Continuing on with the trade value series.
#40: Tommy Hanson, RHP, Atlanta: 0.1 WAR
Despite a mediocre start to his major league career, Hanson is one of the most talented young pitchers in baseball. He put up video game like numbers in the minors and was the most impressive pitcher in the history of the Arizona Fall League last year. His four pitch mix contains two knockout breaking balls and an above average fastball. His lower present value and high risks push him down here, but he could easily be top 20 a year from now, especially considering he’s basically free for the next 3 years.
#39: Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta: 0.0 WAR
Recently promoted to Double-A at the age of 19, this is how Heyward has handled his first 32 plate appearances above Double-A: four singles, three doubles, two triples, four walks, no strikeouts. That’s how you announce that the best prospect in baseball has arrived on the scene. A big left-handed premium bat with power and plate discipline, Heyward profiles as an elite hitter with some defensive value. He could be in Atlanta next year, taking the mantle from Chipper Jones as the next great Braves hitter.
#38: Clay Buchholz, RHP, Boston: 0.0 WAR
In any other organization in baseball, Buchholz would be a regular member of the rotation. He’s mastered the minor leagues and even pitched fairly well in the majors, posting a career 4.34 FIP over 98 innings in 2007 and 2008. He’s got top notch stuff and improving command, which is why every GM in the world asks for him when they call Boston, but the Red Sox realize how valuable of an asset he is, which is why he’s still in their organization. Wherever he ends up, he’ll instantly become the future of the team’s rotation.
#37: Roy Halladay, RHP, Toronto: 4.2 WAR
Perhaps the most interesting guy on the list, because he’s actually in play. He’s the best pitcher in baseball, but he’s only signed through 2010, and his salary is prohibitive for some teams. The Blue Jays have made it clear that they’ll only trade him if they get overwhelmed, but will teams be willing to part with multiple premium players in exchange for ~45 starts from Halladay? I’m guessing Toronto will have to decide whether they want one top notch guy, or several pretty good players, because I don’t see anyone offering two players who could end up on this list next year.
#36: Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas: 1.0 WAR
He’s probably the most physically gifted player in the game, a supreme athlete with the ability to do everything on the field. He was a +4 win player in his first full season of major league playing time, and he’s improved defensively since last year. A true middle of the order hitter with defensive value, heading into his prime, and 3+ years away from free agency, he’s the prototypical franchise player. Injury concerns drag him down a bit, as does the lack of cost certainty, but on talent, he’s top five.
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