07/31/09 9:55 PM ET
Keep tabs on these traded prospects
Wallace, Poreda and Alderson among best on the move
By Jonathan Mayo / MLB.com
But the teams who traded those Major League stars away are hoping the Minor Leaguers they received turn into future stars, or at least contributors to the big league club. It's always important to remember this time of year that Jeff Bagwell, Scott Kazmir and Jason Varitek all were Minor Leaguers who went to new teams in Deadline deals.
Who were the top names the "sellers" got back in this trading market? Time will tell, but here are a group of 10 names fans should keep a particularly close eye on as the future unfolds. The first five are those you might hear from before this year is over. The others might be a little down the road, but they should be on the radar anyway.
On the cusp
Brett Wallace, 3B, A's: He was the Cardinals' top prospect, who thought he was playing in his future home when he participated in the Futures Game at Busch Stadium. Now the Northern California native and No. 19 prospect in the most recent Top 50 gets to return home to a team that really liked his bat in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Wallace has a great approach (.370 on-base percentage) and can hit (.292 overall), and he should hit for more power than he's shown this year. He's hit .348 over his first six games with Triple-A Sacramento. Whether he stays at third base remains to be seen, but he's there for now and there's no question his bat will play just fine in the bigs.
Aaron Poreda, LHP, Padres: Major League fans got to see him, briefly, in a relief role with the White Sox. He was effective, but wasn't pitching enough, so Chicago wisely sent him down. The 2007 first-round Draft pick might have a brighter future as a starter if he can continue to improve his command and develop his secondary pitches. He's got a 2.54 ERA in 13 starts in the Minors and has struck out more than a batter per inning. He'll head to San Diego's Triple-A affiliate in Portland, with a late callup a distinct possibility.
Carlos Carrasco, RHP, Indians: He got to pitch against his former organization (and Pedro Martinez) on Friday night in Triple-A, his first chance for retribution. Carrasco's star has faded somewhat with his performance this year (5.18 ERA in 20 starts), but he's still just 22 years old and has some pretty good stuff that's allowed him to strike out 112 in 114 innings. The three-time Futures Gamer may have stalled a bit in Philly, but the change of scenery could mean a ticket to Cleveland soon.
Jeff Clement, 1B/C, Pirates: Technically he's not a prospect because of the big league time he's accrued, but he clearly was stuck in the Mariners' system. Knee issues kept him from catching, and while Seattle was about to send him back behind the plate, Pittsburgh plans to let him play first base in Triple-A to see how he looks there. Clement homered in his first Pirates organization at-bat, and he still has an intriguing left-handed bat that could take swings at PNC Park before the season is over.
Lou Marson, C, Indians: He's seen some Major League time and profiles as a decent big league backstop. The 23-year-old is with Triple-A Columbus and got to play against his old organization right off the bat, but will he spend much more time in the Minors? The Indians dealt Victor Martinez and brought Wyatt Toregas up, but it shouldn't be surprising if they let Marson get familiar with the organization and then let him get some time behind the plate.
Down the road
Tim Alderson, RHP, Pirates: He's No. 33 on the new Top 50. Some have expressed some concern about a drop in velocity and his decreased strikeout rate. But he's just 20 years old, his 3.47 ERA in the Eastern League would be good for sixth if he had enough innings to qualify and he continues to have an impressively low walk rate and strong strikeout-to-walk ratio. He'll pitch for a now talent-laden Double-A Altoona club and could see Pittsburgh within a year.
Jason Knapp, RHP, Indians: The consensus is he's got the most potential of the players the Tribe got from the Phillies in the Cliff Lee deal. The 6-foort-5 righty has had an up-and-down first full season, but there's no question about the raw stuff. He's racked up 111 strikeouts in just 85 1/3 innings, good for 11.71 strikeouts per nine innings. That mark is third-best in the Minor Leagues. It may take a few years for Cleveland to reap the benefits, but he could be the best pitcher dealt on this Deadline day, period, when all is said and done.
Aaron Pribanic, RHP, Pirates: Drafted by the Mariners in the third round out of Nebraska in 2008, Pribanic was a college righty who some saw as a short reliever down the line. However, in 17 starts in the Midwest League, he posted a 3.21 ERA, 10th best in that circuit. Even if he eventually heads to the bullpen, he and Brett Lorin (both acquired in the Jack Wilson deal) have big league arms.
Josh Bell, 3B, Orioles: The Dodgers liked Bell's talent ever since drafting him in the fourth round of the 2005 Draft. He's been held back quite a bit by injuries, but the 22-year-old was having a solid season in the Double-A Southern League, hitting .296 with an .883 OPS prior to the trade. There's not much at third base in the O's system to block him, so he could see Baltimore in the next year.
Scott Barnes, LHP, Indians: This is a little bit of a sleeper pick here. The Giants took Barnes out of St. John's in the eighth round of the 2008 Draft, and he was so effective in his summer debut, he ended up pitching very meaningful baseball for Class A Augusta during that team's march to the South Atlantic League championship. He was 12-3 with a 2.85 ERA (third in the California League) at the time of the trade and got his Indians debut out of the way on Wednesday. Barnes was in the prospect shadow of Alderson and Madison Bumgarner with the Giants, but he could rise more quickly in Cleveland's system.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.