The American League is very top heavy this year. Non-contending clubs are looking to sell, and those with a fighting chance are gearing up for a run at the playoffs. The AL is also unique in that many of the top contending teams also have some of the highest-rated farm systems in baseball, which could spur some seismic deals as July rolls around. With at least eight teams ready for a run at the playoffs, those clubs should be prepared to ship out these young studs in order to bring in an established star.
8. Oakland Athletics: OF Austin Beck
With top prospect Jesus Luzardo knocking on the door of the big leagues, the A's could look to trade Beck given their surplus of outfielders. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2017 draft, Beck is hitting .264 with 6 home runs for the Class A Advanced Stockton Ports. He ranks as Oakland's sixth best prospect. A toolsy outfielder with great bat control and defense, Beck should be in the majors in no time at all, and could be a valuable piece in a trade if the A's look to contend.
7. Texas Rangers: RHP Hans Crouse
The Rangers don't have tons of great prospects, but Crouse stands above the rest, both literally and figuratively. A 6-foot-5 starter with hard stuff and a violent delivery, Crouse will sit in the mid 90s while touching 99 mph with regularity. The Rangers need starting pitching now, not in two years when Crouse finally makes the majors. Sending him elsewhere for pitching will at least help Texas tread water in the AL West, and potentially push for a Wild Card spot.
6. Cleveland Indians: RHP Triston McKenzie
Cleveland's strong rotation hasn't exactly held up, as Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger are all dealing with various ailments. Still, it will be difficult for McKenzie to crack a starting spot in Cleveland, and if the team decides to continue in its pursuit of the postseason, he'd be able to fetch a massive haul. While it's unclear if they would consider moving him, baseball's No. 34 ranked prospect is easily the Tribe's most valuable trade asset if they want to contend.
5. Boston Red Sox: LHP Darwinzon Hernandez
Hernandez, who made his major league debut earlier this season, has been plagued with a lack of control to start his career, as he has 251 walks in 414 professional innings to this point. Even with his wild nature, Hernandez has electric stuff featuring an upper 90s fastball and a wipeout slider. Hernandez could still fetch a decent haul in a trade, and if Boston wants to shore up its bullpen for the postseason, he'll almost certainly be involved in a trade.
4. Tampa Bay Rays: OF Jesus Sanchez
With the Rays' holy trinity of prospects consisting of Wander Franco, Brendan McKay, and Matthew Liberatore all considered un touchable, Sanchez could find himself on the move. The 6-3, 230 pound outfielder has been tearing up Double-A ball with the Montgomery Biscuits, hitting 8 home runs and driving in 44 runs in 65 games. He's a five-tool prospect, currently ranking at No. 33 in MLB Pipeline's Top 100, and could be a very shiny lure that could reel in one of the trade deadline's big fish.
3. Houston Astros: OF Kyle Tucker
With his 9-for-64 stretch last year with the Astros, Tucker has since been leapfrogged in the prospect pecking order by Yordan Alvarez, who has promptly hit 7 home runs in his first 12 games. Still, Tucker has 23 home runs with the Triple-A team in Round Rock and has been sensational this season, which gives the Astros even more leverage if they decide to deal him for a stud pitcher. He ranks as baseball's 10th best prospect, but has a very difficult path to playing time in Houston.
2. New York Yankees: OF Clint Frazier
Frazier is in a truly unique position. He's hitting .283 with 11 home runs, but finds himself in Triple-A at the moment due to the presence of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. If the Yankees are unwilling to let him carve out a role as a backup outfielder and/or DH, than they must deal him for an elite pitcher, as letting him waste away in Scranton helps literally no one.
1. Minnesota Twins: OF Alex Kirilloff
Kirilloff, currently on the IL with the Twins' Double-A team in Pensacola, had one of the finest seasons across all of minor league baseball in 2018, hitting .348 with 20 home runs. The Twins don't have an outfield spot vacant at the moment, as Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, and Byron Buxton are all producing for the 50-win Twins. To avoid becoming Clint Frazier: Midwest Edition, Kirilloff might be better suited as trade bait for a superstar. He's baseball's 13th ranked prospect, so Minnesota could get quite the return if they ship him off.