July 31 is always one of the most fun days on the baseball calendar, and this year it was no different. In fact, given the vast amount of moves made Thursday, this Trade Deadline day may go down as one of the most memorable in the game's history.
David Price is now a Tiger. Jon Lester will be with the A's. Austin Jackson was taken off the field and shipped to the Mariners. Even the Yankees and Red Sox agreed to a deal (Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson) for the first time since 1997, for crying out loud.
Of course, the headlines across the baseball landscape will deal with the Major Leaguers dealt, but oftentimes prospects in the Minor Leagues are told they have new homes as well.
Here's a recap at which Minor Leaguers were traded or moved before the July 31 deadline:
Franklin, Adames included in Price deal: The Price and Lester trades were of course the big attention-grabbers Thursday, but the former was the only one that included Minor Leaguers.
Infielders Nick Franklin and Willy Adames are both headed to the Rays organization as Price heads to Detroit and Jackson to Seattle.
Franklin, a 23-year-old second baseman, played in 102 games with the Mariners last season and batted only .225 with 12 homers. He started this season back with Triple-A Tacoma and has thrived in his third go-round with the Rainiers, putting up a .294/.392/.455 slash line with nine homers and 47 RBIs in 75 games. He struggled in separate Major League stints with the Mariners in April and May, going 6-for-47 (.128) in 17 games.
If he can overcome his Major League offensive struggles, the switch hitter should provide the Rays with some help in the infield.
Adames joins Tampa Bay at the other end of the professional spectrum. The 18-year-old shortstop played his first season in the Tigers system in 2013 and made his full-season debut this year at Class A West Michigan, where he has a .269/.346/.428 line with six homers in 98 games as the youngest player in the Midwest League. MLB.com named him the Tigers' No. 3 prospect during its midseason update and called his arm his top tool, giving it a 60 grade. His hit, run and fielding tools all graded out at 50 (equivalent to an average rating).
Willy Adames was batting .269 with six homers and 50 RBIs at Class A West Michigan. (Emily Jones/MiLB.com)
Moran, Marisnick moved to Astros: With a 53-54 record, the Marlins sit six games back in the NL East and 4 1/2 games back for the senior circuit's second Wild Card spot. But the Fish still made an aggressive move Thursday, shipping No. 3 prospect Colin Moran, 23-year-old center fielder Jake Marisnick and 18-year-old right-handed pitcher Francis Martes to the Astros for Jared Cosart, Austin Wates and Enrique Hernandez.
The No. 72 prospect in baseball per MLB.com, Moran was the biggest Minors-related name moved Thursday (a sign, perhaps, that the market wasn't as heavy on prospect-laden deals as is the norm for this time of year.) The Marlins took the left-handed-hitting third baseman sixth overall out of the University of North Carolina in 2013 and sent him to Class A Advanced Jupiter for his first full season. In the Florida State League, the 21-year-old slugger batted .294/.342/.393 with five homers and 21 doubles prior to the trade.
Although those numbers point to a lack of power, especially for a third baseman, scouting reports show that his bat, which received a 65 grade from MLB.com, is expected to carry him through the Minors. Because of that, he becomes the No. 5 prospect in an already stocked Astros system and checks in higher than previously top third baseman Rio Ruiz, who has also played exclusively at Class A Advanced this season. Moran will head to Double-A Corpus Christi, according to MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
Like Moran, Marisnick was once rated highly in the Marlins system. He has since accrued too many games in the Majors to be considered a true prospect. Playing primarily out of center field, he has always been considered a speedy, defense-first player that will struggle at times at the plate. That's continue to shine through this season as he's batted .277 with a .761 OPS and 24 steals in 89 games with Triple-A New Orleans but has batted just .167 in 14 games with the Marlins.
Of the three former Marlins headed to the Astros, Martes remains the biggest question mark in terms of prospect profile. The 18-year-old right-hander has been pitching stateside for the first time for the Marlins' Gulf Coast League affiliate, for whom he owns a 5.18 ERA to go with 33 strikeouts and 20 walks in 33 innings.
Colin Moran was batting .294 with five homers and 33 RBIs in 89 games with Jupiter. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)
O'Brien drops pinstripes, joins D-backs: Talk about improving stock.
Peter O'Brien wasn't considered a top-20 Yankees prospect at the beginning of the season, and a few months later, here he is being traded in a one-for-one deal with the D-backs for Martin Prado.
The 2012 second-rounder out of the University of Miami smacked 22 homers and put up an .893 OPS in 119 games between Class A Charleston and Class A Advanced Tampa last season but has broken out in a big way this season. His 33 homers rank third among all Minor Leaguers, trailing only top-10 prospects Joey Gallo (37) and Kris Bryant (34) and owns a .267/.312/.593 line in 102 games between Tampa and Double-A Trenton.
O'Brien, who has 60-grade power but only 40-grade hitting ability, moves from No. 9 in the Yankees' system to No. 7 on the D-backs' farm.
Peter O'Brien was hitting .267 with 33 homers and 70 RBIs in 102 games at two levels. (Gordon Donovan/MiLB.com)
Rodriguez sent to Red Sox for Miller: It was a lefty-for-lefty move.
The Red Sox, perhaps the most active team this July 31, acquired left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez from the AL East rival Orioles for southpaw reliever Andrew Miller. Rodriguez was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the O's system by MLB.com at the time of the deal. The 21-year-old Venezuela native was named the No. 68 overall prospect in the game entering the season but slipped out of the top 100 during the midseason update following struggles in his second season at Double-A Bowie. He is 3-7 with a 4.79 ERA, 69 strikeouts and 29 walks in 82 2/3 innings this year with the Baysox.
Rodriguez's best pitches are his low-90s fastball and slider, although he also has a changeup. Despite his hiccups against advanced competition in 2014, his ceiling remains as a mid-rotation starter, albeit one that's likely two years away from the Majors. He becomes the No. 10 prospect in the Red Sox system.
Walters acquired by Indians: The Tribe sent slugging shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who had been with the club during each of his eight Major League seasons, to the Nationals for utilityman Zach Walters.
Walters had spent parts of the past three seasons with Triple-A Syracuse and was enjoying his best season with the Chiefs at the time of the trade. After leading the International League with 29 homers last season, the 24-year-old switch hitter was putting up a .300/.358/.608 line with 15 homers in 60 games before getting called up to the Majors for a second time last week.
In 40 career Major League games, Walters has a .234/.308/.489 line with three homers and six RBIs. He has played at shortstop, third base, second base and left field in both the Minors and Majors this season.
Haniger, Banda to D-backs: In the deal that saw the Brewers acquire outfielder Gerardo Parra, Milwaukee sent outfielder Mitch Haniger and left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda to the D-backs organization.
Haniger, the Brewers' No. 8 prospect before the deal, is the bigger get of the pair. The 38th overall pick from the 2012 Draft, the right-handed-hitting outfielder has put up a .255/.316/.416 slash line with 10 homers, 34 RBIs in 67 games with Double-A Huntsville this season. He's played mostly right field with the Stars with some center field sprinkled in. His arm is his biggest tool, grading out at a 60 according to MLB.com, and it's shown with nine outfield assists in the Southern League. He becomes the No. 11 prospect in the D-backs' system.
Banda had been playing his first full season in the Brewers system since they took him in the 10th round back in 2012. The 6-foot-2, 20-year-old southpaw was 6-6 with a 3.66 ERA, 83 strikeouts and 38 walks in 83 2/3 innings with Class A Wisconsin. He was particularly good in July, going 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA, 27 strikeouts and 10 walks across 24 1/3 innings this month. Banda was drafted by the D-backs in the 33rd round out of high school in 2011 but didn't sign.
Mitch Haniger owned a .255 average with 34 RBIs in 67 games at Double-A Huntsville. (Huntsville Stars)
Cubs get Caratini for two Major Leaguers: It's not often that two-for-one swaps include two players in the Majors being traded for one Minor Leaguer, but that was the case in the deal that sent 20-year-old catcher Victor Caratini to the Cubs for veteran infielder Emilio Bonifacio and reliever James Russell.
Caratini was taken by the Braves in the second round of the 2013 Draft out of Miami Dade College and was sent to Class A Rome in his first full season. His slash line in the South Atlantic League stood at .279/.352/.406 with five homers, four triples and 18 doubles in 87 games. The Braves gave him time at both catcher and third base to start the year but have moved him exclusively behind the plate since the end of April. His arm received a 60 grade from MLB.com -- his top tool according to the website -- and he's thrown out 30 percent of would-be basestealers in the Sally League.
Caratini will bring catching depth to a stacked system that could use some. Kyle Schwarber, the fourth overall pick in this year's Draft, was selected as a catcher but has also spent time in left field since going pro.
Almonte, Kohlscheen part of Padres package: The Padres got a pair of Rainiers in their trade of outfielder Chris Denorfia to the Mariners.
Abraham Almonte was in his second season in the Seattle system after he was acquired from the Yankees for Shawn Kelley back in February 2013. He started the season on the Seattle Opening Day roster but only mustered a .198 average and .540 OPS through his first 27 games with the Mariners before being sent down to Triple-A Tacoma in early May. He has put up a .267/.333/.390 line with six homers and seven steals in 72 games since rejoining the Pacific Coast League, where he batted .314 with 11 homers and an .894 OPS in 94 games last season.
Stephen Kohlscheen was in the midst of his first turn at Triple-A ball at the time of Thursday's deal. The 6-foot-6 right-handed reliever posted a 2.25 ERA with 33 strikeouts and only four walks in 32 innings at Double-A Jackson, where he was named a Southern League All-Star before a June promotion. His numbers at Tacoma (3.28 ERA, 22 strikeouts, six walks in 24 2/3 innings) have slipped some but have been solid for the most part. The 25-year-old was a 45th-round pick out of Auburn back in 2010.
Littrell joining Cardinals: The Red Sox and Cardinals sent a trio of Major Leaguers -- John Lackey, Allen Craig, Joe Kelly -- to new homes, but there was one Minor Leaguer included in the deal.
Corey Littrell, a left-handed starter and 2013 fifth-rounder, is headed from the Sox to the Cardinals as part of the swap. The 22-year-old southpaw owns a 3.60 ERA with 91 strikeouts and 38 walks in 100 innings at Class A Advanced Salem. July was his best month yet as he allowed one run or fewer in each of his four outings, finishing with a 1.27 ERA in the month.
Ranaudo joins Red Sox rotation: This is where Boston's Triple-A pitching depth comes in handy.
The Red Sox announced earlier in the week that they had moved Anthony Ranaudo's start for Pawtucket to Friday to accommodate newcomer Edwin Escobar, who made his IL debut Thursday. Friday just so happens to be the same day that Lackey was scheduled to pitch against the Yankees at Fenway Park. When Lackey was dealt to the Cardinals, Ranaudo easily slotted into the open spot in the Major League rotation.
The 24-year-old right-hander certainly earned his shot at The Show. A groin injury limited the 2010 first-rounder to only nine starts in 2012, but he came back with a vengeance in 2013, going 11-5 with a 2.96 ERA in 25 appearances between Triple-A and Double-A. His efforts earned him the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year and a trip to the Futures Game at Citi Field. Ranaudo followed that up with another impressive campaign this year at Pawtucket, going 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA, 99 strikeouts, 49 walks and a .205 opponents batting average in 21 starts (119 1/3 innings).
In MLB.com's latest rankings, he was tabbed as the No. 6 Red Sox prospect and No. 82 overall in baseball with both his fastball and curveball receiving above-average 60 grades.
Vargas called up by Twins: In one of the earliest moves of the day, the Twins traded outfielder Sam Fuld to the A's for left-handed starter Tommy Milone. To take Fuld's spot on the 25-man roster, Minnesota promoted No. 11 prospect Kennys Vargas to the Majors for the first time.
A switch-hitting first baseman, Vargas' calling card throughout his career has been his power. The Puerto Rico native, who turns 24 on Friday, had a .281/.360/.472 slash line with 17 homers and 63 RBIs in 97 games with Double-A New Britain at the time of the promotion. Back in May, Vargas credited Red Sox slugger David Ortiz with his rise through the Twins system.
Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com.