If there’s a troubling tendency of over rated and under rated discussions it’s the nature for players that appear so often on one side or the other that they switch from being perennially under rated to over rated or vice versa. This is usually partly due to repetitive media coverage hammering a player into a certain light (that he is either under rated or over rated) and usually partly due to opinions formed that were valid at the time, but because so much time has passed, that opinion needs to be updated or has become outdated completely.
One such player that I feel has become somewhat overlooked because of an opinion formed a few years ago is Todd Helton. Starting in 2005, when Helton’s slugging dropped off a cliff, his name has been usually referenced in conjunction with his contract and usually using the terms such as untradeable or overpriced.
Because of that, Helton’s started to fly under the radar as his contract comes closer to the end. Assuming his option is declined, Helton is owed just under $57 million over the next three seasons. Because of this high amount of dollars left and the Rockies poor record this season, the rumors of Todd Helton being moved are on the rise. How viable would Helton be as a trade target in a winter that seems overloaded with aging hitting talent?
Helton’s performance is down a lot this season, but for the most part, it’s due to bad luck as his 23.4% line drive rate coupled with just a .298 BABIP suggest. With most of his core numbers intact, it’s likely that Helton’s overall skill hasn’t diminished all that much from his previous years. That would put his bat at around 30 runs over average in value.
Worth the contract? No, not even close, but if the Rockies are indeed intent on moving Helton and willing to eat some salary, then Helton might make sense to a team in the market for a first basemen with strong on base skills.
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