2013 Trade Value: The Top 10

Honorable Mentions
#50 to #46
#45 to #41
#40 to #36
#35 to #31
#30 to #26
#25 to #21
#20 to #16
#15 to #11

And now we come to the best of the best. These guys are both the present and the future of the sport. They’re great now, they’re going to be great for a while, and they’re the kinds of players that we’ll be telling our grandkids about.

 

#10 Carlos Gonzalez (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
27 395 9.6 % 26.6 % .302 .370 .610 .414 153 5.2 4.9 4.5

Under Team Control Through 2017: $11M, $16M, $17M, $20M

A few years ago, in one of the least prescient things I’ve ever published, I wondered whether the Rockies squandered a lot of money by signing Gonzalez to a seven year, $80 million extension.  He was coming off one good year, had been traded multiple times before, didn’t control the strike zone particularly well, and looked like a pretty strong regression candidate.  

Gonzalez did regress, but the rest of what I wrote was really wildly wrong.  Salaries in baseball have exploded, and at age-27, Gonzalez is once again looking like a superstar.  Yeah, Colorado makes his numbers look better, but he’s still running a 153 wRC+ even after we strip out the effects of Coors Field.  He still strikes out a lot, but the power has reached a level where they don’t matter so much, and he’s refined the rest of his game to add value even when he’s not hitting the ball over the wall.  

Gonzalez only has one more “cheap” year left on the deal before his salaries escalate, but even at an AAV of $16 million per year over the remaining four years on the deal, he’s still a huge bargain.  Those four years cover his prime seasons, leaving little chance for dead money, especially given the prices teams are paying for power hitters at this level now.  Gonzalez’s inconsistency and injury history makes him imperfect, but he’s still a terrific player signed to a deal that pays him a fraction of his market value.

 

#9 Paul Goldschmidt (1B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
25 406 12.1 % 20.2 % .313 .395 .557 .405 157 6.2 1.7 4.2

Under Team Control Through 2019: $1M, $3M, $6M, $9M, $11M, $15M option

A couple of years ago, Goldschmidt was considered something of a fringe prospect, a guy who was interesting but had limited upside.  Baseball America never ranked him higher than 11th in the Diamondbacks Top 30, so he wasn’t even considered a premium prospect within their organization, much less baseball overall.  

Yeah, I think we missed the boat here. 1,200 plate appearances into his career and Goldschmidt has a 135 wRC+, and he’s athletic enough to add value with both his glove and his legs.  If he keeps hitting like he has so far this year, he’s going to get first place MVP votes at the end of the year.  Oh, and he’s going to make a million bucks next year.

If the Brewers decision to sign Carlos Gomez this spring was the best decision of the year, extending Goldschmidt before he had this breakout ranks a close second. They now own his rights for six years, and none of the five guaranteed years are going to cost them any real money.  Even if Goldschmidt regresses, this is still a pittance for he’s likely to be.  And if he doesn’t regress, this might turn into the best contract in baseball.  

I don’t know precisely how Goldschmidt went from being a mediocre prospect to an elite hitter, but it happened, and now the Diamondbacks have one of the best first baseman in baseball signed through his age-31 season for just a little bit more than Alex Rodriguez will make this year alone.  Buying power on the open market is crazy expensive, but the Diamondbacks aren’t going to have to worry about doing that for a while.

 

#8 Giancarlo Stanton (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
23 224 13.4 % 26.3 % .250 .357 .458 .357 128 -3.9 -0.6 0.7

Under Team Control Through 2016: Arbitration

If David Price is the player on this list most likely to be traded, Stanton isn’t that far behind. The price that the Marlins are able to extract for their star right fielder is going to be fascinating.  A couple of months on the DL with a bad knee and the dissipation of an extra year of team control have hurt his value, but he’s still perhaps the game’s most exciting young slugger.  He’s 23 and has a career wRC+ of 138.  The players who have done what Stanton has done at this age are mostly in the Hall of Fame.  

In some ways, his situation is pretty reminiscent of Miguel Cabrera, and not just because they both came up in Miami.  Cabrera was absurdly great early, then saw his stock fall slightly as he got closer to free agency and concerns about his durability arose.  The Tigers swooped in, signed him to a long term deal, and you know the rest.  There’s a real chance that something similar could happen with Stanton.  

Yes, right now, he’s only got three years of team control remaining, but a team acquiring him is acquiring him for the right to lock him up, and his cost is going to reflect that right.  Franchise players like this aren’t available in their early-20s very often, and even coming off a down year and somewhat concerning knee issues, the price is going to reflect the rarity of a player like this on this on the trade market.  

Stanton is going to bring back a mint when the Marlins trade him.  The price is probably going to blow us all away.

 

#7 Matt Harvey (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
24 130.0 10.18 1.94 45.4 % 2.35 2.17 2.70 4.3 4.2

Under Team Control Through 2018: Pre-Arb, Arbitration

Contract included, Matt Harvey is the most valuable pitcher in baseball.  Just 24, he’s already turned into a legitimate ace, succeeding in every possible aspect you could think to measure.  His velocity is trending up, not down.  He doesn’t walk anyone.  He strikes out everyone. His FIP is actually better than his ERA, which is hilarious considering that his ERA is 2.35.  He’s been better against lefties than righties.  He’s efficient.  There are no nits to pick here.  This is pretty close to the perfect young pitcher season.

But he is still a pitcher, and it could all go terribly wrong tomorrow.  Mets fans don’t need a reminder about the risks of young pitching.  Baseball fans, really, don’t need that reminder either.  Before there was Matt Harvey, there was Stephen Strasburg. Before Strasburg, Mark Prior.  Before Prior, Rick Ankiel.  Before Ankiel, Dwight Gooden.  These stories don’t always end as well as they start.  They usually don’t end as well as they start.  

But there’s also Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Justin Verlander, and the rest. Some great young pitchers become great older pitchers.  And it’s not like hitters are risk free either, so while Matt Harvey might be peaking right now, every team in baseball would sign up for the right to see if Harvey could be more Kershaw than Prior.  It’s basically impossible for a pitcher to have more trade value than Matt Harvey does right now.  

 

#6 Buster Posey (C)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
26 367 9.5 % 11.2 % .325 .395 .536 .398 162 -2.6 -0.6 4.1

Under Team Control Through 2022: $11M, $17M, $20M, $21M, $21M, $21M, $21M, $21M, $22M option

Buster Posey has followed up last year’s 163 wRC+ by posting a 162 wRC+ this year. Buster Posey is a catcher.  Catchers don’t hit like this.  Most first baseman don’t hit like this.

That is probably the lingering question hanging over Posey’s head, however.  How much longer will he be a catcher, because a lot of his current value is tied to his ability to produce offense at a position where offense is scarce.  If he moves to first base, he’d still be an excellent player, but he would be less excellent.  So, how long can he stay behind the plate?

My guess is longer than we might think.  Posey’s not the kind of bat-first catcher that you eventually move out from behind the dish because you can’t handle his defensive issues anymore.  He’s not Carlos Santana or Mike Napoli.  He might not be the best defensive catcher in the game, but he’s not actively hurting the Giants back there.   I don’t see any reason to have Posey stop catching until it begins to wear him down physically.  And given what he’s doing over the last year and a half, good luck proving that catching is hurting his offensive production. 

The contract the Giants gave him was a win for both sides.  Posey will be well compensated and has long term security, while the Giants have a premium player under team control for the bulk of his career.  He’s not cheap in the sense that other players on this list are, but the value associated with having this kind of player at a good price is still immense.

 

#5 Evan Longoria (3B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
27 399 11.0 % 22.3 % .278 .356 .507 .367 138 10.8 -1.0 4.4

Under Team Control Through 2023: $8M, $11M, $12M, $13M, $14M, $15M, $15M, $19M, $20M, $13M option

Here’s a fun fact: Evan Longoria, known for his superlative defense and not really considered one of the game’s best hitters, has a career wRC+ of 136.  Prince Fielder, a bat only player who got $214 million as a free agent, has a career wRC+ of 141. Evan Longoria is Prince Fielder’s offense combined with Adrian Beltre’s defense. Evan Longoria is an amazing and still under-appreciated baseball player.

And you know, there’s his contract.  If they exercise the 2023 option, the remainder is $140 million over 10 years, taking Longoria through his age-37 season.  On the one hand, Longoria probably won’t be a star in 10 years.  On the other hand, $13 million isn’t going to be a lot of money to a baseball team in 10 years either.  

Longoria’s health issues are the only real detracting factor here.  If he was perfectly healthy all the time, we’d just rename this thing the Countdown to Evan Longoria. That he’s likely to spend some time on the DL each season makes him just great instead of practically perfect.  There’s a reason the Rays chose this guy to build their franchise around, and it’s the same reason why the Rays are a terrific baseball team. Evan Longoria is a superstar.

 

#4 Andrew McCutchen (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
26 388 9.5 % 14.2 % .302 .376 .471 .365 136 6.7 4.4 4.3

Under Team Control Through 2018: $7M, $10M, $13M, $14M, $15M

Andrew McCutchen is baseball’s prime example of the sum being better than the whole of its parts.  He’s not the best defensive center fielder in the game.  He doesn’t have elite power.  He doesn’t make more contact than anyone, or draw an inordinate amount of walks.  He’s not an elite base stealer.  There isn’t a single that that McCutchen is better at than anyone else in Major League Baseball.  

But he’s so good across the board that the overall package is a franchise player.  A center fielder with first baseman’s offensive skills who also adds value with his legs, and by the way, doesn’t turn 27 until next year.  McCutchen probably isn’t as good as he can be yet.  He’s great, and there’s room for more.

A year ago, when he signed his extension to stay in Pittsburgh last year, there were actually questions about whether he was worth the $51 million they committed to him.  If he was a free agent today, he’d get $250 million.  Instead, the Pirates will pay him an average of about $12 million per year over the next five years, and McCutchen stands to help put Pittsburgh back on the map in Major League Baseball.  I’d call that a pretty good signing.

 

#3 Manny Machado (3B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
20 435 3.7 % 16.3 % .310 .337 .470 .349 118 16.0 -1.9 4.2

Under Team Control Through 2018: Pre-Arb, Arbitration

It’s important to remember that defense peaks early.  Athleticism generally only declines after a player makes his big league debut, and the plays we’re seeing Manny Machado make at third base, he probably won’t be able to make forever. He’s an amazing defensive third baseman, but he might not always be this amazing.  

The good news is that offense peaks later, and Machado’s offensive development should overwhelm any kind of defensive loss he sustains as he ages.  He’s already a pretty good big league hitter at age-20, and when the doubles power turns into home run power — and he learns to not swing at every pitch he’s thrown — Machado could easily turn into one of the game’s best two way players.  

If the Orioles moved him back to shortstop, we’d be comparing him to Troy Tulowitzki.  As it is, he looks like he might end up following Evan Longoria’s path to stardom.  Either path is just fine, and you shouldn’t worry too much about whether he’s playing third base or shortstop. He’s a huge defensive asset at both positions, and the gap in value between those two spots is more a fantasy baseball thing than a real baseball thing.  

No matter where he plays, though, he’s got superstar written all over him.  He’s not anything close to a finished product, but the upside is just so obvious.  I’d imagine the Orioles will sign him up for a very long time once this season is over, because this is the kind of player you build championship teams around.

 

#2 Bryce Harper (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
20 242 14.9 % 18.2 % .264 .371 .522 .381 145 -2.0 -0.4 1.6

Under Team Control Through 2018: $0.9M, Arbitration

I still think, from a looking-back-in-20-years perspective, that Bryce Harper has a chance to be the best player of this generation.  His offensive skills are so special that he could easily develop into one of the best hitters in the history of the sport. Barring a serious injury, I will be very surprised if Harper doesn’t end up in the Hall of Fame.  He’s that kind of player.

But, right now, that’s only good enough for #2.  Because as good as Harper’s future looks, in the present, he’s still more good than great.  The power isn’t fully developed yet.  He’s not a great baserunner.  He’s a good defender for a corner, but he’s not among the game’s best ball hawks.  He’s a special kind of young hitter, but everything else is just good, not great.  

And then there’s the health.  You never want to see a young player having knee problems.  It’s not the end of the world, but it’s not ideal either.  He’s also shown a penchant for playing the game at 100% all the time, even if that means sacrificing his body in order to do so. Eventually, he will have to learn that it’s better to let a ball hit the wall than be peeling yourself off the ground every day.  It might take awhile for that to sink in.  

And finally, there’s the price.  Harper’s going to be a Super Two player, getting four bites at arbitration, and his prices are going to skyrocket.  Scott Boras knows what Harper is, and he’s not going to be easy to lock up long term.  While there’s five more years of team control, he’s going to be pretty expensive by the end of those five years, and he’s not a sure thing to give up free agency.  

So, as much as I’m completely and utterly in the tank for Bryce Harper’s bat, I can’t overlook the legitimate questions.  There are real issues here.  Maybe they will all turn out to be nothing.  For the good of baseball, that’s what I’m hoping for.  

 

#1 Mike Trout (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
21 426 11.0 % 16.4 % .322 .399 .565 .410 166 1.1 5.7 5.7

Under Team Control Through 2017: Pre-Arb, Arbitration

Ladies and Gentleman, the best player in baseball.  He’s 21.

Mike Trout is basically perfect.  After having the best age-20 season of all time, he’s followed it up by being just as good.  From a skills perspective, he’s even getting better, as he’s cut his strikeout rate down and now really doesn’t have any flaws. He’s gotten a little bigger, so maybe he’s not quite as good at the parts of his game that involve running as he was last year, but he’s still among the most valuable players in the game at non-hitting things.  

Without knowing how conversations went, it’s impossible to know why the Angels haven’t locked up Mike Trout yet.  Just back up the truck and give him whatever he wants.  The rest of the Angels are kind of a disaster, but this guy is single handedly keeping them from going off the rails.  

There is no player in baseball more valuable than Mike Trout.  Even with just four years of team control left at uncertain prices, he’s on another level.  This is the game’s premier asset.



Print This Post



Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
The other Kyle
Guest
The other Kyle
3 years 2 months ago

No Ben Revere!! WTF!

kid
Member
kid
3 years 2 months ago

Real shame that this was the first comment after “This is the game’s premier asset”.

cole
Guest
cole
3 years 2 months ago

You people didnt know who Ben revere was until he joiend the Phillies..

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

I still don’t.

lucastill alex
Guest
lucastill alex
3 years 2 months ago

what Lori explained I’m taken by surprise that a mom can get paid $7031 in one month on the internet. did you see this web site>www.Bar40.com

Matthew
Guest
Matthew
3 years 2 months ago

This whole series is such an interesting thought exercise.
Thank you, Dave, for making this list. It has been very interesting!

Ryan Howard
Guest
Ryan Howard
3 years 2 months ago

Huh?

A-Rod
Guest
A-Rod
3 years 2 months ago

Wait, what?

Anthony Bosch
Guest
Anthony Bosch
3 years 2 months ago

Oh hai Alex

Albert Pooholes
Guest
Albert Pooholes
3 years 2 months ago

What’s going on here?

cole
Guest
cole
3 years 2 months ago

was the question, “Are you ever going to play a full season??”

Baroque6
Guest
Baroque6
3 years 2 months ago

I just don’t understand how Chris Davis isn’t anywhere in the top 50.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

he is

BookWorm
Guest
BookWorm
3 years 2 months ago

He’s #18

hscer
Member
3 years 2 months ago

You may want to review the earlier lists.

Baroque6
Guest
Baroque6
3 years 2 months ago

My bad. I did review the earlier lists, but must have missed him at 18.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

It happens. I guess all the people who flamed you have never made a mistake.

JoshEngleman
Member
3 years 2 months ago
B. Michael
Guest
B. Michael
3 years 2 months ago

He was #18. I believe that counts as “somewhere” in the top 50.

B. Michael
Guest
B. Michael
3 years 2 months ago

Whoops, I was late. My bad.

Bill
Guest
Bill
3 years 2 months ago

I bet you’ll find him if you look hard enough.

Zack
Guest
Zack
3 years 2 months ago

He was like 14 or something.

commenter #1
Guest
commenter #1
3 years 2 months ago

reading is hard

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

And the Dumbest List of all time ends with not a single Phillie. For a second I thought maybe Utley, Rollins, or Hamels would sneak in here (I gave up all hope for Young or Revere), but apparently you need to be young, good at baseball, and cost-controlled to make the top 10.

Thanks to everyone for letting me troll and a big LOL to all of you who are internet blind. That’s clown stuff bro.

Roto Wizard
Member
Roto Wizard
3 years 2 months ago

If you traded the entire Phillie 25 man roster, you MIGHT be able to get the Royals 25 man. Maybe.

Radivel
Guest
Radivel
3 years 2 months ago

The Royals couldn’t afford that.

Tyler
Guest
Tyler
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t think you understand what this list is about. Its not the 50 best players. Its generally the best, cheap, and young. The Phillies roster will be getting social security befoore most of these players on this list retire.

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
3 years 2 months ago

Chase Utley is a 35 year old free-agent to be who’s earning $15 million this year. He’s excellent, but you’re trading for 2-3 months of his services before he walks.

Jimmy Rollins is a 35 year old mediocre shortstop earning $11 million this year and next.

Cole Hamels is actually not 35, unlike the other guys! But he turns 30 in December, and any team employing him is contractually obligated to pay him $23.5 million through 2018.

Why would you think any of these guys have a top-50 trade value? I’m not saying one team or another couldn’t find any one of these guys useful – but top 50 in value?

PF
Guest
PF
3 years 2 months ago

Forget understanding how the internets work, did you even read his comment before posting? I mean, it’s hilarious how quickly people want to point out how smart they are … all the while doing the exact opposite.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

Did nobody read my entire comment? Do none of you understand subtlety?

I was TROLLING. It was a joke. I’m not a Phillies fan and was just causing noise.

Jesus christ…

rustydude
Member
rustydude
3 years 2 months ago

Your parents must be proud.

LilRastus
Guest
LilRastus
3 years 2 months ago

A good troll never reveals his motives. Tisk tisk.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

I know, but it was getting really bad. I was quite depressed by the obliviousness.

Al Dimond
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

A good troll is inspired by the obliviousness.

Boris Chinchilla
Guest
Boris Chinchilla
3 years 2 months ago

don’t take that guy’s name in vein, bro

Scraps
Guest
Scraps
3 years 2 months ago

Well, in that case, move Chris from Stupid to Stupid.

dnc
Guest
dnc
3 years 2 months ago

There was nothing subtle about it. You admitted you were trolling halfway through the series, though it was obvious before that. I’m all for sarcasm, but it’s more art than science, and your dabbling in stick figures.

dnc
Guest
dnc
3 years 2 months ago

*you’re*

Me
Guest
Me
2 years 7 months ago

worst troll ever

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

To be more specific: I am an internet sabermetrics writer currently incognito for fun.

Mr. Observant
Guest
Mr. Observant
3 years 2 months ago

Dr. Internet, I presume?

cass
Guest
cass
3 years 2 months ago

You also have a very poor sense of humor and delight in making other people angry. You are a very poor human being and I highly recommend reevaluting your priorities in life. You seem to be entirely lacking in empathy.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

omg, I made non-sabermetric arguments in a “dumb fan” patois to sabermetrics enthusiasts! I’m a monster!!! Off to kill myself/learn empathy!

Aidan
Guest
Aidan
3 years 2 months ago

“lacking in empathy” is a delightfully unexpected comment to find in this thread

Hieronymous
Guest
Hieronymous
3 years 2 months ago

I thought it was pretty funny. Mainly because he was so OBVIOUSLY trolling and yet so many people didn’t get it.

ted
Guest
ted
3 years 2 months ago

upvote to that CHRIS comment

Mountain
Guest
Mountain
3 years 2 months ago

You are history’s greatest monster.

Tony Manero
Guest
Tony Manero
3 years 2 months ago

Darren Daultons shits were worth 1.2 WAR a piece. the kruk testical that was removed was worth the majority of his WAR in 93

John Mutchler
Guest
John Mutchler
3 years 2 months ago

Are you people for real?

condit
Guest
condit
3 years 2 months ago

you need to practice

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

this was practice

Popo
Guest
Popo
3 years 2 months ago

It sounds like you must lead an exciting and fulfilling life :/

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

It’s funny how people get so angry about this stuff. Relax, guys. It’s a joke.

Garrett
Guest
Garrett
3 years 2 months ago

Wow, you’re so incognito and that was so incisive. Way to blow the doors off the internet.

noise
Guest
noise
3 years 2 months ago

‘incognito’ was supposed to be ironically overdramatic, and clearly trolling about ben revere is not meant to be incivisive, just meant to annoy people who are so quick to FJM everything until they bleed from their ears.

Nick
Member
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

Your writing is probably terrible.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

guess who i am then!

DavidCEisen
Guest
DavidCEisen
3 years 2 months ago

A nobody.

Nick
Member
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

Probably nobody I’d bother to read. It would be hilarious if you were a writer on this site, though.

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 2 months ago

Maybe he’s Ben Revere…

Goddess of the KPI
Guest
Goddess of the KPI
3 years 2 months ago

You’re an internet sabermatrician? Tell me something interesting about clickthrough rates.

Grohman
Guest
Grohman
3 years 2 months ago

And here is why the phrase “Nerd” may never cease to be associated with FG readers…those of us who read because we love and want to understand and discuss baseball are overwhelmed by a 25-post conversation about “trolling.”
On the plus side, this thread explained to me what “trolling” is. So, I guess I learned something today.

Scraps
Guest
Scraps
3 years 2 months ago

Currenly incognito? Aw, be a man and show up for real. We all would appreciate your sly wit, especially with a new slant in internet humor.

Me
Guest
Me
2 years 7 months ago

go home Dave Cameron, you’re drunk

Franco
Guest
Franco
3 years 2 months ago

He’s trolling, but I am surprised Cliff Lee didn’t make it in the 40-50 range. I don’t even think he was honorable mention.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
3 years 2 months ago

I was very surprised at that as well.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 2 months ago

“apparently you need to be young, good at baseball, and cost-controlled to make the top 10”

Upvoted because that line is reveals Chris’s secret genius.

RMD
Guest
RMD
3 years 2 months ago

If people can be trolled that easily, they’re not as smart as they think they are.

Scraps
Guest
Scraps
3 years 2 months ago

Again, people know he’s a troll (or at least some of them). They like responding because trolls means the glove’s off. It’s fun, for a while.

Buck Turgidson
Guest
Buck Turgidson
3 years 2 months ago

BOOM!

atoms
Guest
atoms
3 years 2 months ago

“apparently you need to be young, good at baseball, and cost-controlled to make the top 10.”

It’s funny, because the rest of your posts read like you have no idea what this list is about, but that sentence seems to indicate that you do understand after all. So why are you complaining again?

cole
Guest
cole
3 years 2 months ago

Utley? Rollins? yea maybe the list of 2008, Utley is made of glass, Young, and Rollins are past their prime. Why are Phillies fans all SUPER FANS? There is really good baseball being played outside the NL East.. you got the right coast, but the wrong League my friend..

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

He said he was trolling and not a Phillies fan. I didn’t like it, but you need to get over it.

Me
Guest
Me
2 years 7 months ago

Go home, you’re not president anymore.

piratesbreak500
Guest
piratesbreak500
2 years 10 months ago

“Why are Phillies fans all SUPER FANS?”
-It’s a Philly thing. I mean it as both a compliment and an insult.

Joe
Guest
Joe
3 years 2 months ago

hey man I get you, but I’m a yETI. you’d fit right in

Mike Trout
Guest
Mike Trout
3 years 2 months ago

HAHAHA what an amazing job of trolling you did. You did it so well that everyone didn’t even realize you were trolling even though it was INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS that you were trolling. As a Phillies fan, I really appreciated the humor (I gave up all hope for Young and Revere)-lmao

Mike Trout
Guest
Mike Trout
3 years 2 months ago

That being said, I haven’t seen any of your posts on other articles

cole
Guest
cole
3 years 2 months ago

wth is trolling? commenting on articles? is that the reason the commenting feature is there, to comment? if you dont want people make you look dumb when you claim that Chase Utley is some kind of player hes not, you should stop posting.

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon
3 years 2 months ago

Trolling, in general, is when somebody posts inflammatory comments simply for the purpose of provoking reactions. Often the troller does not even agree with or believe in what he is posting. The troll is delighted when his comments produce responses which try to legitimately refute his points because it amuses him that people don’t realize he is joking and that they get so worked up about it.

Trolling, specific to Fangraphs, usually consists of someone pretending to be a “dumb” traditionalist fan who expresses shock and outrage that mediocre players that are overrated by the mainstream media aren’t evaluated highly by a sabermetric website.

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
3 years 2 months ago

The problem is that people also retroactively declare themselves to be trolls when they realize what they claimed earlier was unsupportable even by their own “logic”. So you can’t take someone’s “hey I was trolling and you were stupid not to pick that up” at face value. You have to look at that person’s posting track record to see whether they’re just trying to cover dumbness

Clifford
Guest
Clifford
3 years 2 months ago

especially true when they follow up by claiming that they are a sabermetrics writer on the internet. really? no, but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night.

PetCharles
Guest
PetCharles
3 years 2 months ago

Bad news is always hard to get? There’s not anyone on the roster who doesn’t have significant warts (Papelbon greatly overpaid as a closer, Lee and Hamels great but making a ton of money, Utley is on the downside with chronic injuries, Rollins isn’t what he used to be, Howard merely existing, etc.). Not to be snippy, but you should consider researching the word “value.” Phils are in a long-term pickle for which there seem to be few solutions other than start rebuilding.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

if anyone knows “clown stuff”, it’ you.

RobM
Guest
RobM
3 years 2 months ago

Obvious is obvious, but apparently not.

This wasn’t even a true troll attempt. It was a troll of trolls. It was so over-the-top that is was obvious CHRIS was making fun of the trolls. Okay, the fact that some of you didn’t pick up on it certainly says something (actually, a lot of you didn’t pick up on it looking at the down votes), but then when he explains (which he shouldn’t have bothered doing) many of you still go over the edge.

Take a deep breath next time.

Beyond that, Dave, great stuff as always. Even CHRIS, I’m sure agrees!

Me
Guest
Me
2 years 7 months ago

RAAAARRRGGGHHHH!

jk.

Benjamin Ebek
Guest
Benjamin Ebek
3 years 2 months ago

I know his defense is amazing, but isn’t it possible that Machado is being wildly overrated at present? His offense – largely aided by a .361 BABIP – has been floundering for a month and a half, his pitch recognition is pretty poor, and it’s getting worse month by month. (BB% has declined every month this year, 5.6% in Mar/April, 3.8% in May, 2.4% in June, to now 1.8% in July).

Sure his offense will likely get better, but am I the only one who thinks that he’s being overhyped because a bunch of balls have fallen in for doubles?

IZZY2112
Member
IZZY2112
3 years 2 months ago

He’s not really a 120 wRC+ guy right now, but the ZIPS and Steamer projections suggest he’s slightly short of a 4 win player with average offense right now. Guys who are 4 win players at age 20 often end up in the Hall of Fame.

LRG
Guest
LRG
3 years 2 months ago

And I’m sure the Orioles will end up moving him to his natural position of SS which will only add to his value. He’s going to be a more athletic version of Miguel Cabrera in his prime and could be #1 on this list in another year or 2. I wanted to Pirates to take him over Jameson Taillon SO bad. It absolutely kills me that we passed on such a rare talent that plays such a tough position. The Orioles should thank the Pirates for being idiots because Wieters and Machado should be in the black and gold!!

Colin
Guest
Colin
3 years 2 months ago

Machado is awesome, but “more athletic version of Miguel Cabrera in his prime”? There is just no way that he will hit like Cabrera. I can say this with confidence because there are maybe 10 players in the history of baseball who have hit like Cabrera what Cabrera is doing currently.

Yinka Double Dare
Guest
Yinka Double Dare
3 years 2 months ago

Number of right handed batters I can think of who have had seasons like Cabrera is having over the last 40 years without them being steroid-tainted is pretty much “Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell in 1994”

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
3 years 2 months ago

You forgot Pujols

H.Villanueva
Guest
H.Villanueva
3 years 2 months ago

Wait a minute Yinka did you just say “without them being steroid tainted” and jeff bagwell in the same sentence?

Yinka Double Dare
Guest
Yinka Double Dare
3 years 2 months ago

Pujols didn’t have a season of over 200 wRC+, which is where Cabrera is right now and what Thomas and Bagwell had in 1994 (granted, a work stoppage-shortened year).

And yeah, I said Bagwell. The evidence for Bagwell being on something is “he got all muscle-y”, unlike guys like Manny Ramirez, A-Rod, Barry Bonds and others where there’s actual tests or at least some kind of documentation out there. Until someone actually has something more than “I think Bagwell was on steroids because he got big” then I’m not considering him a steroid-tainted guy.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
3 years 2 months ago

I guarantee that his WRC will regress below 200.

kid
Member
kid
3 years 2 months ago

I am becoming less and less fond of the “Players who do ____ at age ____ usually go on have HOF careers” case. I get the point, but it’s way too flimsy of an argument, especially seeing as how we’ve had a few “potential HOF’ers” (J Upton, Heyward come to mind) who came up hot a few years ago but are currently struggling big-time.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
3 years 2 months ago

Way to find terrible examples of young potential players who are “struggling big-time.”

jmb13
Guest
jmb13
3 years 2 months ago

At his current pace, Heyward will be half-way to a HOF WAR at 26. Does that mean he will? Of course not, but to say “struggling big time” is a bit disingenuous.

baty
Guest
baty
3 years 2 months ago

Forget Harper and Trout even exist and you’ll realize how special a player Machado is. I bet one could argue that even being able to sniff a BABIP this high at this age is reasonable enough to suggest so (as backwards as that might sound).

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
3 years 2 months ago

LD% son. Rogers Hornsby lived and died by it.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle
3 years 2 months ago

LD% is not very predictive of BABIP. And could you please tell me where you’re getting batted ball data for Rogers Hornsby?

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
3 years 2 months ago

It is my understanding that, based solely on witness accounts, he hit a very high percentage of line drives.

ALEastbound
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah and Bob Gibson consistently touched 101.

Nick
Member
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

I agree. And people take his UZR for dogma for some reason when the stat isn’t even close to stabilizing. Going forward, he’s probably going to be a good but not great hitter. Back end of the top 10, if that. There’s no way I would take him over Stanton.

Chris
Guest
Chris
3 years 2 months ago

As someone who watches the O’s on a regular basis, just from the eye test, I don’t think many of his doubles have “fallen in” for doubles. Most of them are lined shots into the gaps or down the lines. I’d think as he grows and develops, those will start going over the fence.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 2 months ago

I see Dave agrees with me about Harvery. (I only phrase it that way because I made that comment before these rankings came out, but I’m sure he had already written these by that time). Basically, as a super-ace with the maximum amout of team control, he’s as valuable as a pitcher could possibly be. Add to that the fact that for one reason or another, he’s been instantly recognized as a superstar, whereas other players have taken a lot longer to get recognition. Considering the guys ahead of him, the ranking seems appropriate.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 2 months ago

I pretty much agree given the people in front of him…but I disagree with the idea that he is as good as a pitcher could get (And I also agree with Dave putting Strasburg in the same level as Ankiel and Prior: Strasburg is pitching to a 3.40 FIP for god’s sake! He’s striking out 9 per 9! And his velocity seems to be sustaining! He’s already worth 1.7 WAR in 108 innings: Even if he never improved, if he pitched 200 innings he’s already pretty much a 3.5 WAR player…and he is only 24!)

ZenMadman
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

He’s as *valuable* as a pitcher could get, not as *good* as a pitcher could get. In order for a pitcher to better establish how good he is, he has to pitch longer, eating up cheap controllable years. Or be Doc Gooden. Strasburg could have become this valuable, but he got hurt first.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 2 months ago

But doesn’t that mean he is not as valuable, as there could be a better pitcher who comes up some day with the same cheap controllable years?

Or, in other words, I don’t think a pitcher can’t crack the T5 or only can with a weak T10.

Zen Madman
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

Yes, that was my point. a pitcher can’t really be more valuable than Harvey is right now.

Dan
Guest
Dan
3 years 2 months ago

What if Harvey had Matt Moore’s contract? Wouldn’t that make him more valuable?

pogotheostrich
Guest
pogotheostrich
3 years 2 months ago

Prior seems like a pretty fair compairison to me.

AnthonySoprano
Guest
AnthonySoprano
3 years 2 months ago

Only if you completely ignore the facts, then yes it is.

AnthonySoprano
Guest
AnthonySoprano
3 years 2 months ago

Sorry no. Prior had shoulder problems, Strasburg tore his UCL. The recovery rate for the latter is tremendously higher than the latter.

Prior got hurt because Dusty Baker is a moron and ran him into the ground when he was obviously hurting from A) getting run over by the Braves’ 2B then B) taking a line drive off his elbow. How is that in any conceivable way at all similar to Strasburg’s injury?

AnthonySoprano
Guest
AnthonySoprano
3 years 2 months ago

higher than the former …

Darren
Guest
Darren
3 years 2 months ago

What is most amazing about looking at Trout’s 2013 numbers is that he is only a +1 in fielding. Wasnt he like +20 last year. Angel fans…has he been noticeably worse in the field this year??

Nick
Guest
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

He has been noticeably more average defensively, at least from my perspective as someone who has watched most of the games this year. I mean, he could never live up to last year’s defense with the robbed homeruns and multiple highlight reel grabs. Probably also hindering him is the fact that he’s been moved around between LF and CF a lot with Bourjos being injured.

He understandably looks a lot more comfortable in CF and seems to get better reads off the bat there.

Roto Wizard
Member
Roto Wizard
3 years 2 months ago

He’s playing left field, where his ridiculous range doesn’t have quite the advantage over other players as it did in CF. There’s only so much ground to cover in the corners.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
3 years 2 months ago

He doesn’t quite have the cannon arm a lot of other corner guys do, or the “sense” that particularly special ones like senor Bonds have for predicting where a ball is going.

zach
Guest
zach
3 years 2 months ago

He’s had few blunders and missed HR robberies that went the other way last year.
He’s also had some really amazing plays that show the ability and athleticism is still there.

Angels fans are glad he jumps over walls instead of into them.

AnthonySoprano
Guest
AnthonySoprano
3 years 2 months ago

Of course, everyone is ignoring the fact that Trout was horrible the last month and half last year which will be repeated this year …

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
3 years 2 months ago

I don’t think you know what ‘horrible’ means. But I’m here to help rather than simply complain and make fun.

hor·ri·ble
[hawr-uh-buhl, hor-]

adjective
1. causing or tending to cause horror; shockingly dreadful: a horrible sight.

2. extremely unpleasant; deplorable; disgusting: horrible living conditions.

Synonyms
1. terrible, awful, appalling, frightful; hideous, grim, ghastly, shocking, revolting, repulsive, horrid, horrendous, horrifying, repellent.

Pr
Guest
Pr
3 years 2 months ago

Dave, it may be difficult but what would be pretty cool to see these guys’ current contract against what your estimate for fair market value is/will be for those years. Get a sense of how big the surplus value is on these contracts.

brendan
Guest
brendan
3 years 2 months ago

This. I assume dave is doing some kind of surplus-value analysis. I think it would be interesting to see his numbers.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Man, that is really asking a lot. He’s never to anything else.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

He’d never do . . .

Brendan
Guest
Brendan
3 years 2 months ago

It’s sad how badly the Angels have thrown their money around. With an asset like Trout and the ability to have multiple 9 digit contracts on their roster apparently, it takes some terrible decision-making to be in the position they are in right now.

Ben
Guest
Ben
3 years 2 months ago

LOL. I totally read “asset” as “asshat” at first and questioned what in the world you were saying.

Franco
Guest
Franco
3 years 2 months ago

It’s kind of like the Minaya Mets with Wright and Reyes making peanuts, Beltran at a slight discount and than everyone else wildly overpaid. If the Mets were the Yanks than screw it, but the Mets would run into the budget limit and have to purposely start the season with replacement level players on a contending big market club.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

I agree with you, except for me it’s ecstasy. Dodgers, Yankees, Angels spending all that money and eating dust. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Oops! Just checked the standings: the Dodgers are out of the dustbin. Damn!

Izzy
Guest
Izzy
3 years 1 month ago

Way way out of it, now.

Best Fans In Baseball
Guest
Best Fans In Baseball
3 years 2 months ago

Yadi’s better!

melwood
Guest
melwood
3 years 2 months ago

please, get the gist of this column

Otter
Guest
Otter
3 years 2 months ago

“Mike Trout is basically perfect.” HEART. LOVE. AGREE. AMEN.

bjs2025
Member
bjs2025
3 years 2 months ago

It is amazing how many HOF projected players there are right now. This has got to be maybe the best era ever for great young baseball players.

kid
Member
kid
3 years 2 months ago

Which young guns would be on your list? There’s going to have to be a new set of HOF milestones/criteria that are developed to reflect the fact that nobody’s gonna play ~20 years anymore, top 500 HR or get within an ICBM’s range of 3,000 strikeouts. I mean Miggy Cabrera get there and Trout is on his way, but after that it’s damned hard coming up with players that satisfy at least what I think of as HOF-caliber players.

Dave
Guest
Dave
3 years 2 months ago

Why would no one play for 20+ years anymore? Especially with medical advances being what they are, HOF players will still have long careers. Also 3000 strikeouts and 500 HRs are still viable milestones. Look at what Kershaw and Felix already have at a young age. Seriously, the game hasn’t changed as much as some people want you to believe.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 2 months ago

I think it would be harder for an older player to stick around an remain effective. Player development is so huge and old veterans are not as revered as they probably once were. I think that a player probably has less room to decline and a young star-to-be would have a better shot at replacing a worn-down veteran, even if that veteran has had a borderline HoF career.

I still think those milestones are totally within reach, I just see how they could be harder to reach.

Raul Ibanez
Guest
Raul Ibanez
3 years 2 months ago

Hey there

Rob
Guest
Rob
3 years 2 months ago

Besides the young guns, David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Albert Pujols, CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Adrian Beltre and Chase Utley are all probably on their way to the Hall.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

It’s important to remember that Hall voters right now basically aren’t voting players into he Hall of Fame. Being “Hall-worthy” is not the same as being destined for the Hall. To that end, there’s no way anyone can reasonably predict who will be admitted to the Hall. There are many in the game on a path to being “Hall-worthy” but that doesn’t mean they’ll make it. It’s really unfortunate what many Hall biters are doing to the Hall of Fame with their stubbornness.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

The 50’s were pretty good: Mays, Aaron, Mantle, Matthews for starters.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 2 months ago

I had a lot of disagreements with this list, but I thank you a lot for writing this, Dave: after all, one shouldn’t surround themselves with only opinions that agree with them, and my thought process is probably below yours given you do this kind of stuff for a living.

One thing I wanted to contend with, though: Why is Strasburg on the same level as Ankiel and Prior? Maybe he hasn’t been the world’s best pitcher, but he strikes out a lot of players, is getting more groundballs, is only 24 and his velocity seems fine. Oh, and he is pitching to a 3.40 FIP/3.50 xFIP so far. It seems to me like caling him such a bust is premature.

ryan
Guest
ryan
3 years 2 months ago

I believe he was alluding to the injury risk inherent with pitchers, not referring to Strasburg as a ‘bust’.

Caveman Jones
Guest
Caveman Jones
3 years 2 months ago

I think he’s referring to the pedigree those pitchers had coming into the majors in the first place.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 2 months ago

Ah. I suppose I misread it, then.

Brian
Guest
Brian
3 years 2 months ago

Would it be possible to do an all time (or at least post free agency) trade value list? It would be interesting to see how Trout pre arb compares to ARod and how they would both compare to Bonds’ original SF contract.

Professor Ross Eforp
Member
Professor Ross Eforp
3 years 2 months ago

Babe Ruth got sold for a song…literally.

Scraps
Guest
Scraps
3 years 2 months ago

Supposedly.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Impossible to do due to the hyper-inflation in salaries.

Clifford
Guest
Clifford
3 years 2 months ago

not really. you could just base it off the value of a player’s salary during the period in which he played. I don’t know if average salaries for every season dating way back even exist, but my guess is they do somewhere.

Eric Hosmer
Guest
Eric Hosmer
3 years 2 months ago

You will regret this, Cameron.

condit
Guest
condit
3 years 2 months ago

no he won’t

cass
Guest
cass
3 years 2 months ago

Good series. Well reasoned. You helped fill the All Star Break lull.

I’d love to hear your reasoning on why Gio Gonzalez missed the list, though.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

You did a great job framing this question the way you did rather than publishing a crazed rant insulting Dave for his baseball ignorance. This is the way comments/questions by reasonable people should be phrased.

Nick
Guest
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

Yep, can’t wait to tell my grandkids about Paul Goldschmidt.

nod
Guest
nod
3 years 2 months ago

Given his organization, that will likely be a sad story.

Dreamin
Guest
Dreamin
3 years 2 months ago

Only one measly World Series championship in 15 years? How awful!

shibboleth
Member
shibboleth
3 years 2 months ago

Dave, in Machado’s write up you say defense peaks early and offense peaks later. For the uninitiated, at what age does defense tend to become a liability?

Sparkles Peterson
Guest
Sparkles Peterson
3 years 2 months ago

16, if you’re Ben Grieve.

bstar
Guest
bstar
3 years 2 months ago

If Machado truly is an historically elite defensive third baseman, he should hold onto his value far longer than this article suggests.

Mike Schmidt put up positive TZ numbers thru age 34, Buddy Bell thru age 33, Scott Rolen thru age 36, Brooks Robinson thru age 38, etc.

Adrian Beltre may have finally hit the wall this year at age 34.

My point is that elite third basemen don’t lose their defensive value as quickly as elite outfielders.

dbhammel
Guest
dbhammel
3 years 2 months ago

So if Gio wasn’t on the honorable mention, dropped off, or top 50…does he no longer exist?

noise
Guest
noise
3 years 2 months ago

probably just forgotten. it happens. ex post excuses may be made, but don’t see how he’s not an honorable mention

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 2 months ago

Dave says in his post above that he was supposed to be on the just missed list.

Ben
Guest
Ben
3 years 2 months ago

Stanton seems to me to be the most contentious one here. He’s a hell of a player with a fairly regular injury history. Guys with histories of leg injuries don’t seem to age particularly well.

Jason Bourne
Guest
Jason Bourne
3 years 2 months ago

I wonder if he’s a guy that will get moved to first base fairly early in his career. That obviously hurts his value but it’s not like his bat doesn’t play really well at any position…

KillahYeast
Guest
KillahYeast
3 years 2 months ago

Spent the past 20 minutes watching Rick Ankiel pitching highlights. Now on to Dwight Gooden.

Jason Bourne
Guest
Jason Bourne
3 years 2 months ago

As a Cardinals fan, I would never do this because I wouldn’t be able to watch the highlights through all the tears…

Joebrady
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

It doesn’t feel like Cargo’s HFA is properly accounted for. His road OPS is .774. In basically two complete seasons of ABs, his road stats project to ~ 24 HRs and a .267. Nice, but that’s not great.

And with as well as he’s pitching, and with 5 years+ of control left, it seemed a little odd to leave Corbin off the list.

OTOH, I applaud that you included Bogaerts, and that has nothing to do with the fact that I am a RS fan.

NM
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

Yeah but you can’t take road splits at face value and assume that’s the kind of hitter he’d be overall. I’m sure his road splits also aren’t helped by his division; yeah Arizona is a hitter haven, but LA, San Diego, and San Francisco are very much pitcher parks.

wRC+ is great for neutralizing a park’s impact; I think you’d be better off just using that as opposed to getting too bent out of shape over home/road OPS.

melwood
Guest
melwood
3 years 2 months ago

l agree on Corbin. He’s young,solid. Really great pitcher.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 2 months ago

Corbin is 24 literally today (happy birthday) and his peripherals don’t match up with his ERA. I feel he’s establishing himself as a very good young pitcher, but compared to Fernandez’s youth, Miller’s peripherals and Harvey’s everything, he doesn’t make as strong a case for this list. I don’t think anyone would complain if he showed up in the 41-50 range though.

Ruki Motomiya
Guest
Ruki Motomiya
3 years 2 months ago

Something to consider for CarGo’s away splits is that almost every away park in his division is pitcher’sP: Petco, AT&T, even Dodger’s Stadium. The only other hitter’s park he has is Chase.

So, we would naturally assume him to have a lower away split because his away split is in more parks that are the opposite of Coors: Heavily pitcher.

Feeding the Abscess
Guest
Feeding the Abscess
3 years 2 months ago

Paul Goldschmidt has destroyed those parks in his career.

Kyzslew77
Guest
Kyzslew77
3 years 2 months ago

Part of the reason so many Rockies have nasty splits is that breaking balls (and even cutters) move so much differently at Coors than they do at sea level–plenty of Rockies hitters over the years have talked about the first couple of games after a long homestand being really, really hard because they have to adjust/recalibrate their expectations for how those pitches move. Take Cargo and stick him on a sea level team and his numbers would still be insane.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

I’m sick of commenters who think that a player’s road stats count for everything and his home stats for nothing. Almost everybody plays better at home. Look at stats like wRC+ if you’re concerned about park effects, but don’t dismiss half of a player’s career.

jrogers
Member
jrogers
3 years 2 months ago

Agree with what the others said about using only road splits. Players from neutral home parks hit worse on the road too.

Plus, the Rockies are the only National League team that doesn’t get to play any of their road games at Coors Field!

bstar
Guest
bstar
3 years 2 months ago

NL East and Central guys only get 3 games in Coors Field, so your point really only pertains to NL West players.

Bab
Guest
Bab
3 years 2 months ago

Great series, Dave. Quick question.

Yoenis Cespedes’ contract was initially considered pretty team-friendly. If his first-half offensive output matched last year’s (which it hasn’t in numerous offensive metrics), would he have been a Top 50 candidate in your system?

matt w
Guest
matt w
3 years 2 months ago

Not that it matters, but the last year of McCutchen’s contract is a team option.

Mike Green
Guest
Mike Green
3 years 2 months ago

9 of the top 10 properties being position players? Bang on.

When analysts look at drafting records, they typically look at performance markers (such as WAR), without looking at the variability of performance which affects value as property. It seems to me that too many pitchers are drafted, on average, early. The lure of upside is powerful, but this series and ones like it, provide a nice antidote to that type of thinking.

Drew
Guest
Drew
3 years 2 months ago

“Anecdote”.

Rob
Guest
Rob
3 years 2 months ago

No

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

There’s nothing worse than making a really wrong “correction.”

leoleo
Member
leoleo
3 years 2 months ago

*Their’s

Scott Lee
Guest
Scott Lee
3 years 2 months ago

Mike Trout the first 30 million a year ball player

Professor Ross Eforp
Member
Professor Ross Eforp
3 years 2 months ago

I can’t imagine the Angels signing him to a deal that has a $30MM year involved before Cabrera signs his next deal.

With that said, if you are talking about AAV then Trout will easily do that (assuming health, etc.) if he doesn’t sell any free agent years.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Huh?

Derek Jeter's Endorsements
Guest
Derek Jeter's Endorsements
3 years 2 months ago

Watcha talkin bout boy?

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Contracts, not endorsements.

Derek Jeter's Endorsements
Guest
Derek Jeter's Endorsements
3 years 2 months ago

My point remains.

ALEastbound
Guest
3 years 2 months ago

Nice list, good work Dave. Big project.

CHRIS
Guest
CHRIS
3 years 2 months ago

HAHAHA everyone on here takes me so seriously.

Brendan
Guest
Brendan
3 years 2 months ago

omg get over it lol, you’ve kind of ruined the comedy of it with your whole “revelation”…is this your new form of trolling? this one makes you look a lot more pathetic. what’s your next project, baking cookies at three hundred and fifty ONE degrees?!!

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 2 months ago

You’ve already had your chance to gloat about how you pulled the wool over our eyes. Now go rub one out and then maybe leave your computer room and make actual real-life friends.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

If you don’t have the guts to reveal your identity, self-proclaimed sabermetrician, then shut the FUCK up.

EbSteelers
Guest
EbSteelers
3 years 2 months ago

Great to see 2 pirates on the list!
Future is bright for them… I hope

Thanks for the list Dave. Great work

CHRIS's mom
Guest
CHRIS's mom
3 years 2 months ago

CHRIS!!! COME RUB MY BUNIONS!!!

Sleight of Hand Pro
Guest
Sleight of Hand Pro
3 years 2 months ago

count me in the group that last week didn’t expect to read about a commenter’s mom’s bunions in “top 10 trade value” thread

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
3 years 2 months ago

Count me in the group surprised the topic didn’t come up sooner!

Mike
Guest
Mike
3 years 2 months ago

Dave, thanks for the list – fantastic as usual. Wondering why Gerritt Cole didn’t make the cut, though (my apologies if I missed him). He’s young, has pedigree, a huge heater, and is under team control until 2019.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 2 months ago

Most of these other guys have demonstrated more big league success I assume. The best comps in terms of service time and prospect status are Jose Fernandez and Shelby Miller, and Fernandez two years younger, while Miller is having an outstanding season.

I am not sure how defensible it is to have Harvey at #7, Fernandez at #17 and Cole and Corbin missing entirely, but I see why those guys are ranked higher. Fernandez I think is mostly benefitting from extreme youth, which is the same reason that Trout, Harper and Machado are 1-2-3. There are better players (well, not better than Trout) but unlike with just about any other age, we expect 20-year-old players to get better.

Kyle
Member
Kyle
3 years 2 months ago

Can’t tell whether you’re playing with the phrase on purpose, but I think you meant to say of McCutchen, “the whole is better than the sum of it’s parts”, not the other way around.

Pedantry aside, very nice series of posts.

Kyle
Member
Kyle
3 years 2 months ago

And I mean “its”, not “it’s”. Right. Carry on.

leeroy
Guest
leeroy
3 years 2 months ago

perhaps the most interesting thing about these 113 comments is that Bryce Harper has been mentioned in precisely 1 of them, which was saying to forget about him to appreciate machado.

Anon21
Guest
Anon21
3 years 2 months ago

Here, I’ll drive up his mentions: I hope that the Nationals fail to resign Harper, and that he goes to some team far, far from the NL East.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip
3 years 2 months ago

That’s probably good for Harper. If it was a severe over-rank, there would be lots of people complaining. It seems the tacit consensus is that Harper basically is the 2nd most valuable trade piece in all of baseball. That’s very high praise, though no one’s actually praising him.

Delmon Young
Guest
Delmon Young
3 years 2 months ago

Hey, I’m only 27 and making less than $1M this year!

Oh wait, I’m terrible at baseball.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Better than whoever wrote that comment, I’ll bet.

Baseball Fanboy
Guest
Baseball Fanboy
3 years 2 months ago

great series, thanks for the enjoyable read

Luke Hochevar
Guest
Luke Hochevar
3 years 2 months ago

I should have accepted a Matt Moore like contract!

Nick C
Guest
Nick C
3 years 2 months ago

Shortly before this series came out I was discussing with a friend whether the Cardinals would trade Yadier Molina for Mike Trout. We also discussed whether the Angels would do it. Finally we discussed whether we would do it if we were the GM of the Cardinals (since we’re Cardinals fans). The funny thing is that our answers were “No” no matter how we looked at it. I don’t think the Cardinals would do it simply because they have an abundance of young pitching (and a dearth of young catching) that they want Yadi to shepherd into the majors. I don’t think the Angels would do it because they have the best young player in baseball and he’s cost controlled for quite some time yet. Finally, as a fan I wouldn’t do it because having watched Yadi become a good hitter and seeing everyday his ability to control the game I think that I have a real appreciation for how much a great catcher affects the game. Anyway, I’m sure this anecdote isn’t worth much but I just thought it was interesting that we had this discussion and the 2 players ended up in the top 11 of this list. I think it also highlights how an argument can be made for many of the top players being the most trade-valuable.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
3 years 2 months ago

The Cards also have a loaded outfield for the next couple years, even if beltran isn’t resigned.

C Money
Guest
C Money
3 years 2 months ago

Please tell me you’re trolling (even though I know you’re not- your point about him bringing along young pitchers into the majors is certainly fair, but if you’d even consider not trading Molina for Trout…a 31 year old catcher for the best young player ever…I just…I’ll stop)

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

The Cards wouldn’t do it. Should they? Of course, but Taxi means too much to that team, he organization, and he fanbase. They would take a huge PR hit for it.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

Taxi? Fuck my fucking kindle fire!

It’s. YADI, dammit!

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Got news for you, Nick. Any team would trade their best player and a lot more for Trout.

dnc
Guest
dnc
3 years 2 months ago

*antidote

Sparky Anderson's Libido
Guest
Sparky Anderson's Libido
3 years 2 months ago

Was hoping to see Don Kelly up on this.

Wally
Guest
Wally
3 years 2 months ago

Dave – a Harper v Trout question. You seem to value their skills fairly closely, with the edge to Trout. But doesn’t your ranking imply an even wider talent spread (or maybe its more accurate to say ‘expected performance’ spread), once you also take into account that Trout has 4 years of control, and Harper has 5? Isn’t it almost like saying that Trout is a 7 WAR player (28WAR remaining) and Harper is a 5 WAR one (25 WAR left)? Or is it more that you think Trout will get paid less in his arb years than Harper because of the way that he provides value?

rustydude
Member
rustydude
3 years 2 months ago

Both players have the same amount of team control. Trout didn’t play enough games in 2011 to amount to a full year of service time.

Wally
Guest
Wally
3 years 2 months ago

Dave says differently in their write ups. Not sure which is right, but seems like an important point.

rustydude
Member
rustydude
3 years 2 months ago

Sorry. I stand corrected.

Not sure how the Nat’s got away with securing another year of team control by calling him up in late April last season. Usually a team has to delay the call up until June before getting that benefit.

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon
3 years 2 months ago

Rustydude,

You’re thinking of the Super-Two arbitration qualification. If you wait until sometime in June (it varies each year) to call a player up, he won’t qualify for Super-Two eligibility. However, if you call a player up a few weeks into the season, he will qualify for Super-Two, but the team will control him for an extra year. So, if a team wants to basically squeeze an extra year of control out of a player and doesn’t care about arbitration costs, they call him up in late April. If a team, like Tampa, cares about the arbitration costs, they wait until late June.

Fangraphs wannabe
Guest
Fangraphs wannabe
3 years 2 months ago

Absolutely love this list. Engrossing. The only thing that would have made it better is if you included each player’s team. I (and others) are not as knowledgeable as most of you, and would appreciate that information.

Jaack
Guest
Jaack
3 years 2 months ago

Great ending to a great list. But one thing I’d love to see for next year would be the players separated into tiers as opposed to just straight rankings. With this list there are some places where the players are nearly interchangeable between spots. For example, there’s a great argument for putting McCutchen, Longoria, and Posey in any order, but they all obviously place below Machado. Tiers would be absolute, while rankings within tiers are more up to interpretation.

Just my two cents on how to make a great feature a little better.

CHIRS
Guest
CHIRS
3 years 2 months ago

Just my one cent (because Jaack made it already): I agree.

oops
Guest
oops
3 years 2 months ago

I forgot to change the name.

CHIRS
Guest
CHIRS
3 years 2 months ago

HAHAHAHAHAHA! troll troll troll I got you I did! HAHAHAHHAH1!!

I dont even like Ben Revere!!

Gwahaaa cool by the way did I mention how I made all of Dave’s posts about ME? Cool cool man cool. Did I mention? Did I mention? By the way I got lots of emails thats said I was laugh. LOTS Of PEOPLE fooled you!

DID I MENTION?

By the way I’m a internet incognito, with sabermetric subtlety.

By the way Dave is a phooey.

Bobby Bonilla
Guest
Bobby Bonilla
3 years 2 months ago

Hi Jeff.

Pat
Guest
Pat
3 years 2 months ago

I still think that Miguel Cabrera is the best player in baseball but Trout is more valuable.

Jim
Guest
Jim
3 years 2 months ago

One small disagreement but I would definitely rank Machado #2 behind Trout. There is no way I would trade Machado straight up for Harper. I don’t even think its close. Other than that I think the top 10 is pretty good.

Quasar
Guest
Quasar
3 years 2 months ago

Your an idiot if you think it isn’t even close. Maybe you could debate Machado is better, but the opinion would be definitely be in the minority. If you think Machado is much more valuable or better than Harper, you are truly an idiot.

Hunter Pence's Thorax
Guest
Hunter Pence's Thorax
3 years 2 months ago

Buster Posey.

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

Mister
Guest
Mister
3 years 2 months ago

Love this series. Thanks for doing it. Would be good if there was a post that has the final top 50 all in one place.

chuckb
Member
chuckb
3 years 2 months ago

All the other lists are linked at the top.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

That’s your homework assignment. Due Monday.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle
3 years 2 months ago

Am I wrong in thinking that Joe Mauer should be somewhere in the top 50 or at least in the honorable mentions? I realize his huge contract hurts his value and his age does as well, but still the guy is an elite offensive catcher who is still playing above average defense.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Funny, you answered your own question with the beginning of your second sentence.

Spencer D
Guest
Spencer D
3 years 2 months ago

How much longer is he a catcher? Is he that exceptional if he moves to first base? These are serious issues that, probably in Dave’s reckoning aren’t surmounted by a .400 obp.

Near
Guest
Near
3 years 2 months ago

Goldschmidt’s breakout could have been predicted; various Arizona media outlets reported that he studies the pitchers he faces and tries to minimize his weaknesses. Much time and effort is devoted to pitch recognition, and he’s been taking advantage of video ever since he was called up to MLB. Add that to his natural talents and you have a thinking-man’s slugger.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to characterize Goldy as a full-time 1B version of Buster Posey with a ISO/K% tradeoff. The similarities don’t end there, either, given the context of Goldschmidt’s first season and their batted ball profiles. Swap home parks and position, and I’d imagine Posey’s HR to go up but his wRC+ to go down.

Nick
Guest
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

You might be right on the Goldschmidt-Posey comparison. That being said, Posey’s career wRC+ as a first baseman (288 plate appearances as of midway through tonight’s game) is 176, which would put him at the top of the career list for active players.

Nick
Guest
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

Yes, everyone here is pathetic. That doesn’t mean ” where is (insert guy who obviously doesn’t belong on the list)?!!”” is funny or good trolling.

Dirck
Guest
Dirck
3 years 2 months ago

My outfield in a 16 team dynasty league ,is McCutchen,Harper,and Trout . Future looks so bright I gotta wear shades !

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

You must be as happy as a pig in shit!

Ashitaka
Guest
Ashitaka
3 years 2 months ago

Picking nits, but McCutchen was born in 1986, so he’ll actually be turning 27 this year (early October).

Dave S (the original)
Guest
Dave S (the original)
3 years 2 months ago

“baseball age” is generally considered to be the player’s age on July 1 of the season in question. McCutcheon will still be 26 on July 1, 2013. Thus, he is “26” for this baseball season.

National baseball writers everywhere
Guest
National baseball writers everywhere
3 years 2 months ago

It is completely selfish and short-sighted of the Angels to hold on to a transcendent talent like Trout. Trout deserves to have a HOF career on a real team committed to winning. Languishing on a second rate team in the AL West is unfair to his legacy. And really, the Angels’ farm system is completely unimpressive. The haul from a Trout trade could really rejuvenate the Angels just when they really need it. Free Mike Trout.

Baltar
Guest
Baltar
3 years 2 months ago

Yes, the Angels should trade Trout for a bunch of old players with high salaries. That would improve the team chemistry, as they would be just like the other players.

Omar
Guest
Omar
3 years 2 months ago

So why is Shelby Miller down so far whereas Byron Buxton, Xander Bogaerts, Jose Fernandez, and Matt Harvey are much higher. Especially the two minor leaguers…

Nick
Guest
Nick
3 years 2 months ago

What a great article! One minor detail about Posey: although on the surface quite a bit of his value comes from the fact that he is an offensive force that plays catcher, up to this point he has performed significantly better in the time he has spent at first base. Over his career he has a 142 wRC+ as a catcher against 176 playing first base. Slash-line-wise, he is at .309/.375/.509 as a catcher, but .356/.425/.577 as a first baseman. What the Giants are banking on is that even after he moves to first base full-time, he will still provide an overall value in the same ballpark as the one he produces as a catcher. As I was writing this he hit a homer while playing first in a game against the Dbacks.

Dave S (the original)
Guest
Dave S (the original)
3 years 2 months ago

Very small sample size at 1b. Only 74 games and 276 ABs.

For fun, I looked at a few other great hitting catchers that also played some 1b… 3 popped into my head (Johnny Bench, Joe Torre, Mike Piazza). They were not more successful batters when they were away from catcher.

While 3 examples is far from anything except anecdotal evidence, I’m inclined to believe that Posey would stabilize at the same level batting, whether playing at 1b or C. A very high level, but not better while playing 1b only.

Even if he did, it wouldn’t offset replacing a first baseman with a backup catcher in your lineup.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
3 years 2 months ago

Part of the reason that most post worse numbers at 1B is that they move off of C later in their careers as their defensive skills erode, so I would imagine that the offensive decline is much more related to their normal aging curve than due to the positional change.

AA
Guest
AA
3 years 2 months ago

Trout’s below average arm is basically the only thing holding him back from going even farther. He’s basically Barry Bonds right now.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
3 years 2 months ago

I may very well be wrong, but what I’ve seen of him, he is an average fielder at best. His instincts and reads on balls in the air are not great. He makes up for it to some extent with speed. But he’s also not blazingly fast, and he’s too big a guy to maintain the speed he’s got for long going forward. …of course, I would love to have him anywhere in my outfield!!!

Bill
Guest
Bill
3 years 2 months ago

Trout has far more power than Bonds did at this point in his career, otherwise, the comparison is apt.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
3 years 2 months ago

On this planet, Miguel Cabrera is the best player in baseball. And it’s not even close.

jrogers
Member
jrogers
3 years 2 months ago

“On this planet, Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball. And it’s not even close.”

FTFY.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
3 years 2 months ago

Yes, he is also the best hitter.

everdiso
Member
everdiso
3 years 2 months ago

If Machado’s .362babip is unsustainable – which is likely – what plus hitting skills does that leave him with?

Ben
Guest
Ben
3 years 2 months ago

Power? He’s 20 years old and has 49 extra base hits in 98 games.

Also, his (admittedly short) career BABIP is .344, and his xBABIP is .328. Sure, .362 is unsustainable, but he’s probably not a .300 guy either.

More importantly, 20 year old players tend to improve, usually quite a bit.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
3 years 2 months ago

This…

“He’s a huge defensive asset at both positions, and the gap in value between those two spots is more a fantasy baseball thing than a real baseball thing. ”

…is complete bullshit.

dnc
Guest
dnc
3 years 2 months ago

No, it’s not. Dave isn’t saying SS’s aren’t more valuable than 3B, he’s just saying if Machado moves to SS what he gains in positional adjustment he’ll give up in UZR by being compared to the pool of SS’s instead of the pool of 3B. He’s probably slightly more valuable as a SS but the difference is unlikely to be much.

The only way this doesn’t hold up is if you think he’d actually be a plus defender at SS, which seems pretty unlikely to me.

Spencer Dixon
Guest
Spencer Dixon
3 years 2 months ago

Thoughts on Ryan Braun not in the list? 27 years old, not too expensive, and one of the top 10 hitters in the game. A little health issues of late and a suspension looming, but still not a top 50?

Ian R.
Guest
Ian R.
3 years 2 months ago

Dave addressed this in the honorable mentions issue. Basically, there’s so much uncertainty with Braun that he just has no idea where to put him.

Doctorwrites
Guest
Doctorwrites
3 years 2 months ago

And what are the stats after slugging?

Phil
Guest
Phil
3 years 2 months ago

All you Phillies bashers will just have to wait and see who goes to the WS for the NL.

Brooks Unitas
Guest
Brooks Unitas
3 years 2 months ago

Both of me are the greatest ever in my position!

darren strong
Guest
darren strong
3 years 2 months ago

As a diehard Mets fan Harvey will never be traded. not realistic for him to be on the list.

Bob Bowen
Guest
Bob Bowen
3 years 2 months ago

The Atlanta Braves have a roster with at least 20 players under 27 years of age and lead their division by ten games and have only one player in the top fifty and he is at the bottom of the list. Please explain this. Is it possible that Bobby Cox and Fredi Gonzoles are geniuses? Or is it that John Sherholtz has been fooling his piers for all these years as general manager and now president. How many closers have struck out 44% of the batters they have faced? How many all star games has McCann selected to play in? Jcoukd gone but enough is enough.

Bob Bowen
Guest
Bob Bowen
3 years 2 months ago

The Atlanta Braves have a roster with at least 20 players under 27 years of age and lead their division by ten games and have only one player in the top fifty and he is at the bottom of the list. Please explain this. Is it possible that Bobby Cox and Fredi Gonzoles are geniuses? Or is it that John Sherholtz has been fooling his piers for all these years as general manager and now president. How many closers have struck out 44% of the batters they have faced? How many all star games has McCann selected to play in? I couLd gone but enough is enough.

wpDiscuz