Decoding Baseball’s PTBNL

By Christopher Saunders

When prospects are traded during the July 31st trade deadline many people following major league baseball only focused on the big name prospects switching clubs. What many people don’t realize, however, is that some of the best under-the-radar players come via PTBNL or “player to be named later” catchall.

Righthander  Ivan Nova was one of those players traded away by the Yankees  for at the time two PTBNL. The Pittsburgh Pirates, who needed starting pitching help when their ace Gerrit Cole was sidelined with an elbow injury, acquired Nova for two players to be named at a later date.

The Yankees were already underway trading multiple veteran players in both shedding payroll and acquiring assets for a bigger mean. What many people don’t realize is two players obtained by New York have some intriguing upside.

The first of those two players acquired is outfielder Tito Polo, who ranked No.27 among in the Pirates farm system.

Polo,, 22, hit .289 with a .360 OBP and an .811 OPS in 109 games between Class A Advanced Bradenton and Class A West Virginia this season. He hit 16 home runs with 65 RBIs and 37 stolen bases, and was selected as a South Atlantic League Midseason All-Star. Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2012, the right-handed hitter led all Pirates farmhands with 46 stolen bases in 2015.

Next  is left-handed pitcher Stephen Tarpley Tarpley, 23, who ranked No.17.  

Tarpley was first acquired by the Pirates along with Steven Brault from the Baltimore Orioles for Travis Snider last January. He was  6-4 with a 4.32 ERA in 20 starts with Bradenton in 2016. Over four Minor League seasons, he is 20-14 with a 3.32 ERA in 60 games (59 starts), and was originally selected by Baltimore in the third round of the 2013 Draft.

General Manager Brian Cashman is doing what he should be when dealing with trading veteran players. Deal the expensive contracts and overvalued veterans for potential future assets.

Cashman is hoping that these PTBNL are just the pieces to solving the championship puzzle.

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