, their bullpen ranks last in the American League in ERA and fWAR. The Rangers first basemen have only accumulated a 0.6 fWAR, enough to be in the top ten in the American League, but still an area that needs improving. A name talked about in trade rumors is Joey Gallo and while he very well may be moved by the trade deadline, an argument can be made to call him up to play first base - now that Prince Fielder is potentially done for the season he can receive a consistent amount of playing time.
It is well known the collection of talent Texas has up the middle throughout the organization, but at some point some of that talent needs to be moved to address other areas. This is where Josh Morgan comes in. Morgan is currently in the California League hitting .280/.354/.389 with seven home runs and 34 runs batted in. Overall, Morgan has average range with his bat the more advanced aspect of his game at this stage. There is potential to hit 15-20 home runs in a season as he develops more. He is probably two years away from reaching the Majors, but in the right deal, a team planning for the future can use a talent like Morgan.
Washington Nationals - Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
If Washington has to make a choice between dealing Lopez or Erick Fedde, then I would trade Lopez and keep Fedde - I am high on Fedde after taking a look at him last season with Auburn. Lopez made his major league debut this past week against the Dodgers and it did not go well, even though he had nine strikeouts. This does not take away from his future potential, as there is a great deal of talent in his arm.
Lopez, only 22, has had the ability to struggle with his command at times, but when he has his pitches working he can be very effective. His curveball is ahead of his changeup at this point in his development, but it is not too far behind. In the long run, I think Lopez can be most effective as a reliever; however with a little more refining I think there is still potential to work as a rotation piece as well - it is still too early to tell.