2010 Trade Value: Recap

Okay, so, the list has been revealed – now, let’s talk about some of the questions that came up during the last week, including about some of the more notable guys that didn’t make it.

Probably the most discussion centered around Roy Halladay. He is unquestionably the best pitcher in baseball today, and the contract he just signed with the Phillies is both below his market value and short enough to not saddle a team with a potential albatross. He’s a highly valuable asset, no doubt. However, as we just saw over the last year, the actual market for Halladay’s services is significantly smaller than the theoretical one, because he holds a full no-trade clause that he puts to maximum use.

The Blue Jays spent months working on potential deals for their ace, but in the end, they were limited to just a few options, as Halladay’s NTC ruled out most of the teams in baseball as potential trade partners. Because of his selectiveness, there’s just no way the Phillies could drum up enough of a competition for his services to get one of the guys from this list in return. We just saw Toronto work for months to deal Halladay, eventually settling for multiple guys nowhere near this list in value, and they had to pick up a significant portion of his 2010 salary in order to pull that off.

He’s a great pitcher, the best in baseball, and he’s underpaid relative to the market. But part of why he’s underpaid is because he’s not willing to open himself up to go to any of the 30 MLB teams, limiting the potential demand for his services. That gets reflected in his actual trade value, and is the main reason why he didn’t make the list.

The other name pitcher who didn’t make the cut was Dan Haren. While his ERA is higher than usual this year, his underlying performance shows that he’s still one of the better pitchers in the game, and he’s proven to be a durable workhorse. However, when I talked with folks in MLB about him, the reaction to what they’d give up for him was surprisingly lukewarm.

The main issue that was brought up is that he’s a guy whose best skill is command and has achieved most of his success in the National League. There’s a good amount of skepticism about NL arms without top-shelf stuff, and Haren was lumped into that category. Combine that with his escalating salaries (he’s due $40 million over the next three seasons), and I just couldn’t get anyone in the game to get very excited about giving up premium talent to acquire him.

I was pretty surprised, honestly. He started out in the 30s on my original list, but by the end of the weekend, he just missed the cut. The sense that I got in Anaheim was that guys like us like him more than major league teams do.

Moving on to the hitters who didn’t make the cut, there’s one group that certainly took a beating from where they ranked last year – young, athletic center fielders. Last year, Grady Sizemore (#12), Matt Kemp (#14), Adam Jones (#19), B.J. Upton (#21), and Curtis Granderson (#22) all scored very highly in this series. This year, none of them made the cut, as almost all of them have taken steps backwards in their development (and Sizemore got hurt).

Maybe it’s just a coincidence that five somewhat similar players have all regressed in the last year. That’s certainly possible. Also possible – I overrated that particular skillset. Besides Sizemore, all of those guys have issues making contact and general problems with the strike zone, which has been exploited by MLB pitchers this year. For all their physical gifts, they had a pretty big flaw, which was perhaps too easily overlooked by focusing on what they did well.

For those arguing for Carlos Gonzalez‘s inclusion on this year’s list, I’d suggest those guys offer a pretty significant warning. Aggressive hitters can be easy outs when pitchers figure out how to get them to chase, and it takes a pretty special talent to succeed long term with that approach.

Thanks for participating, everyone. It was a fun exercise, and we’ll do it again next summer. And yes, by popular demand, coming later this week – the 10 least valuable assets in baseball. Look for that on Thursday.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Chadam
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Chadam
5 years 10 months ago

Excellent job Dave, thanks again!

Jory
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Jory
5 years 10 months ago

I suspect Oliver Perez will be a hot name on the least valuable assets in baseball.

Rusty
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Rusty
5 years 10 months ago

“Least valuable asset”? Shouldn’t that list be entitled Sunk Costs?

Xave
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5 years 10 months ago

“Sunk costs”? Shouldn’t that be entitled “Sunkiest costs”?

Virgil Pryor
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Virgil Pryor
5 years 10 months ago

Dave, I’d love to know if Starlin Castro got any consideration for this list at all. Granted, he might not have been playing his best during the formation of this list, Castro has quietly played very well.

The numbers suggest that Castro is already a middle-tier shortstop in terms of production, then consider his age and contract status… I just have a hard time believing he isn’t one of the 50 best trade assets in baseball right now.

Even taking into account some of the errors he’s committed this year, everything suggests he’s been a big upgrade defensively at SS, but perhaps most impressive are his contact /plate discipline numbers. It’s a huge accomplishment for a player his age to be handling the strike zone the way he has, having walked in over 8% of his ABs. And his SwStr% is almost 3% below the league average.

I think he belongs on this list.

Virgil Pryor
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Virgil Pryor
5 years 10 months ago

Hell… I wrote that without even realizing the Domonic Brown was number 50… Brown is probably gonna be a hell of a player, but he’s a corner outfielder who’s two years older than Castro and is still in the minors. How is a 20 year old playing well in the big leagues who handles a premium defensive position not at least equally valuable?

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Brown’s considered the superior prospect. He’s tearing up the minors and projects to be a middle of the order bat with good defense in RF. Castro projects to be a solid hitter and an average to above average defender at SS, but he doesn’t have nearly the upside and projection of Brown. I could see the case either way, but there is certainly a strong one for Brown.

schlomsd
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schlomsd
5 years 10 months ago

You could say the same about Mike Staton as well. He’s over 2 years younger than Brown and was better overall in the minors.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

And that’s why Stanton ranked higher on the list than Brown.

schlomsd
Member
schlomsd
5 years 10 months ago

D’oh! Missed Stanton, it must have been due to all that excitement after the All Star Game!

lincolndude
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Castro is really good, but one thing to keep in mind is that he’s been hitting in front of the pitcher a lot, and as a result 7 of his 20 walks have been intentional.

Still, a 20 year old putting up 1.2 WAR in 2/5 of a season is pretty damn impressive. I bet he makes the list next season.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
5 years 10 months ago

I thought wOBA (and subsequently, WAR) excluded IBB.

lincolndude
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5 years 10 months ago

I think you’re right, but my comment on walks was in response to the previous poster touting Castro’s plate discipline and 8% walk rate. Doesn’t look nearly as patient when you take out the IBBs.

Jake
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Jake
5 years 10 months ago

If you’re going to ding Halladay because of his NTC, doesn’t the same have to be said for Braun, Gallardo, Utley, and Pujols? I believe the first three have contractual NTCs and Pujols is close to having his 10-5 rights vest.

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

Great point. This also raises the issue of the difference between “most trade value” versus “most valuable commodity”. The focus of the list needs to be clear.

Rusty
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Rusty
5 years 10 months ago

That’s an interesting observation about the CF’s from last year’s list, and how it sort of relates to Carlos Gonzalez this year. It also seems to show that value can fluctuate significantly from year to year. I would guess that some of these guys might reappear on this list next year or at some future point. I’m thinking Grady, especially, will work hard to regain his form and become a top 50 guy, again.

Basil Ganglia
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Basil Ganglia
5 years 10 months ago

“The 10 least valuable assets”? Does that mean the list will exclude players who are liabilities (i.e., who have negative value given their combination of performance and contract)? Or will it be the 10 most worthless players?

Toffer Peak
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Toffer Peak
5 years 10 months ago

Just like the top 50 list the bottom 10 list will/should be based on the fact that Production – Cost = Value

Andy
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Andy
5 years 10 months ago

Soriano outside the top ten least valuable assets? I think so!

RPS
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RPS
5 years 10 months ago

Least trade value?

Ryan Howard
Carlos Lee
Soriano
Zito (amazingly, not the worst anymore)
Rowand
Todd Helton
Frankie Rodriguez
Carlos Guillen
Lackey
A-Rod

close?

Jake
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Jake
5 years 10 months ago

I think Mauer has to be in the discussion. I would probably rather sink $20 million+ down the Aaron Rowand drain than be on the hook for something like $100 million for Mauer’s age 32-35 seasons.

coltholt
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coltholt
5 years 10 months ago

A-Rod is one often left off, but I agree completely on his inclusion!

Mafrth77
Member
Mafrth77
5 years 10 months ago

Other than Carlos Lee,and maybe Howard I don’t think any of those players are “least valuable”. The value of a win is so high (4-5 million) that one you reach the realm of average to above average it’s really tough to have negative value.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Would teams be willing to claim them off waivers where they could just absorb the contract without giving anything up to get them? If the answer is no (and it is) then they have negative value.

B
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B
5 years 10 months ago

Unless you have somewhere in the vicinity of 150-$200M still coming your way!

ronny9
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ronny9
5 years 10 months ago

Big market teams would without a doubt pick ryan howard up off the waiver wire and just pay his salary.

Same (in a couple cases) with KRod

Big Z
Vernon Wells
Soriano
Zito
Gil Meche (not sure what’s left on the deal)
A-Rod
Helton
Peavy
Hafner
oliver perez

I can honestly say that even as the Yankees; i don’t see them picking any of these guys up off waivers just for the price of the salary. (obviously Arod is already there, so use the sox or mets for that one example)

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

He’s guaranteed 145 million well into his decline phase. He’s not even deserving of that sort of money right now, let alone 5 or 6 years from now when he’s 35 or 36 years old. No one is going to touch that.

B
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B
5 years 10 months ago

It’s not like “big market” teams don’t operate within a budget. They have to make the best use of their money, too, with the only real exceptions being the Yankees, who aren’t a good fit for Howard. Given just how much Howard is going to be making combined with his production (he’s a decent player but he’s no superstar)….no, I don’t see why any team would pick him up off waivers. That’s money they could better spend elsewhere.

ronny9
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ronny9
5 years 10 months ago

Yes big market teams operate within a budget; but the Howard is an athlete, hits for power and i’m guaranteeing you (although we will have to agree to disagree b/c none of us will ever know) there are teams that would take him just for the contract.

-red sox
-white sox
-yankees don’t have a spot for him but who knows they might DH him and pay him that; they DONT have a budget.
-Cubs
-Orioles were willing to pay for Texeira so don’t tell me thy don’t have the money

these teams could withot a doubt spend the money more wisely; but it would be a calculated move by one GM who thought he was the peice that would put them over the top.

the phillies didn’t give the guy an extension that NOONE else would have done. Amaro Jr. has some working cells in his melon.

B
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B
5 years 10 months ago

You’re right that we’ll never know. That said, we can rule the Red Sox and Yankees out simply because he doesn’t fit – when you already have Youkilis/Ortiz and have ARod and Teix signed to huge contracts (ARod won’t be playing 3B forever), there just isn’t room for Howard. Maybe in another situation they would – the Yankees, like you said, are the exception where they really can almost ignore the monetary side of things and just look at talent.

Based on how the Cubs spend money, sure, I could see that, too. I just have a hard time believing any decently run team would really decide the best way to spend $145M through 2016 is on Ryan Howard, who just really isn’t that good. I wouldn’t really even call him an athlete, personally, and I’d also be concerned about his conditioning – he’s looking good this year (hmm….just signed a contract extension, maybe a coincidence?), but the previous two years he wasn’t in very good shape. He’s also turning 31 later this year, and really just isn’t that good of a player. A team with $145M over the next 6 seasons should be able to sign a better player than Ryan Howard….heck, Howard isn’t even as good as his teammate (and soon to be FA) Jayson Werth….

I actually do kinda think you’re right though, someone probably would take a flier on him, and if you’re making a playoff push, wins are more valuable than normal….plus most GM’s probably need to field a successful team to even keep their job long enough to where his contract becomes the huge burden it’s going to be, anyways…..

As for Amaro Jr….well….I don’t think he’s all that good of a GM personally, but more importantly, everything about the Phillies organization indicates they still haven’t figured out how to properly value players. Howard is promoted as the face of their franchise, they tend to promote guys like Victorino, Rollins and Howard at the expense of better players like Utley and Werth (see: MVP’s for Howard and Rollins but not Utley)….yeah, I honestly wasn’t surprised when Howard signed the contract. Dumb, but fits right into how they run their org. (Full disclosure, I live in Philly)

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

No other team in baseball would have considered giving Howard that money. He’s a good player, not great, and certainly not elite enough to have one of the biggest contracts in the game. It was a terrible move by Amaro that was roundly criticized at the time, and its going to look horrible a few years from now. As a Braves fan I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard about it. The Phils saddled themselves with an absolute albatross for no reason at all. No competently run team would even touch that deal. The Red Sox wouldn’t go to those numbers for a superior player in Teixeira who was significantly younger at the time of his free agency. Why in the world would they consider doing it for Howard?

Rich
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Rich
5 years 10 months ago

“Big market teams would without a doubt pick ryan howard up off the waiver wire and just pay his salary. ”

You think so?

He’s nowhere near the player Manny Ramirez was, and teams weren’t willing to pick him up off the waiver wire a couple years ago.

Choo
Member
5 years 10 months ago

Sizemore, Kemp, Jones, Upton, Granderson, etc. Agnates of Eric Davis are the mayflies of baseball.

TerryMc
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TerryMc
5 years 10 months ago

Least tradeable just has to be Zambrano. Off hand I can think of some horrible contracts out there but I can’t come up with one that is more years at such a high dollar value.

OK…strike that. There’s only two years left on Zambrano’s contract according to Cots with a vesting option for 2013 that won’t be met. He’ll be on the list and may be #1 worst on the list but isn’t quite the slam dunk for most untradable contract I thought he was.

Soriano’s contract runs through 2014. Ryan Howard’s runs through 2016 (ouch). Vernon Wells 2014, and Zito 2013 both at 18 mil per year.

The contract for Perez runs out next year (and I doubt one year at any amount is enough to make the list) but Hafner has a couple years on his and probably shows up.

Rick
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Rick
5 years 10 months ago

Travis Hafner would have to be on the least tradeable list (13 Million per season through 2012)

Jeff Francoeur
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Jeff Francoeur
5 years 10 months ago

Wasn’t Haren pretty good with the A’s?

BaconSlayer09
Member
5 years 10 months ago

Was Gavin Floyd in consideration at all? I mean, he’s had very impressive FIP and xFIP numbers and is under team control for a decent amount of time.

B N
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B N
5 years 10 months ago

“Aggressive hitters can be easy outs when hitters figure out how to get them to chase”

I hate it when hitters get other hitters to chase. Then it’s just a big dance with bats.

Wally
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Wally
5 years 10 months ago

I find it odd that you discredit a guy because the people you “talked to” are down on him. Isn’t this list supposed to be a little more objective than some unnamed guy’s “feel?” Even the reason is dumb. How is walking a little more than a batter and half per 9IP supposed to not mean much? Combine that with Haren striking out almost 8.5+/9IP the last 3 years. Sure his numbers weren’t *as* good in Oakland, but 1) that was 3 years ago and 2) it was still a 3.70 FIP.

Rather odd analysis for a site that supposed to be all quantitative and shit. This reminds me Buster Onley, “I heard a guy say that he heard from a scout that people just don’t like the guy’s body type.” Or some BS like that.

Mafrth77
Member
Mafrth77
5 years 10 months ago

“a rival talent evaluator says….”

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

You’re being overly harsh here. Maybe you don’t like Dave’s reasoning, fine, though he did imply he talked to more than just one person about it. Also, the whole walk issue makes a lot of sense from a quantitative point of view – we know the competition you play against makes a difference, and we know walks are something hitters have a ton of control over, so if you move a guy from the NL West (generally bad hitters) to another division that might have a lot better and/or more patient hitters, his walk rate should go up. That’s not odd analysis at all. It can be backed up by quite a bit of quantitative evidence.

Wally
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Wally
5 years 10 months ago

B,

I don’t think I’m being overly harsh at all. I simply don’t care what 1, 2 or 10 people dave talked to said, especially if you don’t name names and give quotes. That kind of “evidence” carries exactly zero weight with me, and it should with you and everyone else as well.

As for the walks, even in AL Haren had a great walk rate. Not as good, but pretty close. Also, in the AL Haren was still a 3.8ish xFIP pitcher and regularly posted 4+ WAR. 13 million a year against even a 4+ WAR pitcher is a great deal. But then in the NL he’s worth 6+ WAR. And I really don’t think the difference between the NL and AL is 2 WAR per player. That would be the difference between MLB and AAA. It is possible Haren just got better at the same time he moved to the NL…

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

Personally, I’ve never understood why people make an AL/NL distinction – we should be looking at differences in competition at the division level, not the league level. So rather than AL/NL, it should be NL West vs. AL East (or whatever other division we’re talking about here) to figure out how big we expect the impact to be.

As for Haren’s value, I think it’s fair enough to assume his production will outweigh his cost. The question is, will it be greater than the 50 guys on the list? I’m not so sure about that – adjusting his production for division, considering his cost…I can at least see a reasonable case for him to just miss the Top 50.

Wally
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Wally
5 years 10 months ago

Well, its easier understand the AL/NL split thanks to a larger group. When you’re only talking 4-6 teams its a little more difficult, but we do have some basic understanding of it. As you point out the AL east is quite obviously the toughest division, but the NL west is no slacker. For a simple way to measure this look at the run differential sums across divisions. The intra-divisional play will sum to an RD of zero, so this is any easy way to get a rough guide.

ALE +140
ALC -59
ALW -11
NLE +97
NLC -271
NLW +104

Now the schedules aren’t perfectly balanced, especially if you try to jump from AL to NL on that scale, but it should be a decent rough guide. So the only division I’d actually be terribly worried about a player coming out of is the NL central. Especially if that pitcher was on the Cardinals.

Now if 10 runs makes a win, and we have at most a 300 differential between these teams per season (this year at 1/2 through those differences are about the same as the last 2 full seasons for what ever reason), and on average 5 teams/division, that’s about 60 runs per team, say 15 “full-time” players, that’s really only 4 runs per player per season between the best and the worst.

As for Haren specifically, I have a hard time discrediting him even a full WAR because of the division he plays in, but even if you did, he’s a 5+ WAR player. His 13M salary pays him like a 3 WAR. So you’re getting at least 2 WAR for free and you stand a very good chance of getting that for 3 years. Though realistically it seems Haren is in the middle. He’s on an OK team in an OK division. So I’d think we shouldn’t add or subtract anything. Which would have him giving you 3 WAR/year for free.

Now how does that compare to the list. Well I think Wainwright is a good example. He’s owed 13M less over 3 years, or ~4 per year, but he’s a Cardinal, his success if far more recent than Haren, and while he’s on pace to match Haren’s best season thus far, he hasn’t actually done it yet. This doesn’t seem terribly consistent. Wainwright is in, by far, the worst division in baseball and on the best team in that division. His K rates and BB rates are not so different from Haren’s. If we discredit Wainwright’s WAR thanks to his extremely week competition by say 1.5 or even 2 (compared to Haren’s 1), he’s really only a ~4 WAR pitcher. And he gets payed ~9M/year. So you’re getting about 2WAR for free for 3 years (and again realistically its probably more like half a win so again he’s back to 3WAR/year for free). Same as Haren, yet Wainwright comes in at #18, and Haren is off the list.

I just get the feeling Dave sets up a moving target when he creates these lists. He discredits one person based on some anecdote he heard from someone, but doesn’t apply that same standard to others in similar (or even more extreme) situations. I guess if Dave wanted to create a list based on what GMs would in reality give up for a guy, and you hear from enough of them to think they just won’t bite, despite what a quantitative analysis might tell you, I guess that would be fine. I would expect this site to not do that however. That’s Buster Onley, not Fangraphs. And if we want to talk reality, guys like Longoria or Strasburg are just not getting traded. No one is going to pay that price. It seems odd to build in these kinds of “reality check” type qualifications for some guys but not all of them.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

“He discredits one person based on some anecdote he heard from someone, but doesn’t apply that same standard to others in similar (or even more extreme) situations.”

Fair enough, I’m all for applying consistent standards to everyone.

A couple of points I’ll make. Run differential probably isn’t a worthwhile way to go about anything in this situation. Unless hitting, pitching and fielding are all equally distributed (proportionally) among the divisions, we’re not getting very good information from that. It could be one division is loaded with pitching and weak on hitting – those can balance each other out, but it will still make the pitching look better than it is and the hitting worse. If we’re going to be making these adjustments, they should be made for division by comparing how each division does against the others when it comes to hitting and pitching.

The second point is I don’t think it’s accurate to call Haren a 6+ WAR player (before any adjustment) over the next 3 years. With all we know about regressing a players performance, aging curves, the possibility of injury (especially to a pitcher), weighting more recent performance and such, just looking at Haren’s 2008 and 2009 and calling him a 6+ WAR pitcher just isn’t right. He’s not on pace for that this year. He’s at the point on the aging curve where the average pitcher is getting worse. His fastball velocity is down. Wainwright is significantly cheaper, has been better so far this year, was just barely worse the year before, Zips seems to think his true talent is better than Haren’s (based on their ROS projections, and not taking into account the divisions they play in)….eh, I’m not too worked up over it. I see the argument. Maybe Haren should be higher and/or Wainwright should be lower, but I don’t think it’s too unreasonable where they are.

That said, if we’re judging them on different criteria, of course that’s not a good thing….

Wally
Guest
Wally
5 years 10 months ago

B,

On the run differential, yes I see your point. +100 runs means different things if you’re scoring 700 vs. scoring 400, but things are so wildly different to make comparisons useless. Like I said, its a rough guide, that is certainly with in an order of magnitude. So, we’re likely dealing with +/- tenths of wins when swapping players between divisions or leagues, not multiple wins or even a whole win.

Pitchers are always getting worse. There really isn’t an aging curve for them that is anything like hitters. They are just always expected to get worse. Also, regarding regression, Haren’s numbers this season actually need to be regressed to a better FIP. His ROS projection is at 3.37, with the kind of innings he usually gets 6 WAR/season is still reasonable. But if you want to make that 5, fine. But understand you have to do that with all pitchers. Particularly since we’re not just talking 6 months worth of value but sometimes 6 years. So even if Wainwright is a little better now, even after adjustment for divisions, I don’t see *enough* difference to justify the difference in rankings.

I know we start to split hairs at some point, but you can keep going down the list with this kind of thing. For example, how is Haren of less value than Jered Weaver? I would say the league/division effects only cost Haren a couple of runs here, but the ROS FIP difference is ~.4. Which over 200+ innings is a difference of about 2 wins. So lets say its 1.5 with league/division changes (5.0 and 3.5). Then Weaver only has 2 years left to Haren’s 3. But Weaver will likely make something around 8M for 2 years, but Haren 13M for 3. So you still get 6 total free wins over 3 years for Haren and *only* 3 free wins from Weaver over 2 years.

Anyway, I know its impossible to make these lists completely objective. Things like watching a pitcher’s fastball velocity go down certainly does matter and is something Zips doesn’t know. And maybe there’s a good case to be made using some data like that. I was just a little underwhelmed by Dave’s reasoning above.

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

I am in 100% agreement that the rationale for keeping Haren off was pretty weak. Seems very inconsistent…

Josh
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Josh
5 years 10 months ago

WHat about Nick Markakis?

Johnny Tuttle
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Johnny Tuttle
5 years 10 months ago

Please check hitter/picher in the penultimate paragraph: “when hitters figure out how to get them to chase”

A cool companion piece would be the next guys: the 5-10 guys who didn’t make it and why they didn’t.

I’m curious to see if Wells’s mini revival is enough to spare him the ignomity of having the least value again this year. I can’t see it, but RPS left him off the list.

Paul
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

“The main issue that was brought up is that he’s a guy whose best skill is command and has achieved most of his success in the National League. There’s a good amount of skepticism about NL arms without top-shelf stuff, and Haren was lumped into that category.”

Ouch, I’d say those you spoke with sold Haren a bit short. I have no issue with the contract piece, but to pigeonhole him as someone who made his name in the NL is a bit off, IMO. His skills are virtually identical in both leagues save a 1 K improvement in K/9 which is of course expected.

Otherwise everything else is equal in very similar sample sizes (NL 699, AL 663) right down to matching 120 ERA+ marks in both leagues. I can’t help but figure he got a raw deal because of the 4.60 ERA he’s toting so far this season.

Mark
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Mark
5 years 10 months ago

An excellent series. Thanks.

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
5 years 10 months ago

Dave, thanks for all the work that went into this series. Great conversation pieces. Lots of good commentary for each posting. We can see in the readers’ comments that use of advanced metrics and value stats are expanding.

Also, refreshing bit of self humor with #6 on the list. Refreshing and funny.

I do agree with the readers regarding Haren. He’s legit top shelf. I think some must have short memories or something.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

Definitely good work Dave, and I also appreciate that you can poke a bit of fun at yourself with that Mariners comment!

skippyballer486
Member
skippyballer486
5 years 10 months ago

Dan Haren’s ERA, FIP, XFIP, and WAR in three years from age 24 to 26 in the AL:

2005: 3.73, 3.89, 3.66, 4.0
2006: 4.12, 4.12, 3.83, 4.0
2007: 3.07, 3.70, 3.87, 4.9

Yeah, there’s a guy who would just fall apart if he ever had to pitch in the AL.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

It’s not that he would fall apart, it’s that he might perform less well. Coincidentally, as soon as he moved to the NL West he started performing better. Maybe he got better, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the competition level at least plays a role (if for no other reason than he gets to face pitchers)….

zoned
Guest
zoned
5 years 10 months ago

“I overrated a bunch of young outfielders with a short major league track record who have a poor command of the strike zone, maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore”

2010 Trade Value list:
#50 Dominic Brown
#34 Mike Stanton
#25 Jay Bruce
#14 Colby Rasmus
#11 Justin Upton
#2 Jason Heyward

welp

Chris Cwik
Member
Member
5 years 10 months ago

Those players have poor command of the strike zone?

Last time I check, Upton, Rasmus, and Heyward all have BB% in the double digits.

Bruce clocks in at 9.7%.

Stanton in 127 MLB appearances 8.7%. In the minors, his OBP was .442. Oh, and he’s 20 years old.

Brown has the weakest walk rate of all players, but he’s the current top prospect in the minors.

zoned
Guest
zoned
5 years 10 months ago

Referring more to the fact that they strike out at a high pace (~25%+), leaving them at the mercy of their babip to hit at a major league level (granted, this is true for all hitters but as you approach 30% it becomes a concern regardless of your other skills). Some of the guys that fell off from 09 weren’t necessarily bad choices fwiw, though they may have been overranked (to varying extents of course ~ I felt Adam Jones at 19 was ridiculous then and now), just as the some of the guys on the list this year will be fine while others will regress.

Yea, most of them are young and will get better. But some won’t, as BJ Upton amongst others have proven. I remember when everyone went nuts over Jay Bruce’s first month thinking he was a lock to be one of MLBs elite hitters for the next 15 years. Now he’s still a very nice player who’s probably hit better than his stats have shown, but I feel like we’re crowning some asses too fast.

I also don’t understand the attraction of 20 year olds. I’d rather have a guy who’s 23 or 24 as a rookie so I control him through his prime and don’t have to deal with the training years it takes Justin Upton to learn not to strike out 30% of the time (or grow into a body that allows him to do so) or Jose Reyes learn that you need to walk as a lead off hitter. I get that guys who swim that young are highly likely to end up really damn good, but so are guys who throw up legit .390 wOBAs at 23.

Johnny Tuttle
Guest
Johnny Tuttle
5 years 10 months ago

“I also don’t understand the attraction of 20 year olds.”

They often grow up to be super, duper stars if they can cut in the bigs at all at 20. Heyward’s career path could lead to Griffey or Mays.

Risk? Of course. But we follow sports to dream on the maybes.

zoned
Guest
zoned
5 years 10 months ago

That’s fair JT, but he could also settle in as just a very good player for a couple years like Justin Upton and by the time he’s putting up superstar seasons (if they ever come) he could be making 15 million in arbitration and be a year or two from free agency.

Then you have the fact that we’re dealing with only 270 major league ABs…and he has a hand injury as a 20 year old, there is a LOT of risk.

I say all this believing Heyward is a legitimate star, and have since I saw him in single A, but I think putting him as the #2 property in all of baseball is a little premature.

John Franco
Guest
John Franco
5 years 10 months ago

Thanks for making part of my point about McCutchen and Rasmus. I’d still rather have McCutchen. Sure the difference was only 2 spots but I think Rasmus has a much lower floor and only a slightly higher ceiling (if it’s higher at all).

this guy
Guest
this guy
5 years 10 months ago

The internet based sabermetric community is completely lost. You people have no clue how far from reality your views of the game are. Just like most facets of society, you have conjured up a delusion and are using consensus to substitute for reason.

Intelligent people attempt to draw conclusions from data. Stupid figures out what they want to see first, and subconsciously filters data to support manifestations of your agenda. I don’t necessarily blame you, as we are all products of our environment and this is how most of us were raised to behave. You can spew all the hate you want at me. I didn’t create this condition. I am merely reporting on it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq6lFOhLJ0c

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

…? Do you have any specific objection to anything?

batpig
Guest
batpig
5 years 10 months ago

wow, thanks for not blaming us, that’s so gracious of you. it’s wonderful that you are here to tell us how stupid we are, thanks!

batpig
Guest
batpig
5 years 10 months ago

ooh, I especially enjoyed this tasty bit of irony:

“Stupid figures out what they want to see first, and subconsciously filters data to support manifestations of your agenda.”

thank you for describing PRECISELY what you are doing! Very gracious of you to admit that you have an a priori agenda!

ATepperm
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Y’know, when Chomsky spoke of “manufacturing consent,” I’m pretty sure he was talking about Dave Cameron’s institutional power to coerce an unwilling public into accepting the views of the ruling plutocracy re: Dan Haren’s exclusion from the trade value rankings.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KCct4RwLNM

batpig
Guest
batpig
5 years 10 months ago

totally dude…. we are all such slaves to the Dave Cameron hegemony. How does he get us to keep thinking what he wants us to think???

this guy
Guest
this guy
5 years 10 months ago

Thank you all for driving my point home. Our little thread here is a perfect microcosm of society.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

So I take it that’s a “no” on specific objections?

ATepperm
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

And you, “this guy,” seem to have a flawless grasp of both the works of Noam Chomsky and modern media theory.

Your comments remind me of something…
OH YEAH!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFo5Ky8YE8c

ronny9
Guest
ronny9
5 years 10 months ago

There is no way that you will convince me that Clay Buchholz should not be on this list! david price should be 30 (ish) on this list and phil Hughes in the high 40’s is also correct (in my opinion) but there are a ton of guys from 35 to 50 that could go to fit Buchholz in. You’re telling me that the Phillies wouldn’t do Dominic Brown for Buchholz straight up?

The guys’ got electric stuff, good poise and will be the number 2 starter by this time next year in a rotation that includes Josh Beckett and John Lackey.

Bill
Guest
Bill
5 years 10 months ago

The Phillies wouldn’t include Dom Brown for *Roy Halladay*, so no, they wouldn’t trade him for Buchohlz.

ronny9
Guest
ronny9
5 years 10 months ago

You can’t comparewhether they would INCLUDE him in a trade for Halladay to whether they would trade Brown straight for Buchholz. He has this year shown that he has the ability to pitch well and do it for a competing team and to do it when the team needs it the most.

He’s not an ace yet; but he’s on his way in my opinion to being a great starting pitcher.

This year he has the following starts:

IP ER

5 0
6.2 3
8 1
6.1 1
8 2
6 1
7 0
9 0
7 3
5.2 3
6.2 0

12 out of 16 (75%) of his starts this year have been quality starts

before a completely freak injury running the bases in an interleage game he was in the midst of a streak where he had given up 10 ER is his last 57IP (an ERA of 1.62 in 9 starts) against opponents that included DET, TB, MIN, and the Dodgers.

last year he had the following starts:

IP ER
5.2 2
6 2
7 1
6 1
8.1 1
6 3
7 0
7 1
6 1
6.2 0

11 of his 16 starts were quality starts (70%)

you can throw out FIP and xFIP; those are fair stats, but i think you can agree that so are the ones i have listed above.

If i were a GM and someone was offering me a pitcher who has put up those numbers, has a no hitter and dates some of the hottest chicks out there (just kidding); for a guy that has a lot of potential but hasn’t had a taste of the big leagues yet. I might jsut have to say yes.

I don’t think everybody is going to agree with me; but it’s not like i’m being ridiculous here. Buchholz is a solid solid pitcher. Throw him in the NL where you face 4 hitters less per game and weaker opponents all together; and you have yourself quite a rotation in

Halladay
Hamels
Buchholz
Happ
Blanton

by far the best in their division.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

I think it’s a kind of a stretch to say a guy who’s strikeout rate is below average in the AL (38 out of 66 for all pitchers with 60+ IP) has “electric stuff”. For his career he’s posted a 4.17 FIP and 4.17 xFIP. He hasn’t shown anything this year (or last year) to indicate he’s better than that, and really, has basically performed at that exact level the past couple years in both MLB and AAA. Buchholz is a nice piece to have, sure, but what, exactly, has he done to make you so high on his value?

batpig
Guest
batpig
5 years 10 months ago

Just to compare apples-to-apples (it’s hard to state objectively whether, say, Miguel Montero is more valuable than a young pitcher), let’s look at just the pitchers. It seems like there pitchers are either established studs on good contracts (Lester, Jimenez, Wainwright, Greinke, etc), pretty good pitchers on great contracts (James Shields, Jered Weaver), or pre-arb flamethrowers who gain most of their value from the many years of control they have left (plus upside)…

So looking just at the “young pre-arb flamethrowers” pitchers on the list:

3. Strasburg
27. Kershaw
29. Price
36. Hanson
41. Gallardo (already has long-term deal)
44. Matusz
46. Latos
48. Romero
49. Hughes

Who would Buchholz slot in front of? I would argue Matusz is too high… but those bottom few guys are all in the 40’s and effectively interchangeable. Buchholz could slot into that group…. but I don’t think there’s a clear argument that got shafted relative to them.

Marver
Guest
Marver
5 years 10 months ago

Someone is going to have to explain to me how Tommy Hanson is ranked ahead of Mat Latos. Latos’ numbers are more impressive, he’s more than a year younger, and he has less service time — albeit, barely — recorded.

Alex
Guest
Alex
5 years 10 months ago

No injury history, better stuff, and better career numbers. Latos age is meaningless (we’re not talking about hitters, pitchers don’t tend to get better as they age). The service time issue is also irrelevant as both are under team control for the same number of years and neither projects to be a super 2.

MT
Guest
MT
5 years 10 months ago

Agreed, he was ranked #38 on last year’s list, i can’t imagine his ’10 campaign has hurt his trade value.

Ewing
Member
5 years 10 months ago

The Nationals placed two players in the top six. Hell yeah.

richwp01
Member
richwp01
5 years 10 months ago

I do not know if anyone else has mentioned this or if anyone has seen this. But this article is a good add-on to Dave Cameron’s article: http://thedailysomething.com/2010-articles/july/guest-post-traid-bait-evaluated-what-the-likely-movers-are-really-worth.html

Jordan
Guest
Jordan
5 years 10 months ago

Hey Dave,
I know you took into account salary as a major part of the deal, but have you considered the income the player brings the team? It might be tougher for position players, but for pitchers it shouldn’t be too difficult. You could include jersey/merch sales, ticket sales, etc.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

It’s pretty inconsequential. I believe all merchandise sales (with the exception of sales in the teams stadium) are shared evenly among teams. There’s almost no link whatsoever to individual players and attendance, beyond how they help their team win (winning is the primary driver of attendance). It’s a good thought, but it doesn’t seem to hold up as a worthwhile factor to consider.

Crumpled Stiltskin
Guest
Crumpled Stiltskin
5 years 10 months ago

Even with the abundance of catchers on the list, I don’t think it values them highly enough, especially Santana and Posey, perhaps because WAR doesn’t value their position highly enough (as is the same with middle infield positions) because it doesn’t take into account how much different a replacement level player at these positions is from a replacement level of or 1b.

Just look at the number of mlb starting 2b, ss, catchers, let alone the ones who play somewhat regularly, whose miniscule positive value in this metric is entirely derived from the VAR and positional bump. There’s just no way that a replacement level player at those positions is anywhere close to that of a 1b or a rf. You can’t even find enough major leaguers to properly play those positions, let alone guys in the minors which is evidenced by the results of guys like Juan Castro at ss or Gerald Laird, Matt Treanor, Jason Kendall, Lou Marson, and Wil Nieves at catcher.

nick
Guest
nick
5 years 10 months ago

Roy Halladay unquestionably the best pitcher? Josh Johnson may have an objection to that

kev
Guest
kev
5 years 10 months ago

Just wondering, if Brett Anderson kept pitching like he was (2.17 FIP, albeit small sample but he was pitching well) and had not gotten hurt, would he have gotten consideration for this list?

JamesDaBear
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Did I miss Franklin Gutierrez on the list? With his incredible defensive value in CF and extremely team-friendly contract? I’m hoping I did…

Also, yeah, I’m betting Starlin Castro is just an oversight. He can’t even buy alcohol, and he’s already playing shortstop at the ML level and not embarrassing himself doing it. The only justification for not being on the list is because the Cubs would deem him near untouchable (but that’s not really a reason to leave him off).

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

“The only justification for not being on the list is because the Cubs would deem him near untouchable (but that’s not really a reason to leave him off).”

We discussed it previously in this thread. The only rookies on the list over Castro are ones that were higher ranked prospects than him, and most of them are outperforming him in the majors right now. Him being left off the list seems pretty consistent to where Dave is ranking rookies in general.

JamesDaBear
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

pretty consistent, but not totally right? You would not trade a 20-year-old SS who isn’t embarrassing himself in the majors RIGHT NOW, for a soon to be 23-year old corner outfielder who only has 90 PAs above AA ball and no major league PAs of which to speak.

I don’t know how high Castro should be on the list, but he at least beats the current guy at 50… and Gutierrez does too.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

“You would not trade a 20-year-old SS who isn’t embarrassing himself in the majors RIGHT NOW, for a soon to be 23-year old corner outfielder who only has 90 PAs above AA ball and no major league PAs of which to speak.”

Right now, I’d consider them both prospects, and I’d rather have the better prospect, whoever the scouts determined that to be.

As for Gutierrez, maybe he should be on the list, maybe not, I could see arguments both ways. If you’re only really concerned about the #50 guy on the list, then I think that’s a pretty good indication that it’s a solid list…

JamesDaBear
Member
JamesDaBear
5 years 10 months ago

He was just an example and the obvious one being the last guy on the list… that I went through from top to bottom just to be sure he wasn’t on it. Go ahead and focus on that point all you want, but I’m sure you could have looked into it further than that.

If you want to actually get into it, just ask yourself who on the list who could you offer straight up to the Cubs and reasonably expect to get Starlin Castro in return? Do you think Ben Zobrist would do it? Josh Hamilton? James Shields?

Flip it around and give Tampa Bay Starlin Castro. Do you think the Cubs could offer them Ben Zobrist and pry Castro from them?

There’s really no justification for him not being one of the 50 most valuable assets in MLB. He’s the definition of a young, cost-controlled talent at a premium position teams will most-likely not have a reason from which to remove.

Just to make sure you can’t nitpick this time, I went through the list and found the first player I would be happy with the Cubs accepting in a deal… and couldn’t stomach anyone lower than Troy Tulowitzki or Tommy Hanson.

I stopped right there because mid-to-low 30s seems about right for a guy who hasn’t played much above AA ball. I kinda wish they had left him in the minor leagues, as I didn’t expect them to suddenly become contenders just by his addition. Well, they didn’t and he hasn’t embarrassed himself. He’s been better than that standard, but it’s still not much to go on to give him credit for more than that.

However, that’s still good enough at 20 years old to get him on this list. There are very few, if any, teams, that didn’t wish they had a Starlin Castro.

Bubba
Guest
Bubba
5 years 10 months ago

How close did Bryce Harper to making this list? I forgot the exact facts, but apparantly he’s 8 years old and hits 700 foot homeruns.

jsolid
Guest
jsolid
5 years 10 months ago

my last post got swallowed – argh. in brief here is my list of candidates for least valuable asset. numbers start in 2011.
Chipper Jones (32M/2), Lohse (24M/2), Randy Wolf (20M/2), Todd Helton (30M/3), Howard (145M/6), Derek Lowe (30M/2), Jake Peavy (37M/2), Carlos Lee (37M/2), Hafner (29M/2), ARod (180M/7), Lackey (75M/4)
some special mentions. Soriano (72M/4) and Zambrano (36M/2) – go Cubs! Zito (64M/4) and Rowand (24M/2) – go Giants!
did Vernon Wells (86M/4) play himself off this list? how about as a possible future condidate Johan Santana (77M/4) – witness that plunging K/9.
i think any top 10 list comes from these players. in which order – let the debate begin.

Alex
Guest
Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Chipper’s not even close. He’s actually only earning 26 million over the next 2 years and he’s still putting up solid numbers (1.5 WAR in less than 80 games) despite a .268 BABIP.

B
Guest
B
5 years 10 months ago

I think Zito’s played himself off the list for a couple reasons. First, he’s turned back into an above average pitcher and isn’t playing that far under his contract. Second, based on the way he pitches and his career track record/durability, it doesn’t seem like he’s in line for a steep age related decline – I think there’s good reason to think he’ll be useful for the duration of his contract.

Marco
Guest
Marco
5 years 9 months ago

It’s a shame that there’s no good way to incorporate team situations into this list, because after reading the intro and 50-46, the first thought that popped into my head was:

The Yankees would trade Phil Hughes for Mauer, instantly.

I love lists like this, but it’s tough when they fail obvious sniff tests.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
5 years 9 months ago

Dave – Any regrets about not including Carlos Gonzalez on the list? I know his K/BB Ratio is awful, but he certainly seems to have enough talent to overcome his bad plate discipline. It seems to me that you were burned by putting a few guys who look similar to him on last years list (e.g. Adam Jones) and didn’t want to put Carlos on because he is similar to them. But to me, he has more talent than the guys who made it last year but didn’t make it this year.

He’s already one of the best outfielders in the game, on offense and defense. He’s young and he’s pre-arb. That’s a pretty valuable combination.

Ben
Guest
Ben
5 years 8 months ago

I’m very late to the discussion.

But I’m also curious how much thought Liriano received. As of the end of August Liriano ranks:
1st in FIP
2nd in xFIP
3rd in WAR

Here’s a pitcher on pace for a 7+ WAR season. He’s shown dominance in the past suggesting this season is not a fluke. Liriano’s ‘value’, this year, has been on the same level as guys named Halladay, Lee, Johnson and Felix.

Money wise he’s being paid $1.6 million this year and still has 2 years of arbitration eligibility. This seems like a very desirable contract. Even assuming large arbitration payouts do you see him making anything close to his true value? And possibly most importantly, who would you have to dangle in front of the Twins to convince them to trade Liriano.

Paul
Guest
Paul
5 years 8 months ago

Carlos Gonzalez has taken this ranking personally…has the long term prognosis for him changed much in the last 3 months? Or is the K/BB ratio a long term killer for him.

rwerrtrterwerert
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

U G G($80) N F L ($35): http://www.evelseller.com/

Ttj Trey
Guest
5 years 5 months ago

Interesting. I log into FG and I see that this post from last summer has been dug up o accuse Dave Cam of stealing the idea from some espn reporter? Are you people serious? Perhaps the ideas are similar, but I personally know that DC wrote a similar column before last season so it’s not entirely out of the question that mr espn was inspired by dave. In fact I’m willing to wager my FanGraphs premium account that that’s exacty what happened. FanGraphs has your back, Dave. We truly are the last great sports site.

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