2009 MLB Trade Value: #10-#6

#10: Chase Utley, 2B, Philadelphia: 4.8 WAR

He’s not cheap anymore, and at 30, he’s headed towards the down side of his career, but he’s also on pace for his third consecutive 8+ win season. He is the guy who makes Philly a contender. Just a tremendous all around player that excels at every part of the game, his 2005-2009 peak is going to go down as one of the best in baseball history for a second baseman. $60 million over the next four years isn’t bargain basement money, but he’s worth twice that.

#9: Tim Lincecum, RHP, San Francisco: 5.3 WAR

501 career innings, 2.76 career FIP. He’s on his way to a second straight Cy Young award and should destroy the previous record for first year arbitration eligible pitcher salary if the Giants can’t lock him up long term this winter, even as a super-two. He’s improved his previously poor command to the point that it’s hardly an issue anymore, and his strikeout rate has actually risen from his rookie season despite a two mph drop in fastball velocity. The inherent risk with all pitchers keeps him below the eight premium bats ahead of him, but he’d command more in trade than any pitcher on earth.

#8: Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee: 3.0 WAR

You don’t find many 25-year-olds with 1,500 career plate appearances and a .400 career wOBA. Braun is a classic middle of the order monster at the plate with easy power to spare. He’s making strides in improving his pitch recognition and should match last year’s walk total in the next couple of weeks. After showing he didn’t belong at third base, he’s become a decent enough defender in left. Oh, and he won’t make an eight figure salary until 2014.

#7: David Wright, 3B, New York: 2.5 WAR

The simultaneous drop in power and rise in strikeout rate are a bit disconcerting, but Wright is still a guy who averaged +7.9 WAR per year the last two years at age 24 and 25 and is signed for half of his market value through 2013. Without the weird performance this year, he might have cracked the top five. While I wouldn’t get too worked about about three months of baseball, he’s going to have to start hitting like the Wright of old again sometime soon.

#6: Brian McCann, C, Atlanta: 2.4 WAR

Guys who can make contact and hit for power are usually incredible offensive machines McCann has a career .201 ISO and 13.5% K%. Plus, he’s a 25-year-old catcher. Did I mention that he’s signed through 2013 for a grand total of $32 million? Atlanta, please put some talent around on this guy so we can all watch him play in October.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


102 Responses to “2009 MLB Trade Value: #10-#6”

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  1. Joe R says:

    Just posting to say that I’d love to love Ryan Braun, but I think he’s replacing Brett Favre in Wisconsin as the athletic deity.

    Even so far as being told in forums that Braun would make a great center fielder. Apparently evidenced by the 0.0 innings of work in his professional career in CF.

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  2. YC says:

    So that leaves Evan Longoria, Hanley Ramirez, Justin Upton, Albert Pujols, and Matt Wieters for the final 5 slots. Really looking for the finale of the series.

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    • Tom says:

      And that order (1 to 5) looks just about right, too.

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    • Omar says:

      Wieters? I mean he looks like he’ll be good, but Tim Lincecum has more strikeouts in his major league career than Wieters has total bases in his major league AND minor league career. I wouldn’t put Wieters top 10.

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  3. DavidCEisen says:

    I will bet that Chase Utley’s peak will be from 2005-2011, as long as he stays healthy. By peak I mean posting win values in excess of 6.5 and wOBA in excess of .390.

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  4. Sam says:

    Has anybody else noticed how many NL players are on this list?

    It means one of two (or both) things:

    1. In a few years, NL figures to get better than AL.

    2. Or NL is cheaper when it comes to paying free agents money, and that is what is responsible for the higher valuation of NL players.

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    • Sam says:

      Or for that matter, paying money to players under control.

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    • naviomelo says:

      Assuming the above five are the top five, 24 of the players are from the AL, and 26 are from the NL. Chalk it up to random variation.

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    • Ray says:

      I don’t know…WAR is not calculated using the MLB universe, correct (it’s just replacement in the league that the player is in)? So Utley is worth 8 wins above replacement in the NL, but what would he be worth when judged against Pedroia, Kinsler, Hill, Cano, Zobrist, etc? Similarly, Braun is a beast at the plate and has great value as a LFer, but what would his WAR look like if computed against guys like Crawford, Lind, Span, Holliday, Damon and Bay rather than Headley, Schumaker, Hermida, and Murphy? **

      And yes, I know they’re both great players, but I’m not sure, if they were in the same league, Utley would be worth twice as many wins as Kinsler and Pedroia right now.

      **This is all out the window if WAR is computed using both leagues, but I’m almost positive it isn’t.

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      • mjmetro says:

        as a side-note, how is team wide wOBA calculated with respect to the league? the AL offenses have combined for 231 wRAA while the NL offense weigh in at -231 wRAA. it clearly looks like wOBA is calculated across all of baseball. this seems terribly misleading to me.

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  5. Dale says:

    Glad to see Big Mac at 5. He is constantly underrated by the Media.

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  6. Connecticut Mike says:

    Dave I love this series and I don’t really want to nitpick, but do you suppose the Giants would trade Tim Lincecum straight up for Brian McCann or that the Braves would turn down that deal? I just can’t see either of those things happening, contracts and future risk notwithstanding.

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    • Teej says:

      The Giants would definitely say no, as they have Buster Posey close to ready. But I don’t think it’s the slam dunk you see it as.

      And as Dave mentioned, once we get to the top 15 or so, we’re really talking about players who aren’t going to get traded regardless.

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      • BIP says:

        Also this list should really be viewed as more of a gradient of value rather than a discrete ordering. If players are 2-4 spots away from each other, you can make an argument for either one having greater value.

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  7. B says:

    “Oh, and he [Braun] won’t make an eight figure salary until 2014.”

    “Did I mention that he’s [McCann] signed through 2013 for a grand total of $32 million?”

    Wow. Can’t argue with either of those. How did these guys get hosed by their team/the system this badly?

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    • Joe R says:

      More and more teams are going to start buying out arb years imo.
      Look at all the players that are so good so young these days.

      Not to mention now teams like the Rays can hold onto a guy like Longoria for longer because his salary won’t suddenly explode to 8 figures.

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    • YC says:

      Give the credit to smart GM’s who gave long term contracts to young players making the league minimum. Even if you have the option of waiting it out until Free Agency and making the eight figure salary later, the temptation of being guaranteed seven figure salaries for several years right now is too great, especially if you are only making $400,000 now. I think it is a win-win situation between the organization and the player, trading long term financial stability for surplus value in the market.

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    • Richie Abernathy says:

      B, wait until you see Evan Longoria’s contract. Apparently he doesn’t care that he’s one of the five third basemen on earth and will be paid like a platoon player for the next seven years.

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    • Brad says:

      The Braun deal is amazingly one sided. I give credit to the Braves for the McCann deal, but I also see why Brian signed it. I think catcher’s and pitchers have the biggest incentive to sign long term deals early in their career, to get the guaranteed money. Pitchers get injured all the time, and catchers are notorious for breaking down quickly as well. So its understandable why McCann would jump at $35 million in guaranteed money. Its not as justifiable for Braun, but then again who can really argue with a 21 year old guaranteeing himself millions of dollars.

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      • Bill says:

        Its all about marginal utility. The first $20M of guaranteed money is worth a lot more than the next $20M. You sign that first contract and you and your family are taken care of for the rest of your lives. The next $20M or $40M makes you ridiculously rich, but the first $20M is much more significant and valuable to a person. It takes all risk away for the rest of their lives (well, assuming they don’t go all MC Hammer with that money). In order to get this security, most players are willing to give up a lot of money. Especially guys like Longoria and Tulo, who signed their deals after a only months in the majors.

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  8. scott says:

    Upton has to be #1. He’s 21 years old for god’s sake…that post a month-or-so ago pretty much summed up his incredible abilities and probably future gains. I don’t know of a team that wouldn’t trade the farm and then some for Upton.

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    • Teej says:

      Go look up Longoria’s contract. It’s obscene.

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      • Sam A says:

        ‘Nuff said.

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      • scott says:

        Sure Longoria’s contract is amazing, but Upton is proving to not only be one hell of a hitter, but a pretty great right fielder, too. Add in a little more speed (a lot more, at this point in his career. Five years from now, Upton might look more Carlos Lee than Raul Ibanez) and Upton starts to look like a player just as valuable as Longoria. The defense doesn’t come at a premium position, but buying out arb years is becoming the norm and Upton could sign a contract just as friendly as Longoria if the D-Backs play their cards right.

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      • JH says:

        First, a great defensive third baseman is more valuable than a great defensive right fielder. If Upton signs a deal that locks him up for 8-9 years at about half the market rate, we can start talking about him in the same sentence as Longoria in terms of trade value. For now, you can’t assume the likelihood of a team-friendly contract when none exists, so you pretty much have to treat Upton as somebody who’ll be gone when his club control years are up. He’s not a Boras client, so it’s a possibility, but if he hits free agency in his mid-20′s, assuming he continues developing along a normal age curve, he’ll be in line to sign a 9-figure contract.

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    • scott says:

      This year they’ve been worth virtually the exact same.

      Longoria – 3.8 WAR, estimated $16.9 mil, .380 wOBA
      Upton – 3.5 WAR, estimated $15.9 mil, .398 wOBA

      Throw in that Upton’s practically a whole two years younger than Longoria?

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      • Whateverfor says:

        Upton has already earned two years of service time, there’s no way he signs a Longoria-like extension. Start with the Markakis extension and work up from there. He’s probably going to make at LEAST twice what Longoria does.

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  9. Judy says:

    Longoria is practically Tampa’s slave for life, he almost has to be #1.

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  10. Joe R says:

    I just looked up “best MLB contract” because of you, Judy, and the fourth hit was an ESPN Page 2 article that refers to this site.

    See? Stat nerdy baseball fans that post comments all friday at work do have friends at ESPN.

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  11. Paulie says:

    How about the first round of the 2005 Draft? Upton, Braun, Tulo, Bruce, Zimmerman, Rasmus, Buchholz all in the top 50 here, with Upton, Braun, Tulo and Rasmus all in the top 20.

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    • Paulie says:

      Don’t want to wear it out or anything but sheesh, 2005 Draft team:

      C. Taylor Teagarden
      1b. Ryan Braun
      2b. Jed Lowrie
      SS. Troy Tulowitzki
      3b. Ryan Glimmerman
      Lf. Jay Bruce
      Cf. Colby Rasmus
      Rf. Justin Upton
      Bench Andrew McCutchen
      Bench Alex Gordon
      Bench Cam Maybin
      SP Matt Garza
      SP Clay Buchholz
      SP Ricky Romero
      SP Chris Volstad
      SP Mike Pelfrey

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      • Ray says:

        Not many top-tier arms in that class but the OF depth and All Star quality, top to bottom, more than makes up for it. Just a ridiculous, ridiculous class.

        And to think, the Rays actually ‘missed’ in the first round (Townsend)…imagine if they went for one of the OF bats like McCutchen, Rasmus, Ellsbury or Bruce? Jesus.

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      • dan l says:

        Nothing beats the 1999 draft team.

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      • Alex says:

        You left out Hanson who was a 22nd round pick in the 2005 draft. That’s really impressive overall.

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      • Paulie says:

        I wasn’t trying to put together a team for the entire 2005 draft, just the first round, which I think makes the collection of players above even more astounding. Hanson, Gamel, Yunel etc. are other great players throughout the rest of the draft, making 2005 that much better.

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    • Ted Lehman says:

      Not to mention other solid (or potentially better-than-solid) players like Ellsbury, McCutchen, Gordon and Maybin. Quite an impressive class.

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  12. Jaybird says:

    “he’d command more in trade than any pitcher on earth. ”

    To think that Lincecum was even mentioned in a potential trade for Alexis Rios…

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    • Judy says:

      Mentioned for real, or mentioned by a Boston writer who makes stuff up? Cause we’ve been over that already.

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      • Kincaid says:

        Mentioned for real. The Jays and Giants were in talks for a while after the 2007 season trying to work out a Rios deal, with Lincecum being the key piece from the Giants. Cain was also allegedly talked about as a possibility if they couldn’t get that to work. It was a pretty big topic on San Fransisco radio (and probably other media and amongst the fans). I don’t know how far they ever got before the deal fell apart, though.

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      • This was a deal proposed by the Blue Jays to the Giants. I doubt that Sabean seriously considered the deal, though many Bay Area columnist, particularly Tim Kawakami, said the Giants would be stupid to pass up trading Lincecum for Rios. Who is stupid now?

        All Sabean ever said – and he never acknowledged that such a deal was on the plate as he never discusses specific rumors – was that he was in no position to not listen to all deals. And soon afterward, Sabean said basically that he would not be listening to any more deals for his young pitching.

        I believe that he used the Blue Jays blatant leaking of their offer (which they did I think to assuage their fans that they are trying to do something) to issue a public message to all teams that this is all the Blue Jays are willing to offer, so I’m open to a deal, make me a good offer. Nobody made a good offer so he said the door was closed.

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    • Ender says:

      To be fair Lincecum added a change up(didn’t fully command it until his second season) that is probably his best pitch now to an already impressive skillset. If that doesn’t develop the way it has the scouts don’t look as bad on his part.

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  13. Ender says:

    At this point I can pretty safely say that Gallardo was the biggest snub of this whole thing~. There are at least 10 players the Brewers would not trade Gallardo for straight up on the list and quite a few more that would be questionable.

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    • phildo says:

      he’s a pitcher who already missed a season to injury.

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      • aaron says:

        neither of the injuries were to his arm, and one was of a freak nature.

        all pitchers are injuries just waiting to happen of course, but i have small concern for YO especially having already had a run in with the bad luck monster.

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  14. Dale says:

    Starting a franchise would your rather have Longo or Upton?

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  15. Jeff says:

    How does Porcello not make the list???? But yet Price, Stratsburg and Hanson all do? Porcello is younger than all 3 and has just as much potential. He is one less than 2 years removed from high school.. And he is also under team control untill 2015!!!!

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    • Chris says:

      Agreed. If not on the list, Porcello should have at least been in the Honorable Mentions.

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    • Alex says:

      First, I’m pretty sure he’s only under team control through 2014 (he’d reach 6 years of service time by that point). Second, the fact that he’s younger is pretty much irrelevant when we’re only looking through the current contract, as all those guys will just be hitting their prime by the time their current contracts run out. Third, Porcello really just hasn’t been impressive as Hanson or Price when you look at their track records and their peripherals. Porcello appears to be a innings eater with a great sinker, but without the ability to rack up strikeouts at the big league level. Hanson and Price are much better bets to dominate in that category.

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      • Jeff says:

        Yes 6 years of team control… Same as Hanson and Price…

        And age does matter, since Hanson and Price have had more time to develope thier full skill set, while Porcello is just starting out… Porcello has more room to grow and thus more potential to get better…

        And as to K’s…. They arent everything… Porcello has the ability to become a great strikout pitcher in the future, but as of now is trying to get groundballs to shorten innings and save wear on his arm…

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      • Alex says:

        6 years of team control would only carry him through 2014. The Rays and Braves managed the service time of Price and Hanson in such a way that they won’t meet the requirement for free agency by 2014, so they also get them for 2015. Essentially the Braves and Rays get 6.5 years of service time compared to only 6 years for the Tigers.

        I’m not really going to touch the whole Porcello vs. Hanson and Price debate, but the only thing Porcello has going for him in the discussion is age. His stuff just isn’t at the same level, he doesn’t have the same sort of track record, and unless he suddenly starts missing bats it seems unlikely that he’s ever going to be more than a #2/#3 pitcher. And even if he does manage to take that step, its likely going to take a few years, at which point its not unreasonable to think that Price and Hanson will already be at the level Porcello is just hoping to reach.

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    • alskor says:

      There’s just too much risk in a high school arm without dominant minor league numbers who has been rushed to the majors… and… plays for Jim Leyland.

      Im sure he was a pretty near miss, though.

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  16. dan l says:

    If Joey Votto does not make the list this exercise is a shame.

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  17. How the hell did Matt Cain not make the list anywhere? You include Billingsley in the mid-20′s but he’s arbitration eligible while the Giants controls Cain under a great long-term contract out to 2011, and Cain went from good to great this season.

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    • mattsd says:

      Billingsley has 3 years of team control left. He will be making considerably less than market value until 2013.

      Cain is going to get 10.5 over the next 2 years, and then hit free agency.

      Cain’s contract is not a plus in a direct comparison with Billingsley’s contract status.

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      • And Cain has two years of control left at only $10.5M. If you think that Billingsley is not going to clean up in arbitration, then you have not been paying attention to the arbitration wins by players in recent years.

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    • Ender says:

      Wouldn’t come close to trading Gallardo for Cain, though I wouldn’t trade Gallardo for Billingsley either, oh well. Cain is a 3.70 ERA pitcher with a lucky LOB% this year though and someone with a ton of innings on a young arm, I wouldn’t put him in the top 75.

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      • Cain has been described as a horse physically, capable of taking more innings. And Gallardo is only one season behind Cain and yet he missed most of 2008 season, whereas Cain has never missed a start for an injury. So why are you extolling Gallardo’s health over Cain?

        In any case, you brought up Gallardo, not me.

        If you are saying that Billingsley and Gallardo are better pitchers than Cain, I would agree with you. Billingsley, in particular, has been much better on the road than in his extreme pitcher’s home, which is totally usually because that park has made 10′s of millions of dollars for Chan Ho Park and Jeff Weaver, each. However, this list is not concerned with who is better, but who is better for the money you will lay out for the player.

        I think Billingsley will easily earn more than $10.5M over the next two arbitration years plus more in his third year.

        For example, Chad Cordero got $4.15M his first year of arbitration, then signed for $6.2M. If Chad Cordero can pull nearly $10.5M in his first two arbitration hearings, before 2007 and 2008 seasons, Billingsley should easily be able to get over that in the next two years. Oliver Perez got $6.5M after the 2007 season, his final arbitration year, and he struggled for a couple of years just before that one glorious year, so Billingsley should clean up in his third arbitration year. Ryan Howard also won $10M that off-season too, in his first year in arbitration, just before Perez, so Perez was not a fluke, the salary of players are getting up there. And Billingsley has been better and more consistently good than Perez.

        So I don’t see how Cain’s guaranteed only $10.5M over the next two years is worse than three years of Billingsley at arbitration prices. Cain will get basically what Perez got in his last arbitration year, even though it is 4 years later (time value of money) and Cain has way over produced what Perez had done up that point of his career. Billingsley should get top money over the next three off-seasons, and even if the Dodgers sign him to a long term deal, I don’t see how they can get away with paying him less than $10.5M over the next two seasons.

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    • Sky says:

      Three more years of Billingsley is longer than “through 2011″ for Cain.

      Cain is not great this year. Last two seasons:

      2.04 vs. 2.07 K/BB, .79 vs. .85 HR/9, 3.91 vs. 3.86 FIP. He’s traded a couple line drives for ground balls, but that’s really the only difference from last year to this one. His ERA is much lower, but that’s, well, ERA.

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      • Matt B, says:

        Billingsley is a good but not great SP IMO. Mediocre BB rate, strong pitchers park.

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      • phildo says:

        you just described matt cain, too

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      • One thing you need to account for is that FIP penalizes pitchers who are able to keep their BABIP under the .300 mean. Tom Tango has shown that it takes roughly 7 years for a pitcher to show conclusively that he can keep his BABIP below the mean. Cain in 4 seasons (roughly) has a .280 BABIP, and has been below .300 in 3 of his 4 seasons (including this season but not his short callup in 2005 where he was also below but clearly outlier).

        So it is not conclusive thus far, but he’s been doing it consistently throughout his career, even in the minors.

        OK, I’ll admit to some hyperbole on Cain for this season, but he has been very good for his MLB career.

        And again, the point is where he fits on this list, given how well he is expected to perform, as well as his contract. His situation is better than Billingsley solely because he is signed to a cheap contract, whereas Billingsley will cost an arm and a leg in arbitration.

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      • Now I recall why I said great.

        There is a saber-oriented quality pitching metric called PQS by Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster, which I have been keeping tracking of on my blog. Cain, after two seasons of good pitching at roughly 50% DOM, is at 67% DOM this season; he is in the upper right corner of the table of DOM vs DIS, which only great pitchers can do, as you can see in the link below. And Cain has had late season surges in August.

        Here is their description of this metric: http://www.baseballhq.com/free/free03.shtml?src=hqf

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    • CK says:

      Because this is a list of talented young players. Not the next solid #3 pitchers…

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      • Are you seriously holding Matt Cain’s #3 position against him? He’s #3 on the Giants staff. Show me how many teams have a #3 starters with a mid-3 ERA the past two seasons.

        Matt Cain had the 20th best ERA last season in the NL. Assuming you took all the top pitcher and distributed them across all teams, he would the the 4th best #2 starter in the NL and only 0.05 away from being a #1 starter on a team.

        Solid #3 pitcher: you should check your stats before you open up your mouth.

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  18. Michael says:

    Clearly Wieters will be #1 because (insert lame Chuck Norris joke)

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  19. butts says:

    “Atlanta, please put some talent around on this guy so we can all watch him play in October. ”

    they’re trying, FAG

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  20. Benito Santiago says:

    Garret Jones has to be in the top 5…

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  21. David says:

    The next time you’re critical of your team’s GM, just think that Gordon wouldn’t make the starting lineup of his year’s draft class. Well below expectations for everyone’s “next George Brett”.

    Lincecum being lower due to pitcher risk is also the reason he wouldn’t be traded for anyone above him….the fact he’s been healthy makes him an even more precious commodity.

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    • JH says:

      That’s unfair. There was no doubt who the best hitter in the draft was at the time, and KC went along with the scouting consensus. He’s also not a bad player in his own right, just not a star. There’s still breakout potential there IMO.

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  22. David says:

    Oh, and these young players don’t get screwed, they’re just contributing in the majors earlier than in the past generation or 2 did.

    Also, they can be impatient and sign for GOOD money early on, instead of waiting and signing for HUGE money a few years later.

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  23. Kaz says:

    Yes, Gallardo has been a huge snub on this list. A 23 year old pitcher with a career 3.29 era. I guess he hasn’t been signed to a long term contract yet, but it would probably be easier for the Brewers to sign him to a team friendly contract due to his injury history. By that I mean someone who has experienced a near year long injury would be more willing to sign a contract that guarantees him financial security rather than waiting for top dollar later.

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    • phildo says:

      yes, a huge snub. a pitcher who has already missed one of his two and half seasons due to injury sounds like a sure thing

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      • phildo says:

        whoops, sorry. one of his two seasons so far. fuck, the rays would be lucky to get gallardo straight up for longoria

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      • Kaz says:

        oh yeah like a fluke injury is a reoccurring thing. He jumped over a guy sliding into 1st base and tore his ACL, could happen to anyone. Also, he healed fast from hit and it was a non arm injury so it isn’t anything that will affect his pitching. And I was in no way saying Gallardo is more valuable than Longoria, I was saying Yo should on on the list, like in the 40s-50s. Longoria is deservingly top 5 in trade value. Gallardo is proven young pitcher who still is under team control for quite a few more years, no reason that he shouldn’t in the top 50 for trade value. So huge snub…yes big time.

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  24. Gary says:

    Can I scream about Longoria’s contract again?
    **************************************************************
    Longoria should be taking an axe to his agent
    “If the Rays exercise both options, Longoria would earn more than $44 million over the life of the nine-year agreement.”

    Longoria has been worth $41.6 Million over 207 games.

    Longoria got seriously axed, it’s only 17.5 million guaranteed, which means even if he gets injured(career threatening), he gets fucked. So it’s not like he got any real financial security. Longoria seriously needs to hold out and demand a trade+contract rewrite.

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  25. Matthew says:

    Has anybody seen Clayton Kershaw pitch the last 2 months. He has been UNHITTABLE. I dont understand how he is not in the TOP 10. Over his last 47 inning, he has allowed 3 runs for an ERA of 0.63

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    • Joe says:

      Maybe because this listed isn’t compiled based on the last 2 months of stats. Otherwise I think Washburn should be in the top 10, he’s been on fire!

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    • AngMohClay says:

      Kershaw is definitely a great young pitcher. But there is a very good reason he isn’t rated higher than he is. 1.) He still hasn’t solved his walks problem: even over the period of time you mention, he still has a K/BB of only 2 (obviously still good, but not outstanding), and is walking 4.43/9. His BABIP over that period was low, but the thing that really jumps out is over that stretch (which is a pretty small sample size of 42.2 IP) he’s had 43 FB without a HR. He’s a nasty young pitcher no question, but until he gets better control somewhere in the 20′s is where he should be in my opinion. His FIP over that time is 2.63 (assuming a league factor of 3.2, I don’t know the NL’s league factor off hand, but it can’t be too different).

      This is nasty, great pitching, but it is a cherry picked small sample size of only 42.2 innings (not 47), and this run of games is not nearly as dominant as Verlander or Greinke’s similarly sized runs this year, lucky ERA aside.

      If he lowers those walks, look out though.

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      • Matthew says:

        what about if he continues this nastiness for the next 5 starts.

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      • AngMohClay says:

        It’s not just the sample size, it’s that he is still walking 4.5/9 over this streak, so his run of 7 games with only 3 ER is very likely lucky. He’s got ridiculous stuff, but even over this very small sample size of 42.2 innings, he still hasn’t shown signs that he’s resolved what keeps him from being an elite pitcher (the well below average command).

        His LOB% of 93% over this stretch is completely unsustainable. Over this short stretch, he’s still throwing over 4.3 pitches per batter faced (league high). He still has all of the same exact issues that have troubled him his entire career, but he’s just gotten better results over a very short period of time. I like his future, but this streak of starts looks like noise to me, not a pitcher who’s finally “getting it”.

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      • Matthew says:

        yes he walks a lot of poeple.. but he allows BARELY ANY HITS.

        and his lob % of 93… most are on first base so its not like they are all on second base and they can score with 1 hit

        plus clayton just doesnt allow ANY homeruns during his last 12 starts

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      • AngMohClay says:

        to put those numbers in context, and how anomalous they are, Kershaw’s 93% lob over that time is 7 points higher than the league leader Cain. It’s 16 points higher than Lincecum’s LOB% this season. He has allowed no HR despite being a 38% FB pitcher over this time period. All of Kershaw’s peripherals during this time period are exactly in line with the rest of his career, with the exception of a 0.0 HR/FB and a 93 LOB%.

        What’s more likely here, that Kershaw has turned into the best pitcher on the planet, or that in a sample size of 97 balls in play he’s gotten some funny results.

        He has started to throw what from pitchfx looks like a pretty nasty slider (-4.8 horizontal movement). It could be that the addition of this pitch has allowed him to become an elite pitcher, without improving his command. I think it’s more likely he’s gotten lucky results (while pitching well, but not pitching ungodly well) in a short sample that involves 4 games in a great pitchers park and a 3 bad line ups (Oak, NYM, Hou).

        He’s a young pitcher with obvious cy young potential, and he is very effective despite having obvious command issues. But if you believe in FIP, xFIP and large sample sizes, you should not believe in Kershaw’s current streak.

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  26. Scott says:

    I realize people highly value productive catchers because of the scarcity of finding them, but I can’t help but think that McCann and Wieters (whom I assume is in the top 10 are overrated). The reason I say this is precisely because of the position they play. Because of the wear and tear even potentially great catchers go through very average years.

    Just look at McCann’s 07 where he posted a .270/18hr line. Definately not bad, but far from elite level. Or Joe Mauer’s 07 line of .293/8hrs. I realize the purpose of this is to determine their overall value including cost but I would prefer to have a highly skilled player at another position even at a slightly greater cost where the risk of injury isn’t as significant personally. For example I’d much rather have the Ryan Bruan at a greater cost at a non premium position (LF) than I would McCann. Because I would have much more faith in that other position players ability to stay healthy, as well as staying productive. Because even if your catcher stays healthy enough to play in 130 or so games, they often get banged up enough that they dont always preform at the level they are capable of because of the position. My point is I would rather have some league average catcher at their salary and a young elite position player at another position, than say a league average left fielder+ McCann if the choice were mine. Or I would at least value the Braun/kendall combo more than the mccann/church combo for instance.

    I just have a hard time putting full dollar value or trade value for instance on someone who plays 80% of the year as opposed to full time when healthy, and has a much higher chance of being less productive when they are playing because of the positional wear and tear.

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    • Nick says:

      McCann was worth 2.7 WAR in 07. Mauer was worth 3.0 WAR that same year. Considering those, as massive outliers to each players usual production, are still quite valuable, that pretty much contradicts your overall point.

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  27. Scott says:

    So you get a guy who will bottom out in the high 2′s in WAR, and top out in the 5′s, or get a who’ll be between 4 and 7. I think thats exactly the point, when given the choice between 2-5, or 4-7 I guess I would value the 4-7 more. But thats just me.

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  28. Trula Failla says:

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