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  1. Last year I bet the Cards would have traded Rasmus for Granderson, just so Mozeliak could trick Larussa into playing his CF with regularity. This year? Maybe not. Maybe they had a talk.

    Comment by SC2GG — July 12, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  2. It’s nice to know I’m in the top 40.

    Comment by Yuni B — July 12, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

  3. I believe that the Seattle Mariners should take a chance on Colby Rasmus. He seems to have worn out his welcome in St. Louis (last year, actually) and would fit nicely in LF while sharing CF duties with the ailing Gutierrez. Also, his left-handed batting would be a good match for the Safe.

    Granderson is a curious player; talk about fluctuations–aberrant defensive metrics, parabolic strikeout rate (look at 2004-2011 K%), serious HR power. He did hit 23 triples in 2007, some of which would’ve been HRs in the new Yankee stadium. He’s of average size and seems to be in impeccable shape, so hopefully he won’t decline for several years. A very enjoyable player to watch.

    Comment by Mike B. — July 12, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  4. I dunno, you forgot to credit Simmons this time. BEWARE! You might have to do it every time to stay safe! ;)

    Comment by Person — July 12, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  5. And, once he finally is done, he’d be a good addition to any announcer booth.

    Comment by Person — July 12, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  6. I have to be one of the few people that believes the post-August 2010 Granderson is here to stay. Given that belief, I’d definitely rate him a bit higher on the list, but I can see how someone who doesn’t wouldn’t. All it takes is the right trade partner though (not that the Yankees are usually in the market of trading a Granderson or Cano away)…

    One quibble on his salaries though – he gets raises on his team option for making All Star games and finishing in top 5 of MVP votes; so he’s really likely going to be $25M for 2012-2013.

    Comment by V — July 12, 2011 @ 4:51 pm

  7. No he didn’t

    Comment by tbad — July 12, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  8. Any idea what comps we should be looking at re: Ellsbury’s arbitration raises? Skills wise, he’s very similar to a young Carl Crawford (with more injuries), but Crawford signed a team friendly deal buying out his arbitration and some free agency years.

    Comment by V — July 12, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  9. I meant to play it safe he would have the disclaimer at the beginning of each set of 5.

    Never mind.

    Comment by Person — July 12, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  10. aren’t Cano and Granderson a little expensive to be on this list? I’d take Wieters or Rasmus way sooner.

    Comment by Pierre — July 12, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  11. I guess Michael Bourn might be a decent comp, maybe give him a little more for his pop. $5M in 2012, $8-10M in 2013?

    Comment by V — July 12, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  12. A 4.5-5 WAR guy is more expensive than a 3 WAR guy, in general.

    Comment by V — July 12, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  13. Say, would it be possible on the last 40 at least to include their ranking from last year (or that they were not ranked). I know it gets mentioned in some of the writeups but it might be something to just include in the base line.

    Comment by Person — July 12, 2011 @ 5:01 pm

  14. Woosh!

    Comment by Josh — July 12, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  15. If only we had a projected WAR over the rest of their existing contract, with an estimation of surplus value next to it, you’d have an answer to this exact question!

    Ok, I’m done. This series is enjoyable but lacks real analysis. I just may have to do my own top 25 so everyone can see how it should actually be done.

    Comment by Telo — July 12, 2011 @ 5:06 pm

  16. Oh man, wonder if this gets moderated…

    Comment by Telo — July 12, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  17. Sorry, it did! You can delete this

    Comment by Telo — July 12, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  18. The problem with projected WAR as I see it is that projection systems tend to go with the median, and those numbers will anger more people than they’ll satisfy.

    I’m totally happy with the qualitative comparison here. It’s a great discussion piece. And this way gives much less fodder for future “ZOMG DAVE CAMERON ONLY PROJECTED PLAYER X FOR 10 WAR IN 3 YEARS AND HE HAS 15! WHAT A MORON!” comments.

    Comment by slamcactus — July 12, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

  19. The point is consistency through methodology. Sure, we can take Dave Cameron’s super awesome list and read it for fun, and it will be a nice read. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it has potential to be so much better.

    We could create a list that uses a consistent way to estimate WAR over the next 1-4 years – not an easy task at all, but consistency is everything. Take the WAR over the past three years, use a weighting system, then you have a current true talent in WAR. Then apply an aging curve. What you’re left with is a consistent measure of future value. Take that and apply it to the contract, get the marginal value. The point is, you can quantify alot of the stuff that is being glossed over. I’ll do it. It’ll be up in a few days.

    Comment by Telo — July 12, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

  20. Exactly – I tried doing my own back of the envelope analysis (just comparing Granderson, Cano, Ellsbury, and Wieters), but it really boils down to how you project WAR. It’d be nice if you came up with a system everyone would agree with for projecting 10th-90th percentile 2013 values, but you can’t and won’t.

    Essentially, just looking at these 4, if Ellsbury and Wieters perform as they have thus far in 2011 over the life of their team control, they will be AMAZING assets for the amount of money they cost (in the realm of 300-500%), compared to Cano and Granderson, who are each merely worth 150-200% what they cost.

    However, Cano and Granderson in my (amateur) opinion have had more time to solidify their value – they are much less likely to bust. In other terms, the 70th+ percentile values for the four is likely to benefit the cheaper players more, but the 30th- percentile values are likely to benefit the veterans more. The 50th percentile is a guessing game.

    Comment by V — July 12, 2011 @ 5:23 pm

  21. So you wouldn’t trade Granderson for Kemp? Sure Granderson has an extra year, but Kemp is younger and better. The possible reward if you manage to extend Kemp long term is greater than if one were to lock up Granderson, another point in Kemp’s favor.

    Comment by Chair — July 12, 2011 @ 5:29 pm

  22. V – Exactly right. It’s a guessing game. So we make educated guesses at their value, and rank them using a consistent methodology, THEN we are in a perfect place to say “Well, I think player X will outperform this WAR estimation, so I’d put him a few notches higher”. We have no baseline. Just paragraphs

    Comment by Telo — July 12, 2011 @ 5:37 pm

  23. Why has Rasmus struggled so mightily for most of 2011? His contact rate and batted ball profile are very good (hitting a few more pop-ups than usual), and his strikeouts are way down. His peripherals are even better than they were last year when he posted a .366 wOBA. Curious.

    Some people want to buy Granderson as a new player as a Yankee, but I don’t. He’s still the same guy who hits .270 and gets on base at a .350-.360-ish clip, but the big difference so far in 2011 has obviously been the power. Specifically, a 21% HR/FB rate versus his career rate of 13%. 21% HR/FB is a big, big number for any player; it’s better than the career numbers of Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Fielder and Nelzon Cruz. Watch that rate sink back towards 15% or so (the best he’s ever posted in a full season). I’ll give some credit to the porch in the NY stadium, but not that much.

    Comment by kid — July 12, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

  24. Brian Cashman apparently thinks Cano should be much higher on this list.

    Comment by BIP — July 12, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  25. Read the first post on methodology. It’s about how much demand there would be for player X if player X were on the block. Just because player X is ranked higher than player Y doesn’t mean that you’d trade player X for Y. “X > Y” means people who would pay for X would pay more than people who would pay for Y.

    Comment by philosofool — July 12, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  26. I’m curious to see where Strasburg would place, if at all.

    Comment by Marc — July 12, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

  27. Telo I agree with you completely. Although I’m going to enjoy this series anyway, all I can think about when I’m reading these is I wonder what a good estimate of future WAR value over contract for this guy would be, and how it compares to the others on the list.

    Comment by BillWallace — July 12, 2011 @ 6:25 pm

  28. Here’s guessing he won’t be here. Quite a drop from last year’s #3, but I’m not sure anybody is going to trade for a pitcher who has still yet to pitch after TJS.

    Comment by Person — July 12, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  29. Damn, another year without a single Twins player on the list. Curst you six!

    Comment by Barkey Walker — July 12, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  30. I have a small penis and for some reason I think I’m important even though no one cares what I think because I’m a nobody. I’m also painfully unaware that the fact that I need further analysis to understand something that other people understood without it makes me look like an idiot, but for some reason I think it makes me look like I’m smarter. I’m a sad and lonely person.

    Comment by Telo — July 12, 2011 @ 7:08 pm

  31. Huh? You don’t think teams would trade for Strasburg? I’m guessing he’s on the list, but of course a drop from #3…

    Comment by Nick V — July 12, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

  32. Telo, I swear, I’ve never seen anyone as obsessive as you about missing the point. But then, that’s the only way to pursue your primary purpose — to wit, disagreeing with anything Dave Cameron writes.

    “Consistency through methodology” as you define it would be exactly the wrong approach, because (aside from the trendy error of using “methodology” when one actually means “method”) that assumes that every franchise values players the same way, on the same scale — which is patently false. But since your brain shuts down any time Dave Cameron writes anything, here’s the point from one of the commenters on the “What I Learned” post, Economan:

    1) In trades, teams are showing at least in part that they have different discount rates. A team whose window for winning is open now, like the Brewers, is likely to be shopping for someone who will provide returns now. To them, Bryce Harper isn’t that valuable, as the teetering structure this team is built on will most likely have crashed by the time Harper is hitting his stride in the majors. To make any one set of trade rankings is to presume that everyone is using the same discount rate, and that’s patently false. Does that mean you shouldn’t do it? No, but then don’t beat yourself up about overvaluing the future. Why?

    2) Predicting the future is effing hard. All kinds of stuff happens: people get injured, prospects pan out or don’t (or go become priests, like Grant Desme). Unless you have a better algorithm for making these predictions, Dave, I don’t see much need to mess with the system. You can up the across-the-board discount rate you’re using to account for more uncertainty, and then maybe your list will be more in line with the values put on players by the WIN NOW teams, but the cost there is accuracy to potential sellers, who lower discount rates. I mean, are you kicking yourself for ranking Hanley so high? Seriously? No one predicted this year, and no one could.

    To apply Economan’s point specifically to your position, to think that you can rank trade value purely as a matter of mathematical relation of projected marginal wins to contract “is to presume that everyone is using the same discount rate, and that’s patently false.” Dave Cameron has dealt with Economan’s point by trying to factor in different teams’ discount rates, and (essentially) go with the highest that would apply for each individual player; you’re trying to collapse it back down to one set of criteria, arguing for a return to simplistic analysis with no awareness of context.

    Comment by The Ancient Mariner — July 12, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

  33. @ Telo – thanks man, it all makes sense now.

    @ everyone – I’m fairly new to FG so I’m probably just confirming what seems to be the obvious but…… did Simmons catch a titty attack and claim the Dave stole his work or something?

    Comment by jpg — July 12, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

  34. If you believe many Cards’ fans, Jon Jay is in the top 40 also!

    Comment by chuckb — July 12, 2011 @ 8:31 pm

  35. If I were to redo this thing, money would have little to do with it. Costly players are generally veteran players, and if you’re running a playoff contender and seeking improvement, those vets are who you are seeking. You’re not going ga-ga over some kid who’s cheap because he’s thrown up a couple of decent seasons.

    Comment by Sultan of Schwinngg — July 12, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  36. According to Stat Corner, the HR splits in Yankee Stadium are 130 / 111 (L/R), favoring left handers to a serious tune. No, it doesn’t explain why Granderson has hit more home runs on the road in fewer games. I’m just saying.

    Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — July 12, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

  37. Something like that.

    Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — July 12, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

  38. He DID just say wrestling is a sport, and not the greco-roman type.
    So good?

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen (Dodgers Fan) — July 12, 2011 @ 9:24 pm

  39. agreed

    Comment by Al — July 12, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  40. Hmm. Not really.

    There’s only one Yankee that could appear going forward (ARod makes BANK), and that’s Sabathia. Thus, Cano is the Yanks’ “most valuable” position player.

    Of course, he also ranked Cano above any Red Sox player, right? That’s not going to work out on this list.

    Comment by ToddM — July 12, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

  41. Sabathia can opt out of his contract at the end of this year. He’s not going to be on this list.

    Comment by Go To War Miss Agnes — July 12, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

  42. Number of GMs who would choose Wieters over Hosmer = 0.

    Comment by Blue — July 12, 2011 @ 10:27 pm

  43. I don’t know. I’ve always been a Granderson fan but there’s no way he’s THIS good!

    Comment by chuckb — July 12, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

  44. Quite wrong. Hosmer’s a nice player but there’s something to be said for a young, cost-controlled, power hitting catcher over a first baseman. One end of the defensive spectrum to the other.

    Comment by chuckb — July 12, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

  45. In all honesty, I think he was just really lucky last year (his BABIP was quite high) and it’s more reasonable this year.

    I honesty think he’s more a .340-345 wOBA guy than .360

    Comment by JeremyR — July 12, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  46. I’ll take the currently all around catcher over the 1B with the potentially special bat every time. The 5+ WAR catcher at 25 years old isn’t easy to find. It’s likely a no lose situation with those two.

    Comment by DCUnited — July 12, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

  47. I’m no GM, but I’d *definitely* take Wieters over Hosmer.

    Wieters is a very good defensive catcher. Do you realize what kind of bat Hosmer’s going to have to show just to match Wieters at the latter’s current level of offensive productivity? If Wieters continues to slowly progress with the stick, Hosmer would need to be near Pujols to be as valuable, which isn’t very likely.

    Comment by ToddM — July 13, 2011 @ 12:41 am

  48. I’m not comparing Kemp’s skill vs Granderson’s straight up. I’m questioning whether two cost controlled years of Granderson would be more in demand than 1 arb controlled year of Kemp. Personally I think the higher upside, younger age, and more attractive potential long term deal would push Kemp over Granderson.

    Comment by Chair — July 13, 2011 @ 12:43 am

  49. Simmons didn’t do anything.Some of his Twitter-followers acted all butthurt though.

    Google “Simmons Cameron Fangraphs” for a summary (I won’t link it, that will land my comment in the spam queue)

    Comment by JohnnyK — July 13, 2011 @ 2:41 am

  50. Chair- But won’t a future extension of Kemp in all likelihood price him more closely to his actual market value? He’s less likely to be a “bargain” if you are planning on resigning him (I guess I really should say you have no way of knowing whether he will be over or underpaid when he hits FA). Part of the whole trade value concept here I think is not just team control but team control at a below market contract. I don;t know why you are assuming any Kemp extension will be ‘attractive’ when we have no idea what he is looking for.

    I don’t see how you can accurately factor in a potential Kemp extension in the value equation… maybe Kemp wants to hit the open market and get paid…. maybe he’ll want to go back to the Dodgers as a FA…. maybe he gives a massive discount for a longer contract and stability… maybe he has a specific team he want to play for.

    The only real way to do this exercise is to consider what the player is currently under control for, the actual contract $ (or estimated if it’s an arbitration period) and his expected value in that period.

    Also your perceived demand (and basing it on extension likelihood) is based in large part on who the trade partner is (and their payroll, prospect pipeline, etc). what if he wanted 23mil per for his extension years and Granderson’s wanted 15mil per? What if Kemp wants a minimum 6 or 7 year extension? There’s just too many assumptions and unknown variables

    Comment by Hank — July 13, 2011 @ 4:04 am

  51. His career wOBA is .361….

    So I understand, your assessment is that his true wOBA is more likely to be 15-20 points below the #’s he’s put up over 5-6 years?

    His BABIP last year was ,277…. you’re belief is that is high and represents him having a lucky year? You sure about that?

    His BABIP this year is .293 which compared to last year is somehow less lucky? (and given the # of HR’s, this seems high)

    hmmmm…. not sure if you are trying to undersell Granderson or just badly misinterpreting some of the #’s

    Comment by Hank — July 13, 2011 @ 4:30 am

  52. Crap….. sorry JeremyR….

    Thought you were talking about Granderson (I mistakenly thought you were replying to the comment directly above yours) and didn’t realize you were talking about Rasmus.

    My apologies…. (I should have realized I was reading something wrong)

    Comment by Hank — July 13, 2011 @ 4:33 am

  53. Simmons actually inflamed reactions with a tweet of his own.

    Comment by The Typical Idiot Fan — July 13, 2011 @ 6:01 am

  54. The Nationals have traded for two (!) pitchers who were still rehabbing after TJS – Luis Atilano, who made a few meh starts last year, and Ryan Mattheus, now playing in a bullpen near you.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 13, 2011 @ 6:20 am

  55. You could have saved a lot of words and repetition by just writing

    “I’m a Mariners fan.”

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 13, 2011 @ 6:21 am

  56. Thirded

    Comment by Ray — July 13, 2011 @ 8:46 am

  57. He would be selling himself short in the booth and depriving many people of his ability to communicate. He should hit the speechifying circuit as a motivational speaker. I see high-level national politics in his future.

    Or the Today show. It’s a toss-up.

    Comment by Cuban Pete — July 13, 2011 @ 9:01 am

  58. Beware – Jays fans told themselves that last year, and it turned out that Bautista was actually better than his breakout year. So, hey, maybe the Yankees lucked into a superstar (instead of a mere all-star). I hate the Yankees…

    Comment by test — July 13, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  59. I would disagree that we know what this guy’s true talent level is yet. Rasmus had a down June, a .227BABIP and a 7% BB% drug his wOBA down to .227 for that month. his two months before that were solid .384 and .351 wOBAs in April and May. Just like with Cargo I think we can look at his month to month splits and see a player who is still working on consistency.

    Comment by Mr wOBAto — July 13, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  60. Actually, you are right, I kinda forgot this tweet:

    Comment by JohnnyK — July 13, 2011 @ 9:46 am

  61. Hey I was just about to make the same suggestion. Instead I’ll fourth.

    Comment by Jason B — July 13, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  62. I dunno quite what “catch a titty attack” means…but I like it.

    Comment by Jason B — July 13, 2011 @ 9:54 am

  63. Ancient Mariner’s argument amounts to this: You can’t do it perfectly, so don’t even bother to try.
    Although I am grateful, despite my frequent negative comments, to Cameron for publishing this list, a consistent methodology would improve it immensely.
    I look forward to Telo’s list.

    Comment by GiantHusker — July 13, 2011 @ 12:26 pm

  64. “All around” catcher?

    He’s a defensive guy who isn’t a black hole at the plate. Big deal.

    Comment by Blue — July 13, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  65. Then your team would be far worse off. This isn’t fantasy baseball–big sticks with reall offense win games.

    Comment by Blue — July 13, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  66. soooo what youre saying is… you are really NOT done?

    Comment by cs3 — July 13, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

  67. Curious if Melky Cabrera will get ranked…and if so, where. Melky is in line for a 20/20 season w/ 200 hits, 97 runs and 90 RBI. Gardner was ranked 50th and he’s a year older.

    Comment by Raj — July 13, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

  68. I wish I was a real GM, and I definitely wish you were another GM in my fantasy world. Simple-minded folk that make sweeping generalizations that are manifestly wrong make great trading partners.

    Comment by ToddM — July 14, 2011 @ 12:39 am

  69. I don’t understand #42…why would anyone want to trade for someone who hits .280/.320/.400 while playing awful defense? Surely this list is flawed…but how is that possible when the writer is so obviously a genius?

    Comment by Bim bim The Bastard — July 18, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

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