Continuing on with the trade value series.
#20: Jose Reyes, SS, New York Mets: 0.7 WAR
On the field, Reyes is a superstar. He ran off three straight 5+ win performances in his age 23-25 seasons, which is a pretty incredible stretch of play. As a switch-hitting five tool player headed into his prime, he’s the kind of guy you can build a franchise around. Unfortunately for the Mets, they only have him locked up through 2011, so while he’s a bargain for the next two years, he’s going to get free market salaries starting in 2012.
#19: Adam Jones, CF, Baltimore: 1.5 WAR
While Jones is just a good player right now, he’s still scratching the surface of what he can be. Still just 23 years of age, he has the kind of athletic ability and swing to add significant power as he fills out, giving him a chance to be the rare middle of the order center fielder. Plus, he won’t even be arbitration eligible until after the 2010 season. All-Stars who make the league minimum before they turn 24 are remarkably valuable.
#18: Colby Rasmus, CF, St. Louis: 3.0 WAR
Everything I just said about Jones, except he’s also left-handed and a year younger. Rasmus isn’t quite as good of an athlete, but he’s a comparable hitter and could be better defensively. It will be interesting to watch these two develop, as Rasmus is more polished and might already be a little closer to his ceiling. They’re both franchise cornerstones, though. Blue Jay fans, forget it – you’re not getting this kid for Halladay.
#17: Felix Hernandez, RHP, Seattle: 3.8 WAR
King Felix has taken his throne this year, swatting away critics who claim he’s been overhyped since arriving back in 2005. The ability to command his fastball consistently has allowed him to develop into a true frontline starter, and with four plus pitches, he’s capable of blowing hitters every time out. However, like with Reyes, he’s only under club control through 2011, and his strong performance this season will get him a big payday in arbitration this winter. He’s great, and still just 23, but this is the last year he’s going to be cheap.
#16: Joe Mauer, C, Minnesota: 4.1 WAR
He’s just one of two guys in their 20s in baseball that you can look at and say with confidence that he’s an easy Hall Of Famer as long as he stays healthy. He’s putting up one of the great catcher seasons of all time, and at 26, he’s just entering his prime. However, he’s a free agent at the end of the 2010 season. Anyone trading for him would only be getting a year and a half worth of value before they had to outbid New York and Boston for his services, and just thinking of what kind of contract he might get as a free agent makes one shudder. So, while he’s the odds on favorite for AL MVP, I can’t put him any higher than this.