Sunday's SiriusXM Futures Game at Petco Park in San Diego is an annual opportunity for general managers, assistant GMs, scouting directors and scouts to see some of the best prospects in minor league baseball on the same fiel. In my time as a front office executive, I'd usually send at least two of my top evaluators to the Futures Game each year and made it a must-watch for everyone in the baseball operations department. Even if most of these top prospects weren't in our organization, they still could make for good trade acquisitions in the present or the future.
It's likely that there are a handful of players set to play in this year's game who are being dangled right now as trade bait by contending teams looking for proven veterans like Julio Teheran, Rich Hill, Drew Pomeranz, Aroldis Chapman, Jay Bruce or Carlos Gonzalez.
Here are seven prospects from this year's Futures Game who could be dealt by the August 1st trade deadline (stats are through games of July 8):
1. Andrew Benintendi, LF/CF Age: 22 | Height: 5-10 | Weight: 175 | B/T: L/L .308/.375/.526, 26 2B, 10 3B, 7 HR, 60 RBI (A/AA)
The Red Sox top two position player prospects -- infielder Yoan Moncada and Benintendi – are both in the game. So far the Red Sox have told opposing GM’s that they are not moving either one. However, in a deal for a top-of-rotation type starter that they could control for several more years -- like Teheran of the Atlanta Braves -- the Red Sox would likely have to include Benintendi. The Red Sox would prefer to hold on to Benintendi and acquire a lesser starter, but with the history of team President Dave Dombrowski trading for top-end starters, this is definitely a possibility. The Sox value Moncada higher than Benintendi, which is why he’s more likely to be dealt. Benintendi was the Red Sox first-round selection in the 2015 draft. He has a smooth left-handed swing with average power that projects to be above average in time. He profiles as a middle of the order all-star caliber player with left field as his best position.
2. Phil Bickford, RHPAge: 20 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 205 | B/T: R/R2.45 ERA, 0.974 WHIP, 94 K’s in 77 IP
The Giants have never been afraid to trade their top prospects, as they showed when they dealt Zach Wheeler to the New York Mets in exchange for outfielder Carlos Beltran in 2011. Bickford and Tyler Beede are the Giants’ best two pitching prospects. Although they don’t want to deal either one, they probably won’t let one of them stand in the way if they can get an impact reliever in return. Bickford has a plus fastball and slider and his release point has been much more consistent this year. It would be a painful trade for the Giants, but they also know they have another chance at a World Series title.
3. Clint Frazier, OFAge: 21 | Height: 6-1 | Weight: 190 | B/T: R/R.286/.368/.481, 11 HR, 43 RBIs, 11 SB
The Indians have the best starting rotation one-through-five in baseball right now. They not only have a legitimate chance of winning the AL Central but a real possibility of getting back to the World Series. Although they have been scoring enough runs, there is no question another impact bat would help. Whether it’s Carlos Beltran of the Yankees, Jay Bruce of the Reds or Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies, there are plenty available on the trade market. Frazier would be difficult to part with because he profiles as a 20 home run, 20 stolen base talent. The only way they include him in a deal is if the return puts them over the top.
4. Joe Jimenez, RHRAge: 21 | Height: 6-3 | Weight: 224 | B/T: R/R0.28 ERA, 17 SV, 55 K’s in 32 IP
The Tigers don’t want to trade their top pitching prospect, but if they can get an impact starter back like Rich Hill of the A’s, they might end up paying the price. The Tigers have one of the best lineups in baseball and could get back to the postseason if they can add some pitching. The Tigers have a relatively weak farm system and even though Jimenez is a reliever, he has great trade value. Jimenez throws up to 98 mph with an above average slider and strikes hitters out with both pitches. His fastball has sneaky, deceptive late life that he can manipulate above or below the bat.
5. Travis Demeritte INFAge: 21 | Height: 6-0 | Weight: 182 | B/T: R/R.254/.340/.556, 20 HR, 42 RBIs
Every GM that talks to the Rangers about their prospects asks for Jurickson Profar, Lewis Brinson, Dillon Tate and Joey Gallo. The Rangers might not deal any of those four, but one prospect they're more likely to trade is Demerritte, who is blocked in Texas behind Rougned Odor, Elvis Andrus and Profar. Demeritte has quick hands and above-average bat speed with legitimate pop. He profiles as an average fielder at second or third base with above-average range. Because of the Rangers’ strong depth, Demeritte could be dealt for pitching later this month.
6. Josh Naylor, 1BAge: 19 | Height: 6-0 |Weight: 231 | B/T: L/L .254/.312/.428, 18 2B, 9 HR, 47 RBIs
Naylor is clearly the Marlins’ best position player prospect and someone they don’t want to trade. But owner Jeffrey Loria is committed to trying to get the Marlins back to the postseason and he’s not going to let a 19-year old first baseman stand in the way if they can make the right deal. President Mike Hill has been extremely aggressive in his search for starting pitching and he won’t stop until he lands one. Hill won’t want to include Naylor, but he also knows that with so many teams having inventory in their systems, it’s tough to compete in the trade market. Naylor has a loud bat with consistent sweetspot contact and power to all fields.
7. Chance Sisco, CAge: 21 | Height: 6-2 | Weight: 194 | B/T: L/R .302/.394/.391, 17 2B, 27 RBIs
The Orioles are planning to say goodbye to Matt Wieters in free agency this offseason and are hoping that Sisco will be their long-term solution at catcher. They’re also trying to win now and he’s their most valuable trade chip. Sisco is one of the best offensive catching prospects in baseball. He has a smooth swing that produces line drives all over the field. However, he’s also a below-average defender with below-average power. The Orioles have to get a legitimate No. 2 type starter to include Sisco in a deal. General manager Dan Duquette has never been afraid to trade prospects at the trade deadline and this year shouldn’t be any different.