New York Yankees
New faces: SS Gleyber Torres, OF Clint Frazier, LHP Justus Sheffield, RHP Dillon Tate, OF Billy McKinney
Goodnight, sweet prince: Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran
'Thaaaaa Yankees win' the trade deadline, and what they've lost in left-handed bullpen dominance they've more than made up for with a high-ceiling prospect stash that gives them superior flexibility going forward.
GM Brian Cashman deserves props of the maddest order, setting the Bombers up for a busy offseason with three hefty salaries coming off the books (Beltran, Teix, C.C.?) and now an excess of young talent to develop and deal from.
One gets the feeling that the front office made the rounds and got the very best returns they could for southpaw stoppers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, as well as 39-year-old playoff war hero Carlos Beltran. Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres are the consensus top-50 headliners that inject premium bats into the future lineup, while LHP Justus Sheffield and RHP Dillon Tate need a few years of seasoning but represent legit rotation hopefuls down the line.
Per everyone on the internet, the Yanks were relegated to sellers at the deadline for the first time since 1989, when they sent tenured leadoff man Rickey Henderson to Oakland. Instead of garnering a single(?) compensation pick for Chapman and Beltran that wouldn't arrive until next summer, team brass has made the right call to cash in assets and ensure this is a quick retooling phase instead of a rebuild.
The infusion of talent meshes nicely with what's already on board, and easily pushes the Baby Bomber farm system into top-five territory within the game. Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge are almost ready; Mateo, Andujar, and Rutherford are exciting but need time, and the power arms of Acevedo and Chance Adams now have help on the way. Big-league-ready pitching is a weakness for the organization, but the hitting talent is somewhat unrivaled and they're now well-equipped to throw money and/or prospects at the problematic staff during the offseason.
New faces: OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Luis Ortiz, RHP Phil Bickford, C Andrew Susac
One last hurrah for: Jonathan Lucroy, Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress
Brewers' baby-faced GM David Stearns kept a little bit in his holster, holding tight on Ryan Braun and late-blooming Junior Guerra - a pair of players that are older than he is. But give credit to Stearns in his debut season for staying the course on the main task, and responding to adversity by turning a nixed deal with Cleveland into something seemingly more impactful for the team.
After Jonathan Lucroy invoked his no-trade clause, the Milwaukee front office took another crack at it and matched up with Texas on a five-player deal that brought in five-tool centerfielder Lewis Brinson and burly right-hander Luis Ortiz. With both prospects ranking higher on my midseason top 69 list than previous headliner Francisco Mejia, the heavy implication is Milwaukee did quite well for themselves the second time around.
Brinson is the big prize here, a top-25 talent with plus raw power and Gold Glove-caliber defensive chops in center. There are sizable concerns with plate discipline and contact ability, but he boasts some of the shiniest tools in the minors and is turning around a slow start following an early shoulder injury. Brinson slots in fairly cleanly as the team's second-rated prospect behind shortstop Orlando Arcia.
The Brewers also quenched their perpetual thirst for rotation help by importing a pair of lively arms that have the stuff to succeed in a starting role, but with worries about stressful deliveries surrounding both. Ortiz is a Carlos Zambrano clone - 6-foot-3, an estimated 250 - with stealth command of a four-pitch mix and an easy motion. In fact it might be too easy, because 'Lulu's' injury history suggests he's relying less on core and leg strength and entirely too much on his arm. Also, the 20-year-old has only pitched three times in the last month due to a reported groin strain.
Stearns and crew also struck a deal with San Francisco, sending southpaw reliever Will Smith to the Giants in exchange for RHP Phil Bickford and catcher Andrew Susac. Bickford is a step behind Ortiz with his command and secondaries but offers a projectable body with room for growth as well as a deadly fastball with late life that he can throw anywhere in the zone. Just as with Ortiz, Bickford relies heavily on his arm to generate power, something that may push him into a bullpen role in the future. For now, the pitching-starved Brewers will give him every chance to develop as a starter.
To tie a bow on things, Milwaukee was able to extract 26-year-old backstop Andrew Susac from a Giants team that didn't have a home for him. Though he's no longer prospect-eligible, Susac shows baseline receiving skills and an all-fields power stroke that should make him plenty viable as a starting catcher. He'll need to stay on the field in order to prove his worth, as he hasn't caught 100 games in a season since his pro debut back in 2012.
In all, the Brewers' haul carries a lot of risk but also real, moldable tools that will contribute to their rebuild. Despite health concerns for the whole lot, an injection of talent is just what the doctor ordered as a number of their top prospects have stumbled to varying degrees this year. It will be exciting to see if their tool-heavy approach to prospect acquisition works out in the future. In the meantime, their percolating farm system has a lot of developing to do to catch up with the rest of the division.