Commentary

Prospects affected by hot stove

Recent transactions could make (or break) the futures of some top young players

Updated: December 14, 2011, 1:55 PM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
TroutGary A. Vasquez/US PresswireThe Albert Pujols signing was good for the Angels but bad for Mike Trout.

A lot of big names have already come off the board via free agency this winter, and many players have been traded, but the hot stove can also affect prospects. Those big signings and trades can create or take away opportunities from prospects, and while there will still be plenty of transactions between now and spring training, here's a look at some top prospects who have been helped or hurt by some recent moves.

Winners

Lorenzo Cain, OF, Kansas City Royals
When the Royals sent Melky Cabrera to the San Francisco Giants for Jonathan Sanchez, it not only handed Cain the center-field job, but also left the Royals with no real backup plan for now. Coming off a season in which he hit .312/.380/.497 for Triple-A Omaha, Cain looks ready in the eyes of scouts, while representing a significant upgrade defensively. He needs to improve his plate discipline to fit better at the top of a big league lineup, but he has the potential to be the long-term answer here.