2013 Trade Value: #25 – #21

Honorable Mentions
#50 to #46
#45 to #41
#40 to #36
#35 to #31
#30 to #26

As we move to the top half of the list, we begin to enter the land of guys who just aren’t getting traded. It’s basically impossible to imagine a scenario where a team agrees to move any of these players. This is where we start finding franchise players on friendly contracts. They would have a lot of trade value if they were put on the market, but they’re all too valuable to their own franchises to actually be used as trade chips.

 

#25 Dustin Pedroia (2B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
29 432 11.8 % 11.3 % .316 .396 .436 .365 126 5.0 0.5 3.7

Under Team Control Through 2015: $10M, $11M option

Yeah, it’s only two years of team control, and Pedroia will turn 30 next year, but he’s also an elite player making a relative pittance for the next two seasons.  Even as his power has diminished, Pedroia continues to maintain his performance, and his 126 wRC+ this year is actually higher than his career average.  With just six home runs and a .120 ISO, you might think Pedroia is in decline, but he’s on pace to have basically the exact same season he had in 2008, when he was named AL MVP. 

With the lack of long term value, I considered ranking Pedoria a little lower, but looking around baseball, there just aren’t many legitimate stars that could fit into any teams payroll and come without any real downside.  Pedroia at 2/21 might be the safest bet of any player in the sport. This is the closest thing baseball has to a risk free contract.  

The skillset might make him an under-the-radar star, but Major League teams know how consistently great Dustin Pedroia has been.  The biggest knock might be how he would do away from Fenway, as he has mastered using The Green Monster to his benefit, and the big wall wouldn’t go with him in a trade.  However, you can’t just take a player’s road stats and assume that’s how he would do in any new home environment.  Players make adjustments, and if you take the Monster away from Pedroia, he’d swing differently in his new ballpark.  

Of course, he’s not going to have to, because the Red Sox aren’t trading him.  They know what they have, and they’re not giving it up.

 

#24 Yasiel Puig (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
22 161 4.3 % 22.4 % .391 .422 .616 .444 193 0.7 -1.5 2.1

Under Team Control Through 2019: $2M, $5M, $6M, $7M or Arb, $8M or Arb, Arb

From the start, I’ll say that I have no real conviction about Puig’s placement here.  I could make a compelling case that he doesn’t belong on the list.  I could also make a compelling case that he belongs in the top 10.  There are teams that would go bananas trying to acquire him right now, and there are teams that would show little interest.  Puig’s value is not cut-and-dried.

Since arriving in the big leagues, he’s been remarkably good, but he’s succeeding in a way that simply isn’t sustainable.  His contact rate is worrisome, and his approach at the plate is exploitable.  Take away the .472 BABIP, and what’s left is the skillset of a low OBP slugger.  That may very well be what he is for the rest of the season.  

But, as we acknowledge the coming regression, let’s not overlook the fact that he’s a 22-year-old who was forced to take over a year off from competitive baseball.  In terms of development, most players with Puig’s background would probably be in A-ball.  It’s okay that he’s not polished; it would be a miracle if he was.  The physical skills are carrying him, but that’s true of pretty much every kid this age.  And Puig’s physical skills look pretty special.  

Complicating factors is the contract he signed with the Dodgers.  It was widely reported as a seven year, $42 million deal, but that’s probably not what it’s going to end up as.  That was basically the guaranteed floor, but the deal also allows Puig to opt out of the negotiated salaries and choose arbitration if he so desires.  Depending on how well he performs, the 2017/2018 salaries could easily go up, though there’s no ability for the Dodgers to renegotiate those numbers down if he doesn’t perform well.  

So, while Puig comes with six more years of team control, they are considerably more expensive than other rookies called up this season.  His three pre-arb years will cost $12 million in total, and he’s setup for higher arbitration salaries than players coming into the system making six figures.  There’s definitely clear downside here, as he comes with a real cost if the regression comes and he never adjusts.  But, Puig is also a 22-year-old who is already showing MLB power and is under team control through most of the rest of the decade.  He is both very risky but also very valuable.  

Combining the risk and rewards, I ended up with him here, but if you think he should be 20 spots higher or lower, I won’t argue with you.  This is a tough nut to crack.

 

#23 Adam Wainwright (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
31 146.2 7.98 0.92 47.9 % 2.45 2.23 2.75 4.4 4.6

Under Team Control Through 2018: $19.5M per year

When people talk about the best pitchers in baseball, they usually mention Verlander, Kershaw, or Felix, but Adam Wainwright belongs in that conversation, especially now that he’s just decided to stop walking opposing hitters.  And Wainwright comes with one significant advantage over those three: he costs a lot less. 

The Cardinals were able to get Wainwright signed to deal that will him just under $20 million per year for the next five years, while Felix and Verlander both got $25 million per year and an extra year, while Kershaw is apparently asking for an extension that tops them all.  With Wainwright, you get ace production at a price less than what the aces are signing for, and while $5 million per year might not sound like a big deal, it adds up, as does the extra guaranteed year at the end.  

There’s a reason Wainwright took a little less than those guys, though: Injuries.  Major League teams have gotten bitten by expensive pitchers breaking down, and they’ve compensated by paying heavily for durability.  There’s a significant premium placed on pitchers with clean health track records, and Wainwright has had several extended DL stints, including missing the 2011 season.  It doesn’t seem to have had any lasting impact, but it’s in the file, and that would drive his price down a bit relative to those who haven’t broken down before.

He’s also going to be 32 when the contract kicks in, so while age doesn’t matter as much for pitchers, he is heading for the part of his career where we expect decline to accelerate.  Thankfully for the Cardinals, Wainwright is so good that he can still be a valuable piece even when the stuff starts slowing down, and St. Louis has him at a price that he can justify even if he takes a step back.  

 

#22 Felix Hernandez (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
27 138.2 9.09 1.69 49.9 % 2.53 2.66 2.71 4.5 4.1

Under Team Control Through 2019: $22M, $24M, $25M, $26M, $26M, $27M

Over the last year and a half, there has been a lot of talk about Hernandez’s velocity decline, as his top-end fastball has basically disappeared and he now sits in the low-90s, occasionally hitting 95 or 96.  However, even with his fastball eroding, Felix is actually getting better. 

He’s currently posting both the highest strikeout rate and lowest walk rate of his career, and he’s settling in around that Roy Halladay sweetspot of just enough groundballs to stay efficient, but enough strikeouts to completely dominate.  The idea that he was benefiting heavily from Safeco Field has been challenged, as he’s shown no ill effects from the fences being moved in and the park playing more neutral than it has since it opened.  

And he’s still just 27.  While he’s been around for nearly a full decade and has almost 1,800 innings pitched in his career, he’s not that much older that a lot of the young kids on this list.  Even with six pretty expensive years left on his contract, the deal expires after his age-33 season.  And while big expensive contracts for pitchers come with a lot of risk, Felix’s deal somewhat mitigates those risks by adding a conditional option year to the end.  

If Hernandez spends 130 consecutive days on the DL due to surgery on his right elbow — basically, if he has Tommy John surgery — then a $1 million option for the 2020 season activates, and the Mariners would control his rights for one more season to make up for the year lost due to injury.  Replacing a prime year with an age-34 season isn’t an exactly even swap, but it offsets some of the risks that are natural to pitchers.  

The contract isn’t cheap by any stretch, but it’s a good deal for an elite franchise pitcher in the prime of his career.  

 

#21 David Wright (3B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
30 399 12.3 % 17.0 % .304 .396 .507 .389 154 3.1 4.8 4.9

Under Team Control Through 2020: $20M through 2018, $15M, $12M

Wright has rebounded from a mid-20s slump to emerge as one of the best players in the game, and the Mets were able to give him an extension that rewards him for his play without turning the deal into an albatross.  While the $11 million he’s getting this year is likely to be the most valuable part of the contract, paying $20 million per year for Wright’s age 31-35 seasons is easily justifiable, and by the time he gets to 36, the salaries will be decreasing.  You don’t see a lot of middle-loaded contracts like this, but it does serve to preserve some of Wright’s trade value as the contract goes along, rather than absorbing all of the value up front and leaving him overpaid at the end.  

Really, the only thing keeping Wright this low is his age.  We’re getting to the part of the list where the players ahead of him are also excellent and signed to reasonable or bargain contracts, but most of them are just younger.  It’s not a knock against Wright himself, and there’s really nothing to complain about, as he hits, he fields, he runs, and he stays healthy.  His mediocre 2011 season is mostly in the rear view mirror at this point, and he’s really a player with very few flaws.  

He’s just headed for the part of his career where that is unlikely to remain true.  How long he can hold off Father Time will determine whether or not he ends up in Cooperstown.  




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

118 Responses to “2013 Trade Value: #25 – #21”

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  1. Gregory says:

    Dave Cameron Hates The Mariners

    +24 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ben says:

      Right, because he put Adam Wainwright one spot behind Felix Hernandez despite being better this year and having a better contract…

      -24 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Bery says:

        Wainwright pitches in the NL instead of the AL, and the year he is having is minimally better than the year Felix is having. On top of that, Felix is 4 years younger.

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        • Ryan says:

          Four years younger, with just as much mileage on the arm. Wainwright didn’t break into the big leagues full-time until his late 20′s, whereas Felix has been throwing 200 innings every year since before he could legally drink.

          Hernandez has actually thrown 500 more big league innings than Wainwright and has a slightly higher career ERA. There’s no particular reason to think that either will be finished by the time their contracts are up, but there’s in particular no reason to think that Wainwright is more likely to be done by the end of his contract.

          As for the AL/NL thing: 6 years ago you might have had a point. Now the gap is so small as to be irrelevant.

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        • Jake says:

          Wainwright threw almost 500 more minor-league innings than Felix, so they are about equal in the innings pitched department.

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        • chuckb says:

          @ Ryan –

          Suggesting there’s no gap between the AL and th NL is laughable. Felix still faces a DH at least 3 times per game whereas Wainwright faces a pitcher 3 times per game. Even if the other 8 hitters in the lineups are the same, and that’s unlikely given that the AL wins more interleague games every year, Felix’s competition is tougher simply due to the difference between the DH and the pitcher.

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        • Ryan says:

          @Jake

          Which is why I said ‘just as much mileage’. If it’s cumulative workload that eventually breaks down both pitchers rather than age, they’ll both fall apart around the same time.

          @chuckb

          I never said there was no difference, I said the difference is minimal. Felix has also pitched in a division mostly full of pitcher’s parks for his entire career while Wainwright has to make trips to Wrigley and GABP and (formerly) Houston. Yes, he gets to face a pitcher 2 to 3 times a game and that makes a difference, but not as big a difference as you seem to think.

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        • JLRC says:

          If only there were stats that were league and park adjusted!!

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        • Jeff says:

          @Ryan

          As has been shown, Felix doesn’t benefit much from being in a pitcher’s park, likely because he gets so many groundballs and strikeouts. Also, calling the difference between facing a DH and a pitcher 3 or 4 times a game minimal is laughable. Not to mention you’re brushing off the fact that throughout his career, the AL has had more talent than the NL.

          Since 2008, Adam Wainwright has pitched 940.2 innings with an ERA of 2.91 for 21.1 WAR while Felix has pitched 1239.1 innings with a 2.88 ERA for 29.9 WAR. Felix is better and throws more innings. Lower ERA while facing an above average hitter 3-4 times a game rather than a pitcher and playing in a tougher league.

          I’d put my money on Hernandez staying healthy better even though they have similar numbers of innings thrown because being younger does matter, and younger bodies hold up to wear and tear better.

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  2. IZZY2112 says:

    RE: David Wright

    Seems pretty unlikely that he doesn’t get in to cooperstown. How many guys have put up 50 WAR through age 30 and been among the best players in baseball and not made it? Especially if they aren’t relying on crazy defensive stats. Seems to be a good bet to get to 70 WAR, which given precedents, tends to be a near guarantee (Unless you’re Bill Dahlen). Gotta imagine he can put up 20 more WAR over the next 7 years of his contract.

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      • IZZY2112 says:

        Gooden was done being an elite player well before age 30.

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        • tehzachatak says:

          I mean, I see your point, that his very top end production was gone right away, but look at his age 26, 27, and 28 seasons: 3.9, 3.5, 3.7 WAR. That’s not somebody who you suddenly expect to be crappy through 7 starts in the age 29 season and then miss the rest of that year and the next because of drug abuse. One might even be able to argue that if he had simply put up good years in age 29 and 30 seasons, he might make the Hall ANYWAY, regardless of anything else.

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      • Baltar says:

        That’s one. So what?

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Dick Allen, Tim Raines (so far), Joe Torre, Sherry Magee, Ted Simmons, and Alan Trammell (so far).

      Wright is pretty much Scott Rolen with a higher average and less power, and he’s not exactly a lock for the Hall of Fame, even with exactly 70 WAR.

      +14 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • IZZY2112 says:

        The offensive differences between Rolen and Wright in context are pretty significant.

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      • Drew says:

        I think there is a good chance that HoF voting in 2025 and beyond will be much more SABR-friendly than it is now. Old school writers will die and younger ones will replace them. And even some of the odler writers are embracing more sophisticated analyses. This should be help Wright a lot. He also shouldn’t have to deal with any ‘steroid cloud’ penalty, both because of the era he plays in and because attitudes amongst HoF voters should change some by then.

        The big thing to me is when DC calls the 5 years @ $20 million “easily justifiable”, which implies a fairly high degree of certainty about his future level of performance and likelihood of remaining healthy. IMO this is mutually incompatible with him being just an “Oh, we’ll see how he ages and maybe, just maybe, he gets into Cooperstown” kind of player. If he is a good bet to provide value commensurate with the length and price of the contract, he is a virtual lock to make the hall.

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      • chuckb says:

        Except that Token was an elite defender. Many in the media consider Wright to be an elite defender and that matters to Hall voters, but that doesn’t mean they’re the same player.

        Aside from that, the comp is pretty good.

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    • Kogoruhn says:

      Andruw Jones had >65 WAR through 30 and I doubt he makes it.
      Vladamir Guerrero was at ~45 and I doubt he makes it either.

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      • BurleighGrimes says:

        I think Vlad could make it.

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      • Bronnt says:

        Andruw deserves to make it, though. And I think Wright WILL end up making it. Wright hasn’t exactly been a paragon of health, but he should age well enough with his skills to continue putting up good numbers.

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    • Michael Scarn says:

      Nomar

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    • shibboleth says:

      If Wright does not make the Hall then I blame the Mets for not giving him a decent supporting cast.

      How nice it would be if the Hall voters used WAR when making their decision whenever Wright does come up on the ballot. One can hope…

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      • leeroy says:

        Are we talking fangraphs HOF or the one most baseball fans and writers are more familiar with in Cooperstown? If we’re talking about the one in Cooperstown this conversation should probably be focused more on hits and less on WAR. Wright has 1531 hits at the moment, so assuming he finishes around 1600 at the end of 2013 he needs to average ~140 hits per season from 2014 -2023 (when he would be 40 years old) to get him to 3000 hits and an automatic ticket to the HOF. That equates to roughly a .260 avg over the course of a full season, assuming his current walk rate tendencies. So if he stays healthy and holds up over time that seems fairly achievable for a lifetime .301 hitter. If that does not happen, the other hope would be that more Cistullis join the BBWAA.

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        • IZZY2112 says:

          3000 hits isn’t really necessary. Chipper Jones didn’t have 3000 and he’s far from borderline.

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        • leeroy says:

          true, but tell taht to Harold Baines

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        • BurleighGrimes says:

          The Chipper Jones comp is apt, but Chipper 1. won an MVP award 2. Won a World Series ring and 3. Has gotten a lot of media love not totally commensurate with his stature compared to other all time greats.

          I totally agree that he deserves to be a HoF-er, but I also think that Raines is a HoF-er. When you’re on the bubble, it seems that narrative makes a big difference.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          @Burleigh, Chipper is an all-time great. If anything, I think he’s underappreciated considering that he’s the second best switch hitter of all time and one of only 23 players with a career line of .300/.400/.500

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        • BurleighGrimes says:

          Chipper is not an all time great when compared to Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, etc. He’s an all-time great 3bman and switch hitter, and his career numbers are remarkably similar to David Wright’s through age 30. I absolutely think that Chipper Jones is a HoF-er, but if you consider him a slam dunk case than it should seem apparent that David Wright has more than just an outside shot of making the hall.

          My point is that narrative helps Chipper — because he was a one-team guy, associated with a great team, and he won an MVP. That is not to take away from the fact that he was a truly great ballplayer.

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  3. Jaack says:

    In three years, Puig’s ranking is going to look pretty funny. Doesn’t matter if he becomes Vlad Guerrero or Jeff Franceour, its probably going to look really funny.

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  4. Michael Young says:

    So David Wright falls behind me on the list? I mean I expected that but I think some other people will be surprised.

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  5. Surprised I haven’t seen Prince Fielder yet. Harold Reynolds thinks he might even be as valuable as Papelbon!

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  6. JT Grace says:

    Really surprised that Puig made the list at all. He isn’t inexpensive and no one knows how he will hit after MLB pitchers figure him out.

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    • David says:

      This list is subject to trends like everything else. And Puig is VERY shiny…

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    • Scott says:

      He’s owed 36M over the next 5 years. That’s peanuts.

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    • Ben Hall says:

      Regardless of the fact that player who signed typical contracts will make half a million for their first three years before getting to arbitration, I think thirteen million for the next three years is inexpensive. Who knows what he’ll be, but two wins a season doesn’t seem to be unreasonable, and assuming five million per win, that’s $17 million in surplus value.

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    • Ray says:

      I’d be interested to see where Puig would have fallen prior to his callup…would he have slotted in ahead of Profar/Bogaerts/Buxton given their relative upside/floor and cheaper contracts? I personally wouldn’t have, but I think it’s an interesting discussion regardless. Do 38 games of crazy awesome MLB numbers trump what they’re all doing at a younger age? I don’t know, just asking the question.

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      • TangoAlphaLima says:

        Going into the 2013 season, Baseball America ranked Puig as the 47th best prospect in baseball. Prior to his call up and subsequent outlandish numbers (over a very small sample size), Puig wouldn’t have been on this trade value list at all, much less at #24.

        The jury’s still out on Puig. There’s some evidence pitchers are already starting to figure him out the second time they see him. Offspeed and away is apparently his biggest weakness.

        I’m guessing he’s much further down this list next year, if he’s even on it at all.

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        • Ray says:

          See and that’s what I’m wondering…it seems like a very reactionary ranking, on a site that prides itself on being more skeptical of small sample sizes. I get that he’s done a lot to assuage his naysayers the past few months, but does that trump what these other polished, high-ceiling prospects–who are 2+ years younger–have done over much larger samples the past few seasons?

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        • dnc says:

          This isn’t a ranking of who this website thinks are the better players, it’s a ranking of who Dave thinks GM’s value the most. Clearly Dave thinks the crazy first month Puig had impressed the hell out of some GM’s. I suspect he’s correct.

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        • olethros says:

          No, but it accounts for the impulsive nature of some GMs. Did you even read what Cameron wrote above?

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        • TangoAlphaLima says:

          So now we rank players based on what Ned Colletti thinks of them? Were Gonzo, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and their loaded contracts high on this list last year?

          Just because a few GMs might be impressed with Puig in his short debut doesn’t mean his actual trade value is high.

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        • Baltar says:

          That’s exactly what it means.

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        • Simon says:

          To be fair, I suspect that BA would have had Puig a lot higher than 47 if they had seen his spring training performance and his early season work at AA. So it is based on more than 38 games.

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  7. cass says:

    Speaking of Wright and his mid-20s slump, it’s fascinating to me how similar the career arcs are of the star infielders of his generation. All of these players hit their peak at age 24 and 25 and then their performance dropped. Wright rebounded – I wonder which of the others will as well.

    Career WAR comparison for Wright, Tulo, Hanley, Reyes, Zimmerman, and Longoria:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=8001,2797,3531,3787,4220,9368

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  8. isavage30 says:

    Seems odd that Pedroia would be above Kipnis. Kipnis is much cheaper and under team control for twice as long, and should be entering his prime, while Pedroia is turning 30. Sure, the track record of performance for Pedroia is there, but you’d think teams would value the years of control and upside of a guy like Kipnis over 2 years of Pedroia, when he may be on the decline.

    +16 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Travis L says:

      I think it’s all about risk. If Kipnis’ power disappears, he’s much less valuable.

      Teams pay a lot of money for certainty. Witness the Guthrie type deals that go around — if you’re a starting pitcher who should be near average, but can throw 200 innings, you’re getting $10 million+.

      Businesses have a different mindset when it comes to risk than individuals do. Kipnis has a lot more uncertainty than Pedroia, even if you or I think it’s likely they’ll produce about the same value.

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    • Joe says:

      Plus Kipnis doesn’t have a pronounced home/road split like Pedroia does.

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      • Cool Lester Smooth says:

        Yeah, a 30 year old righty pull hitter with warning track power hitting well in Fenway Park (with a 50 point career H/A split in wOBA) is much less enticing than a kid hitting similarly in literally any other ballpark in America.

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    • Marco says:

      This. Especially considering Dave’s comments on the importance of age and control to these rankings.

      Actually, as a quick and dirty is it reasonable to say that Pedroia figures to deliver 10-12 WAR for $21M while Kipnis figures to deliver 12-20 for about the same money over their remaining years of team control?

      If the exercise really is “excess value over contract in a vacuum”, I think Kipnis has him beat.

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      • Matt says:

        If I’m drafting a team from scratch, I take Kipnis over Pedroia for the reasons outlined here. I think Kipnis has the edge in power, speed, and health, and we know he has the edge in age.

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    • isavage30 says:

      I would think the years of control would easily trump the risk in this case. Kipnis wouldn’t have to produce like Pedroia over the next 2 years to make him a better get than Pedroia. His salary’s $500K this year and he’s projected for 5 WAR. There was justified skepticism about Kipnis last year, whether he could sustain the stolen bases and power, but I would be surprised if that skepticism still existed around baseball. 272 games with a .164 ISO and 10.7 career walk rate and on pace for 30+ steals in a season, it would be pretty odd if those skills deteriorated when he turned 27.

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    • Slugger27 says:

      the kipnis rating has confused me since i saw it. im shocked hes not top 15.

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      • Bodhizefa says:

        Agreed. I trade any of the guys on this ranking tier for Kipnis without thinking too hard about it. Maybe that’s me overreacting to a fantastic 1st half this year, but he seems like an easy argument for being better than anyone on this 25-21 list and also being fairly cheap for the next four years.

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    • Julian says:

      Another thing, may be wrong… doesn’t Pedey have a clause in his contract that would invalidate his option if he’s traded? That would probably severely hurt his trade value.

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  9. Chief Keef says:

    Pedroia has been playing through a full UCL tear in his thumb since the start of the season. I doubt his power disappeared this year or is a sign of real decline, it’s probably just the thumb, that injury is known to sap power.

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  10. Jason says:

    There is a UCL in the thumb as well, and Pedroia does indeed have a tear of it.

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  11. cass says:

    I also note that the Nationals have one player in the 40′s (Rendon), one player in the 30′s (Desmond), likely two in the teens (Gio and Strasburg), and one in the single digits (Harper). Why is this team playing .500 ball?

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Because all of their above average hitters except for Desmond, Werth and Zimmerman have missed at least a month of the season for various reasons.

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      • Clifford says:

        everyone has injuries. I don’t buy this as a reason at all. LaRoche hasn’t been hurt. Zimmerman, Desmond, and Span have all been healthy. Yes, Bryce, Werth(not sure why you said he has been healthy), Espinosa(who was replaced by a better player), and Ramos have all seen the DL, but that’s just baseball. Players get hurt. I think people grossly underestimated just how thin/weak their bench/farm was/is.

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        • cass says:

          They had one of the best benches in baseball last year and they retained everyone. Unfortunately, while all of their bench players had the best year of their career last year, they’re all having the worst year of their career this year. None were particularly reliable, but I suppose there’s some bad luck in there in addition to a lot of good luck last year. Lombardozzi, Moore, Bernadina, and Tracy all having great years last year was probably an extremely fortunate occurence.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          I didn’t say Werth has been healthy, but he only missed like 20 games, not a full month.

          Rendon didn’t replace Espinosa directly; he’s only played in 43 games.

          Span has been a well below average hitter, and LaRoche has been a below average offensive 1B.

          So their 1B and CF have underperformed, and their starting C, 2B, RF and LF have missed time with various injuries leaving Bernadina, Suzuki, Lombardozzi, Tracy and Moore heavily exposed.

          Ramos was out for 2 months

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    • rageon says:

      Basically the opposite of the Athletics, who presumably have no-one on the list.

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    • Dan Haren says:

      I wasn’t as advertised

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      • cass says:

        You’re just one starting pitcher out of five, though. And everyone knew you were a high-risk player, so no one should be surprised you tanked in the first half.

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    • JT Grace says:

      Because a lot of the players on the Nationals are overrated, just like the team.

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      • BurleighGrimes says:

        I believe the less snarky version of this, which is that a number of Nationals had career years last year (both starters and bench pieces) and are simply not putting up comparable numbers this year. Also, their best two players (Harper and Strasburg) have either missed a chunk of the season with injury or regressed a bit.

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    • chuckb says:

      Because they have a bunch of players in the 500′s?

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  12. Johnny says:

    Does anyone know who has the lowest total career WAR to make it to the HOF?

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Probably Jim Rice, but I’m not sure.

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    • cass says:

      There are some dreadful players voted in by various veterens committees, so you probably want to ask who’s got the lowest of all those voted in by the BBWAA. There are basically two different Halls.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      Nope, apparently the worst person ever is Tommy McCarthy, and the worst selected by the BBWAA is Robert Maranville, who must have been an Ozzie Smith type.

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      • tz says:

        Maranville was basically the Omar Vizquel of his day.

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      • Wobatus says:

        Travis Jackson is close (less WAR than Rice, more than Maranville), but he’s one of my favorites.

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        • Wobatus says:

          Actually, Jackson is way ahead of some others in the Hall. Lloyd Waner. George Kelly. Roger Bresnahan (although being a deadball era guy, he may be in for first to wear shin guards, plus I hear he was an amazing pitch framer). Jesse Haines.

          Kirby Puckett is kinda weak relatively speaking.

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        • Naveed says:

          It’s hard to overstate just how mediocre Lloyd Waner was. As a 27-year-old in 1933 (near the height of the live-ball era), playing primarily left field for the Pirates, he hit .276/.307/.324. His being in the Hall of Fame is like if Justin Upton had a Hall of Fame career and B.J. got in as a result.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          Hey now, Naveed, let’s not get excessive here.

          BJ Upton is better than Lloyd Waner in every phase of the game.

          (Except contact, those are some unreal strikeout numbers)

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  13. Jon says:

    Where are we guessing Matt Harvey goes? Top 5? Top 3?

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    • Caveman Jones says:

      I’m thinking he’s #10 – #6 somewhere. Pitchers and them being frail and all that yadda yadda.

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      • Kogoruhn says:

        I’ll take the 11-15 range.

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      • cass says:

        Agree. He’ll probably take Strasburg’s slot from last year while Strasburg will drop down into the 11-20 range somewhere. Both are elite power arms, but Harvey’s cheaper with more years of team control.

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    • John Franco says:

      His ceiling is 4, behind Trout, Harper, Machado. I’m guessing he ends up 6 or 7 though.

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    • Naveed says:

      I’d put Madison Bumgarner above Matt Harvey; Harvey may be the better pitcher now, but Bumgarner is an excellent pitcher at an outrageously low price for the rest of the decade.

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  14. Johnny says:

    Who do you guys think will be #1? Trout/Harper/Machado or Longoria?

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  15. GottaIch116 says:

    What are everybody’s thoughts on the relative ranking of Felix, Wainwright, and Verlander (49)? It must have been tough distinguishing those three (although, Felix and Wainwright aren’t really distinguished).

    I keep going back and forth in my mind on how I would rank them, so I guess I’m a little surprised that Verlander is further away from the other two. He’s not that much more expensive than Felix and (except for this year) is consistently better than him by a win or so. I’m not saying he provides more value, I just think his contract is more comparable.

    I almost think that Wainwright’s cheap contract outweighs his injury risk compared to the other two. The fact that it’s hard to project pitchers and their injuries might, in my mind, give him the edge. Who’s to say that Felix and Verlander are less likely to get injured?

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    • Caveman Jones says:

      Felix is 27 without much of an injury history and has shown he can pitch at ace levels with reduced velocity. That’s what sets him apart from the other two.

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  16. RC says:

    I dunno. Plantar fasciitis is a bitch.

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  17. jackson ebner says:

    I’m an Angel’s fan, I’ve seen over 75% of all of Trout’s and Puig’s ABs. While Trout is almost perfect, Puig has 5 A+ tools. Trout has 3 A+ tools, A- power [at age 21], and an average arm at best. Puig is also more exciting to watch with his off the charts aggressive play. While I agree with writer that Puig at this point is a bit of a wild card, when you consider his age, experience, cultural challenges, etc., his ceiling is the best of any player I’ve ever seen watching baseball for 50 years. I’ve never seen 5 A+ tools, maybe Mantle and Mays, but Puig’s tools are even better. He crushes the ball, has made insane plays in the field look easy, and his arm is a rifle. If he ever learns the strike zone, and just a little more discipline overall in his game, he could become the greatest of all time. He has the potential to hit .400, steal 50 bases, and hit 50 HRs.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      So you’re saying that he’s as toolsy as Jeff Francoeur?

      That’s impressive as hell.

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    • BurleighGrimes says:

      Given that he has no idea of the strikezone, I don’t think you can say he has an A+ hit tool. Power, bat speed, etc., but we simply have no idea how good of a hitter Puig *really* is.

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  18. Dillon says:

    Felix’s contract has a no-trade.

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