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Saturday, July 27, 2019

Prospects Traded At Deadline Rarely Make Big League Impact

In all, 86 of the 428 prospects traded in July deals from 2003-2014 went on to play the majority of at least two seasons in the major leagues and post a positive career WAR, as measured by Baseball-Reference. That’s just 20.1 percent of all prospects moved in such trades.

There are big hits among them to be found, however. Corey Kluber, Josh Donaldson, Adrian Gonzalez and Nelson Cruz were all traded as prospects in July deals. So were Jean Segura, Eduardo Escobar, Kyle Hendricks and Patrick Corbin. Mitch Haniger, Addison Russell and Josh Hader were among those were dealt in the most recent years of our sample, 2013 and 2014.

But, by and large, such players are the exception. Much more often than not, prospects traded at the deadline fail to make any significant impact in the major leagues.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 27, 2019 at 11:06 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: prospects

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2019 at 07:06 PM (#5865572)
I'm glad somebody took the time to count and it's nice that it came out to a convenient number like 1 in 5. (I'm sure we can quibble here or there to shift that number ...) Did they also count up the WAR of the acquired vets over the period of control?

A fair number of the successes were also substantial longshots (Donadlson certainly), not top prospects (Kluber) or at least took several years to pay off. And not sure what they did but we should really only count WAR over the first 6 or so years of control since that's really all the team has acquired.

Nitpick: I'm not certain Escobar belongs in the list -- he had over 100 ML PAs, 45 games, looks like at least 120 days of service time at the time of the trade.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: July 27, 2019 at 07:21 PM (#5865573)
OK, I've bothered to look at the article. They cover 2003-14. There seems clear improvement in the prospect hit rate starting in 2007. Small samples so that could be fluke but 2003-6 were all under 15% (one way under) while 6 of the next 8 seasons have a hit rate over 25%. Still somewhere around 1 in 4 to 1 in 5 is where it's been.

It's a short list but 2006 was pretty impressive -- Zobrist, Nelson Cruz, Choo and Jesse Chavez are all still active and Jeff Keppinger had a pretty long run.
   3. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 28, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5865705)

At the risk of being told to RFA, how are they defining "prospects"?
   4. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: July 28, 2019 at 12:06 PM (#5865708)
The White Sox top 2 players this year, Giolito and Moncada, were both prospects acquired at the deadline, as was their top player last year, Lopez.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 28, 2019 at 12:34 PM (#5865712)
It’s outside the time period analyzed, but acquiring Gleyber Torres for a couple months of Aroldis Chapman was a pretty good deal for the Yankees. Only need to hit on a few like that to make up for any misses. I do wonder if an expectation that they could re-sign Chapman in free agency made the Yankees more willing to do the deal - like having your cake and eating it, too.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 28, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5865714)
It’s outside the time period analyzed, but acquiring Gleyber Torres for a couple months of Aroldis Chapman was a pretty good deal for the Yankees.
Flags fly forever (he repeats softly over and over again, while staring emptily into the distance and rocking back and forth).
   7. puck Posted: July 28, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5865721)
Flags fly forever (he repeats softly over and over again, while staring emptily into the distance and rocking back and forth).

That was a pretty important flag.
   8. John DiFool2 Posted: July 28, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5865726)
Did the Cubs get a pic for Chapman re-signing?
   9. MNB Posted: July 28, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5865727)
The White Sox top 2 players this year, Giolito and Moncada, were both prospects acquired at the deadline, as was their top player last year, Lopez.


Giolito was actually acquired in the off-season (along with Lopez) as part of the Adam Eaton trade.
   10. Misirlou gave her his Vincent to ride Posted: July 28, 2019 at 01:44 PM (#5865732)
#8. No. Free agents to be traded in mid season do not have draft pic compensation.

Giolito was actually acquired in the off-season (along with Lopez) as part of the Adam Eaton trade.


Oh, you're right. Same with Moncada. Never mind.
   11. Zach Posted: July 28, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5865775)
This is something that will drive you nuts if you follow any fan sites.

Trade a prospect, and it's like 6 years of stardom are being physically ripped out of people's hides.

Trade a veteran, and it's "What happened? This prospect doesn't look nearly as good as Jeff Bagwell!"

   12. bobm Posted: July 28, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5865776)
we should really only count WAR over the first 6 or so years of control since that's really all the team has acquired.

If you look at this issue from the point of view of the team getting back prospects, shouldn't you omit those prospects who never made it to the majors with that team?

For example Jose Bautista and the Mets in 2004.
   13. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: July 28, 2019 at 06:05 PM (#5865783)
I mean, I am not sure 20% is all that low of a hit rate.

Most trades of vets for prospects are built around one legitimate A to B+ type prospects, and a 2-4 lottery ticket types. You aren't really supposed to be hitting on many of those.
   14. majorflaw Posted: July 28, 2019 at 06:26 PM (#5865796)
“acquiring Gleyber Torres for a couple months of Aroldis Chapman was a pretty good deal for the Yankees.”

Gotta assume that the acquisition of this prime prospect, and now fine young MLB player, for essentially nothing will play a prominent role whenever Cashman is up for renewal. He’ll probably lead with it.
   15. Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques Posted: July 28, 2019 at 10:45 PM (#5865875)
Much more often than not, prospects traded at the deadline fail to make any significant impact in the major leagues.


Fixed.
   16. bobm Posted: July 28, 2019 at 10:52 PM (#5865877)
[15]. Deadline-traded prospects may be less likely to succeed than retained prospects, as could be expected.

In order to determine a top prospect, I used Baseball America’s top 100 lists from 1990 to 2006. [...]

Three out of every four pitching prospects fail and two out of every three hitting prospects fail. About 70% of all prospects fail. The difference between hitting and pitching prospects has decreased but is still reasonably large. [...]

It also seems to indicate that pitching prospects ranked from 1-20 have shown significant improvement. In 1990-1993 they succeeded only 15% of the time but from 1994-2002 they succeeded 40% of the time and in 2003-2006 they succeeded more than 70% of the time.


Link
   17. bfan Posted: July 29, 2019 at 07:54 AM (#5865898)
I am sure the study is accurate and true for what it says, but there a variety of ways you can slice this to come up with different results or conclusions. For instance, look at the Athletics trade for Diekman last week, where 2 prospects were traded. The prospects moved in that sort of trade get lumped in, in this study, with the 2 prospects traded to the Jays for Stroman. There are 4 prospects total in these 2 trades, so 1 should make it, by the "1 in 4" study. I would feel comfortable betting which pair traded would yield the 1 successful MLB player.

The point is that there are plenty of trades for middling MLB players and players that fill a specific, small hole in a team's arsenal that yield the trading team what basically amounts to organizational filler in MiLB, and those trades get counted with the star/foundational player for real prospect trades, in the overall number, but the real prospect for star/foundational player trades have a far higher hit rate for the prospects, I would argue.
   18. bfan Posted: July 29, 2019 at 07:56 AM (#5865899)
It also seems to indicate that pitching prospects ranked from 1-20 have shown significant improvement. In 1990-1993 they succeeded only 15% of the time but from 1994-2002 they succeeded 40% of the time and in 2003-2006 they succeeded more than 70% of the time


That is very interesting; thank-you. I wonder if there has been a move with BA pitching prospects to keep them lower until they have passed through at least AA, so they have pitched over 100 innings in a year once and their arm has not fallen off. The closer you are to MLB with success in the minors, I would imagine, the better your chances are of ultimately finding MLB success.
   19. spycake Posted: July 29, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5866060)
Nitpick: I'm not certain Escobar belongs in the list -- he had over 100 ML PAs, 45 games, looks like at least 120 days of service time at the time of the trade.


Yup. 143 days service time for Eduardo Escobar at the time of the trade, it appears. Although to be fair, it was rather inexplicable that the White Sox had him on the MLB roster that long, with such little use, at age 22-23 with two option years remaining.

Escobar was on the White Sox roster for 128 games in 2011-2012, and only appeared in 45 of them, with 104 PA. Full season pace of 132 PA. He wasn't even being used as a pinch hitter/runner or defensive sub very much. He was just parked on the bench, while Beckham and Ramirez totaled 1203 PA in 2012 at 2B/SS, and hit for an 80 and 75 OPS+, respectively. (Ramirez was still at least a plus defensive SS, by DRS.)
   20. Srul Itza Posted: July 29, 2019 at 02:46 PM (#5866082)
I mean, I am not sure 20% is all that low of a hit rate.


That was my initial reaction, too. Very often, you are trading someone who is about to leave soon anyway, so a 20% chance of getting someone back who would make an impact sounds like a decent bet.

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