With the trade deadline in the rear-view mirror, rather than a typical team/player/trade analysis, let’s get theoretical: What would the playoffs look like, and how would they unfold, if the season were to end today? Before getting started though, some ground rules:
Over the course of the past year or so, numerous teams have initiated a rebuilding process. (Interestingly, most if not all of them reside in the National League.) Each rebuild is different; each team has a unique philosophy on how a roster should be managed, through both the good times and bad.
Aroldis Chapman is now a member of the Chicago Cubs. It had long been speculated that Chapman would be on the move at some point before the trade deadline, as the Yankees currently sit 7.5 games back in the AL East and 4.5 games out from the second wild card spot. With a record of 50-48, the deficit may not seem too large, but the Yankees have question marks all over their lineup and rotation. 39-year-old Carlos Beltran, who like Chapman is in a contract year, has been the team’s best hitter. The rotation has failed to find consistency beyond Masahiro Tanaka.
Over the course of the past two weeks, the Boston Red Sox have been very active in the trade market, first by acquiring Aaron Hill from the Milwaukee Brewers, then by adding Brad Ziegler in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most recently, Dave Dombrowksi made a bold move to acquire lefty Drew Pomeranz from the San Diego Padres in exchange for highly-regarded pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza. With these additions, the Red Sox have improved all three major areas of need: bench depth, the bullpen, and the rotation.
Early Saturday morning (or late Friday night depending on where you live) the Boston Red Sox acquired closer Brad Ziegler from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ziegler, who make no mistake is a very good addition, was not necessarily the name I expected the Sox to get back in June when I explained the team’s possible relief pitching trade targets. Nonetheless, Executive of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski’s focus will now shift to the starting pitching market.
In my last post, I wrote about Five Under the Radar Hitting Prospects who’s 2016 performances demand attention. This time, I will do the same with five pitching prospects.
The parameters will remain the same: none of these players have appeared on a top 100 prospects list, a top 10 by position list, or a team’s individual top ten prospects list. For one reason or another, these pitchers have gone almost completely unnoticed, even by fans familiar with the minor leagues.
Every year, Baseball America publishes a Top 100 Prospects list before the season begins. MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus come up with their own lists as well, and baseball fans around the country think they know the whole prospect story. But there’s a lot more to The Farm than a top 100 can cover, and many impact players remain anonymous until they reach the majors. In this article, we’ll look at five hitting prospects producing at higher levels than their notoriety would suggest. (We’ll do pitchers next week.)