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  1. Excited am I… I think Longoria’s injury h/x makes him slip this year…

    Comment by ALEastbound — July 16, 2012 @ 1:15 pm

  2. Names I’d expect to leave the list altogether: Rickie Weeks (9), Ubaldo Jimenez (25), Michael Pineda (32), Alexei Ramirez (34), Danny Espinosa (48), Alex Avila (49)

    Names the future of will be a question of great intrigue: Jon Lester (18), Tommy Hanson (23), Tim Lincecum (33)

    Kevin Youkilis (29) was certainly not traded for a top-30 haul, either.

    tl;dr: It’s been a very interesting year.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 16, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

  3. At least #1 and #2 have written themselves. Trout and Harper.

    Comment by Justin — July 16, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

  4. I think a very good case could be made for Strasburg over Harper, the typical caveats about position players v pitchers notwithstanding.

    Comment by Josh — July 16, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  5. I will be surprised if the number one spot will probably be poached by either Trout or Harper.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a complete changeover in the top ten. With only three of the top ten (Votto, Heyward and McCutchen) not having a down year or injury troubles (And Votto’s trade value is potentially hampered by that huge money contract), I wouldn’t be surprised to see the entire list upended.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 16, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  6. Wouldn’t at all be surprised by this. Also wouldn’t be surprised by Strasburg as the top pitcher. Can’t count out big jumps by Cutch, Andrus, or Stanton, either.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 16, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  7. Which has long been the argument why he wasn’t so stupid to sign that contract when he did.

    Comment by MikeS — July 16, 2012 @ 1:21 pm

  8. I think the traditional caveats you mention are sufficient to eliminate any case Strasburg may have. He’s already had one major surgery and while he’s clearly recovering fine, Harper’s being three or four years younger and having some extra time under team control means he’s probably got the better trade value.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 16, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  9. Well, that was pretty awful wording on my first sentence. Should read that “I will be surprised if the number one spot isn’t poached by Trout or Harper.”

    Comment by Jonathan — July 16, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  10. Calling Mike Trout, the #1 spot awaits.
    Longoria should still be top 5.

    Comment by Rey22 — July 16, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  11. We’re all about to get Trouted.

    Comment by Bryan Grosnick — July 16, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  12. Votto’s trade value is more than hampered by $225M (compared to what it was before)

    Comment by Tyler — July 16, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  13. #3 Strasburg?
    #4 Bautista?

    Comment by jw — July 16, 2012 @ 1:27 pm

  14. I hadn’t bothered to look at the listing at the time I made that remark. Now that I have, I’ll change my statement to:

    Votto may well be off the list entirely, much less out of the top ten. If Adrian Gonzalez failed to make the list last year with his numbers and his contract, there is no way in heck that Votto should rate this list with his contract, even with his numbers.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 16, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  15. Granted, he was in a contract year, but a certain first baseman from St Louis was also omitted from the list. And the highest-ranked Yankee is #42.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 16, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  16. Everyone saying the top spot will be Trout OR Harper.

    These two players are 1 year apart in age. It’s not nothing, but neither is the gap in their production. Trout is faster, a better defender, a better hitter, a base stealer, hits more homeruns. There is no “or”. It’s an illusion that’s been played up by the media and a result of circumstance.

    Bryce Harper may be top 10 for this list, and he may be ROY, but Mike Trout has proven himself (yes, in 70 games) to be on an entirely different level. Bryce Harper is potentially a once in a decade player, Mike Trout is potentially a once in a lifetime player. There is no “or”.

    Comment by JeffMathisCera — July 16, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  17. If you weren’t considering Votto’s pending FA status when you voted last year, you were doing it wrong. That’s not a problem with valuing low-cost over high-production, it’s a problem with evaluating what low-cost is.

    Comment by byron — July 16, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  18. Trout seems an easy #1 right now. I expect Austin Jackson to make his debut this time around.

    Comment by Chris — July 16, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

  19. Trout is faster and a better defender, yes, but hitting is about the same, and he has substantially less power than Harper. Harper is a full year younger. They’re both excellent. There is an “or.”

    Comment by byron — July 16, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  20. Everyone heard Harper had more power coming up.

    Right now, numbers tell a different story. I’m not saying Harper won’t continue to develop, but if (when) he starts out slugging Trout, it may be by much less of a margin than previously thought.

    Comment by JeffMathisCera — July 16, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

  21. Ohh, what’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would Longoria still have gotten hurt if he hadn’t signed a team-friendly extension?


    Comment by Big Jgke — July 16, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

  22. something like this?

    Comment by Big Jgke — July 16, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  23. I think McCutchen’s got a really good case for the number four spot considering Bautista’s rough start.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 16, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

  24. Also, this myth that they are hitting about the same right now. Let me dispel that.

    Trout: .349/.403/.574 with 12 HR, 19 2Bs, 3 3Bs, and 30 SBs
    Harper: .273/.345/.454 with 8 HR, 15 2Bs, 4 3B, and 11 SB

    Comment by JeffMathisCera — July 16, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

  25. It was essentially Pujols’ contract year that kept him off AND the fact he was hurt and having a “down” year when the list was made. There was a lot working against him.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 16, 2012 @ 1:50 pm

  26. Bumgarner was/is better than at least half the pitchers on last year’s list, even setting aside his cost, so I’ll be curious to see where he ends up this year. His new deal sure seems team-friendly to me, and it’s impossible to argue with his production thus far in his short career. He’s so mature, both physically and approach-wise, that I think people gloss over the fact that he’s still just 22. At least, that’s how I rationalize his apparent under-rating (throughout baseball, not just on last year’s Trade Value list).

    Comment by Graham — July 16, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  27. What did Mike Trout’s numbers look like last year, when he was 19? Bryce Harper has not proven that he is below Mike Trout yet.

    Comment by Jordan — July 16, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  28. After 70 games or so in 2010, Heyward was being compared to Griffey, A-Rod, etc….Trout will be special, but he will have struggles also, will have to learn to make adjustments, etc.

    Comment by Andrew — July 16, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  29. I didn’t mean they were hitting about the same, I meant that their hit tool was was about the same. Every scout said that Harper has generational power. Unanimous 80s. Trout has really nice power for a slick fielding CF. That’s a big difference. I am not arguing Harper is better, but to act like the book is closed is insane. You are not “dispelling” any “myths” or “illusions,” so drop the condescension.

    Comment by byron — July 16, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  30. Austin Jackson to definitely make his debut, probably in the top 30, while Trout and Harper will probably be #1/#2. I’m sure Cutch will grab a top 5 spot as well.

    All hail the outfielders! And mostly centerfielders.

    Comment by Ryan — July 16, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

  31. Most every other player would be lucky to be playing so rough…

    Comment by Jason B — July 16, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

  32. Trout should be number one this year. Next year, he could well be number two.

    He has 14 months on Harper. It’s not like he turned 20 just before the season started and Harper turns 20 right after the season ends. Trout turns 21 next month, Harper 20 during the playoffs.

    Trout needed 135 PA to adjust to the Majors. Harper needed, basically, 0.

    Trout has not proven himself “to be on an entirely different level.”

    Comment by Person — July 16, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  33. Exactly. The Angels fan posting this is not gonna compare Mike Trout’s age 19/first big-league action numbers to Bryce Harper’s age 19/first big-league action numbers because then his argument will be invalid.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 16, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  34. Fish Slapping Dance: greatest Monty Python moment, or greatest TV history moment?

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 16, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  35. Given, but that doesn’t discount the fact he had an awful start to the season. His OPS got as low as around .650 over a month in and he didn’t top .800 until just over a month ago.

    He seems to be back in the swing of things, but that stretch to start the year was the first sign of mortality he’s shown since 2009 and has to hurt his value somewhat.

    He’s still got extremely high trade value, but I don’t see top five as being viable with his early season struggles and the insane numbers McCutchen’s been putting up from an even more premium position for less money and with more team control.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 16, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  36. I do love a good riesling-poached trout.

    Though only if that trout is obtained legally… poached poached trout is just not worth tangling with the game wardens.

    Comment by Ludwig von Koopa — July 16, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  37. I wonder if Madison Bumgarner will be forgotten again this year.

    Comment by Naveed — July 16, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

  38. If Johnny Cueto doesn’t crack this list, imma puke.

    Comment by KMiB — July 16, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

  39. Mike Trout has proven himself (yes, in 70 games) to be on an entirely different level. Bryce Harper is potentially a once in a decade player, Mike Trout is potentially a once in a lifetime player. There is no “or”.

    You’re cute.

    Comment by Baron Samedi — July 16, 2012 @ 3:32 pm

  40. My top ten:


    Comment by Ron Paul — July 16, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  41. I think Cameron is on the record as favoring Harper over Trout, if only slightly. No way Trout gets #1 on this list.

    Comment by Bookbook — July 16, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

  42. Carlos Santana for Casey Blake.


    Comment by WSC — July 16, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  43. There is a decent chance Harper will spend the next 2-3 years at basically the offensive production he’s at now, with improved defense and baserunning. Comparing this exercise to the franchise player one, you’re not getting those age 26-29 seasons for Harper (and 27-30 for Trout). I can see Trout as a top-3, maybe #1 though I’d stick with the proven 5-8 WAR player, but Harper is not there yet. I’d put him cusp top-10.

    Comment by TKDC — July 16, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  44. Yeah, Trout is just so unbelievably good that I think he has to go #1. That said, Dave has repeatedly said that he prefers Harper over Trout (he says he prefers Harper’s insane upside; I’m not convinced his upside is higher than Trout’s but whatever) so I wouldn’t be shocked if Harper is #1.

    Still, even with both of these amazing young talents AND with Longoria’s injury problems continuing…just look at that contract! He’s going to make $36 million over the next four years. I agree he still has to be top 5. That contract is just nuts.

    Comment by GoToWarMissAgnes — July 16, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  45. Trout has to be running ahead of Harper at this point. Yes, Harper *probably* gets to the MVP level next year… at the same age Trout is playing at an MVP-level.

    But, for both of them, remember Jason Heyward.

    Either way, Trout, Cutch, Harper, Joey Bats, and probably Giancarlo for my top 5.

    Comment by John Franco — July 16, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

  46. Youkilis at 29 looks laughable now.

    Comment by lol — July 16, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  47. I can’t help but feel that we are a bit quick to crown Trout the king of everything, between his awful debut last year and the fact that his current numbers – especially the .433 wOBA and .401 BABIP – are bound to see sizeable drops. Special talent? Yes, absolutely. But a revolutionary player who is capable of being one of the most offensive forces ever at the age of 20? Probably not.

    Comment by kid — July 16, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  48. I look forward to Miguel Cabrera’s appearance on the list this year.

    Comment by the fume — July 16, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  49. I think McCutchen is number two behind Trout. Harper has been good but not great, and Cutch is the best player in baseball right now. Not to mention he’s only 25 and locked up to a fairly team friendly contract through 2018.

    Comment by Connor — July 16, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  50. If Harper has 11 career WAR halfway through 2014, as Heyward does now, he’d have had incredible age 20-21 seasons.

    The Heyward-bust narrative is ridiculous.

    Comment by TKDC — July 16, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

  51. I think the top 3 should be McCutchen, Trout, and Harper, though you can easily make a case for Trout being #1. It’s just that proven commodities should be a little more valuable and it’s not like Cutch is expensive anyways.

    This just goes to show how quickly things can change in baseball, I think players improve and decline more quickly than any other sport. I guess it’s the random variation of hitting a round ball and seeing where it falls, I don’t know?

    Comment by Pat — July 16, 2012 @ 7:29 pm

  52. Person, Harper is performing great for his age – but he’s nothing more than a solid OF at this point. Trout is the top choice for MVP. How is that not an entirely different level?

    Harper may turn out to be the better player of the two, but at this point I don’t see how he can be ranked #1.

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 16, 2012 @ 8:46 pm

  53. I can’t picture Votto being top-10. If he was let loose by the Reds right now, how many teams would put in a waiver claim? Even without giving up any talent, I don’t know if (m)any teams would take on that contract.

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 16, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  54. Well said. Another thing about Harper is that his OPS has gone down about 90 points from May->June and June->July. He was great out of the shoot, which people didn’t expect at his age – but the league has adjusted to him, and he hasn’t adjusted on his end.

    Comment by vivalajeter — July 16, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

  55. Yeah, my first paragraph: “Trout should be number one this year. Next year, he could well be number two.” Was replying to the finality of the original comment.

    Comment by hscer — July 16, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

  56. What time was the 2011 trade value series done? Was it around the trade deadline last year? I would have much rather had 2 1/2 years of Cano than a lot of the players ahead of him.

    Comment by Dustin — July 17, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  57. How is Matt Kemp not on this list?

    Comment by Meatslab — July 17, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  58. Thanks, the only reason I was going to read this series was to see your Top Ten.
    You’ve saved me a lot of reading.

    Comment by Baltar — July 17, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

  59. I’m more curious to see Dave backtrack on not putting Mat Latos in the top 50 last year despite being a 22 year old pitcher coming off a 4 WAR season. I argued for his placement then, and I argue it now, especially after seeing the Padres get Grandal, Volquez, Boxberger, and that guy who hits like a poor SS that plays 1B in exchange for him…basically destroying the premise that he isn’t valued as a top 50 guy.

    Comment by Marver — July 17, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

  60. 23*

    Comment by Marver — July 17, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  61. Yeah, Bumgarner has to be on there this year. He was the biggest omission last year, he’s only solidified his status as a #2-type starter, and his contract is incredibly team friendly.

    Comment by Scott — July 17, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

  62. Santana isn’t looking that great this year, and his defense doesn’t look like he’s going to stay at catcher long-term. I see him dropping pretty far down the list. With that said: Carlos Santana for Casey Blake.

    Comment by Scott — July 17, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  63. Wow, Youk was top 30. The Red Sox PAID to get rid of him this year.

    Comment by Scott — July 17, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  64. the “awful debut last year” narrative is also one that needs to be dispelled. the only part of his game that was “awful” was AVG/BABIP fuled.

    he put up a .171 ISO in the major leagues as a 19-year-old, popping 5 HR and 6 2B in 135 PA (40 G). If you do the admittedly flawed “projected to a full season” exercise, multiplying his numbers by 4 (40 games is a quarter season) you would have 80 R, 20 HR, 64 RBI, 16 SB. With some BABIP normalizing (.247 is ridiculously low for a fast guy like Trout) his AVG last year should have been 40-50 points higher. Through in the plus defense in CF and he was worth 0.8 WAR in that quarter season. That is terrific production for a 19-year-old.

    Comment by batpig — July 17, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  65. Top 10:
    G. Stanton

    Comment by Jace Wayland — July 20, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

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