I'd love to get some feedback and discussion here on my site and as I mulled how to do that, an idea popped into my mind. Prospects! Everyone loves prospects. Then another idea popped into my head. Trades! Everyone also loves trades. So I decided to combine the two ideas.
In baseball, prospect swaps rarely happen. We just one, kinda, in the Montero-Pineda swap, although technically neither were prospects at the time. Another one, again kinda, was the Rizzo for Cashner swap. Even more rare are prospect swaps for low level minor leaguers. Theories on why would be the relative 'safety' of doing nothing and the fact that teams have a much better gauge on their own players, so swaps involving low level minor league baseball prospects rarely happen.
For this exercise, I decided that I would come up with one prospect in my team's minor league system (the Pirates) and trade him inside my division for another prospect of equal or similar value. I chose inside the division so I, and thus y'all who will hopefully join me in this discussion, didn't have to scan through 30 teams to make a decision. To determine value, I decided to use John Sickels's grades. I also narrowed it down to anything within the 'B' range. That's because a C+ guy could include a player who's a 4th OF or middle reliever and basically anyone would trade that guy for say Ronald Guzman, the recent big international signing by the Rangers. Sickels admits that's a slight flaw in his rankings - the forms a C+ prospect can take - but it seems to be less of an issue in the B- and above range. I chose not to go with A or A- players either because I think almost anyone would trade Shelby Miller (for example) for Bryce Harper. Basically I want people to think about this.
As for how to make a trade, I think it makes sense to make a decision based on several factors. One is if you don't like a player in your farm system nearly as well as Sickels or if you like a player in another farm system way more than Sickels. Two is making a trade based on positional depth. As a Pirates fan, I think it makes sense to trade an OF for a SS and I may do that. Three is trading based on major league readiness. A team like the Reds may love to trade a guy they just drafted, such as Robert Stephenson, for a major league ready pitcher or shortstop. A team like the Astros, who has little need for major league ready players at this exact moment, might trade for a lottery ticket.
I decided on two possible trades. The one I would probably make would be Kyle McPherson, who I'm not very high on (he's #11 on my list while he's #7 on Sickels's list) for a shorstop, a hole for the Pirates. McPherson is a B-, and so are Reds farmhand Zack Cozart and Astros farmhand Jonathon Villar. I settled on Villar because of his upside. Between Jordy Mercer and Chase D'Arnaud, the Pirates have little need for a safer guy like Cozart. The upside of Villar ("grade A tools") is exciting and he'd fir well in the Pirates timeline if he gets on track. The sexier trade I considered would be Josh Bell, who I like, but not as much as Sickels, for a Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez. The Pirates upside pitching would be insane as a result and Bell is somewhat 'expendable' due to the Pirates OF depth of McCutchen, Tabata, Presley, Marte, and Grossman, along with others.
Join in the discussion and tell me about your dream trade! Also, feel free to go outside my in-division parameters if you wish.
Also, as a resource, top 20 lists by division
NL East - Braves, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Phillies
NL Central - Astros, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates, Reds
NL West - Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Padres, Rockies
AL East - Blue Jays, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees
AL Central - Indians, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox
AL West - Angels, Athletics, Mariners, Rangers