Baseball trades happen a lot. Just look at this year\’s trade deadline. But, unlike the NHL, NFL and NBA, draft picks can\’t be traded in the MLB. So, the common return for stars and roster players is usually just prospects. Pitching prospects, normally. Today, I\’m going to be looking at the best player now, traded as a prospect, at the MLB trade deadline, since 2012. Take note again that most players traded are pitchers, thus the position players, but mostly the infielders, are kind of weak.
Catcher: Jorge Alfaro
The only catcher available that has ever been a starter at one point, Alfaro was the starting catcher for the first half of his rookie season for the Phillies, until the team acquired Wilson Ramos. Alfaro was one of the league\’s best catching prospects both before his rookie season, and in 2015, when he was on the Texas Rangers, before being dealt along with Nick Williams, Jered Eickhoff, Jake Thompson, Matt Harrison and Alec Asher to the Phils for Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.
1st baseman: Luke Voit
The most recent trade on the list, Voit was in a very minor trade in 2018 when he was shipped from St. Louis to New York for relievers Giovanny Gallegos and Chasen Shreve. Since the day he was traded, Voit hit 14 home runs for the Yankees, which is more than any Cardinal player had hit. Voit was a key pickup for New York.
2nd baseman: Gleyber Torres
Another Yankee, Torres was in a much more famous trade than Voit. He was the main prospect in the 2016 trade between the Cubs and Yankees that sent Torres, Billy McKinney, Adam Warren and Rashad Crawford for Aroldis Chapman. Chapman would help win a World Series in Chicago, then sign right back with the Yankees in free agency. Torres became a rookie of the year candidate in 2018 with a batting average of .271 and 24 homers at 21 years of age. Pretty good.
Shortstop: Jose Iglesias
It\’s hard to say if Iglesias was a prospect when the Red Sox traded Iglesias to the Tigers in a three team trade with the White Sox. The Tigers got Iglesias, who at the time had 98 games of MLB experience. The Red Sox got Jake Peavy and Bryan Villarreal, while Avisail Garcia, JB Wendelken, Francellis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon went to Chicago. Iglesias made an all-star team for Detroit in 2015, while providing a stellar glove and an average bat. Still better than the competition.
Third baseman: Jeimer Candelario
It was close between Candelario and Christian Villanueva, both former Cubs, but I went with Candelario. Candelario was traded with Isaac Paredes for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila in 2017. Candelario hit 19 homers and 54 RBIs in his rookie 2018 campaign.
Outfielders (two): Avisail Garcia and Mitch Haniger
Garcia\’s trade is listed above with Iglesias. Garcia hit .330 in 2017, and was an all-star. He also slugged out 19 homers in an injury-riddled 2018. Underrated, and the best option here.
A personal favorite, Haniger was traded in 2014 from the Brewers to the Diamondbacks with Anthony Banda for Gerardo Parra. Traded a few years later to the Mariners as part of the Jean Segura for Taijuan Walker/Ketel Marte deal, Haniger broke out in an all-star 2018 year, with 26 homers and 93 RBIs. He can do more in 2019.
Starting pitchers (three): Michael Fulmer, Sean Manaea and Kyle Hendricks
In no particular order, Fulmer slowed down in 2017 and 2018 after capturing the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year honors. He\’s still a really good and young pitcher that the Tigers can get a lot for. He was acquired from the Mets along with Luis Cessa for Yoenis Cespedes.
The stock for utility players went way up when the Royals traded their top prospect, Manaea, and Aaron Brooks for Ben Zobrist, who helped win them a World Series. For the A\’s, Manaea broke out in 2018, where he posted a 3.59 ERA and 1.01 WHIP in 160.2 innings, showing that he was the ace of the staff, before an injury came.
Hendricks was the 2016 ERA king at 26, when he posted a 2.13 number. The Cubs got him in what is now a lopsided trade from the Rangers along with the aforementioned Christian Villanueva for Ryan Dempster. Behind what was Jake Arrieta and is now Lester and Yu Darvish, Hendricks is and has been a dominant number three starter for Chicago.
Relievers (two): Josh Hader and Felipe Vazquez
Hader is the only one on this list that was traded twice. Some may know that he was a member of the Houston Astros, and was traded with Domingo Santana, Brett Phillips and Adrian Houser to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers, a trade that backfired on Houston. But, not many know that Hader was originally an Oriole, and at 19, was traded with LJ Hoes to the \’Stros for Bud Norris. Hader is now one of baseball\’s best relievers.
Vazquez was known as Felipe Rivero when he was traded with Taylor Hearn from the Nationals to the Pirates for Mark Melancon. A 2.35 ERA and 58 saves later, with a K/9 of 11.3, it is safe to say that the trade will haunt Washington.