Prospect Watch: Top five youngsters moved at MLB trade deadline

You may have heard that Major League Baseball’s trade deadline passed Tuesday night. (If not, you can use our handy trade tracker to catch up on all the moves of the last few weeks..) As such, this edition of Prospect Watch is, unsurprisingly, about ranking and analyzing the top five youngsters who were included in the deals.

Keep in mind that these exercises are always more of an art than a science and that there were more than five worthwhile prospects traded at the deadline. Now go ahead.

There are many things that I like about the Mars game. He is a well-above-average raw power left-side infielder who walks and has kept his strikeout rate in check despite playing against competition that is several years his senior. The only big unknown Mars faces is his defensive position. He’s been terribly error-prone at short for the past two seasons, and he may have to drop to third. That won’t be too bad if he hits the way he’s capable of.

Hassell, the eighth pick in the 2020 draft, has already achieved success at High-A by hitting .299/.379/.467 with 10 home runs in 75 games. Explorers have raved about his success tool and his approach dating back to his grooming days; unfortunately, they’ve also questioned when (and how much) he’ll take pop from him raw, and if he’ll stay in the thick of it. Those concerns remain, but now it’s up to the Nationals to help him find a good resolution.

3. Edwin ArroyoSS, Reds (Luis Castillo)

Arroyo had his share of fans entering the 2021 draft thanks to a combination of his extreme youth and defensive ability at shortstop. It didn’t hurt that he displayed enough positive traits at the plate for scouts to envision him rising beyond utility status. Still, Arroyo showed more offensive proficiency than his most ardent boosters could have expected by hitting .316/.385/.514 in 87 games in the Cal League, where his average opponent was, oh, more than three years older than him. Arroyo is a couple of seasons away from being relevant in the big leagues, but he is someone to watch.

Four. james woodOF, Nationals (Juan Soto)

Wood, the other outfielder in the Soto trade, has the kind of raw power you’d expect from someone listed at 6-foot-7. He moves better than the Richie Sexsons of the world, though, and the Fathers he had played it primarily in center field. The main concern about Wood’s game as an amateur was that he would strike out too often to maximize his pop. It’s an encouraging sign, then, that he’s been able to keep his season strikeout rate below 20 percent. Wood could become a middle-order hitter if that trend continues as he moves up the ladder.

If the Angels were determined to take Marsh, a former top prospect who has struggled to make consistent contact in the big leagues, they could have done worse than get O’Hoppe in return. He spent the season at Double-A, hitting .275/.392/.496 with 15 home runs in 75 games. O’Hoppe is a complete backup, an all-around guy who could provide average or better offensive production. He looks ready for Triple-A, and should be able to make his major league debut in 2023.

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