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  1. Where would Wieters sit on the Top 50 list?

    Comment by Mike M — July 20, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

  2. Did I miss Wainwright in the top 50? Due to the recent surgery I guess?

    Comment by the hottest stove — July 20, 2012 @ 3:44 pm

  3. So: Trout, Harper, McCutchen…

    Comment by Person — July 20, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  4. … Juan Uribe ….

    Comment by Nils — July 20, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  5. 1- Trout
    2- Harper
    3- ‘Cutch
    4 -Stanton
    5-Longoria

    ????

    Comment by CJH88 — July 20, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  6. Longoria, Votto?

    Comment by Erix — July 20, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  7. Longoria and Stanton

    Comment by TKDC — July 20, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  8. This looks right.

    @Erix Votto was 26th.

    Comment by Person — July 20, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

  9. Longoria and Stanton

    Comment by Andrew — July 20, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  10. Standon and Longoria.

    Comment by Matt — July 20, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  11. Longo, Stanton

    Comment by colin — July 20, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  12. 38.

    Comment by AA — July 20, 2012 @ 3:50 pm

  13. Votto was 26.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  14. He was on the list, somewhere around #40, I believe.

    Comment by Dor Fong Olf — July 20, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  15. I don’t get the Bautista ranking, compared to Stanton.

    What Stanton does well, Bautista does better. Bautista also seems like the better defensive player. We’re only talking the next 3-4 years, and while yes Bautista should decline, we don’t really have a lot of good comps for a player like him.

    Further, there is a pretty good chance Stanton makes 60ish million dollars by the time he reaches free agency. Bautista is the better player right now (are we even factoring in the fact that Stanton is currently DLed?).

    Also, 14 million dollars in 2016 could easily be a 2 win player. That option still has a lot of value. In short, Bautista is better now, and by the time he is likely to not be better, he will probably be a better deal.

    Comment by TKDC — July 20, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

  16. Question for the author: Would Heyward be ahead of Stanton if the Braves did not bring him up opening day and controlled him through 2016?

    Comment by TKDC — July 20, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

  17. So DWright is no longer in the Top 50 in trade value? A tad harsh.

    Comment by JA311 — July 20, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

  18. I’m assuming he isn’t in the Top 5

    Comment by JA311 — July 20, 2012 @ 3:56 pm

  19. Stanton’s younger and has a bit more team control.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 20, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  20. lol you know Bautista is on the DL right now too right? What does Stanton being on it have to do with anything? Neither injury is serious.

    Santon is 9 years younger than Bautista and is currently way cheaper. You’re also extremely incorrect about Bautista being better defensively, as Stanton has posted UZRs of 8.7, 3.2, and 5.2 the last 3 years while Bautista has put up -7.1, -4.8, and -0.1. Stanton’s wRC+ is 7 points higher than Bautista’s this year despite being AT LEAST 5 years away from his prime, while Bautista will be exiting his soon.

    So what are you talking about again?

    Comment by Cory — July 20, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  21. Only controlled through 2013. In an earlier post, Dave said teams just won’t pay much for a year and a half. The only exception he allowed was Cano, down in the 40s.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  22. Honestly kind of surprised Strasburg didn’t rate the top five. Can’t really argue with the rationale, though.

    Hard to argue against the actual (Presumed) top five anyway. I’d give up a ton for any of them.

    Comment by Jonathan — July 20, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  23. I know Kimbrel is a RP but he has been very valuable and is under team control for four more years. I can understand him not making the list due to the value of RP but would like to know how far off he was.

    Comment by braveslifer — July 20, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  24. I believe Dave has said that Cano is the only player on the list who will be a FA 2013 or sooner.

    Comment by Person — July 20, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  25. What a good time to watch NL outfielders at work. Harper, Cutch, Stanton, Braun, Kemp, Heyward: 6 of the top 10.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 20, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  26. He probably wouldn’t even be in the top 200

    Comment by Cory — July 20, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

  27. Interesting question. Stanton’s generating his most obvious value through homers, which are bankable in any day and age, whereas Heyward’s doing a lot of his damage in the field and on the basepaths. I honestly don’t know who will have the better career or the better next 3-4 years, but I do think Stanton’s skillset generally pays better.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

  28. Fair enough

    Comment by JA311 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  29. If he is traded, the option voids. So he is essentially a rental.

    Comment by Los — July 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  30. No, that’s ridiculous in an age when GMs are handing out $60 million contracts like candy to worse closers. He’s easily a top 100 asset, may have only missed the list by like 10-15 players.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  31. Oh, yeah. Well then, obviously he’s worth very little.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  32. He’s a reliever. He definitely shouldn’t come even close to top 100. GMs giving out stupid contracts when elite relievers are found out of nowhere every single year is absolutely idiotic. Kimbrel belongs nowhere near this list.

    Comment by Cory — July 20, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

  33. So’s Chapman, for the record. And both would likely be overvalued unless you also swapped in a manager who would use them in high leverage non-save situations and the occasional multiple inning appearance.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

  34. Cory: It’s a descriptive list. It’s not how good these players are objectively, it’s how in demand they are. “Proven” closers with tons of saves and strikeouts are definitely overvalued relative to their on-field contributions, but that’s neither here nor there. The question is what you could get in trade for them, not what you would get in trade in a hypothetical perfectly rational market.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

  35. So long as we’re just talking about pleasure in watching, throw in Michael Bourn.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  36. I think Stanton’s gotta be 5th. He still hasn’t put up a full season as good as Longoria’s worst (although he will this year…), and Longo’s contract is still just silly.

    After that, I think my list would be the same. I could see the top 3 being in any order though. McCutchen’s contract is also pretty crazy if he actually is this good.

    Comment by GoToWarMissAgnes — July 20, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  37. Where is Hosmer?

    Comment by Spencer Silva — July 20, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  38. I’m guessing McCutchen will be ahead of Harper. Harper is a fantastic player for his age, but he hasn’t performed at an MVP-contender level yet, while McCutchen has. Also, don’t forget McCutchen is signed through 2017 (club option in 2018) on a very affordable contract.

    Comment by Matthew — July 20, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

  39. That seems like a pretty big omission…

    Comment by Spencer Silva — July 20, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  40. By next year, the best three right fielders in baseball might all be in the NL East and all be 23 or younger.

    Apologies in advance to fans of Arizona, Cincy, Cleveland, Toronto, and of course Kansas City. Your guys are great, too.

    Comment by TKDC — July 20, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  41. Bruce Chen

    Comment by Expos67 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

  42. Fine, looking at them I think Bautista is better defensively, but I’ll drop that.

    Your contention about offense is borderline trolling. This year is an awfully small sample size, and there is a lot of BABIP regresssion you can do. Are you arguing Stanton is a better hitter right now? That’s really what I’m talking about. Baustista is much better right now, SSS aside.

    Comment by TKDC — July 20, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  43. Which of course brings up the question of arbitration. While GMs might covet what Stanton does more, they also know they’ll have to pay a premium through arbitration. While Heyward might be a better player the next 3-4 years, he’ll likely receive 15 million less in arbitration (assuming both continue pretty much as they are now).

    Comment by TKDC — July 20, 2012 @ 4:30 pm

  44. The Yuni trolling is much funnier. This is just sad (because Hosmer had the chance to be great).

    Comment by Anon21 — July 20, 2012 @ 4:31 pm

  45. Craig Kimbrel would be top 20 if your trade partner was Bill Smith.

    Comment by Well-Beered Englishman — July 20, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  46. I’m bewildered at this ranking for Ryan Braun, who’s basically guaranteed to get a 50 game suspension at some point in the next two or three years, and seems like the kind of jerk who won’t take that to heart, and will get a full season suspension on top of it. Between the steroid risk and the fact that he’s just an awful, untrustworthy human being, I think that contract was a horrible move by Milwaukee.

    Comment by JimNYC — July 20, 2012 @ 4:42 pm

  47. I’m sure Hosmer was on the cusp, but the bottom line is that (despite his youth) he does not project to be an elite hitter, which is pretty much required to be valuable at 1B. And it’s not like Hosmer makes up for that with insane defensive value.

    A lot of this reflects the methodological shift that Dave mentioned — bankable superstar production at 1B (Votto, Miggy) is more valuable in trade. 1B are freaking awesome hitters, and Hosmer has been exactly league average so far… pretty nice for a 22 year old, but you need to crush it to be a star at 1B.

    Comment by batpig — July 20, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

  48. um… wow

    Comment by batpig — July 20, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  49. The extension point is a great one, both Braun and Gonzalez are examples of smart GMs. It is a way to lock up those early 30s without having to pay for the late 30s. If you let Braun’s contract run until 2015, it takes a 10 year contract to get him signed again. Of course there is inherent risk in any long-term contract, but it makes sense for the truly elite

    Comment by Dana — July 20, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  50. Another killer post Jim.

    Comment by Nick — July 20, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  51. @TKDC,

    … you realize that Stanton doesn’t turn 23 until after this season, right?

    Stanton’s career wRC+ is 134 up to this point. The four people ahead of him and behind him on that list (qualifying, 22 and under, and dating back to 1977) are as follows:

    Pujols (153)
    Rickey Henderson (138)
    Alex Rodriguez (135)
    Griffey Jr. (135)
    Stanton (134)
    Miguel Cabrera (131)
    Darryl Strawberry (131)
    Eddie Murray (131)
    Tim Raines (130)

    Stanton is making $480K in 2012. The other eight guys at the top of the “22 and under” wRC+ list all produced significantly higher wRC+ in their 23-26 seasons.

    Pujols (175)
    Rickey Henderson (157)
    Alex Rodriguez (155)
    Griffey Jr. (156)
    Stanton (???)
    Miguel Cabrera (141)
    Darryl Strawberry (156)
    Eddie Murray (143)
    Tim Raines (156)

    From age 23-26, Miguel Cabrera’s 141 was offset by the loss of over 20 runs from defense and baserunning. He was a 1B for that entire time, so the hitting level of a replacement for him would have been higher. He was worth 20.5 WAR over that period of time.

    Stanton is an OF and he doesn’t suck. For his career, he is +13 runs from defense and baserunning over 2.5 seasons. Over four seasons, that would end up grossing up to something around +20.

    If you use Cabrera’s 20.5 WAR as a baseline, ignore the difference in positional value, and tack on another 4 wins for defense and baserunning, you end up with a 5-6 WAR/year player who is making $480,000 in 2012.

    Stanton has accumulated 2+ years of MLB service. I’m not sure if he’ll have Super 2 status or not, but let’s say that he’ll be arb-eligible after this year. I read somewhere that the rule of thumb for arbitration is that you can expect to make roughly your value multiplied by (1 minus 20% times “years of arbitration remaining”). In Stanton’s case, that would be 40% of what he’s worth next year, then 60%, then 80%. Arbitration is largely based on precedent, but Stanton is likely to always have sexy HR numbers, so he would probably fair moderately well in actual hearings.

    The Marlins could easily get another three wins out of him this year for next to nothing. Even if he only ends up being worth 5 WAR per year, and assuming that a win is worth $5M, that means his surplus value would be about $15M for the rest of this year, then $15M in 2013, $10M in 2014 and $15M in 2015.

    Even in that example, there is the potential that Stanton puts up a few 7 or 8 WAR seasons. He’s a top notch power hitter just entering his physical prime.

    Bautista is also producing at a high level and is signed to a team-friendly deal. But Stanton is clearly demonstrating HOF-caliber skill for his age level. And it is pretty likely that he’ll even improve from this point going forward. Bautista simply can’t be expected to improve his fundamental skillset in future years.

    So, … yeah. I would rank Stanton ahead of Bautista. I would probably rank Stanton ahead of everyone not named “Mike Trout”. I might be talked into Bryce Harper at #2, but Stanton’s present power is probably too much for me to switch the two.

    Comment by rogue_actuary — July 20, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

  52. I can’t see any team trading, say, Alcides Escobar (#47) or Gallardo (#49) for Kimbrel straight up.

    That being said, to the right team in the right situation Kimbrel has more value than either of them in a short playoff series. Top 50? No. But I doubt he’s more than 20 or 30 players away from this list.

    Comment by kp — July 20, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

  53. I know he’s only got a year and a half left, but no Jacoby Ellsbury? As a Rays fan, I would gladly trade Zobrist for Ellsbury. I’d have thought he’d be right there with Cano.

    Comment by Guest — July 20, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  54. Injury concerns are omnipresent, he’s an FA in 2013 and, unlike Cano, his major league success is limited to only last season.

    Comment by JM — July 20, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  55. Well, specifically in this context of trade value, I think he wouldn’t rank very high. I would actually place a lot of value on a consistent reliever. The Hoffman/Wagner types, it’s a great boost when you can count on a consistent bullpen arm from year to year.

    But … as many have said, acceptably good relievers do always seem to fall out of the woodwork, and if you’re really in trouble picking up an RP for a playoff push is never all that costly.

    Push came to shove, if there was an above average but maybe not all-star position player anywhere up for trade, you’d very likely pull the trigger to acquire them at the price of Kimbrel, amazing though he is.

    Comment by Mac — July 20, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

  56. Are you serious or is this just Blue Jay fan trolling?

    Comment by schlomsd — July 20, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  57. I googled both “Ryan Braun adultery NYC” and “Ryan Braun auto pet” and nothing came up. Shame on the mainstream media for missing the big story of Braun either sleeping with JimNYC’s wife/girlfriend or running over his pet with his car.

    Comment by schlomsd — July 20, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

  58. I think you’re assuming a little too early that Hosmer won’t be elite. As for Votto, he’s 29, expensive, and will be expensive into his late 30′s.

    Comment by KCDaveInLA — July 20, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  59. kp, tbh, I think that if Alcides Escobar were offered for Kimbrel, the Braves would the first to hang up. Not saying it should be that way, but I think that’s the way most teams see proven RP dominance.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — July 20, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  60. Just to let everyone know, I gave this post a thumbs up. If you didn’t know, I love comedy.

    Comment by ppabich — July 20, 2012 @ 8:17 pm

  61. Its too bad that Prince wasn’t interested in signing long-term deals early. He was offered essentially the same deal that Braun took. Can you imagine if Milwaukee had both of them locked up long-term to fairly reasonable contracts?

    Comment by Bob — July 20, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

  62. hahah- oh, you weren’t joking? HAHAHAHA

    Comment by jim — July 21, 2012 @ 1:02 am

  63. That is a low blow.

    Comment by TKDC — July 21, 2012 @ 2:29 am

  64. Based on the contract and how great of a player he is when healthy, I still say Evan Longoria should be number 1. Trout and Harper are amazing talents Mccutchen has came on strong this year, but Longoria has performed at a 6+ war per season level for his entire career, is still young and controlled for 5? more years at bargain rates.

    Comment by Tim — July 21, 2012 @ 3:10 am

  65. I guess being rated the most valueable pitcher in the game isn’t enough?

    Comment by Ryan S — July 21, 2012 @ 6:47 am

  66. Had the chance? Did his career end this week and I missed it?

    Comment by Ryan S — July 21, 2012 @ 6:48 am

  67. Interesting. The “when healthy” is a key qualifier as, if you were the GM offered McCutchen for Longoria, the injuries that dogged him last year and have kept him out this year have to be considered. Throw in that McCutchen’s one year younger, is under team control for two extra years and has progressed from 3.7 to 5.7 to an 8+ WAR pace and I would prefer McCutchen.

    Comment by hk — July 21, 2012 @ 6:50 am

  68. I knew Andrew McCutchen would one day be worth something! Anyone looking for a GM?

    Comment by David Littlefield — July 21, 2012 @ 6:57 am

  69. Dwight Howard?

    Comment by RollTribe — July 21, 2012 @ 9:36 am

  70. Your post is too long, but I’m going to assume you made a good point, because you got so many pluses this far down the comments section.

    Comment by TKDC — July 21, 2012 @ 9:52 am

  71. I don’t think there’s too much comparison between Stanton and Bautista’s value for the rest of 2012. Bautista is a professional masher of taters. This list is about evaluating value/(cost*risk) though, and then accounting for liquidity. Youth and cost control are what push Stanton ahead hear, not current level of play.

    Comment by Doug — July 21, 2012 @ 10:00 am

  72. here*…

    Comment by Doug — July 21, 2012 @ 10:01 am

  73. Stanton’s age 22 season was on pace to meet or exceed Longoria’s.
    http://www.fangraphs.com/graphsw.aspx?players=4949,9368

    Comment by James — July 21, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  74. I guess he still does, but nominating him for this list when he’s been so forgettable/bad in his MLB action so far seems like a cruel joke.

    Comment by Anon21 — July 21, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  75. I’d take Harper over Stanton just for the 2 extra years of control at the league minimum. Stanton’s going to be better than Harper for the next 3 years, but I don’t think that he’s going to more -valuable- with his arbitration raises.

    Comment by YanksFanInBeantown — July 21, 2012 @ 5:45 pm

  76. Longoria is the most over rated player in baeball.

    Comment by deadhead — July 21, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  77. He’s not the best defensive center fielder around and his lingering hamstring problems are a bit of a concern, but Kemp is still a 27-year-old five tool superstar

    *face-palm*

    According to defensive WAR, and most defensive metrics, Kemp is consistently one of the worst defenders in baseball.

    Comment by Matt — July 22, 2012 @ 1:06 am

  78. had the same reaction to that stmt by dave. defense is one of the 5 tools, right? maybe dave meant that since he can hold down a premium defensive position (even being below avg), he has defense as a tool. certainly has more defensive value than miguel cabrera right?

    Comment by brendan — July 22, 2012 @ 2:39 am

  79. lets trade me and will venable for dan haren and pujols ill even give the angels back amastria

    Comment by chrisdenorfia — July 22, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  80. And he’s an up-the-middle player.

    Trout
    McCutch
    Longo
    Harper
    Stanton

    Comment by cwendt — July 22, 2012 @ 10:37 am

  81. But it hasn’t as of yet, and he’s not under a ridiculously team-friendly contract.

    Comment by GoToWarMissAgnes — July 22, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

  82. Yeah I think I have to agree. I didn’t realize quite how crazy McCutchen’s contract is. That said, Cameron is a huge Harper fan (beyond the sense that we all are). Not sure that the argument can still be made that Harper’s power gives him a higher upside than Trout since Trout is currently putting up a season better than anyone’s peak can reasonably be projected to be (his WAR/game translates to 11.5 WAR in 150 games).

    Anyway, my best guess is Trout, Cutch, Harper, Longo, Stanton. The only real question to me is Harper/Longo. The other three are pretty entrenched as I see it.

    Comment by GoToWarMissAgnes — July 22, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  83. pujols is one of the least attractive options around because of his ridiculous contract and declining production. Same as A-Rod.

    Comment by kampfer — July 22, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  84. Still no Melky Cabrera?

    Comment by channelclemente — July 22, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  85. This is based on trade value. Cano is the only player who is a FA before 2014 who made this list, and he was in the 40s. Melky is a FA at the end of this year. As far as trade value goes, he’s much, much lower than the top 50. Much

    Comment by Alex — July 22, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  86. I think 2010 was just an outlier year for him though. He did everything badly that year (compared to the rest of his career) – contact rate, walk rate, strikeouts, defense, baserunning… The advanced defensive stats are rather skewed by that 1 season, and if you take it out, his career UZR/150 is around -5, which sounds about right. I think that’s a fair thing to do when looking at his future value, just like nobody would say Greinke is a bad player because of that year he went through depression, or that Josh Hamilton is a bad player because of his first few seasons, etc.

    Comment by David — July 22, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  87. You’re the first person who has ever called Jim O’Dowd smart.

    Comment by Biancalana — July 23, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  88. One thing you seem to be overlooking when you say that Harper hasn’t “performed at an MVP-contender level yet,” is that he’s 19. To put this in perspective, most of the guys on this list weren’t even in the high minors at 19, let alone playing in the majors and outproducing guys that are in their prime years. You might also compare Harper’s first few months with the time Trout spent in the bigs last year. Even Trout, who is an absolute freak for doing what he’s doing at 20, wasn’t as good as Harper at 19. Harper is only going to get better, grow bigger and stronger, and hit more dingerz in a league that has been sapped of power over the last few years. And while he’s not as fast as Trout (Who is besides Hamilton and Brown), he’s pretty fast, has a cannon for an arm and plays good defense. I love McCutchen, but he’s significantly older than Harper and much of his value is tied to his speed, which fades a lot faster than power does.

    Comment by Pig.Pen — July 23, 2012 @ 9:13 am

  89. He is like an ace except that he never makes it out of the 7th and sometimes not even the 5th.

    Comment by monkey business — July 24, 2012 @ 12:10 am

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