As veteran players are shipped out at the trading deadline, it’s inevitable that opportunities will reveal themselves for several high profile prospects. The Phillies are set to trade away Michael Young, and they’ve already called-up third base prospect Cody Asche to fill the soon-to-be vacant hot corner. The Cardinals are looking to bolster their starting pitching for the stretch run, and reports suggest that MLB-ready prospects like Carlos Martinez and Kolten Wong could be dealt out of town and into situations that provide them with regular big league roles immediately. This is an important time to monitor the various deadline deals that are bound to take place today. Pay close attention to the implications of each deal as it passes through the commissioners office, as these swaps are likely to result in at least a few high-impact prospects stepping into full-time roles. Such arrivals can be hugely important to your stretch-run success.
1. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Red Sox (Previously Ranked #5): The Red Sox have been getting Bogaerts used to life at third base, playing him at the hot corner more and more often in recent weeks. All signs point to Bogaerts arriving within the next couple weeks. His lofty ranking in my recent Mid-Season Top 50 Fantasy Baseball Prospects should speak volumes about the sort of impact I believe he can have in the fantasy game.
2. Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals (N/R): At the time of this writing, Carlos Martinez is still a member of the Cardinals organization. By the time you’re reading this, however, he very well could be wearing a different uniform. The Cardinals are looking for starting pitching help, and Martinez appears to be the piece they’re shopping. Of course, another possibility would be C-Mart simply stepping into a rotation role with the Cardinals. But whether it’s in St. Louis or another baseball town, Martinez figures to be starting big league ballgames down the stretch this season. Filthy stuff will make him an immediate impact guy in all formats.
3. Avisail Garcia, OF, Tigers (Next 5): Garcia was shipped to the White Sox in the three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to Boston and Jose Iglesias to detroit. The 22-year-old has hit .382/.414/.549 with 5 HR and 23 RBI in 32 games at Triple-A on the year. There’s no immediate opportunity for Garcia in Chicago just yet, but if the Sox are able to move Alex Rios before the deadline, that’ll open up a spot for Avisail. I also want to note that before news of last night’s trade, I had Garcia slotted ahead of Nick Castellanos on this list at #6 — he’s simply better equipped for immediate big league success than Casty currently is.
4. Archie Bradley, RHP, D’Backs (#7): Bradley was the top pitcher listed in the aforementioned mid-season prospect ranks. He’s an ace in the making, and one of only a handful of minor leaguers who profile as such. His fastball/curveball combo is capable of racking up big whiff totals at the major league level right now. Bradley’s opportunity isn’t quite so assured as others on this list, but Tyler Skaggs isn’t exactly working out for the the D’Backs, and Brandon McCarthy is always a health risk. If Arizona wants to make a serious push for the playoffs this season, they might be forced to turn to Archie.
5. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#4): Taveras should return to baseball action within the next week, and even considering all the time he’s missed this season, he’s still as MLB-ready as it gets. Another factor to consider: if the Cardinals would like to have Taveras available to them in the postseason, they’ll have to add him to the 40-man before September. Provided he’s healthy, I think St. Louis will want his bat available to them this October.
6. Mike Olt, 3B, Cubs (Next 5): Olt’s been kinda cruddy since he was shipped to the Cubs in the Matt Garza swap, but that should come as no surprise from one of the streakier sluggers in Minor League Baseball. I believe he’s still in Chicago’s ROS plans, and I expect to see him manning the hot corner at Wrigley by mid-August. If so, he’ll bring immediate impact potential to HR and RBI categories for the stretch run.
7. Nick Castellanos, OF, Tigers (#6): Castellanos continues his lousy play at Triple-A Toledo, batting .233/.292/.396 through his last 10 games. But with Avisail Garcia out of the picture, it seems more likely than ever that he’ll surface as a regular left fielder in Detroit this season. As soon as the 21-year-old snaps this slump, expect to see him with the big club.
8. Michael Wacha, RHP, Cardinals (#10): I briefed you on the Cardinals starting pitching situation in the the Carlos Martinez capsule, noting that there’s still a possibility that St. Louis will hold pat and seek rotation help from within. Wacha will certainly be among the guys considered if that’s the case. He was superb in the most recent start at Triple-A Memphis, tossing 6 frames of 1-run ball while posting a 8/0 K/BB.
9. Travis d’Arnaud, C, Mets (N/R): Travis d’Arnaud is back from his broken foot. He’s still rehabbing in the Mets’ GCL complex league, but he should work his way up to the high minors before long, and at age 24, I think the Mets would like to give d’Arnaud a big league look this September. Should he surface, he’ll carry fantasy relevance right away.
10. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (#2): Gausman’s performance has waned over his past two starts, allowing 6 runs and 11 hits through only 7.2 frames during that stretch. But the O’s are still looking to fortify their rotation, and if they can’t find help elsewhere, Gausman could resurface as a starter for the last couple months. Of course, he’ll need to show a couple solid outings before that scenario comes to pass.
DROPPING OUT: Tyler Skaggs, LHP, D’Backs