Continuing on with our trade value series.
#45: Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, San Diego: 2.9 WAR
How different would the perception of Gonzalez be if he didn’t play half his games in a cavern? He’s posting a .273 ISO despite playing in the best pitchers park in baseball and rarely getting a pitch to hit because his teammates are so inferior. Oh, and then, there’s his contract – he’s set to make just $13 million through 2011. The Padres fans would riot if they dealt him, but his value will never be higher than it is now.
#44: Max Scherzer, RHP, Arizona: 2.1 WAR
Though he’s been projected as a reliever by many due to command problems and concerns about his delivery, Scherzer has established himself as a quality major league starter. The classic power pitcher, he has a career 3.50 FIP between last year and this year, and he’s still a couple of years from arbitration eligibility. He hasn’t yet shown that he can endure a full 200 inning season yet, so the risk of the unknown holds him back a little bit, but the overall package is still quite valuable.
#43: Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington: 3.2 WAR
For all that is wrong with the franchise, Zimmerman is the shining beacon of goodness. A good hitter and great fielder who isn’t yet 25, he’s already one of the best players in the game and has upside beyond what he is now. The newly signed contract extension will keep him in D.C. through 2013, but at rates that are just discounted, not massive bargains. He’ll likely always be a bit undervalued because so much of his value is tied to his glove, but if Washington ever puts some major league players next to him, he’s a great foundation piece.
#42: Joba Chamberlain, RHP, New York: 0.9 WAR
So, the conversion to the rotation hasn’t gone so well yet. His velocity is down, contact against him is way up, and he’s posting a 4.78 FIP because his command hasn’t improved. However, he’s still a premium arm pitching in the toughest division in baseball, and we’ve seen what he’s capable of when he’s going right. We can’t ignore the upside just because the last month or two has been ugly. The risks are significant, however – if he doesn’t start pitching better in the near future, he could easily end up back in the bullpen. Like Hamels, high risk and reward. At least he’s still cheap.
#41: Josh Beckett, RHP, Boston: 3.5 WAR
There’s little question that Beckett is a legitimate ace, with a projected 3.46 FIP going forward that is outstanding given the context of the division he pitches in. Still just 29, he’s a front of the rotation pitcher in his prime, and he’s sustained his velocity over the years, which has to be encouraging. However, he’s also only signed through 2010, so while his present value is very high, his future value is limited, as he’s going to get very expensive very quickly.
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