Tout Table: Panning for Prospect Gold

Tout Wars has some of the top minds when it comes to following the minor leagues. This week we asked

What prospects had their short and long term outlooks change the most after the deadline deals?

Doug Dennis (BaseballHQ, @dougdennis41): Maybe it is because I am a Reds homer, but I think the Reds will give Spencer Steer every chance to make the team in 2023 and that almost certainly would not have been the case in Minnesota. What Steer does with the opportunities, unknown, but it’s a real shot for him.

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): I like the Steer call out. Sticking with the Reds, Jose Barrero is just about out of time to make an impression in Cincy. Between Elly de la Cruz, Noelvi Marte, and Matt McLain, *somebody* is going to be knocking on the door by late 2023. And Edwin Arroyo isn’t too far behind them. It’s a real embarrassment of shortstop riches. These things have a way of working out over time. Barrero hasn’t shown much of a pulse this season.

Tim McLeod (, @RunTMcP361 ): Search out players that were blocked prior to the deadline that no longer are. Three that I’m very bullish on for the stretch run are Michael Massey, Jake McCarthy, and Ryan Pepiot. Massey has demonstrated solid strike zone judgement with decent pop and speed at every level in the Minors. McCarthy slides into David Peralta’s spot and that speed could make a difference. Pepiot no longer has to worry about Mitch White and should slide into Clayton Kershaw’s rotation spot. His numbers down-on-the-farm are off-the-charts good. All that was missing was the opportunity and it’s now at-hand. As an add, I’d take a look at two Oakland starters in JP Sears and Ken Waldichuk. Montas is now a Yankee and there are more holes in the Oakland rotation than a block of swiss cheese. We could see both plying their trade in Oakland before the season concludes.

James Anderson (Rotowire, @RealJRAnderson): For me it’s the players who went from being pretty clearly blocked to unblocked. All the Yankees pitching prospects who were dealt now have a clearer path into a big-league rotation (I’d rank them Wesneski, Waldichuk, Sikemma, Sears). Additionally, the top two Twins position players (Encarnacion-Strand and Steer) who are nearing the majors now have a clear path into the Reds lineup when they’re deemed ready. Bonus: I liked Robert Gasser but like him even more now that the Brewers get to put the finishing touches on his development.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): You probably look at all the rated prospects who went from contenders to pretenders, because by definition the paths to the big leagues have fewer obstacles on the latter. For example, Logan O’Hoppe is obviously less blocked by Max Stassi and Kurt Suzuki than by JT Realmuto. Steer got a couple of mentions, , and that seems right; even if he’s blocked by Barrero (jury’s still out), he can play lots of spots defenisvely and the Reds need help at most of them. I saw mentions of pitchers Waldichuk (OAK) and Wesneski (CHC), both of whom also get a boost from the lack of obstacles en route to The Show. And don’t forget that the prospects below these guys in their orgs benefit from the departures, just as prospects on the acquiring teams might move down a peg or two.

Chris Blessing (Baseball HQ, @C_Blessing): When most prospects are traded at the deadline, their development outcome is negatively affected, moving from a winning organization excelling at developing their prospects to an organization that isn’t successful developing their prospects. Sometimes, the stars align and a prospect goes to an organization where the player and the development staff seem to be a match made in heaven. The match made in heaven scenario for me is LHP Robert Gasser to the Brewers. Here is an organization who has successfully molded pitchers of different shapes, different deliveries and different attributes and turned them into solid or better pitchers. Gasser has a deceptive Low 3/4s delivery with a lot of funky stops and starts. Gasser’s best when commanding his high-80s-to-low-90s FB up, taking advantage of a flatten plane and riding action up. Scouting Gasser, it’s a matter of improving his in-zone command, which the Brewers do better than most getting out of their prospects. Gasser goes from an SP5 upside to a mid-rotation ceiling simply moving to a better development situation for him.

Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN, @SultanofStat): Ken Waldichuk probably stands a better long-term chance at success in Oakland than in New York, considering he’s a bit of a fly ball-oriented pitcher who gets a decent share of pop-ups, traits that fit the Oakland Coliseum much better than Yankee Stadium. C.J. Abrams almost assuredly will take over shortstop on an everyday basis in Washington sooner than he might have in San Diego, where it wasn’t entirely clear he’d stick at that position.

Joe Sheehan (The Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter, @joe_sheehan): I think about the three guys the Yankees sent to the Royals, three middling pitching prospects with low profiles. They’re the kind of pitchers the Yankees have had great success with, and in their organization, they had a strong chance to be developed into, at least, MLB-caliber relievers. Now, they’re Royals prospects, about as far you can fall when it comes to modern practices of pitcher development. I think those three guys were the three biggest losers at the deadline.