2011 Trade Value: #10-#1

#50-#46
#46-#41
#40-#36
#35-#31
#30-#26
#25-#21
#20-#11

And now, for the top 10. For the first time ever (I believe), it’s all position players. There’s a good young crop of guys who play the field and don’t come with the risks inherent with pitchers, and the toughest part was ordering them. You’d take any of these guys and be thrilled about it. Did anyone manage to dethrone the defending champ from the top spot? Scroll down to find out.

#10 – Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Washington: +16.4

Zimmerman is one of the game’s best players, but also one of the game’s best kept secrets. He is consistently ignored in things like All-Star placement and MVP voting despite the fact that he’s one of the best players in baseball. Because he’s not a premier power guy or an up-the-middle player and his value is largely tied to his defensive excellence, his excellence gets lost in the crowd, but it shouldn’t. He’s awesome. At $26 million over the next two years, he’s also one of the cheapest elite players in baseball, though the lack a true long term deal drags him down a bit. Still, his present value is sky high, and offsets most of the lack of value beyond 2013.

#9 – Rickie Weeks, 2B, Milwaukee: +13.4

After a somewhat slow start to his career, Weeks has blossomed into a fantastic player. He’s one of the premier power hitting middle-infielders in the sport, and while many projected that he’d have to move off of second base as he aged, he’s actually improved defensively to the point where he’s now legitimately good there. His injury history is still something of a concern, but at 28, Weeks hasn’t had any health problems the last few years, and the long term contract the Brewers signed him to ($42 million over the next four years) is so cheap that he’s a massive bargain even if he misses time each season.

#8 – Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta: +6.0

It seems like there’s a race to see who can get off the Heyward bandwagon the fastest, as injuries and a .224 batting average have soured a lot of people on the Braves young outfielder. But if you look past BA, he’s showing all the same skills he did last year. His power is still there, as his ISO and HR/FB rates are basically unchanged. He’s still walking and he’s still making contact when he does swing. But instead of the .335 BABIP he posted last year, he’s at .251 this year. When balls start falling in again, Heyward will remind everyone that he’s still one of the best young hitters in baseball, and, remember, he’s only 21. There’s serious long term upside as long as he can stay healthy.

#7 – Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati: +18.5

There’s no question that Votto is a premier player in baseball, and if the Reds could have gotten him locked up sooner, he’d be several spots higher on this list. But with just two years and $27 million left on his deal after 2011, it’s tough to put him any higher than this. Breakouts like Votto are exactly why teams are becoming so aggressive in trying to get their young stars locked up early, because the Reds are now facing the reality that they might lose him in a few years. His next contract is going to be nutty, and it might not come from the Reds.

#6 – Andrew McCutchen, OF, Pittsburgh: +11.8

Already a terrific all-around player, McCutchen has added power this year and made himself into a legitimate MVP candidate at age 24. His broad base of skills suggests that he’ll age extremely well, there’s no injury history to worry about, and the Pirates control his rights for four more years after this one. They haven’t yet locked him up to a long term deal, but even if he goes through the arbitration process, he’ll still be a tremendous bargain. If you want to start handing out praise for why baseball is relevant in Pittsburgh again, start with McCutchen.

#5 – Justin Upton, OF, Arizona: +11.4

When Arizona put Upton on the block this winter, it seemed like they might questioning whether he was ever going to be able to get his contact rates under control to become the star slugger that he was expected to develop into. Well, it’s a good thing they held onto him, because that’s exactly what he’s done this year. With all his other skills holding steady, he’s drastically reduced his strikeout rate and taken his game to the next level, becoming one of the best all-around hitters in baseball in the process. It’s easy to forget that he’s just 23-years-old, and while he might not be the best hitter in the game, he has that kind of upside, and he’s plenty good right now.

#4 – Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston: +17.2

Boston’s second baseman continues to be overshadowed by larger players who take a disproportionate share of the credit for the team’s success, but Pedroia has been their best player for several years now. At 27, he’s now having the best year of his career, and the idea of his elite performance being a fluke should be all but forgotten. Over the next three seasons, he’s guaranteed just $28 million, and the Red Sox hold an $11 million team option for 2015 as well, so Pedroia’s going to be massively underpaid for his prime years. While Adrian Gonzalez is getting the love this year, don’t forget Pedroia – the engine that drives the Red Sox success.

#3 – Troy Tulowitzki, SS, Colorado: +17.9

There just aren’t any flaws in Tulowitzki’s game. He’s a premium defensive shortstop who can really hit, drives the baseball, doesn’t strike out anymore, and is generally just excellent at nearly every aspect of the game. There are some teams who would balk at giving a guy with his injury history a 10 year deal, but the Rockies clearly believe in their franchise player, and unlike his last contract, this one can actually be traded (he could void the last one if dealt to another franchise) if they decide to move him at some point. It’s nearly impossible to think of a scenario where Colorado would give him up, but if they did put him on the market, the demand would be absurd.

#2 – Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto: +15.7

I debated putting Bautista at #1 for quite a while. No player in baseball has more present value than the Blue Jays slugger, who is currently in the midst of one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen. At just $14 million per year for each of the next four years, he’s producing at a best-player-in-baseball level while getting paid a little less than Jason Bay or Adam Dunn. The Blue Jays saved themselves at least $100 million with the extension they gave Bautista last winter, which now looks like one of the best decisions any GM has ever made. But, in the end, as good as Bautista is he just couldn’t quite reach the top spot on this list. He’s fantastic, but he’s also 30-years-old, and there’s still some lingering question about how long he can keep this up. The package is good enough to be the second most valuable asset in baseball, but he’s not quite at the level where he could pass…

#1 – Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay: +18.9

Yes, this is getting old. Even I would love to see someone else at the top of the list. But, the reality is that he’s one of the best players in the game (third in baseball in WAR over the past three calendar years) being paid like a utility infielder. He makes $2 million this year, $4.5 million next year, $6 million the year after that, and then the team options kick in; $7.5, $11, and $11.5 million respectively. If (when) all the options are picked up, the Rays will owe him $40 million over the next five years. He might not be as good as Bautista right now, but the age and salary difference make up for the gap in performance, and so Longoria retains his spot at the top of the list. This contract will eventually run out, and someone will dethrone him as the King Of All Trade Value, but it didn’t happen this year.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
SpaldingBalls
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

I don’t know if I agree with Tulo at 3. While he’s a great player, the goal of this is trade value for the entire league. And though it’s very possible that he lives up to the cost of his extension, there are many teams in the league that would be wary of taking on a guy locked up that long. I just don’t think he’d fetch more in return than some of the guys ranked lower than him because of the money he makes.

dustygator
Guest
dustygator
5 years 11 days ago

Yup, any teams that could trade for him would give up the farm but that list of teams is rather short.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 11 days ago

Totally agree. The placement of Tulo is just cringe-inducingly, jaw-droppingly bad. There’s little, maybe no, surplus value there.

boxiebrown
Guest
boxiebrown
5 years 11 days ago

Good thing this isn’t a list of players with surplus value, then.

Eminor3rd
Member
Eminor3rd
5 years 11 days ago

Agree as well. Top 5 player with no doubt, but that contract offers too much risk and too little surplus value.

joe
Guest
joe
5 years 11 days ago

You are on crack, Tulo has huge surplus value.

Monroe
Guest
Monroe
5 years 11 days ago

The Tulo pick is adorable as Mr. Cameron is just trying to be provocative. Why would any team unload the farm to take on the risk of Tulo (while paying Top dollar for the reward) over the next decade when, say, Jose Reyes is about to go on the market, where he will make less for less years for the cost of 2 draft picks?

Kyle H
Member
Kyle H
5 years 11 days ago

Yeah agreed I think he should be very similar to ryan braun on this list.

jim
Guest
jim
5 years 11 days ago

except tulo is way better than braun

J Peterman
Guest
J Peterman
5 years 11 days ago

I don’t see how Tulowitzki can be so high with that contract considering pretty much only the top market teams could afford to pay him. If Tulo was but on the trade block you would have crazy interest from the Red Sox, Yankees, Angels, etc., but there’s no way the Pirates, Indians, or Marlins would get involved. If Pedroia, McCutchen, or Heyward were put on the block literally every single team in baseball would likely be involved.

Anon21
Member
Anon21
5 years 11 days ago

And even the top-market teams might have a problem with picking up a guy who’s guaranteed money for another nine years. Just a big downside risk there. I think Tulo should definitely be on the list due to his ridiculous present value, but probably more around 22-18. #3 is a big stretch.

jrogers
Member
jrogers
5 years 11 days ago

Yeah, cause the Rockies are such a big-market team.

J Peterman
Guest
J Peterman
5 years 11 days ago

The Rockies have the 14th highest payroll in MLB. So while they are not necessarily a “big-market” team they are still in the top half.

TheGrandslamwich
Member
TheGrandslamwich
5 years 11 days ago

Overall, I think this list was quite solid. The placements and explanations all seemed very justifiable to me. Well done Cameron!

SpaldingBalls
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

I can’t see Longo being dethroned for at least next year, if not the year after that. It’d take an explosion from a guy like Harper or Trout for him to lose his place, as everyone behind him will also age and lose years of cheap team control. I’d say he loses number one in 2014 at the earliest. That contract is just so ridiculously great for the Rays.

Notsellingjeans
Guest
Notsellingjeans
5 years 11 days ago

Great list Dave. It was a very entertaining series and the time and effort you put in is appreciated.

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

While the Tulo extension was just a bad idea, when you factor in his original deal, he’s “only” paid $15M a year, and he “should” be paid over $30M. So it’s still a great value. It was just an even better value before the extension.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 11 days ago

“he “should” be paid over $30M – if you buy the ol’ $5M/win saw, and if you think he’s not gonna get hurt any.

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

He’s been a 5.5 to 6.5 win player 3 of the last 4 years (the other being when he was injured, which you can and should ding him for), and he’s on pace for 7 wins this year. He’s just entering his prime.

I think he should be lower, but I can at least understand the reasoning.

Chris
Guest
Chris
5 years 11 days ago

Can’t really blame a guy for getting hit on the hand by an inside fastball.

The quad strain he suffered from that year you can, but it wasn’t just his quad.

Nik
Guest
Nik
5 years 11 days ago

The combination of the injury history and the massive deal seems more like top 20 instead of top 5 for Tulo

jim
Guest
jim
5 years 11 days ago

you dont know anything about his injury history, do you?

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

Great list, Dave. I have some disagreements with it (Yunel Escobar and Madison Bumgarner should be on there), but well-thought out, entertaining, and a great discussion topic.

Thanks again.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 11 days ago

Seconded! These are always good for generating discussion. Yunel, Bumgarner, and Tulo were pretty definite misses/quibbles, but no one is going to totally agree on all fifty players, much less their placement within the rankings. Thanks for doing the list again this year.

donnie baseball
Guest
donnie baseball
5 years 11 days ago

Thirded???

Great job, as said, entertaining and great for debate.

Romodonkulous
Guest
Romodonkulous
5 years 11 days ago

Fourthed…MadBum and Escobar are definite misses.

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

Counting the honorable mentions, and please correct my math if I missed anyone:

AL West – 7
LAA – 2 (Weaver, Trout)
TEX – 2 (Andrus, Kinsler)
SEA – 2 (Pineda, Hernandez
OAK – 1 (Cahill)

AL Central – 5
DET – 2 (Avila, Verlander)
CLE – 1 (Santana)
KC – 1 (Hosmer)
CHI – 1 (Ramirez)
MIN – 0 (But #itshappening)

AL East – 14
TB – 4 (Shields, Zobrist, Price, Longoria)
BOS – 4 (Ellsbury, Youkilis, Lester, Pedroia)
NYY – 3 (Gardner, Granderson, Cano)
TOR – 2 (Romero, Bautista)
BAL – 1 (Wieters)

NL West – 8
COL – 3 (Gonzalez, Jimenez, Tulowitzki)
SF – 2 (Posey, Lincecum)
LAD – 2 (Kemp, Kershaw)
ARI – 1 (Upton)
SD – 0 (Maybe Rizzo someday)

NL Central – 9
MIL – 3 (Weeks, Gallardo, Braun)
CIN – 2 (Bruce, Votto)
STL – 2 (Rasmus, Garcia)
PIT – 1 (McCutchen)
CHI – 1 (Castro)
HOU – 0 (For the next three years. At least.)

NL East – 11
WAS – 4 (Espinosa, Strasburg, Harper, Zimmerman)
ATL – 3 (Hanson, McCann, Heyward)
FLA – 2 (Stanton, Ramirez)
PHI – 2 (Halladay, Hamels, Howard lol jk)
NYM – 0 (Does Alderson count?)

Pete
Guest
Pete
5 years 11 days ago

NYM – Ike Davis?
How is he not at least an honorable mention?
4 more years of team control
Great defensive numbers, even if its at 1B
Great plate discipline and power

I must be missing something here…

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

You have to be an amazing defender at 1B if you’re not going to hit 35 homers. Since “anyone” can play 1B, you need to hit like a mofo.

Plus he’s hurt.

ecp
Guest
ecp
5 years 11 days ago

He couldn’t even get Hosmer shoehorned in, and he has way more upside and future controllability than Davis.

TK
Guest
TK
5 years 11 days ago

I’m no scientist, but I think your numbers add up to 54. I know Kemp didn’t make it.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 11 days ago

He said *including* the honorable mentions there, scientist. :)

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

What does this say about Professional sports on the East Coast vs. Professional Sports on the West Coast?

Dave I
Guest
Dave I
5 years 11 days ago

It says the Yanks and BoSox have a ton of money and have used it wisely, and subsequently the Jays and Rays have done everything in their power to try to catch up. Interesting to see the Nats with four, though Strasburg and Harper have to have big asterisks given that one is recovering from major injury and the other just got promoted to AA.

TK
Guest
TK
5 years 11 days ago

Oops, missed the “counting the hon. mentions”

Looks good.

marc
Guest
marc
5 years 11 days ago

Hamels didn’t make the list

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

To those confused:

I counted the honorable mentions. If you don’t feel like I should have, say so. Or just pretend they’re not there.

Randy
Guest
Randy
5 years 11 days ago

I think your list lacks consistency in its reasoning. 1-10 all make sense, except for Bautista. You can make the argument that his performance for that contract is such an outlier that he is in his own group, but at the same time I think one has to realize that with his age he may not be able to produce at this level for very long. There isn’t a perfect comparison, but I’d consider a guy like Jayson Werth who came out of no where and peaked late, or look at a guy like Granderson and ask whether you think his performance is sustainable beyond this year. With the rest of those players you can reasonably expect them to keep producing for at least 5 years, whereas you cannot do that with Bautista. This is not to say that he isn’t currently the best player in the league or that he is a great bargain, I just think he is less likely to sustain this performance for a long period of time than other players in the top ten. It’s certainly an interesting list, nonetheless.

George
Guest
George
5 years 11 days ago

You think Bautista is going to lose his incredible power and patience skills any time soon?

Ben
Guest
Ben
5 years 10 days ago

Maybe…they came on pretty suddenly.
There’s no doubt that Bautista is an amazing hitter right now. I just find it strange that during the offseason people were saying “don’t expect the same numbers from Jose Bautista” because one great season really isn’t enough of a sample for someone with is age. But now suddenly one and half great seasons seem to be enough to declare him a potential hall of famer.

JamesDaBear
Guest
5 years 9 days ago

Thankfully, this is a year-to-year list… if the last year and a half actually does end up an outlier, he might not even make the list next year. If Bautista had signed Werth’s ridiculous contract, then he wouldn’t be on the list. With Bautista’s friendly contract, the Blue Jays would have their phone ringing off the hook from almost every team in baseball if they put him on the market right now, and they’d get their pick of an amazing haul.

With Bautista recently, if not temporarily, moving back to 3b and not embarrassing himself, I’m wonder if that was factored into his ranking. Either way, there’s no problem with putting him 2nd, while he’s continually proving he belongs there.

Alan
Guest
Alan
5 years 9 days ago

Why on earth would you compare Jose “Best Player in the Game” Bautista to Jayson Werth or Curtis Granderson?

Pete
Guest
Pete
5 years 11 days ago

Did I miss him, or is Ike Davis not on this list at all?

SC2GG
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

This line:
“one of the best decisions any GM has ever made.” Considering the number of high value deals this particular GM has made, someone in the business is due for a prettttty good raise, I’d think. Imagine the employee review meeting that AA is going to get:
“What have you accomplished this year?”
“Well, aside from giving the entire country a sense of excitement about baseball that hasn’t existed for 15 yrs, rebuilding the farm system from nearly last to in the top 5, across the board I also saved the team and the company more than $200 million which is more than you paid for the whole team only a few years ago.”

If team owners could trade GMs, imagine what sort of a haul would the Jays get for AA!

Scott
Guest
Scott
5 years 11 days ago

Maybe we’d get Halladay back

SC2GG
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

Just wait 2-3 yrs for Halladay’s extension to either be almost done or run out in Philly. A lot of their team will be too old and saddled with too many other huge long-term contracts that they won’t be WS contenders anymore, and given Halladay’s makeup, he’ll be nearly the same pitcher he is now and has been for a long time.

Combine this with the Jays team finally seeing the fruits of all their trades coming together at this time, with plenty of money (already promised!) and lots of financial space available due to the supremely undervalued contracts that are already on the team.

So yeah. Contract almost up. Team he knows is his most beloved hitting it’s stride. The writing is on the wall! Now, just cross your fingers… Doc is coming home.

eric
Guest
eric
5 years 11 days ago

I have trouble finding a bigger jays homer than you

Hank
Guest
Hank
5 years 11 days ago

I wonder if Drabek will be in the big leagues when Halladay’s contract is up.

AA is no doubt a very good GM and I’m glad to see Theo “he walks on water” Espstein displaced as the guy who can do no wrong, but the praise is out of control.

SC2GG
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

eric – I’m actually completely objective. Please take ridiculous things that I say with a grain of salt, haha, I don’t believe everything I say…

Mad Dan
Guest
Mad Dan
5 years 11 days ago

$100 million in value on the Bautista extension.
At least $50 million saved in the Wells jetisoning.

Although he didn’t make the list, picking up Escobar and getting him under a ridiculous deal that will likely save the Jays 30 million

Millions in value added via the Morrow trade.

We still don’t know how the scouting and international FA signings will play out, but AA has probably netted Rogers about $200 million in added value over his first year and a half as GM.

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

What do AA’s nuts taste like?

Spiggy
Guest
Spiggy
5 years 11 days ago

As a Jays and AA fanboy, they’re a little salty, but much better than JP punching you in the mouth once he was done.

Robbie G.
Guest
Robbie G.
5 years 11 days ago

Let’s hope that MLB switches to a format where more than two teams in a division can make the playoffs, so that the teams ingeniously assembled by that madman scientist of a GM of yours can ever make the playoffs!

anon
Guest
anon
4 years 11 months ago

Andrew Friedman?!

Y Jays no finish higher than 4th!?

John
Guest
John
5 years 11 days ago

Hosmer should have made it too. The guy has 35-40HR upside and is under team control for a long time.

batpig
Member
batpig
5 years 11 days ago

I think Hosmer could very easily make the list next year. But if you read the intro, you know he made a conscious decision not to overvalue “upside”.

The thing with Hosmer is that he is already at the far left end of the defensive spectrum, so he basically has to MASH to be valuable as a 1B.

If that upside starts to turn into production soon, he will definitely make the list in the future. But what if he settles in as “only” a 20-25 HR, 850 OPS type? That’s just not very valuable as a 1B.

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

It’s true, for a first baseman to be mentioned on this list he needs to have some great mixture of 1) above-average offensive prowess 2) above average defensive ability 3) youth and 4) significant affordability. The position is too deep for anything but the cream of the crop to have a spot on this list.

Randy
Guest
Randy
5 years 11 days ago

And I will go ahead and support you on the Tulo placement. When you take into account hitting, defense, and position scarcity, Tulo is perhaps the most valuable player in all of baseball because you can’t really get that level of elite performance anywhere else, and it is more important at shortstop than any other position. He is irreplaceable.

George
Guest
George
5 years 11 days ago

It’s still funny to go back and look at all of the so-called experts who said the Blue Jays made a poor move in signing Bautista to a long-term contract.

Gordon Brown
Guest
Gordon Brown
5 years 11 days ago

Imagine if they had drafted Tulo?

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

They’d be missing Romero and wouldn’t have gotten Escobar. But yeah, still would’ve been great.

cofalt
Guest
cofalt
5 years 11 days ago

Great job. Always love the list and consistency of your rational. Surprises, that in retrospect make sense:

Inclusion of Gardner & Espinosa

Tulo at #3 post extension

Weeks cracking the top ten

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

I think this is a very good point. A lot of the surprises were well-argued, and I found myself coming around to most of them.

batpig
Member
batpig
5 years 11 days ago

My biggest disagreement is Gardner. I just don’t think that GM’s league wide see the “hidden value” that a site like fangraphs does. He’s an excellent defensive LF with great speed and solid OBP skillz, but I can’t see him commanding a huge return on the trade market.

I think Gardner would have been more appropriate on a “surplus value” ranking, or on an “all underrated” list.

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

I agree. After reading the pro-Gardner argument I can see how casual fans underestimate the on-base ability and defense. But any team acquiring him is essentially buying a glove with a little bit of run – there’s not much there in the way of traditional run production. Still, tough to see somebody saying “we have to have Brett Gardner”.

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

Saying “a glove with a little bit of run” is underselling his overall offensive package. With the OBP and the baserunning, he’s been a 120 wRC+ player this year and previously. Obviously a lot of his value comes from his glove as well, but his offensive package is actually pretty good.

I can see your point that many GMs wouldn’t see the value of Gardner, thus mitigating his trade value. But there are enough smart GMs (3 in the AL East alone) that would give up a fortune for him if he were actually available.

Shaggychild
Member
Shaggychild
5 years 11 days ago

Nice to see Pedroia getting love. Dude is a true baller.

MikeS
Guest
MikeS
5 years 11 days ago

Maybe next year you can call it “2012 Trade Value, numbers 2 – 51 since we all know who #1 is.”

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 11 days ago

Or 3-51, since we know who 1 and 2 are? :) Of course, a TON can change in the course of a year.

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

Tulo swings the stick like a 1B. His defense is gold glove-caliber. His plate discipline is phenomenal, and he never strikes out. I can’t think of another player who defines “Gold Standard” better than Tulo defines the prototype shortstop. He’s not cheap, but these guys don’t grow on trees. In fact, the tree off of which he was plucked has been cut down by developers to build a shopping mall, so there won’t be any more like him.

Gordon Brown
Guest
Gordon Brown
5 years 11 days ago

If Tulowitzki can stay healthy that contract may go down as the biggest bargain ever to cost 150 million, that age 36 14 million dollar option may end up being the icing on the cake.

Gordon Brown
Guest
Gordon Brown
5 years 11 days ago

Especially considering that Adrian Beltre is set to earn 17 and 18 million for his age 35 and 36 seasons 8 Tulo would earn 14 and 15 million for those two seasons.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 11 days ago

Can I take the “well under” on him hitting as well at 36 as he is at, say, 27 or 28? (Todd Helton says hi!)

Stringer Bell
Guest
Stringer Bell
5 years 11 days ago

A career walk rate of less than 10 percent is not phenomenal.

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

Not to be snarky, but what does it matter? We would care about his walk rate if his batting eye was bad or if he had trouble making contact. But he swings at balls at a below average rate (25%) and makes magnificent contact on those swings (84% in ’11), and makes 90% contact overall in 2011 with a measly 4.3% strike swinging. I say that when you can swing at – and hit – everything throw at you, hack away.

Stringer Bell
Guest
Stringer Bell
5 years 11 days ago

But I would associate phenomenal plate discipline with a guy who has an OBP of over .400 at the very least. Tulo has had an OBP of .380 one time. I understand that his discipline is very good, but phenomenal is way too strong of a word.

jim
Guest
jim
5 years 11 days ago

strikeout rate is the other half of plate discipline, and his has truly become phenomenal, though whether that’s having an effect on his BsIP this year the jury isn’t out on

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
5 years 11 days ago

MadBum=Heyward + a good 2nd season

Anon21
Member
Anon21
5 years 11 days ago

Well, no. Not at all, actually. Pitchers have less predictable aging curves, and are far more likely to suffer serious, career-threatening injuries. Quit trolling.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
5 years 11 days ago

I don’t troll. I’m a regular contributor.
Quick nitpicking, and stay anonymous. I, too, would be ashamed of a comment like yours.

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

Come on Anon. He’s not trolling. He’s just wrong.

Frank Costanza
Guest
Frank Costanza
5 years 11 days ago

I can’t believe Ike Davis isn’t on this list! 24 year old 1B on pace for ~2.5 WAR don’t grow on trees. Plus the guy fields his position like Keith Hernandez.

batpig
Member
batpig
5 years 11 days ago

the constant Ike Davis comments are highly amusing.

see the comments about Hosmer above…. 1B is a very, very deep position

bender
Guest
bender
5 years 11 days ago

I’m pretty sure that was a joke

epoxy
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

Keith Hernandez references are generally good indicators.

The Ike Davis comments have been pretty humorous though, he’s probably on the bubble of a top 100 list.

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

Cantstandya!

Tom
Guest
Tom
5 years 11 days ago

I don’t see how you could rank Upton so high if you look at his home/road splits. He hasn’t hit at all outside of Chase Field (249/322/416). Isn’t that a clear warning sign?

Anon21
Member
Anon21
5 years 11 days ago

Dave Cameron just happens to believe that Justin Upton is the greatest superhero in disguise who has ever played this human game of baseball. Arizona might consider trading him if some team were to offer $1.2 billion in cash, Bryce Harper, a clone of Babe Ruth in his prime, and a 30-year exemption from the foul strike rule. But you might need to throw in a couple of #2 starters.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
5 years 11 days ago

Another inane comment. Stay anonymous.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
5 years 11 days ago

I think I will, Mr. G. Husker. Not all of us can be bold as you, putting our real names out into cyberspace.

But it was Dave’s comments about Upton’s trade value that were inane.

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

Looking at what someone’s hit on the road is a very very poor indicator of talent level. Almost every single player hits poorly on the road.

kid
Member
kid
5 years 11 days ago

A lot of hitters have home/road splits that don’t mean anything. It oftentimes gets attributed to how “hitter friendly” a park is, but by now most of us have accepted that that answer is incomplete, at best.

Tom
Guest
Tom
5 years 11 days ago

Most players might hit a little better at home but he hits significantly better at home. He’s a monster at home but a below average hitter on the road.(his road OPS is the same as Emilio Bonifacio’s this season). If he were playing in Petco he’d be at best a .250 hitter – would anyone think that’s the 5th most valuable trade chip in baseball regardless of park effects?

Russell Dalrymple
Guest
Russell Dalrymple
5 years 11 days ago

Tom, I’m glad you know exact results to hypothetical scenarios. You should have a long lucrative career in a major league front office or the sales and trading division of a large investment bank. Since you know how to do this and I’m curious — please tell me how Delino DeShields would have hit at 2010 Minute Maid Stadium and how Delino DeShields Jr. would have hit at 2001 Busch Stadium. Once your done with that can you run the numbers on Royce Clayton at 1986 Wrigley? Thanks.

Tom
Guest
Tom
5 years 11 days ago

Huh?

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

“Russel’s” point, though snarkily made, is that park factors can ACTUALLY tell us how to adjust for park, as opposed to looking at half-year samples of road performance and trying to guess what that means.

A 132 wRC+, which adjusts for park and overall run environment, is very strong, along with a high BABIP from a good line drive rate and better plate discipline this year.

And he’s 23. So he’s probably just a year or two from entering his prime.

Viliphied
Guest
Viliphied
5 years 10 days ago

Well, even park factors don’t ACTUALLY tell us much of anything, really, much less how to “Actually adjust” a player’s performance from one park to the next.

Lomez
Guest
Lomez
5 years 11 days ago

Did I miss Ike Davis on this list? He’s gotta be what like top 25 at least. I mean the dude’s defense is top notch, he’s under control for a couple of years, and he leads the Mets in leadership. He also plays a tough premium position.

Too bad for old DC here…looks like his mind is starting to go.

Russell Dalrymple
Guest
Russell Dalrymple
5 years 11 days ago

I have an imposter!

Izzy Mandelbaum
Guest
Izzy Mandelbaum
5 years 11 days ago

You think you’re the real deal? It’s go time!

Tom B
Guest
Tom B
5 years 11 days ago

*There’s a good young crop of guys who play the field and don’t come with the risks inherent with pitchers*

I don’t care how far removed from injury Rickie Weeks is, he is always a risk.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 10 days ago

That’s so true. He cut his hand on the jungle gym when he was six. You can’t be too careful, God knows how that might affect him going forward.

jj3bagger
Guest
jj3bagger
5 years 11 days ago

I will also say that I disagree with Tulo at #3. I see virtually everybody ranked #4-20 as having more trade value than Tulo. If Tulo were on the open market at the end of the year, of course he would be paid more than he’s getting from the Rox, but realistically how much more, and how many teams are going to give up talent and be able to afford the remaining 9 years on his deal, maybe 10 teams ? You factor that in with him most likely having to move to 3B at some point during the contract, I just can’t see teams giving up the farm and paying the money, with so much risk on the remainder of his deal. $20MM a year from ’15-19, $14MM in ’20 and $15MM club option ($4MM buyout) in ’21 is enough to scare at least half the teams in baseball away. Tulo does offer surplus value, but it’s not as much the guys ranked #4-20 in my opinion.

Of course it doesn’t really matter, because the Rockies aren’t going to trade him until ’15 at the earliest anyway.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
5 years 11 days ago

It’s interesting how much divisive commentary has been inspired by Tulo’s #3 ranking. Both sides have made excellent points.
This is an excellent example of why this series is so good, even though I, like everybody else, have a lot of disagreements.

Tom
Guest
Tom
5 years 11 days ago

How is Upton more valuable than Mike Stanton? Stanton is two years younger and has been about as good a hitter the past two seasons (much better in 2010 and slightly worse this season, ignoring Upton’s home park advantage). Is it simply because Upton has already signed a contract that lasts through 2015 so you know how much he’ll make while Stanton hasn’t?

batpig
Member
batpig
5 years 11 days ago

this is the trade value list, not the “who has been the better hitter over the past two seasons” list.

other factors — scouting, perception, talent, etc. — matter. Stanton is a beast, but Upton was considered one of the top prospects of the past decade, up there in pedigree with guys like A-Rod and Griffey Jr coming out of high school. Plus he strikes out less, walks more, runs faster, plays better D, looks more athletic… these things matter in terms of perception.

Upton is perceived as the total package, with the potential to develop into the best player in the game, all 5-tools, etc. It wouldn’t be a total shock if Stanton ended up being the more valuable player over the next 5-10 years, but there is no doubt that Upton’s athleticism and pedigree put him a notch in front of Stanton if you were to poll current GM’s.

jim
Guest
jim
5 years 11 days ago

people are just aware of the fact that tulo has been injured, nobody seems to be aware of the context or facts around these injuries, kinda sad for a normally well-informed crowd as fangraphs is.

GiantHusker
Guest
GiantHusker
5 years 11 days ago

Yes, the one injury that I remember and every sign of a full recovery. It’s funny how some players get that “injury-prone” label attached with no justification.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 10 days ago

Or, other people may be less worried about freakish-type injuries and looking more at the big dollars he’s owed under that long, long, long contract. Either way.

Viliphied
Guest
Viliphied
5 years 10 days ago

Yes, any player signed to a 10 year contract is a huge injury risk, even if the risk of injury in any one year is small, the risk of a significant injury over a 10 year period is much higher.

Greg
Guest
Greg
5 years 11 days ago

Not sure why Tulo is the 3rd most valuable player in baseball and Reyes isn’t even on the list, considering Tulo’s injury history isn’t any better than Reyes’s and he’s really not that much better, and his contract is ridiculous.

well
Guest
well
5 years 11 days ago

Because Reyes is going to be a free agent in 3 months

jim
Guest
jim
5 years 11 days ago

another idiot ‘tulo’s injury history’ comment

rosewater
Guest
rosewater
5 years 11 days ago

I think I’ve figured out why the author didn’t have Madison Bumgarner on the list: Madison Bumgarner is actually Barry Bonds, who, in a desperate ploy to get back into baseball, went through rigorous skin-lightening treatment/plastic surgery and then to a rural labor camp for “reprogramming”. Sadly, no one warned him beforehand that he was going to a plastic surgeon who was only trained in making Shia LeBoeuf faces.

Only the GMs know this fact.

jsolid
Guest
jsolid
5 years 11 days ago

In a couple a years, Longoria’s contract will FINALLY be up, he will sign his ridiculous free agent contract and he will lose his #1 spot on this list. At that time, i believe the top spot on this list should become an award, and that award should be called The Longoria – as in “this year, The Longoria goes to…”

Ari Collins
Guest
5 years 11 days ago

That is… actually a pretty fun idea.

Nathaniel Dawson
Guest
Nathaniel Dawson
5 years 11 days ago

Wonderful job, Dave. I love reading this series every year.

WoodyHarrelson
Guest
WoodyHarrelson
5 years 11 days ago

YUNEL ESCOBAR!!! RAAAAAWR! wOBA OF .362 WHEREAS TULO’S IS .356
(screw defence)

RAGE!!!!!!!!!

But in all seriousness, thanks Dave. Great List.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
5 years 10 days ago

Gee Woody always struck me as more happy-go-lucky. Maybe it was because he lost his hand and couldn’t bowl right?

Robbie G.
Guest
Robbie G.
5 years 11 days ago

Does anybody else think that Evan Longoria’s family members routinely curse the name of whichever agent negotiated his current contract?

Frank Costanza
Guest
Frank Costanza
5 years 10 days ago

That would be quite a way to live.

Jack Klompus
Guest
Jack Klompus
5 years 10 days ago

Gee there sure are a lot of Seinfeld characters dwelling in these parts…

Mulva
Guest
Mulva
5 years 10 days ago

How do you mean?

Dolores
Guest
Dolores
5 years 10 days ago

you dont know my name, do you?

RC
Guest
RC
5 years 10 days ago

Buchholz should be on the list somewhere. We’re talking about a kid who has put up a 3.10 ERA over his last 400 innings, and is owed 26M for his next 5! years of control, followed by 2 years of 13M team options.

Yes, I realize FIP doesn’t like him because of his low BABIP, but when your BABIP for the last 3 years has been .281 (92) , .263 (173) , .265 (82 so far), its probably for real.

BRef has his WAR as 1.7 for the 92 innings in ’09, 5.3 in ’10, and 1.9 so far this year.

Even if hes a 3 WAR player going forward, that contract is still hugely valuable.

Ken
Guest
Ken
5 years 10 days ago

I’m surprised that AGon – the guy pushing Joey Bats for AL MVP – isn’t even an honorable mention, though Bautista deserves it. He’s only making 6.3 mil. this year

batpig
Member
batpig
5 years 9 days ago

only making 6.3 mil this year, true….

but I think you’ve forgotten about the 7 year, $154M extension??

Marco
Guest
Marco
5 years 3 days ago

I’m pretty sure I’d rather have the next 5 years of Carlos Santana at ~$20M(?) than the next 4 of Rickie Weeks at $42M

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