FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Slim pickings after the mid-20s

    Comment by Bobby A. — October 31, 2011 @ 11:34 am

  2. Is there some rhyme or reason to the guys who are shaded in white?

    Comment by GP — October 31, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  3. Wait, it appears the table just highlights a guy in white after you hover over him. Weird.

    Comment by GP — October 31, 2011 @ 11:36 am

  4. I’d say it’s slim pickings after about 15 or so. This is not a very good free agent crop after you get past the big four.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — October 31, 2011 @ 11:40 am

  5. Dregs, Bottom Of The Barrel. See above.

    Not the best free agent market. AFter Bell, it drops off. A lot. Fast.

    Comment by WiersNRAF — October 31, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  6. Interesting classification, but I think the team that *signs* the player will probably think many of them are one click above what you say (you could point to the winner’s curse).

    For example, I could see a team calling Oswalt or Papelbon star players. I could also see agreeing with them if it was a favorite team on April 1st.

    Comment by Barkey Walker — October 31, 2011 @ 11:47 am

  7. how is Oswalt not in the lonely “almost star” category with CJW?

    and I think Papelbon and Buehrle should also jump a category, no?

    similarly, only Beltran’s knee keeps him being ranked higher but he had no problems this season… clearly his speed is affected but the bat was stellar.

    There should still be about 15 players from the list to get contracts that will pay them 8 figures annually.

    Comment by Mitch — October 31, 2011 @ 11:54 am

  8. Would it be possible to add 3 additional columns to this chart — age, previous contract, and next year’s projected WAR? Or maybe just the first 2, since I think most projections aren’t available yet.

    Comment by Urch — October 31, 2011 @ 11:55 am

  9. So, apparently in years before, instead of 4 all-star caliber players, who have at one point the last season likely been in an MVP/Cy Young discussion, there have been 20+? I don’t know what the heck you expect.

    Comment by Keystone Heavy — October 31, 2011 @ 11:57 am

  10. Why doesn’t Rich Harden occupy spots 1- 20?

    Comment by Resolution — October 31, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

  11. Sizemore’s a roll player? How soon we forget. I hope none of you out there get sick or injured because you’ll be relegated to roll player or worm food in a couple of years. Read between the ironic lines.

    Comment by bcntwinsfan — October 31, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

  12. Kosuke Fukudome doesn’t even break the top 50? Andruw Jones does?

    Comment by JamesDaBear — October 31, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

  13. Mrs. Sizemore? That you?

    Comment by hunterfan — October 31, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

  14. Roll player? You mean like Kaiser or Hoagie? Maybe he’s a dinner roll player. Does that make Kurt Suzuki and Shane Victorino Hawaiian Rolls?

    Comment by Streams of Whiskey — October 31, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  15. It’s role, not roll.

    Comment by Nik — October 31, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

  16. Because its a as sure bet there is he’ll be on the DL.

    Comment by Sammy — October 31, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

  17. DeJesus and Maholm should definitely be in the “solid regular” group IMO. They’ve both been solidly above-average performers for the last few years. DeJesus is every bit as good as Willingham or Crisp (and was the best player on the Royals for a couple of fallow years) and Maholm isn’t too far behind Buehrle in production, and would be a #3 starter on many .500 teams.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 31, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  18. Papelbon and Oliver look a bit low IMO.

    Seriously, Oliver is the most underrated player since focusing on his slider a few years ago.

    Comment by AndyS — October 31, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  19. All I know is this. Bruce Chen is the answer.

    Comment by Sammy — October 31, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  20. I think Oswalt may well end up with a higher AAV than CJ Wilson this year (albeit probably only on a 2 or 3-year deal).

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 31, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

  21. Ortiz has been a star for quite some time….

    Comment by Josh — October 31, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  22. Oswalt: Old, injured.

    Comment by Anon21 — October 31, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  23. Nope. He’s a DH. It’s nearly impossible for a DH to be a star, and Ortiz ain’t breaking that rule.

    Comment by Anon21 — October 31, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  24. I think for players like Ortiz and/or Oswalt they are rightly downgraded some based on age and injury likeliness. Likewise Wilson is probably higher than he should be due to his apparent durable arm. Though I think two seasons starting is a little early to be considering him a sure thing.

    The questionable one to me is Reyes. Sure he’s a star. A super star even. But any team paying that guy even a medium length contract is taking a massive gamble.

    Comment by Scott — October 31, 2011 @ 12:45 pm

  25. Goodness, after reviewing the pitchers after Wilson I take that back. He’s ranked right where he should be.

    Comment by Scott — October 31, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

  26. Hard to see a 41-year-old LOOGY as much more than a bit-part player. That said, I’d love to see my team (Cardinals) in for him if he’s on offer for <$3m. I think he ends up back at the Rangers for one more year, though.

    I'd argue that Papelbon is sorta lucky to one tier ahead of Bell and Madson; although he had pretty much the best 2011 of any closer, Bell and Madson were both better in 2010 and 2009.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — October 31, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  27. I feel like Derrek Lee should be on there somewhere

    Comment by john sparrow — October 31, 2011 @ 12:54 pm

  28. Papelbon: he’s still a reliever. Notice that he has the lowest 3 year WAR of any player in the bunch? Being a great reliever doesn’t make you a great player.

    Buehrle: He consistently out performs his xFIP with a low HR/FB. His xFIP is really middle of the rotation stuff; he can be counted on for innings,but the strikeout rate is low, and I think most teams would be reluctant to project continued success for more than one or two more seasons.

    Comment by philosofool — October 31, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  29. Will Yu Darvish be posted this winter? If so, where would he slot on this list? CJ Wilson territory just due to the uncertainty of how well his stuff would translate, or higher?

    Comment by 300ZXNA — October 31, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

  30. Edwin Jackson is the 10th best FA? This is going to be a terrible off-season.

    Comment by drewcorb — October 31, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  31. I also thought Buehrle should go up a category. There is an enormous amount of value in a good pitcher who doesn’t get injured. His consistency over such a long period is I think what would cause teams to project continued success.

    Needless to say, it doesn’t much matter what category he’s in. We know he’s pretty good, but not going to be a Cy Young contender. A solid number two type pitcher who could have a very good season in a ballpark with a nice deep outfield.

    Comment by Gabriel — October 31, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  32. I felt the table lacked a risk/reward calculation. So Dejesus was calculated as a “solid regular,” when in reality he could be a very good player if he bounces back from an awful season in Oakland.

    The same applies to Sizemore, who at his best was a star, but has been injured for years, and Thome, who has continued to be an excellent DH, though he’s ancient.

    Comment by Gabriel — October 31, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  33. After the top 9 or 10, it drops off a cliff.

    Comment by GiantHusker — October 31, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  34. If there is a definition of a “Free Agent Trap Player”, the picture next to it is surely Jose Reyes’s baseball card. I cannot really see how he’s ranked ahead of Sabathia or Fielder and it’s pretty easy to argue Wilson’s a better bet as well.

    Comment by The Real Neal — October 31, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  35. We are all role players. Just ask Shakespeare if you don’t believe me.

    Comment by GiantHusker — October 31, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

  36. Isn’t a 60 inning pitcher the definition of ‘Part-timer’?

    Comment by Norm — October 31, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  37. I think that joke is over.

    Comment by GiantHusker — October 31, 2011 @ 1:32 pm

  38. Ortiz jumped out at me as the most overrated player on the list.

    Comment by GiantHusker — October 31, 2011 @ 1:33 pm

  39. CHEN!

    Comment by adohaj — October 31, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  40. Agree very strongly. He’s a great player, but he will undoubtedly get paid more than what he is really worth. And while that can be said about most FAs, especially the ones at the top of the list, I think it will be more drastic for Reyes.

    Comment by Telo — October 31, 2011 @ 1:37 pm

  41. An excellent job, Dave Cameron.
    The free agent leaderboard will be a welcome addition.

    Comment by GiantHusker — October 31, 2011 @ 1:38 pm

  42. no chance

    Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — October 31, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  43. Not if you’re the White Sox, it’s not.

    Comment by 2nd Half Adjustments — October 31, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  44. I don’t see how Kuroda rates higher than Buehrle.

    Comment by 2nd Half Adjustments — October 31, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

  45. “after you get past the big four.” He wasn’t saying it’s not a very good free agent crop overall.

    Although one could make that argument.

    Comment by Ari Collins — October 31, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

  46. So we’re thinking he goes to the Mets, or Cubs then with an outside chance of Nats?

    Comment by Barkey Walker — October 31, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  47. Reasonable chance Thome hangs up the cleats this winter, right?

    If he doesn’t I see him taking one of three roads: (a) signing with Philadelphia for peanuts ($0.75M + 0.75M bonus for total # of games) or (b) Signing with Texas ($3-4M), or (c) signing with Cleveland ($1M).

    Comment by Barkey Walker — October 31, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  48. You are underestimating Javier Vazquez, who in my mind is a slight peg above kuroda

    Comment by Jeffrey gross — October 31, 2011 @ 2:25 pm

  49. As far as he’s fallen, Jones can still hit for some power, even if his home parks have helped him out the past few years. Maybe if Fukudome could play some CF you could argue he belongs in the top 50, but he’s pretty much stuck in a corner, so I don’t think he’s the better spare outfielder.

    Comment by Jack Nugent — October 31, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  50. IDK Dave, David Dejesus is at 23 and he could end up being a great add for the right team.

    Comment by Chair — October 31, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  51. Four years ago, sabermetric commentators said the exact same thing about Buehrle. They saw that he outperformed his FIP, they saw the low K rate, and they all said that he was going to hit the wall soon, that the White Sox were CRAZY to give him a 4 year deal.

    And during those four years, he was the exact same pitcher that he’s always been.

    I understand why stat-heads are skeptical about him. But people have been predicting that he’s going to crash and burn for years now, and he hasn’t yet. At this point, it seems much more probable that the standard advanced metrics simply don’t tell the whole story with Buehrle.

    Comment by Red Line Trane — October 31, 2011 @ 3:10 pm

  52. There’s something wrong with a list that rates Edwin Jackson higher than Mark Buehrle. Not sure what it is, but something’s very wrong.

    Comment by Michael — October 31, 2011 @ 3:52 pm

  53. Red Line,

    For that reason, GM’s should be wary of Buehrle. If no one seems to know how Buehrle gets it done, how do you know he will be able to continue his success in a new environment. What if it’s his pitching coach? Or something peculiar about the infield at Comiskey? How much is it due to his teammates’ defense? What kind of voodoo does he use to keep his ERA a half a run under his SIERA, and will it still work in Fenway Park?

    One small thing…. Groundballers and pitchers who allow a lot of balls in play (of which Buehrle is both) naturally create more unearned runs, which obviously don’t show up in ERA. For instance, this past year, Buehrle allowed 0.48 unearned runs per nine innings, compared to the AL average of 0.36 unearned runs/9. So that’s a tiny part of the reason his ERA always looks so good.

    Comment by Yirmiyahu — October 31, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  54. I think he was joking

    Comment by Luke — October 31, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  55. i’d rather have malholm or capuano than kuroda, given his age. and javy more so than either of them

    Comment by Kyle — October 31, 2011 @ 5:35 pm

  56. Can you retitle the “Decent Part-Timers” tier to “Potential Rays Starters”?

    Thanks,

    Comment by JKB — October 31, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  57. Vazquez belongs on the “avoid at any cost” list.

    Comment by Tanned Tom — October 31, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  58. With Reyes’ injury concerns, rumors about his attitude, how can any besides the desperate consider giving him more than 3 years. If there was a list of “players most likely to return to earth”, call it the John Lackey award, Reyes might be top of the list.

    Comment by Tanned Tom — October 31, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

  59. Absolutely! Jackson is on his 7th team in 9 years, had a so-what year in a crummy division and has a career ERA of 4.46. Please! Buehrle’s career ERA is 3.83, all done in the DH league, he is super reliable, etc. There really is no comparison between these two players. Buehrle is a #2 or #3 starter on a pennant winning caliber team, Jackson will be the guy you slot in at #5 and hope he stays healthy until some AAA pitcher is ready.

    Comment by Tanned Tom — October 31, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  60. I swear, do you guys ever WATCH games? And I mean at the park, not on TV while your checking your email and playing spades. Would you have urged the Braves to dump Warren Spahn because ” no one seems to know how he gets it done”? Or would you ascribe Andy Pettitte’s success to voodoo, or some pecularity of the Yankee infield? For a single season anything could make a difference. But for 11 years?! Must be some strong voodoo, I think it’s called talent and mental toughness.

    Comment by Tanned Tom — October 31, 2011 @ 8:07 pm

  61. Mark has a higher FIP and a much lower K/9 rating than Edwin. That’s probably the big factor in all of this

    Comment by beastwarking — October 31, 2011 @ 8:20 pm

  62. Better pull CC down :).

    Comment by Playoffs!?! — October 31, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

  63. You already did, you guys are good.

    Comment by Playoffs!?! — October 31, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

  64. Strikeout potential? I noticed that despite similar innings, and Kuroda having a better FIP in 2011, Buehrle accumulated more WAR. Is this because of the AL/NL difference?

    Comment by Mariners Fan — October 31, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

  65. An RP who can put up 6 freaking win over replacement is an All-Star to me. No?

    Comment by Kampfer — October 31, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  66. Dave would really rather pay Colon or Chen than Harden?

    Comment by cs3 — October 31, 2011 @ 9:40 pm

  67. and Roger Bernadina is a Dutch Crunch Roll.
    Ichirio is a Spicy Tuna Roll.
    Arod is obviously a Fruit Roll Up.

    Comment by cs3 — October 31, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

  68. I guess, but I feel like relievers are a special circumstance. I dunno, I guess I’m wrong in my classification of relievers because I probably wouldn’t pay them a tremendous amount.

    Comment by AndyS — October 31, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  69. The Giants, no doubt…

    Comment by Mike — October 31, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

  70. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature! Who doesn’t want to gentrify baseball? Amirite?

    Comment by Ari Collins — October 31, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

  71. 6.2 WAR over three seasons…i doubt pujols is a 21 win player

    Comment by Pat — October 31, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

  72. There was a point there where Carlos Pena was on the Rays and so overrated.
    Thankfully, the fact that the Cubs signed him immediately brought his badness into the light.

    Comment by YazInLeft8 — October 31, 2011 @ 11:11 pm

  73. No Juan Pierre? I mean Andruw Jones is even on the list.

    Comment by Tony — October 31, 2011 @ 11:35 pm

  74. Yu Darvish does not slot on this list. It’s a list that depends based upon the players’ 3-year WAR, and Yu Darvish’s 3-year WAR is undefined. (It’s not zero. Zero would project him as a replacement level player, and that is a projection.) This site doesn’t project a Japanese player’s equivalent WAR any more than it posts their zodiac sign, nor the alignment of the moon with Jupiter.

    Comment by Garrett — November 1, 2011 @ 1:04 am

  75. In my opinion, closers should be nothing more than part-timers (even though contract size can make it appear otherwise)… Papelbon is a luxury item for most teams. There are too many great relief pitchers out there.

    Comment by baty — November 1, 2011 @ 5:42 am

  76. I agree… you have a range of potential contract lengths and an attempt to consider the implications would be cool. For instance, Sizemore’s role/value could be interpreted very differently between a 1 and 3 year deal. Sizemore might get over payed as a 1 year commitment considering his issues, but he could be a benefit for years 2 and/or 3.

    Maybe a risk factor that determines a +/- value throughout a 5 year span could be interesting, complicated, but I don’t know.

    Comment by baty — November 1, 2011 @ 6:07 am

  77. Cubs? Really? Two words. Starlin Castro. Brewers maybe, even possibly but never Cubs. Theo isn’t going to splash big for a guy that will be past it by the time they contend.
    I agree he’s a Pavano waiting to happen; sign big injured early comes back to soon then permanently damaged.

    Comment by Merlin — November 1, 2011 @ 6:11 am

  78. Edwin Jackson = AJ Burnett – consistency. Why anyone hoping to win anything signs him is beyond me. So, I hope the Yankees sign him and make he and AJ roommates. A matching pair of bookends.

    Comment by Merlin — November 1, 2011 @ 6:14 am

  79. I think one of the big reasons behind Buehrle’s ability to out-perform his FIP for such a long period of time is that he is one of the best fielding pitchers in the game, and he controls the game with men on base superbly (good pitching from the stretch, great pick-off move, works quickly). Those are only incremental benefits, but they are constant to his pitching, and presumably not a statistical artefact (i.e. they are “real”), and could underlie a large amount of his ability to beat his FIP.

    Comment by Felonius_Monk — November 1, 2011 @ 6:57 am

  80. In part. But Buerhle also has to work in a much smaller park and is a better fielder. He’s not flashy, but Mark Buerhle is certainly better than a ‘solid regular.’

    Comment by 2ndHalfAdjustments — November 1, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  81. Thank Goodness. The Bruce Chen jokes were old 2 months ago.

    Comment by JT Grace — November 1, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  82. Alex gonzalez doesn’t even make the list as a decent part-timer. I really hope the Braves don’t bring that guy back next year.

    Comment by JT Grace — November 1, 2011 @ 8:26 am

  83. Predictions for the Giants, Husker ?

    Comment by Scout Finch — November 1, 2011 @ 9:44 am

  84. correct Michael. Obviously ratings are skewed by age but Buehrle will get a 3 yr deal and Jax prob 4, not a big difference. Bottom line is that Buehrle is still a very effective SP. I think the Yanks pursue him.

    Comment by Mitch — November 1, 2011 @ 9:49 am

  85. who cares? Buehrle’s OPS against was .728, 57th best in 2011. EdJax? .768, 75th highest SPer.

    Comment by Mitch — November 1, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  86. Mark Buehrle would be Tampa Bay’s #4 or 5

    Comment by Drew — November 1, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  87. Nah, the picture next to ‘Free Agent Trap Player’ in the dictionary is Alfonso Soriano, circa 2006.

    Comment by NBarnes — November 1, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  88. Aj has a consistency??

    Comment by Kyle — November 1, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  89. As a Yankee fan there were many times when Pena was at the plate and I was terrified.

    Comment by Playoffs!?! — November 1, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  90. Didn’t the Yankees already extend player number three?

    Comment by mrg — November 2, 2011 @ 8:37 am

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