2010 Trade Value: #40 – #36

Introduction
#50-#46
#45-#41

#40 – Jered Weaver, SP, Anaheim

Weaver’s breakthrough performance has come at a good time for him, as he heads towards his second year of arbitration eligibility. Already a quality pitcher, he’ll now take a career year built around an improved strikeout rate to the panel when asking for a large raise this winter. And, that is really the drawback that keeps him this low on the list – even as well as he’s pitching, he’s only got two years of club control left, and he’ll make decent money in both 2011 and 2012. However, even factoring in arbitration raises, he’s still going to be a bargain, and he’d be one of the most sought after pitchers in the game if the Angels put him on the market.

#39 – James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay

Like Weaver, Shields has seen a big jump in his strikeout rate this year. However, it hasn’t led to better results, as his home run problems and a high BABIP have undermined what should have been a breakout year. Those should even out sooner than later, and Shields abilities as a solid front of the rotation starter will again shine through. And, of course, since he’s a member of the Rays, he has a team friendly contract that includes three team options after 2011, giving Tampa Bay a cheap, quality pitcher with very little risk attached.

#38 – Josh Hamilton, OF, Texas

Similar to Weaver, Hamilton has had a monstrous breakout season, and he’s going to reap the rewards when he heads back to arbitration this winter. Power hitters command a large premium in the market, and so while Hamilton only has two more years of team control, those are hugely valuable years where he’ll be earning far less than what he would as a free agent. Given that he’s also a quality defensive outfielder with physical tools that have suggested this kind of performance was always possible, and Hamilton would be near the top of every GMs shopping list.

#37 – Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado

There is no player in baseball less likely to be traded than Tulowitzki. Not only is he a great player at a premium position signed to a bargain of a long term contract, but that deal also contains a provision that lets him void the rest of the contract if he’s moved to another team. That makes him far more valuable to the Rockies than to potential suitors, who would only get two years of Tulowitzki’s services at arbitration salaries if they acquired him. However, that he won’t be traded doesn’t mean teams wouldn’t love to have him, and those final two years are extremely valuable, given the dearth of good shortstops in baseball and how much he adds both at the plate and on the field.

#36 – Tommy Hanson, SP, Atlanta

Don’t let the ERA fool you – Hanson has gotten even better after a strong rookie season in 2009. His velocity is up, giving him better stuff across the board, and it’s translated into fewer walks and more strikeouts this season. Still just 23, Hanson has the ability to dominate with regularity, and it won’t take long before he’s recognized as one of the National League’s premier arms. With five more years of team control after 2010, the Braves ace is going to be providing tremendous value for Atlanta well into the coming decade.




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

34 Responses to “2010 Trade Value: #40 – #36”

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  1. Jeff says:

    I would think Hanson would be rated much higher. Young ace with 5 1/2 more years of control?

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    • vivaelpujols says:

      Not quite an ace yet. xFIP’s of 4.02 and 4.03 in his first two years. But the fact that his stuff has improved across the board is encouraging.

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    • Alex says:

      Even as a Braves fan I disagree. While his stuff appears to be better, I don’t think he’s been using it that well. For the most part he’s just a 4 seam FB and slider guy. While the curve seems to be getting more movement, it hasn’t been nearly as effective this year and the change up still doesn’t seem to have progressed. If he can figure that stuff out he could be one of the best pitchers in baseball, but if not his effectiveness will be limited. I’m am encouraged by what appears to be a 2 seamer he’s mixed in some his last few starts. Right now he really needs another weapon against LHB.

      Honestly, Hanson comes with a lot of the caveats of most young pitchers. He hasn’t proven he can handle a full season’s workload yet, and there is always the worry of injury, especially with a guy that relies so heavily on the slider. On top of that, his FB rate is a little scary to me. He’s been able to limit HR in spite of it thus far, but I’m not sure he can continue at his current level.

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      • Phantom Stranger says:

        I have to agree with Alex on Hanson, as someone else that watches the Braves on a daily basis. His stuff is ahead of his knowledge as a pitcher, and whoever is calling games for him is doing him no favors.

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      • drumzalicious says:

        His stuff is fine. His curveball hasn’t been as effective because he isn’t getting it called for strikes. There was a game the other day where the announcers were saying that because so few true 12-6 Curveballers are out there umpires don’t see them to much and often times call them balls when they’re strikes.

        I do agree about his change up though. He seems to have forsaken its development for a Cutter and a 2SFB this year. I really feel a good change up would take him from a high #2 to an Ace.

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  2. Renegade says:

    Personally, I’d rather have Phil Hughes or Ricky Romero over James Shields.

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    • Zack says:

      “he has a team friendly contract that includes three team options after 2011″

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      • Zack says:

        Pushed submit too soon.

        -He’s proven in the AL East for multiple seasons over 200+ IP, and he has a team friendly contract.
        Hard to argue with that- for all great as Phil has been this year, he also had a bad stretch there already, and bounced back against a bad Seattle team.

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    • Paul says:

      No doubt due to recent performance. There’s little chance you’d have said that last year. Not because Romero or Hughes sucked, but Shields had just posted a strong first half.

      And like Zack said, he’s been getting it done in a big way in the league’s hardest division. Hardest by a mile at that.

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      • hk says:

        Paul,

        Both Romero and Hughes pitch in the same division and, if you want to compare them based on division, Romero faces the toughest lineups because he has to face all 3 of BOS, NY and TB while Shields doesn’t have to face TB and Hughest doesn’t face NY.

        BTW, I disagree that Romero and especially Hughes should be ranked higher than Shields on this list. I’m just pointing out the fallacy of the Shields pitches in the toughest division argument when comparing him to Romero and Hughes.

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  3. Patrick M says:

    Tulowitzki essentially has a no-trade clause with that contract. I’d be very interested to see where he’d be if that super-cheap contract was available to every team. He’d have to be top 15, maybe even top 10…

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    • Alex says:

      See last year’s rating, which was made without Dave realizing Tulo had that unique clause in his deal. Remember that was before he really went off in the 2nd half too.

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  4. Tyler says:

    Yeah those extra years of control for Hughes and Romero would rate them higher than Shields in my opinion.

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  5. Chadam says:

    For those knocking Shields, his 2010 xFIP (3.55) is equal to Romero’s (3.53) and better than Hughes (3.96). He’s also pitched at least 215 IP each of the last three years, proving he is extremely durable and giving him a much better track record (health-wise) than Hughes ,who hasn’t pitched more than 120 IP in any year, and Romero, who, while never having health problems, hasn’t pitched more than 200 IP in a year yet.

    Also, Hughes has only three more years under team control going through arbitration. Romero has four more years, one at the minimum, then three years going through arbitration. Shields has four more years, and while his salaries will be higher than Romero’s or Hughes’ during that time, are still well below market value, and there are very cheap buyouts available in ’12 (2M), ’13 (1.5M), and ’14 (1M). There are no extra years of control (actually, less in Hughes’ case), and the difference in money is more than offset by the track record of good performance and durability Shields has displayed.

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    • Bob says:

      Well said, my good man. Those same thoughts were swirling around in my head and when I was done thinking about how to best put them in a post I hit the refresh button only to see you had done it way better than I would have.

      As a Rays fan, his home run rate so far this year really has me worried. I’ll just cross my fingers and hope that Dave and R.J. are right that it will come back down in the second half. If that happens Shields is a very valuable player indeed.

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      • Jonathan says:

        I agree with almost all of what you guys have said, however, i think that as far as raw stuff goes. I would take the left-handed Romero who has a plus curveball and a plus (possibly ++) changeup. I think if restricted to the numbers to date, Shields wins out; however, if you look at potential ceilings, I think many GMs might take Romero over Shields.
        I cannot speak as confidently about Hughes. I know he brings more heat, but that’s all I can speak informatively about.

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  6. Ivdown says:

    Wow, I never knew that about Troy Tulowitski…that does lower his value doesn’t it. I would have put him about 25th or maybe higher if not for that.

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  7. Rama Lama Fa Fa says:

    This is such a stupid premise for a series. Why don’t you just call it “The 50 Best Guys Who Haven’t Hit Free Agency Yet”?

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    • Alex says:

      How many guys have hit free agency, cashed in with a big contract, and then gotten traded for a huge package of prospects? By its nature, free agency leads to guys getting paid at least their market value.

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    • Paul says:

      Way to add positively add to the discourse. Very useful stuff here. SMH.

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    • Jason B says:

      It’s so stupid, in fact, that you feel compelled to read each one and comment on each?

      I like the premise and it stirs some decent discourse in the comments below (some… and some noise, too.)

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      • Mister Delaware says:

        I love this series but, even with the Tulo poison pill (is that proper usage?), I can’t imagine he’d only be 37th. If you look at it from an open “draft the player and his contract status”, even on the bad end (2 years then FA), I have to imagine Tulo would go before the high 2nd round.

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      • Omar says:

        As a plus defensive short stop with his bat and contract…I’d pick him probably towards the back end. Lets see who all is ahead of him though first…I’m sure I’ll find some guy I like Tulowitzki better than. Less risky than Hanson, so I’d be more willing to give up premium talent for him.

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      • Alex says:

        Except you get 3 extra years of Hanson for something like 4-5 million over the course of those 3 years. Yeah, any pitcher is going to be more risky, but the upside of Hanson with his contract situation is way, way higher than 2 arb years of Tulo.

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  8. Lucky Strikes says:

    I’m predicting Strasburg unseats Longoria as the #1 value this year. Heyward will be up there too.

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    • Alex says:

      Absolutely no way a young pitcher who has yet to prove he can handle a full season’s workload gets the #1 spot over Longoria. Besides, I’m pretty sure Dave has said in a chat that he’d take Heyward over Strasburg going forward based on the injury risk with Strasburg. I expect Strasburg to be the #1 pitcher and a possible top 5 choice, but no way he takes the top spot.

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  9. Omar says:

    “There is no player in baseball less likely to be traded than Tulowitzki.”

    Bullshit.

    AJ Burnett, Evan Longoria, Alphonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Carlos Lee, Roy Halladay, and Barry Zito just to name a few. Alex Rodriguez is the big one, simply because no one else will take that contract and he has a full NTC.

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    • dnc says:

      I think the point is not that Tulo would be harder to trade than anyone in baseball, just that no one else in baseball has such a significantly higher value to their own team than they would to anyone else. Another team acquiring his contract isn’t prohibitive – getting the Rox enough value to make it worth giving him up, despite the significant drop in his value once he leaves the Rox, is prohibitive.

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  11. SAIF says:

    when i stumbled upon this i assumed it was going to be filled with boring info, but actually it turned out to be really interesting. keep writing!

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