MLB Trade Value for 2007

Dave · April 12, 2007 at 1:11 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

About a year and a half ago, I did a post on who has the most trade value in the major leagues, blatently stealing off an idea from Bill Simmons of a column he’s been doing for a while on NBA players. It was pretty popular, so last summer, I did something similar for just the AL West.

Since it’s been a while and people keep asking, plus the fact that the M’s have been rained out yet again, I’ve now updated the MLB Trade Value list for how I think things stack up today. Once again, let’s borrow from Simmons’ rules, slightly modified to fit baseball.

A. Salaries matter. Would you rather pay David Wright $55 million for the next six years or Lance Berkman $85 million over the same period?

B. Age matters. Would you rather have Roy Halladay for the next five seasons or Scott Kazmir for the next 12?

C. Pretend the league passed the following rule: For 24 hours, any player can be traded straight up for any other player without budget ramifications. So if Team A tells Team B, “We’ll trade you Player X for Player Y straight up,” would Team B make the deal or not?

D. Concentrate on degrees. For instance, neither the Mariners nor Cardinals would pull the trigger on an Pujols-Hernandez trade. But at the very least, the Cardinals say, “Wow, Felix Hernandez is available?” while the Mariners would say, “There’s no way we’re trading Felix, but Albert Pujols…” That counts in the big scheme of things.

E. Make the list in reverse order (Nos. 40 to 1). So if Ryan Howard comes in at No. 14, players 1 through 13 are all players about whom Philadelphia would probably say, “We hate giving up Howard, but there’s no way we can pass up that deal.” And they wouldn’t trade him for any player listed between Nos. 15 and 40.

So, now that we have those issues out of the way, try to remember that this whole post is for fun. Try not to get all bent out of shape if you think I have Grady Sizemore two slots too low or Nick Markakis ten spots too high. It’s a water cooler discussion post. Take it as such. So, without further ado:


Rank Name Position Team
1 Felix Hernandez RHP Seattle
2 Albert Pujols 1B St. Louis
3 Miguel Cabrera 3B Florida
4 Jose Reyes SS New York Mets
5 Joe Mauer C Minnesota Twins
6 Grady Sizemore CF Cleveland
7 Johan Santana LHP Minnesota
8 Brian McCann C Atlanta
9 Delmon Young RF Tampa Bay
10 David Wright 3B New York Mets
11 Scott Kazmir LHP Tampa Bay
12 Chase Utley 2B Philadelphia
13 Brandon Webb RHP Arizona
14 Ryan Howard 1B Philadelphia
15 Ben Sheets RHP Milwaukee
16 Jeremy Bonderman RHP Detroit
17 Travis Hafner DH Cleveland
18 Alex Gordon 3B Kansas City
19 John Lackey RHP Anaheim
20 Daisuke Matsuzaka RHP Boston
21 Howie Kendrick 2B Anaheim
22 Carl Crawford LF Tampa Bay
23 Philip Hughes RHP New York Yankees
24 Hanley Ramirez SS Florida
25 Roy Halladay RHP Toronto 
26 Matt Cain RHP San Francisco
27 Nick Markakis RF Baltimore
28 Brett Myers RHP Philadelphia
29 Ryan Zimmerman 3B Washington
30 Justin Verlander RHP Detroit
31 Prince Fielder 1B Milwaukee
32 Jake Peavy RHP San Diego
33 Rickie Weeks 2B Milwaukee
34 Jeff Francoeur RF Atlanta
35 Cole Hamels LHP Philadelphia
36 Robinson Cano 2B New York Yankees
37 Jason Bay LF Pittsburgh
38 Lance Berkman 1B Houston
39 Erik Bedard LHP Baltimore
40 Dan Haren RHP Oakland

Okay, so, there’s the list. On to the notes.

You can argue where Felix ranks among the best pitchers in the game, considering he’s been spectacular in spurts before and hasn’t shown the consistency required of a true ace. But you can’t argue that he’s making $400,000 this year and is under club control through 2011. There’s still the problem of attrition with young pitchers and the risk is high, but the reward is worth it. Felix is the most valuable property in the game.

I went back and forth on Cabrera and Pujols for the #2 spot. In the end, the fact that Pujols is signed through 2010 with an option for 2011 won me over. With Cabrera, you’re getting a great young player that could walk away after 2009, and with the inflating market, won’t be cheap even if you manage to get him under contract. That hurts his value enough to push him down to the #3 spot, even though he may outhit Pujols this year.

Reyes, Sizemore, and Mauer are basically interchangable. All three play up-the-middle defensive spots, and all are legitimate MVP candidates before they turn 25. I give the slight edge to Reyes because he has the fewest questions about his ability to remain at his position and he’s the most athletically gifted of the three, but you don’t have to argue very long for either of the other two before I shurg and say “okay”.

I might have Johan too high at #7, since he’s only under contract for another two years. But he’s been so consistently unbelievable that almost any team in baseball is a contender by adding Johan to the front of their rotation, and he’s been willing to discuss an extension with the Twins, so theoretically you could keep him off the open market by getting a deal done soon.

Despite the fact that he’s all the way at #14, I might actually be overrating Ryan Howard. He’s already 27, and his body suggests he won’t age gracefully. 2006 will go down as his career year, and if he regresses too far offensively, then he’s just a good player instead of a great one. However, since he’s heading into just his third year, he’s still very cheap, so his contract pushes him up the list.

I’m going to get a lot of grief for having Hanley Ramirez 20 spots below Jose Reyes, but I’m not sold on Hanley repeating his 2006 year on a consistent basis. I’m also still not sold on his defense. But he’s cheap and still clearly one of the best shortstops in the league, so 24 is as low as I could put him.

Nick Markakis at #27 is something of a hunch pick, but I love his swing, he’s a pretty good defensive player as well, and he’s heading into his second season in the majors, meaning he makes nothing. That’s a valuable asset, and if he takes the step forward that he’s capable of, he could easily crack the top ten next year.

If there’s one guy who could make me look really bad for having him way too low, its Cole Hamels. If he stays healthy this year and pitches up to his talent level, he’s a top five guy. He’s that good.

Guys who just missed the cut: Francisco Liriano, Justin Morneau, Matt Holliday, Adam Loewen, and Scott Olsen.

Comments

264 Responses to “MLB Trade Value for 2007”

  1. NBarnes on April 12th, 2007 1:18 pm

    It kills me that Hanley Ramirez is at #25 and Josh Beckett rightly isn’t even sniffing the list.

  2. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:20 pm

    Yea, that trade hasn’t worked out too well for Boston. I still like Beckett, and think he will help them, but when you trade an ultra-toolsy 21-year-old, these are the kinds of things that can happen.

  3. Mr. Egaas on April 12th, 2007 1:22 pm

    I’m kind of surprised Carl Crawford isn’t higher on the list. His power is trending up and he’s still only 26. Is his lack of ability to draw walks hurting him that much?

  4. lantermanc on April 12th, 2007 1:22 pm

    I like the list, but I’m not sure why you, along with others, are so high on Francouer. I don’t know, I’ve never liked a guy with a low batting average and low walks. I see the talent, but I see more results in Berkman (MVP-type season last year), Cano, and Bay. How come Oswalt’s not on this list, he’s not too old, he’s really consistent, and he’s pretty cheap I think comparatively.

  5. Jeff Nye on April 12th, 2007 1:23 pm

    I love seeing King Felix at the top of the list, and I think the reasons you put him there are well-thought-out. He’s cheap, young, and is capable of turning in some incredibly dominant pitching performances. He could be even more of a bargain next year than he is right now, as he continues to mature and find his groove.

    I hate not seeing ANY other Mariners names on that list. Felix’s awesomeness deserves to have a good young team built around it, and it’s a shame that our current management have almost no shot at making that happen.

  6. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 1:25 pm

    Haren but not Harden? If anyone has a chance to at least keep within spitting distance of The King in the AL West over the next 4 years, it’s Harden. Why isn’t he on the list? Does his admittedly long injury history scare you off that much?

  7. Deanna on April 12th, 2007 1:25 pm

    Yeah, the things I picked out here immediately as being sort of funny were Cole Hamels being so low and the fact that Oakland’s only got one person on the list and it’s Haren. I may be biased, but out of curiosity, do you think a healthy Rich Harden is better or worse than Danny Haren?

  8. Mr. Egaas on April 12th, 2007 1:25 pm

    I like the list, but I’m not sure why you, along with others, are so high on Francouer. I don’t know, I’ve never liked a guy with a low batting average and low walks.

    I was going to say the same thing about Francouer. He’s such a hacking machine it’s crazy. 23 walks in 674 plate appearances last year is just simply absurd. Something tells me he’ll never learn how to work a count and take a walk.

  9. Deanna on April 12th, 2007 1:27 pm

    Wow, great minds think alike.

    Also, I hate seeing Brett Myers so high, but that might just be because I think he’s a bad guy, not because I think he’s a bad pitcher.

  10. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:29 pm

    I’m kind of surprised Carl Crawford isn’t higher on the list. His power is trending up and he’s still only 26. Is his lack of ability to draw walks hurting him that much?

    If Crawford would agree to play center field, his value would shoot up quite a bit. But as a left fielder, you have to be pretty awesome to be a competitive advantage for your team.

    I like the list, but I’m not sure why you, along with others, are so high on Francoeur. I don’t know, I’ve never liked a guy with a low batting average and low walks. I see the talent, but I see more results in Berkman (MVP-type season last year), Cano, and Bay.

    I’m not sure why you can like Cano and not Francoeur. They have the same skillset offensively, except Francoeur is the far superior athlete and a much better defensive player. Berkman drops quite a ways due to his salary ($85 million over 6 years) and his terrible defense.

    How come Oswalt’s not on this list, he’s not too old, he’s really consistent, and he’s pretty cheap I think comparatively.

    You think $75 million over the next 5 years is cheap for a guy whose peripherals have been trending the wrong way for three years and has a history of nagging injuries? He’ll be a league average pitcher, at best, in 2 years, and the last couple years of that contract could be very ugly.

  11. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:32 pm

    Haren but not Harden? If anyone has a chance to at least keep within spitting distance of The King in the AL West over the next 4 years, it’s Harden. Why isn’t he on the list? Does his admittedly long injury history scare you off that much?

    Rich Harden made 72 starts in the last four years. When he can throw 150 innings without falling apart, he’ll make the list.

    I may be biased, but out of curiosity, do you think a healthy Rich Harden is better or worse than Danny Haren?

    Amazing blue eyes were not a factor here, Deanna. Sorry. I’d rather have Haren’s 220 innings of above average production than Harden’s 120 innings of hopeful goodness and a big rehab bill.

  12. Deanna on April 12th, 2007 1:33 pm

    Also, can I be the first to say [Francoeur], goddamnit :)

  13. Mike Snow on April 12th, 2007 1:37 pm

    Is Matsuzaka ranked based on just his contract, or the contract plus the posting fee? Where would you put him under the alternate scenario? If I’m tacking on the posting fee, I’d probably drop him below Halladay.

  14. vj on April 12th, 2007 1:37 pm

    I think your first list had ARod quite high. What caused him to fall out of favor? He’s expensive, but compare his offensive production on the season so far with the Ms lineup.

  15. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 1:38 pm

    You can have Haren and I’ll take Harden. I’m willing to bear the injury risk for the substantial upside over Haren. The two performance-wise are not close.

  16. JH on April 12th, 2007 1:43 pm

    2 questions:

    Why is Bay so low? I know he isn’t under contract very long, but neither is Hafner. I know Hafner’s the superior hitter, but with Bay’s superior defense and the fact that he’s younger, is Hafner really 20 spots better? Seems like a .300/.400/.500 hitter who can play the field, who’s still on the right side of 30 and who makes relatively little should be ranked higher.

    Also, Fielder over Weeks? I know Weeks has had some injuries, but it seems like Fielder’s a big risk to break down permanently all of a sudden, Mo Vaughn style.

  17. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:44 pm

    Is Matsuzaka ranked based on just his contract, or the contract plus the posting fee? Where would you put him under the alternate scenario? If I’m tacking on the posting fee, I’d probably drop him below Halladay.

    The posting fee has already been paid, so its just the contract. We’re not including past salaries or signing bonus’ against other players, so we don’t count the posting fee against Daisuke.

    I think your first list had ARod quite high. What caused him to fall out of favor? He’s expensive, but compare his offensive production on the season so far with the Ms lineup.

    He has an opt out at the end of this year, so he’s likely to be a free agent this winter. I wouldn’t trade any of these guys for one year of A-Rod, no matter how great he is.

    You can have Haren and I’ll take Harden. I’m willing to bear the injury risk for the substantial upside over Haren. The two performance-wise are not close.

    It’s a lot closer than you might think. Haren’s established level of production is rough 220 innings and 100 runs allowed. The one year Harden got over 130 innings (2004, 189 IP), he allowed 89 runs. Even if you want to give him credit as a 3.50 RA guy over 220 innings (which is extremely generous, in my opinion), you’re looking at about 85 runs allowed. So, assuming Harden was able to stay healthy for a full season and pitch at his peak level for the whole year, he’d be about 15 runs better than Dan Haren.

    15 runs over the course of the year is a win and a half. That’s not substantial upside. That’s a marginal improvement, with a massive amount of risk.

  18. Evan on April 12th, 2007 1:44 pm

    You’re right that you’ve overrated Howard. I’d drop him out of the top 30.

    Would you honestly trade Alex Gordon to get Ryan Howard?

  19. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 1:48 pm

    One name that surprised me on your list from a year and a half ago was Johnny Peralta. He had just come off a big 2005. As it turns out, he struggled in 2006. Did you give him any consideration this time around? Do you think he will rebound in 2007? He’s still cheap and (relatively) young.

  20. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:48 pm

    Why is Bay so low? I know he isn’t under contract very long, but neither is Hafner. I know Hafner’s the superior hitter, but with Bay’s superior defense and the fact that he’s younger, is Hafner really 20 spots better? Seems like a .300/.400/.500 hitter who can play the field, who’s still on the right side of 30 and who makes relatively little should be ranked higher.

    Travis Hafner, on a per at-bat basis, was the best non-Pujols hitter in baseball last year. There’s a pretty huge difference between Hafner’s bat and Bay’s bat. Bay is a good hitter – Hafner is a great hitter.

    Also, Fielder over Weeks? I know Weeks has had some injuries, but it seems like Fielder’s a big risk to break down permanently all of a sudden, Mo Vaughn style.

    Weeks hasn’t been the picture of health himself. They’re close, and I could seen an argument either way.

    Would you honestly trade Alex Gordon to get Ryan Howard?

    Depends on my team’s roster. If I’m the Royals, no. But if I’m a team like the Red Sox? Yea, I do. Howard has more present value than Gordon.

  21. Jar on April 12th, 2007 1:53 pm

    But I think you have to give the nod to Gordon for playing a harder position to fill then Howard.

  22. Sane on April 12th, 2007 1:54 pm

    Just a correction about Santana. He’s actually broken off talks about a contract extension with the Twins and has stated he won’t discuss it again until he hits the open market.

  23. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:54 pm

    And you have to give Howard the nod for being a 6-7 win player last year. Trying to find a guy who can play at that level, while making less than $500K for the 2007 season, is next to impossible.

  24. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:55 pm

    Just a correction about Santana. He’s actually broken off talks about a contract extension with the Twins and has stated he won’t discuss it again until he hits the open market.

    No, he hasn’t. That report wasn’t true.

  25. Gomez on April 12th, 2007 1:55 pm

    I recognize his talent as much as anyone, but given his… temperamental nature, I’m shocked Delmon Young is on this list at all, let alone at #9.

    I can see and understand the inclusion and placement of the remaining players.

  26. dw on April 12th, 2007 1:57 pm

    Haren annoys me because he just slams into a wall around inning 6. It seems like he struggles getting through the order the third time through. Last start he didn’t, but it did seem like all of last year he would just stop being effective at that point.

  27. Dave on April 12th, 2007 1:57 pm

    I recognize his talent as much as anyone, but given his… temperamental nature, I’m shocked Delmon Young is on this list at all, let alone at #9.

    Last year, as a 21-year-old rookie, he hit .318/.336/.476. As a 22-year-old, he’s started this year hitting .375/.382/.625.

    Miguel Cabrera’s a piece of work himself, but talent wins out.

  28. Jar on April 12th, 2007 1:59 pm

    That is true, there is no doubt that Howard is a better player right now, and obviously last year, but I still don’t think I would want him over Gordon and what he is going to offer in 2-3 years.

  29. djw on April 12th, 2007 1:59 pm

    I hate not seeing ANY other Mariners names on that list.

    Who would be the #2 Mariner on the list? Lopez? Jojima?

  30. Dave on April 12th, 2007 2:01 pm

    Haren annoys me because he just slams into a wall around inning 6. It seems like he struggles getting through the order the third time through. Last start he didn’t, but it did seem like all of last year he would just stop being effective at that point.

    Haren’s 2006, broken down by inning segments:

    Innings 1-3: 440 PA, 63 Runs Allowed, .277/.324/.446
    Innings 4-6: 392 PA, 36 Runs Allowed, .238/.274/.392
    Innings 7-9: 98 PA, 7 Runs Allowed, .253/.306/.407

    So no, not really.

  31. Deanna on April 12th, 2007 2:02 pm

    Right, that is why I quantified it as “a healthy Rich Harden”. I know there’s more to a pitcher than having dreamy blue eyes (see Washburn, Jarrod) but, I dunno, I’ve watched both Haren and Harden warm up in the bullpen at Safeco. With Haren, you’re like, “okay, shaggy guy throws pretty good stuff.” With Harden, you’re like “holy hell, hoser’s hurling heat!”

    But yeah, Haren’s pretty good. Not saying he isn’t.

  32. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 2:03 pm

    Any consideration given to Mark Teixeira?

  33. Dave on April 12th, 2007 2:09 pm

    But yeah, Haren’s pretty good. Not saying he isn’t.

    Haren might be the most underrated pitcher in the game. I don’t think most people realize how good he is.

    Any consideration given to Mark Teixeira?

    He’s only under contract for the next two years. So, if he explodes and turns into the monster we’ve been waiting for, then you’re paying through the nose for him. If he doesn’t, well, then, the question is moot, right?

  34. No Rhubarb on April 12th, 2007 2:13 pm

    If he were healthy – or proves to be healthy next year – how high does Francisco Liriano rate on this list?

  35. marc w on April 12th, 2007 2:26 pm

    I’m actually with you on Haren; the guy’s a beast who doesn’t get as much notoriety as Harden OR Blanton it seems (what with all the stories about how he’s a ‘winner’ or about how he got so little run support, etc.). He’s got a good shot to turn in some Halladay-like seasons, getting up near 220IP with decent Ks (though fewer GBs).

    But I do have to echo a concern brought up before regarding Francoeur. The guy’s young, to be sure, but in his only full season he put up an OPS+ of 89. Plenty of room for growth, athleticism, tools, etc. but he’s got a LOT of ground to make up vis a vis the rest of the people on this list AND he’s playing a defensive position that makes his production a bit more questionable.
    And I’ll avoid the objection you made above and say that I think Cano’s a bit too high as well. I think he’s a very solid player, and for the money, he’s a super value. But his MLB performances are sooo far out of line with his MiLB track record that you’ve got to wonder how much of his 2006 was a fluke. I don’t think Robinson Cano thinks Robinson Cano is a .340 hitter, so it’s just a question of how far he drops. If he’s a consistent .300/.340/.490 hitter for the next few years, then yeah, I guess he might merit a spot above Morneau and Loewen (I think Loewen needs a spot on the list, though I can’t really think of anyone besides Francoeur that I’d take off – this is hard).

  36. Cynical Optimist on April 12th, 2007 2:28 pm

    In the spirit of water cooler type discussion, I think I’d take Miguel Cabrera over Pujols. Phat Albert seems like he is always fighting through a variety of injuries, often lower-body, and I’d be worried that he’s likely to miss more and more time as he ages. Did you consider that as a factor? Also, I have to ask, do you think we’ve had the final word on his true age?

  37. atait on April 12th, 2007 2:39 pm

    Would you honestly trade Alex Gordon to get Ryan Howard?

    Depends on my team’s roster. If I’m the Royals, no. But if I’m a team like the Red Sox? Yea, I do. Howard has more present value than Gordon.

    I don’t know if that’s the mindset of teams anymore – even the big market teams. We’ve seen in the past few years that even the Red Sox and Yankees are keeping their own in the fold, so to speak. For example, I don’t think there are 22 player for whom the Yankees would trade Hughes.

    Five years ago? Absolutely. Now? Not so much.

  38. atait on April 12th, 2007 2:40 pm

    29 – I’d probably put Adam Jones as number two in the M’s organization. Or Putz.

  39. jasonmcgillie on April 12th, 2007 2:44 pm

    come on, no Moyer?

  40. The Ancient Mariner on April 12th, 2007 2:55 pm

    Personally, even given only two years left under contract, I’d move Johan up–he’s that good.

    Also, I guess I missed that McCann had come on that much.

  41. JMHawkins on April 12th, 2007 3:10 pm

    Looks like the future belongs to the D-Rays and Phillies. Dave, can you draw any conclusions about a Front Office based on this list? Or is 40 players across all of baseball just too small a sample?

    Oh, and speaking of the Phillies:

    come on, no Moyer?

    Well, when you consider he’s only under contract through 2008, it makes sense. ’08 is about when he’ll hit his peak, so his price should go up after that.

    I figure 2008 is when his fastball will drop to about 60 mph, allowing him (a la Bugs Bunny) to strike out three batters with one pitch. But once his fastball drops much below 60, his changeup will be less effective since keeping it the ideal 12-15 mph below the fastball would probably mean it didn’t make it all the way to the plate.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  42. Dave on April 12th, 2007 3:13 pm

    If he were healthy – or proves to be healthy next year – how high does Francisco Liriano rate on this list?

    This isn’t Liriano’s first injury – his track record is almost as bad as Harden’s. So, as good as he was, he’d probably still be in the 30s. When you’re talking about this group of guys – true franchise players, for the most part – you should be willing to trade a small difference in production for the certainty of health.

    But I do have to echo a concern brought up before regarding Francoeur. The guy’s young, to be sure, but in his only full season he put up an OPS+ of 89.

    And his OPS+ was 124 in a half season the year before. That counts too. The guy’s got serious power that doesn’t need any projection at all, and he’s got the tools to be a high average hitter to boot. Really, you guys could be making this same argument against Howie Kendrick, who is another average and power guy who doesn’t walk. But I think we’ve seen enough Garciaparra/Vlad/Pudge types who average 30 or 40 walks a year and are still MVP candidates thanks to their fantastic bat control and athleticism. I think Francoeuer and Kendrick fall into that class of player.

    Keep in mind, Justin Morneau put up an OPS+ of 94 as a 24-year-old first baseman. If we’re not going to let that season dictate his true talent level, we can’t let Franceour’s 2006 be the overriding factor either.

    Phat Albert seems like he is always fighting through a variety of injuries, often lower-body, and I’d be worried that he’s likely to miss more and more time as he ages. Did you consider that as a factor? Also, I have to ask, do you think we’ve had the final word on his true age?

    Pujols nagging injuries played a role in him not being #1, but they aren’t serious enough for me to drop him behind Cabrera. And his age is legit.

    I don’t know if that’s the mindset of teams anymore – even the big market teams. We’ve seen in the past few years that even the Red Sox and Yankees are keeping their own in the fold, so to speak. For example, I don’t think there are 22 player for whom the Yankees would trade Hughes.

    I think you’re not seeing those type of elite prospects traded because teams aren’t willing to trade the types of players it would take to pry loose those elite talents. If Scott Kazmir or Brandon Webb was made available in trade, you wouldn’t see prospects being labeled untouchable.

    29 – I’d probably put Adam Jones as number two in the M’s organization. Or Putz.

    I think I could make an argument that it’s Carlos Triunfel. Which is both exciting and kind of sad.

  43. Dave on April 12th, 2007 3:20 pm

    Looks like the future belongs to the D-Rays and Phillies. Dave, can you draw any conclusions about a Front Office based on this list? Or is 40 players across all of baseball just too small a sample?

    The Devil Rays future is so bright, you need shades to talk about them. This list doesn’t include potential all-stars B.J. Upton, Elijah Dukes, Evan Longoria, Reid Brignac, or Jeff Niemann, all of whom are knocking on the doorstep to Tropicana Field. Nor does it include such solid role players such as Rocco Baldelli, Akinori Iwamura, or James Shields who are already in the majors. It also excludes other solid pitching prospects such as Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Matt Walker.

    The Devil Rays are absolutely loaded with talent, and their front office has done a fantastic job since Andrew Friedman took over. They’re the new Cleveland Indians.

    Philly, not so much. They have Utley, Howard, Myers, and Hamels, but not much beyond that.

    And no, I wouldn’t read too much into front office abilities through a list like this. There are better ways to evaluate management competency.

  44. No Rhubarb on April 12th, 2007 3:21 pm

    Jones? Putz? Triunfel? What about a certain Ignitor from South Kitsap?

  45. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 3:26 pm

    Hughes but no Homer Bailey? Do you consider Hughes to be significantly superior to Bailey?

  46. lantermanc on April 12th, 2007 3:29 pm

    Ha 44, I was just going to say, no Bloomquist? You can’t put a price on grit.
    Also, where’s Jeter? Isn’t he the best player in baseball? He’s on sportscenter all the time… (sarcasm, hard to read on internet)

  47. Dave on April 12th, 2007 3:30 pm

    Hughes but no Homer Bailey? Do you consider Hughes to be significantly superior to Bailey?

    Yes. There’s a bigger gap there than most people think.

  48. lantermanc on April 12th, 2007 3:31 pm

    If Zumaya proved that he could start (180 ip per year), where would he be on this list?

  49. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 3:33 pm

    If my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle. Zumaya ain’t gonna start.

  50. Mat on April 12th, 2007 3:34 pm

    9 Delmon Young RF Tampa Bay

    I happened to be poking around the pitch-by-pitch data for Young at Baseball-Reference today, and boy does he like to swing at the first pitch. On average, hitters swing at the first pitch of a plate appearance 26-27% of the time. Most hitters fall somewhere between 10%-40% in swinging at the first pitch. Last year, Young swung at the first pitch a jaw-dropping 64% of the time and has followed that up with 65% so far this year. Even Vlad is only up around 47% or so. I can’t find anything like it, even in a small sample size.

    Obviously Young’s career-to-date line of .329/.345/.506 is something any team would take, so it’s not like this is killing him so far. I haven’t seen him play much, but it seems like he must be a really, really exceptional “bad-ball” hitter to make this approach work. Does he have the ability to make this work long-term, or are you counting on him becoming a little more patient as he ages?

  51. Dave on April 12th, 2007 3:35 pm

    If Zumaya proved that he could start (180 ip per year), where would he be on this list?

    Well, he can’t start – his command is bad enough coming out of the pen, and a move to the rotation would blow up his arm with his max effort delivery. Even if the Tigers moved him to the rotation, I wouldn’t put him on the list, because he’d be a ticking time bomb waiting to get hurt.

    He’s the kind of guy who belongs in the bullpen.

  52. David* on April 12th, 2007 3:35 pm

    44

    Which one!

  53. Dave on April 12th, 2007 3:38 pm

    Obviously Young’s career-to-date line of .329/.345/.506 is something any team would take, so it’s not like this is killing him so far. I haven’t seen him play much, but it seems like he must be a really, really exceptional “bad-ball” hitter to make this approach work. Does he have the ability to make this work long-term, or are you counting on him becoming a little more patient as he ages?

    A little of both. He’s got upper tier plate coverage and power with his swing, so he can hit almost anything he decides to swing at with some authority. Even when he’s chasing bad pitches, he can put some juice behind it.

    Eventually, he’s going to take more pitches. Almost everybody walks more as they get older, and there’s no reason to think he’ll be the exception. He’ll never be a huge walk guy, but between his average and power, he can draw 60-80 respect walks a year.

  54. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 3:38 pm

    Ervin Santana: Just missed the list or nowhere close?

  55. planB on April 12th, 2007 3:38 pm

    Half of the season cancelled due to weather so far… argh!

  56. No Rhubarb on April 12th, 2007 3:38 pm

    44

    Which one!

    Well, Ellison hasn’t ignited anything yet, so I’m pretty sure he missed the cut. But hey, give him a stolen base when we’re down by three in the ninth, and he’ll be damn folk hero too.

  57. Dave on April 12th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Ervin Santana: Just missed the list or nowhere close?

    Nowhere close. There’s probably another 10 or 15 pitchers who would make this list before I got to him.

  58. Sports on a Schtick on April 12th, 2007 3:40 pm

    I’d like to see the Bizarro version of this list, ranking the 40 players with the worst trade value. Me thinks Zito tops that list.

  59. hardball24 on April 12th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Dave-

    Somehow Mauer is still growing and there’s talk about him moving to first. Do you see this happening, when, and how would that effect his ranking?

  60. LB on April 12th, 2007 3:40 pm

    Yea, that trade hasn’t worked out too well for Boston. I still like Beckett…

    The Red Sox FO must disagree with you (I’m sure you can live with that), or they wouldn’t have given him the 3/$30m extension last year.

  61. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 3:42 pm

    A name I thought might get some consideration was Stephen Drew. Valuable commodity?

  62. No Rhubarb on April 12th, 2007 3:42 pm

    #58 – I’d second that.

  63. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 3:44 pm

    58 — Followed closely by Beltre and Sexson.

  64. lantermanc on April 12th, 2007 3:45 pm

    I third #58, and second #61 for Stephen Drew, though it seems like guys who haven’t played 1/2 a season in the MLBs were left off the list, except for Hughes, Kendrick, Gordon, and Dice-K

  65. atait on April 12th, 2007 3:46 pm

    I think you’re not seeing those type of elite prospects traded because teams aren’t willing to trade the types of players it would take to pry loose those elite talents. If Scott Kazmir or Brandon Webb was made available in trade, you wouldn’t see prospects being labeled untouchable.

    I’d agree with that assessment. This is a bit circular, but it’s precisely because most big-market teams have come around to the “build from within” idea that so few elite players are being traded. Look at the list above. By my rough count, every player on that list came up through his current team’s minor-league system (I think Hafner is the lone exception).

    Even the big-market teams are valuing future over present more, meaning that their own prospects may have a subjective inflation in value that precludes teams from dealing them, even for a possibly better value.

    In any event, I think the Sox would keep Gordon rather than take Howard, but that’s just me.

  66. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 3:48 pm

    65- Bonderman, Ramirez, and Haren were also from other organizations.

  67. Dave on April 12th, 2007 3:51 pm

    The Red Sox FO must disagree with you (I’m sure you can live with that), or they wouldn’t have given him the 3/$30m extension last year.

    You really don’t see how the trade could have been a bad one but they’d still want to extend Beckett’s contract?

    A name I thought might get some consideration was Stephen Drew. Valuable commodity?

    Yea, he is, but not quite enough to get on this list yet.

  68. joser on April 12th, 2007 3:52 pm

    This is an interesting exercise. I’d love to see your take on the top ten players at each position (including LHP, RHP, and closer/reliever) — taking contract into consideration, or just on pure ability.

    Re: Haren vs Harden. I had both of them on a fantasy roster the last couple of years, and believe me over the course of a season I got much more out of Haren than Harden. Through most of 2006 I couldn’t give Harden away. There’s a big differnce between fantasy and reality, of course, but there’s an even bigger difference between quality starts and the DL.

  69. atait on April 12th, 2007 3:52 pm

    66 – Thanks.

  70. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 3:57 pm

    69 — As were Santana and Kazmir.

  71. atait on April 12th, 2007 4:03 pm

    That’s right – Santana was a Rule 5. In any event, each of those guys broke out into the bigs with their current teams (I’d argue that Haren didn’t “break out” until he got to Oakland).

  72. Dave on April 12th, 2007 4:03 pm

    By my rough count, every player on that list came up through his current team’s minor-league system (I think Hafner is the lone exception).

    Other guys have covered some of the ones you missed, but here’s the full list:

    Grady Sizemore (Montreal)
    Johan Santana (Houston)
    Scott Kazmir (NY Mets)
    Jeremy Bonderman (Oakland)
    Travis Hafner (Texas)
    Hanley Ramirez (Boston)
    Jason Bay (Montreal)
    Dan Haren (St. Louis)

    That’s 20% of the list.

  73. Thom Jimsen on April 12th, 2007 4:08 pm

    I’m pleased to see you rank John Lackey higher than most people would, Dave. He gets overlooked for some reason, but he’s young, has awesome K/W rates, stays healthy and wins more or less consistently in the face of season-to-season team upheaval. Why he doesn’t have a higher profile in baseball is a mystery to me.

  74. Graham on April 12th, 2007 4:15 pm

    Matsuzaka didn’t exactly come up in the Red Sox system either.

  75. atait on April 12th, 2007 4:17 pm

    Meaning 80% of those players were drafted or signed by the teams they now play for. And only one (Haren) saw anything close to significant playing time with his previous team.

    The point remains.

  76. Dave on April 12th, 2007 4:18 pm

    I’m pleased to see you rank John Lackey higher than most people would, Dave.

    Lackey and Haren are brothers of the non-sexy-out-machine fraternity. Before Brandon Webb won his Cy Young award and got thrown out for getting too much press, he was the headmaster of the group. Aaron Harang is this year’s pledge.

    These guys outpitch their stuff, and since they don’t have dynamic breaking balls, they don’t get much play on Sportscenter, but you can have a great pitching staff with members of the NSOM frat.

  77. Thom Jimsen on April 12th, 2007 4:27 pm

    Apropos of #76, Dave, would Mark Buerhle have made this list a year ago? How far has his stock fallen, and is there much chance he’ll get back to where he was?

  78. Dave on April 12th, 2007 4:28 pm

    Buehrle was #10 on the list I did 18 months ago, so yea, you can say his stock has tumbled. It looks like the big workload he sustained early in his career may have caught up to him, and now, he’s basically a #4 starter.

  79. hardball24 on April 12th, 2007 4:32 pm

    What is the chance that Mauer moves to first, when would that happen, and how would that effect his rank?

  80. MarinerDan on April 12th, 2007 4:32 pm

    Dave, who are the 5 guys who are not currently on your list who you expect to be in the top-25 when you do this list again next year?

  81. Dave on April 12th, 2007 4:38 pm

    What is the chance that Mauer moves to first, when would that happen, and how would that effect his rank?

    Considering the Twins have Justin Morneau, not good. He’d move to third or the outfield before he moved to first. And it would hurt his rating, though if he keeps hitting .360, not as much as you might think.

    Dave, who are the 5 guys who are not currently on your list who you expect to be in the top-25 when you do this list again next year?

    Well, I’m not sure I expect anyone not on the list to make that big of a jump, but some guys who certainly could include the just-missed kids Adam Loewen and Scott Olsen, Adam Miller and Andrew Miller, Arizona’s Chris Young (outfielder, not the pitcher), Stephen Drew, and Jered Weaver. Nick Adenhart would be another guy who could make a meteoric rise based on his talent, but the opportunity probably won’t be there for him, with the Angels being pretty deep in the rotation.

  82. atait on April 12th, 2007 4:41 pm

    Heh – I have Hamels, Loewen, Young, and Stephen Drew in a keeper league of mine. The format is such that keepers are valued by draft position. For example, I drafted Loewen in the 23rd round this year. Next year, he’ll be a 22, the year after, 19, then 14, then 7.

    Hamels, Loewen, Young, and Drew will all be teens or 20′s in the draft next year – Should I keep them?

  83. Cynical Optimist on April 12th, 2007 4:41 pm

    Phil Hughes is (as far as I can see) the only player on this list who has yet to make an appearance in The Show. Any other prospects come close to making the list?

  84. TheGOAT on April 12th, 2007 4:46 pm

    I don’t think Cabrera and Pujols should be as close as you make it sound. Yes, Pujols has had some minor injuries but he’s played an average of 156 games a season for 6 years with his lowest total being 143. He’s in the line-up 96% of the time!

    In 6 seasons he’s finished 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 1st and 2nd for MVP.

    In 6 seasons his team has gone to the playoffs 5 times, 2 world series appearances and 1 world series win. I know it takes a team effort to do that but his impact on the entire line-up can’t be measured with stats.

    I’m not even going to get into some of the ridiculous numbers and records he’s already posted.

    I like Cabrera and think he’s going to be a hall-of-famer. But in Pujols, we’re talking about possibly the greatest player of all-time, that’s just now entering the prime of his career.

    Seems like a no brainer to me.

  85. LB on April 12th, 2007 4:50 pm

    67: You have to give up value to get value back, unless you are dealing Heathcliff Slocumb.

    Josh Beckett is 26 years old. Daisuke Matsuzaka is 26 years old. Jonathan Papelbon is 26 years old. Jon Lester is 23 years old. It looks to me as if the Red Sox are working to build a core of talented young pre-FA pitchers. When they flip Beckett for–I dunno–Todd Helton, then I’ll figure they’ve given up on the Beckett/Hanley trade.

  86. Matthew Carruth on April 12th, 2007 4:53 pm

    Yeah, but is Albert Pujols a clubhouse leader? Is he gritty? Does he hustle? You failed to acknowledge those key points when talking about huge important factors like MVP voting and team success.

  87. Dave on April 12th, 2007 4:55 pm

    You have to give up value to get value back

    Okay. You give me $100, and I’ll give you $50. You have to give to get, right?

    Josh Beckett is 26 years old. Daisuke Matsuzaka is 26 years old. Jonathan Papelbon is 26 years old. Jon Lester is 23 years old. It looks to me as if the Red Sox are working to build a core of talented young pre-FA pitchers.

    Hanley Ramirez is 22-years-old. They’d have been better off sticking him at shortstop and skipping the Julio Lugo signing, using that $9 million a year and the $10 million a year they wouldn’t be paying Beckett to go get a pitcher. You can buy a lot for $19 million, you know.

    When they flip Beckett for–I dunno–Todd Helton, then I’ll figure they’ve given up on the Beckett/Hanley trade.

    I don’t care if they’ve given up on the trade or not. That’s not the point. The point is they traded more talent away than they got back. All non-Red Sox homers can see that.

  88. Jeff Nye on April 12th, 2007 4:55 pm

    Can we maybe get a list of the ten players with the LEAST trade value?

    It doesn’t have to be as detailed as this, just an off-the-cuff sort of thing.

    I’d have to think Turbo’d be in that top ten.

  89. rexpresto on April 12th, 2007 5:04 pm

    This is my first time posting here…Love the site…I know the rankings are just for fun and stirring up a little debate, but did I miss something? Where’s Ichiro?

  90. Jeff Nye on April 12th, 2007 5:06 pm

    Ichiro’s in his walk year, which really eliminates most of his trade value, despite the fact that he’s awesome.

    That’s my guess, at least, as to why he didn’t make this list.

  91. Adam S on April 12th, 2007 5:13 pm

    The one name that jumped out at me is one that no one has brought up in 90 posts. Dice-K at #20? At 4/52 (is that about right) is that really such a great deal? OK, the free agent market on SP is a bit crazy, but is he a 6-7 win player?

  92. terry on April 12th, 2007 5:15 pm

    I agree 100% with your thoughts concerning Hughes and Homer Bailey. Bailey has command issues. But I’m wondering if you forgot about Papelbon, I really got a thrill watching him clean up Pineiro’s mess in Texas the other night. He’s the real deal and someone I’d want in a high leverage situation-doesn’t that make up for the fewer innings?

  93. marc w on April 12th, 2007 5:18 pm

    Dave,

    [Regarding Francoeur] “And his OPS+ was 124 in a half season the year before. That counts too.”
    Of course it does, but I think his 650AB sample should get a bit more weight than his 250AM sample, don’t you? Let’s say his true-talent level (for his age) is somewhere in between. He’s still going to have to turn his potential and tools into production some time soon, or he simply won’t hang with the rest of this list.

    “Really, you guys could be making this same argument against Howie Kendrick, who is another average and power guy who doesn’t walk.”

    The difference is that Kendrick actually IS and average and power guy, whereas Francoeur is a potential average and power guy. Francoeur’s minor league career BA is .282, with an ISO power of .196. How do we even bring Kendrick into the conversation with his .361/.209 minor league numbers? Yes, park adjustments will eat away a lot of Kendrick’s power, but he’s still on another continent in terms of being an ‘average’ guy, and he’s still showing you good pop from the 2B position as opposed to a corner OF spot. To me, they’re not close.

    Interesting to hear that Triunfel might be the next highest Mariner. Are scouts not impressed with Adam Jones’ plate discipline, or is it his CF defense that keep him below Carlos? Just curious; I’ve felt that Jones has been underrated in the prospect world, but maybe it’s not a case of Jones being underrated, it’s just Triunfel making people drool.

  94. shirts on April 12th, 2007 5:20 pm

    Where’s Doyle’s spot on the list? :-)

    However, he was just plunked on the left knee by Smoltz.

  95. Mr. Egaas on April 12th, 2007 5:22 pm

    I think it’s Jones has the potential to be good (Torii Hunter, Mike Cameron), Triunfel has the potential to be great (Miguel Cabrera).

    I know it’s not high enough to make the list, but what kind of trade value does Ichiro have, say, if the team entertained the idea of taking offers for him come July?

  96. Dave on April 12th, 2007 5:41 pm

    Dice-K at #20? At 4/52 (is that about right) is that really such a great deal?

    It’s 6/52. So that’s $8.5 million a year, basically, for a 26-year-old frontline starting pitcher with a track record of being a workhorse. That’s a steal.

    But I’m wondering if you forgot about Papelbon

    There are zero relievers on this list for a reason.

    Of course it does, but I think his 650AB sample should get a bit more weight than his 250AM sample, don’t you? Let’s say his true-talent level (for his age) is somewhere in between. He’s still going to have to turn his potential and tools into production some time soon, or he simply won’t hang with the rest of this list.

    His weighted mean PECOTA projection for 2007 gives him a .288 average. Hitting .260 with power as a 22-year-old in the majors is impressive, walks or no walks. I have no problem projecting him as a .300/.350/.550 guy this year, and combined with his defense, that’s an all-star.

    As you can tell by the placement of guys like Felix, Gordon, Hughes, Kendrick, and Markakis, I’m not that wrapped up in prior major league performance. Talent is talent, and Jeff Francouer has boatloads of it.

    Interesting to hear that Triunfel might be the next highest Mariner. Are scouts not impressed with Adam Jones’ plate discipline, or is it his CF defense that keep him below Carlos? Just curious; I’ve felt that Jones has been underrated in the prospect world, but maybe it’s not a case of Jones being underrated, it’s just Triunfel making people drool.

    Jones defense in center is still just okay, and his bat is never going to be awesome. It will be good for CF, but his upside is basically tied to his improvement with the glove. Triunfel’s bat is on a whole other level than Jones’ – he could make the majors as a DH and still be an asset. The bat is that good.

  97. debaser on April 12th, 2007 5:43 pm

    Maybe Ian Kinsler is in this discussion too? Or perhaps he’s going Chris Shelton on us this early in the season?

  98. NBarnes on April 12th, 2007 5:45 pm

    Dave: the big defense of the Beckett/Lowell for Ramirez/Sanchez trade is that prior to 2006, nobody had any idea if Ramirez was ever really going to pan out at all, let alone become a star player. As it happens, he got handed the Marlins’ starting SS job despite lackluster AAA performances and… proceeded to have a better year in the majors than any year he’d had before in the minors.

    Now, that sort of thing happens with young tools monsters, and the risk of it happening is what the Sox assumed in order to get Beckett. The Marlins were smart to gamble and lucky to have won.

    And if the Real Josh Beckett is the one in his last two starts, then the trade, even at this date, starts looking a lot better for Boston.

  99. Dave on April 12th, 2007 5:45 pm

    Kinsler turns 25 in June and has maxed out his skillset – he’s pretty close to a finished product, and that makes him a good, non-star player. I know Texas fans will hate me for this, but I’m not sold on Kinsler ever being better than a nice starter.

  100. Dave on April 12th, 2007 5:47 pm

    As it happens, he got handed the Marlins’ starting SS job despite lackluster AAA performances and… proceeded to have a better year in the majors than any year he’d had before in the minors.

    I’m not indicting Theo for making a bad trade. I’m saying that, in retrospect, they overpaid. That’s it. That’s the whole point of this kind of list.

    And if the Real Josh Beckett is the one in his last two starts, then the trade, even at this date, starts looking a lot better for Boston.

    If you think a $10 million good starter is worth a $300,000 good shortstop, then I don’t know what to tell you.

  101. NBarnes on April 12th, 2007 5:51 pm

    I’m not indicting Theo for making a bad trade. I’m saying that, in retrospect, they overpaid. That’s it.

    Well, that’s certainly true. I’m pretty religious about evaluating trades on the data available at the time, but if hindsight is explicitly legal, yeah, that trade sucked. ;)

    If you think a $10 million good starter is worth a $300,000 good shortstop, then I don’t know what to tell you.

    Mm. That I’m still torn says something about the stupid price of quality starting pitching these days. That said, you’re obviously right, since even in this fallen age, $9,700,000 can buy a solid chunk of solid pitching.

  102. LB on April 12th, 2007 5:56 pm

    You can buy a lot for $19 million, you know.

    A lot? Lately you can buy a little less than 2 years of Gil Meche or a little more than 2 years of Jeff Weaver for $19m. Just as a for instance.

    Boston bought the right to negotiate with a 26-year-old Daisuke for $53.1m. How many 26-year-old pitching stars are available in the FA marketplace? I think the Boston view is that premier pitchers won’t make it to free agency or will be overpriced when they get there, like Zito. That seemed to be your take in the offseason, as noted here: I’m just not interested in this crop of free agent pitchers. As a group, they suck, and they’re going to be paid like they’re actually good.

    Boston seems to be willing to pi$$ away money for hitters, particularly at the shortstop position, as you well note, but they seem to view the FA marketplace through different lenses (to misquote Theo Epstein) for pitchers and hitters.

    The point is they traded more talent away than they got back. All non-Red Sox homers can see that.

    Like they can see that Papelbon’s nothing special?

    When did you see that our FO gave more than they got back when they swapped Freddy Garcia for Jeremy Reed, Miguel Olivo, and Mike Morse? You’re no Seattle homer, but you defended that trade pretty vigorously a year later (“too soon to tell” and “what did the FO know at the time” were the basic ideas), but it’s so damned impossible to do a useful search on this site that I can’t show you your quote. (Google this site for Dave Garcia trade and you can enjoy looking for the needle in the haystack of 42 posts.)

  103. debaser on April 12th, 2007 5:58 pm

    If we go by PECOTA upside, Kinsler (who turns 25 in June) significantly beats out Weeks (who turns 25 in September), 154.6 to 90.6. Do you really think Weeks is that more projectible? I just don’t see it.

  104. Dave on April 12th, 2007 6:01 pm

    A lot? Lately you can buy a little less than 2 years of Gil Meche or a little more than 2 years of Jeff Weaver for $19m. Just as a for instance.

    I didn’t say I was going to let you spend the money. If you want to light it on fire, that’s your problem.

    Like they can see that Papelbon’s nothing special?

    He’s a reliever, right? Just like I said, he ended up in the bullpen. Because he wasn’t a special pitching prospect. You can bring this up as many times as you want – it doesn’t change the fact that, in the end, I was right – Jonathan Papelbon was a reliever in the making, and you don’t trade good offensive prospects for future relievers.

  105. Dave on April 12th, 2007 6:01 pm

    If we go by PECOTA upside, Kinsler (who turns 25 in June) significantly beats out Weeks (who turns 25 in September), 154.6 to 90.6. Do you really think Weeks is that more projectible? I just don’t see it.

    PECOTA hates Weeks. I think PECOTA is wrong.

  106. Jeff Nye on April 12th, 2007 6:16 pm

    Did I log onto the PI blog by mistake?

    *checks URL*

  107. terry on April 12th, 2007 6:50 pm

    Just how true is it though that any flamed out starting prospect is capable of being a 99th percentile high leverage reliever?

    It’s true that relieving in general is the easiest job in baseball but just as the 10 runs/win relationship breaks down in high leverage situations, doesn’t also the usual value of a relief arm?

  108. Jeff Nye on April 12th, 2007 7:09 pm

    I don’t think that anyone is saying that having a legimimate relief ace (not going to use the C-word) on your staff isn’t valuable.

    I think Dave’s just saying that the inherent lower value of a reliever (partly due to adding less value to your team in and of themselves, partly due to the lesser scarcity of relievers compared to starters and position players) is enough of a difference that none of them merit a mention in the top 40 highest trade value players in all of baseball.

    Which doesn’t really seem to be that unreasonable, to me. A dominant starter or star position player is just more valuable than even the best reliever, whether it’s Papelbon or Putz.

  109. Dave on April 12th, 2007 7:19 pm

    Leverage belongs to the innings, not the player. When evaluating trade value, you look at talent level, which is leverage independant. Yes, a relief ace is valuable, but you don’t trade for value – you trade for skills.

    By the way, I just watched Jeff Francoeur draw his second walk of the year. He’s a hack, but he’s not a lost cause.

  110. The Ancient Mariner on April 12th, 2007 8:22 pm

    If you think a $10 million good starter is worth a $300,000 good shortstop

    I didn’t take that as exactly the point, from reading the post — rather that a $10 million good starter comes a lot closer to being worth a $300,000 good shortstop than does a $10 million bad starter.

  111. Dave on April 12th, 2007 8:39 pm

    But this isn’t a list of guys who are more valuable than Jeff Weaver. That would be a really, really long list.

  112. NBarnes on April 12th, 2007 8:55 pm

    Yes, let’s be fair. Let’s talk about pitchers more valuable than Carl Pavano.

  113. El Laberinto on April 12th, 2007 9:42 pm

    This is how I think of who the best players in baseball are.

  114. gangsta on April 12th, 2007 10:20 pm

    Remember about Bonderman though that he was drafted by the A’s out of high school and Billy Beane then fired his staff because they drafted a flamethrowing highschool student. It’s in Moneyball, gosh don’t you read. So clearly Billy Beane hated Bonderman and then tried to salvage what he could.

  115. Hooligan on April 12th, 2007 11:05 pm

    Dave, do you still like Aybar better than Kendrick in the next five or six years? Last summer you went so far as to project Aybar > Reyes as I recall.

  116. chase035 on April 12th, 2007 11:35 pm

    I can’t let you get away with this one.

    I’m not sure why you can like Cano and not Francoeur. They have the same skillset offensively, except Francoeur is the far superior athlete and a much better defensive player.

    From a pure scouting standpoint, Cano is compared consistently to Rod Carew. His wrists are explosive, he can control the bat in ways that Francoeur, because of the length to his swing, will never approach. I don’t see the comparison, and hearing it really struck a nerve. I agree with others, Franceur has been a .280 guy. Can he hit .300 in time? I’m confident you are correct. Can he hit .330+? Not unless he starts being a whole lot more patient. His swing is too long to be a productive two-strike hitter.

  117. Rusty on April 12th, 2007 11:42 pm

    I was surprised to see Bedard on this list. I like the guy and I think he was a bit unlucky with some injuries early in his career. But it seems like no one talks about him much as an elite pitcher. Perhaps he’s part of that fraternity you mention along with Haren and Lackey.

  118. chase035 on April 12th, 2007 11:46 pm

    case in point… Cano’s average after first pitch strike is .288, Francoeur is at .219. With two strikes, Cano is at .230, Franceour is at .146. That’s bat control. Francoeur’s numbers are not indicative of an ability to hit for high average just yet.

  119. Trev on April 13th, 2007 12:47 am

    These lists are always great fun. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Ryan Zimmerman yet. At #29 he’s behind Nick Markakis (#27), Philip Hughes (#23), and Howie Kendrick (#21).

    Clearly he’s inferior to Alex Gordon/David Wright, but Ryan Zimmerman means getting 5 years of GG defense @ 3rd or possibly average defense at SS to go with .287/.351/.471 (111 OPS+) in an extreme pitchers park @ age 21. His 2007 PECOTA is .299/.360/.501

    Markakis is a corner OF who is ten months older than Zimmerman. His OPS+ was 106 @ age 22.

    Philip Hughes is the consensus best pitching prospect (i.e. not in the majors). You get 6-6.5 years of service from him, this is his age 21 season, and he’s never thrown more than 146 innings in a season. If he’s healthy for those years he’s more valuable than Zimmerman, but I don’t think a sober Jim Bowden trades Zimmerman for Hughes, even given his rotation now. (Yes, I realize that’s a reach).

    Howie Kendrick is a year older than Zimmerman. In 267 MLB at-bats, he hit .285/.314/.416 @ age 22. If you give him +.30 BA he’s a .315/.344/.446. PECOTA has him at .305/.339/.487. Kendrick is an average fielding 2B. If he is, I can’t see taking Kendrick over Zimmerman. Kendrick may be the 2nd best 2B, but he’s not better than the third best 3B (Miguel Cabrera is a “3B”).

    Zimmerman is inferior to Alex Gordon, but clearly superior now to Nick Markakis, likely superior to Kendrick, and a much less risky pick than Philip Hughes.

  120. moustache de caudill on April 13th, 2007 1:59 am

    I’m a bit surprised that Morneau misses the cut behind Fielder and Berkman. Must be contract uncertainty, Morneau is probably looking for Berkman-type money, and Fielder has similar potential with bigger power potential and a few years to give…? Thanks for the list, it’s great fun.

  121. JH on April 13th, 2007 2:52 am

    How close was Daniel Cabrera to making the cut? He’s been a far superior pitcher since the second half of last season, albeit with one fewer year under club control.

  122. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 6:03 am

    In my opinion it’s way too soon judge the Beckett trade, but the guy won 16 games last season and reached career high in innings all while trying to move from the NL to the AL East. Secondly, that trade was consummated when Epstein was on his hiatus as GM, so you can’t lay it at his feet, even if it were a failure (which it’s not). Thirdly, Beckett seems to be learning how to mix up his pitches if his first two starts are any indication and if that’s the case, watch out. He will definitely win 18-20 games this year. How many guys are there in this day who approach 20 wins. Not many. Fourthly, I would trade a position player for a quality starter any day of the week and I think over the life of the contract, you will find that Beckett more than earns his money and demonstrates his trade value (especially given his age and the value of starting pitchers in the current market). Finally, given that value of starting pitching, where Gil Meche is worth $55M over five years, the real question isn’t whether trading Hanley Ramirez (and his $300K salary) was a bad idea, but is Beckett a value at his current price and I think he definitely is.

  123. Dave on April 13th, 2007 6:36 am

    Dave, do you still like Aybar better than Kendrick in the next five or six years? Last summer you went so far as to project Aybar > Reyes as I recall.

    I’ve never projected Aybar ahead of Kendrick. I still like Aybar quite a bit, but he’s not Howie Kendrick or Jose Reyes. He’s got a lot of talent, but I’ve never put him in that class of player.

    From a pure scouting standpoint, Cano is compared consistently to Rod Carew.

    No he’s not. I’ve never heard that comparison once in my life, and I talk to a lot of scouts.

    His wrists are explosive, he can control the bat in ways that Francoeur, because of the length to his swing, will never approach. I don’t see the comparison, and hearing it really struck a nerve. I agree with others, Franceur has been a .280 guy. Can he hit .300 in time? I’m confident you are correct. Can he hit .330+? Not unless he starts being a whole lot more patient. His swing is too long to be a productive two-strike hitter.

    Cano’s not a .330+ hitter either. Just like Howard, 2006 was his career year.

    These lists are always great fun. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Ryan Zimmerman yet. At #29 he’s behind Nick Markakis (#27), Philip Hughes (#23), and Howie Kendrick (#21).

    Yep – he’s not as good as any of those three players.

    Markakis is a corner OF who is ten months older than Zimmerman. His OPS+ was 106 @ age 22.

    Felix’s ERA+ last year was 96, and he’s #1 on the list.

    Philip Hughes is the consensus best pitching prospect (i.e. not in the majors). You get 6-6.5 years of service from him, this is his age 21 season, and he’s never thrown more than 146 innings in a season. If he’s healthy for those years he’s more valuable than Zimmerman, but I don’t think a sober Jim Bowden trades Zimmerman for Hughes, even given his rotation now. (Yes, I realize that’s a reach).

    An ace pitcher is better than an above average third baseman. Hughes is an ace pitcher just spinning his wheels in the minors until the Yankees get around to calling him up. He’s not a pitching prospect anymore – he’s a major league pitcher who just doesn’t happen to be on a major league staff.

    Howie Kendrick is a year older than Zimmerman. In 267 MLB at-bats, he hit .285/.314/.416 @ age 22. If you give him +.30 BA he’s a .315/.344/.446. PECOTA has him at .305/.339/.487. Kendrick is an average fielding 2B. If he is, I can’t see taking Kendrick over Zimmerman. Kendrick may be the 2nd best 2B, but he’s not better than the third best 3B (Miguel Cabrera is a “3B”).

    I care a lot less about last year’s performances than you do.

    Zimmerman is inferior to Alex Gordon, but clearly superior now to Nick Markakis, likely superior to Kendrick, and a much less risky pick than Philip Hughes.

    He’s not clearly superior to Markakis, and isn’t superior to Kendrick or Hughes.

    How close was Daniel Cabrera to making the cut? He’s been a far superior pitcher since the second half of last season, albeit with one fewer year under club control.

    He’d be in the next group of 5-10 arms fighting for spots, but he wasn’t given a whole lot of consideration. His mechanics aren’t good and I doubt he’ll ever get his command totally under control.

    (Beckett) will definitely win 18-20 games this year.

    Nobody will definitely win 18-20 games this year.

    Fourthly, I would trade a position player for a quality starter any day of the week and I think over the life of the contract, you will find that Beckett more than earns his money and demonstrates his trade value (especially given his age and the value of starting pitchers in the current market).

    You’d lose. A lot.

    Finally, given that value of starting pitching, where Gil Meche is worth $55M over five years, the real question isn’t whether trading Hanley Ramirez (and his $300K salary) was a bad idea, but is Beckett a value at his current price and I think he definitely is.

    No, in a discussion about trade value, the real question is whether Hanley Ramirez has more value than Josh Beckett. He does – that’s not even arguable. We’re not talking about evaluating Theo as a GM. We’re talking about the fact that Hanley Ramirez is a more valuable property than Josh Beckett. If you can’t see that, I can’t help you.

  124. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 6:54 am

    I think it is very interesting rankings overall to consider. I like them mostly. I ask if you are also factoring the ability to market players as well? When you think of baseball commonly certain players over the history of the game will stand out because of their ability to be marketed along with their skill. This is true in many sports. I think this needs to taken into a factor for trade value of a player.

    Consider a player like Jeter (even with the huge contracts and age), his marketability for a team would be monsterous. Or Dontrelle Willis for example. He appeals to people of all races, he is easily one of the “faces” of MLB. Any team that trades for him would make him the face of their franchise if he was traded. Where a player like Pujols often is less in the spotlight compared to a player like Big Pappi. Just something I thought I would toss out there.

    As for the Beckett/Hanley deal. May I add in that folks are forgetting 4 other factors in the trade?

    1. Aninbal Sanchez – A top flight young pitcher that shows 4+ pitches and alot of promise for a young pitcher. He has the potential to become a very good number 2 starter and perhaps even a number 1 in time. Not to mention his no hitter and sun 2.5 starting ERA last year and great BAA. He has been “solid” in both of his outtings this year, when some tough breaks but is 2-0.
    2. Delgado and Garcia – Both are flame thrower type of Relief pitchers that have good potentials for setting up and already into AA and should be in the majors shortly to join the other two from that trade. One of them was even for now turned into a starting pitcher to stretch his abilities. If he turns into a solid starter (I believe it was delgado), then Florida might get 2 young good starters, a Setup/closer and a 5 tool SS out of the trade of Josh Beckett.
    3. Mike Lowell was a huge contract for the marlins (not for boston), that was traded to drop the salary. He was a negative upon the trade not an addition. Florida tried to move AJ Burnett with him the year before and decided upon trading Beckett just to move that contract. Along with him they were able to attach the horrible contract for mota. This is around 22 million dollars of “dead money” that was dumped in the deal. This should be considered into any consideration for the trade as a positive the marlins were able to dump this dead weight.
    4. The needs and depth of both teams. Where the Red Sox had a SS at the current time, they did end up needing one from externally because of their lack of a minor league SS for the future from trading Ramirez. Where on the counter point the marlins had a replacement for Josh Beckett in Josh Johnson already sitting there for the rotation. Coupled with Scott Olsen another young high potential (projectable 2-3 each of them a rotation). This made moving Beckett, an injury prone player due for a huge payday soon, a bonus to be done. Even if it was a PR hit not that Loria cares with his track record for destroying teams.

    Just thought I would toss that out there for my two cents for it as a rare marlins season ticket holder.

  125. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 7:05 am

    Just to clarify, I said, if he continues to mix up his pitches as he did for the first couple of games this year, he will definitely win 18-20 games. He won 16 last year simply trying to blow his fast ball by everyone. That might have worked in the NL, but not in the AL East.

    As for position player/starting pitcher argument, I think you will find that most baseball executives consider starting pitching (especially a potential ace like Beckett) to be much more difficult to develop and hence more valuable.

    As for not being able to help me, we’re simply having a discussion here. There are no right or wrong answers. Just opinions and I would say that yours is no more valid than anyone else’s here.

    As for the list, I’m little surprised Papelbon isn’t on there and Hughes who has never pitched an inning of major league ball is.

  126. Dave on April 13th, 2007 7:15 am

    Just to clarify, I said, if he continues to mix up his pitches as he did for the first couple of games this year, he will definitely win 18-20 games. He won 16 last year simply trying to blow his fast ball by everyone. That might have worked in the NL, but not in the AL East.

    If Felix continues to pitch like this, he’ll go 35-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Whee! Isn’t this fun?

    As for position player/starting pitcher argument, I think you will find that most baseball executives consider starting pitching (especially a potential ace like Beckett) to be much more difficult to develop and hence more valuable.

    Difficult to develop and more valuable don’t go hand in hand. Most MLB executives also understand the high rate of attrition among pitcher and the safety of position players, which is why a majority of every team’s payroll is spent on position players and not the pitching staff.

    As for not being able to help me, we’re simply having a discussion here. There are no right or wrong answers. Just opinions and I would say that yours is no more valid than anyone else’s here.

    I completely reject the concept that all opinions are equally valid. It’s never been true, and it never will be.

    As for the list, I’m little surprised Papelbon isn’t on there and Hughes who has never pitched an inning of major league ball is.

    You’re a Red Sox fan. Hughes is better.

  127. LoydKristmis on April 13th, 2007 7:22 am

    #88 –

    Jason Kendall has to be at or near the top of the list of players with the LEAST trade value.

  128. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 7:28 am

    I completely reject the concept that all opinions are equally valid. It’s never been true, and it never will be.

    I thought this was about having a little fun with a list of players, but it’s obviously about feeding your ego.

    You’re a Red Sox fan. Hughes is better.

    The fact that I’m a Red Sox fan is completely irrelevant. Papelbon was a lights-out closer last year, not an arguable point (even for you. Hughes has lots of potential, but hasn’t thrown a pitch at the major league level. Only after he actually pitches in the majors, and has success can you make a judgment.

  129. Dave on April 13th, 2007 7:36 am

    I thought this was about having a little fun with a list of players, but it’s obviously about feeding your ego.

    Some people know more about topics than others. Meteorologists know more about weather. Scientists know more about genetics. Mechanics know more about cars. Doctors know more about health.

    The whole “all opinions are equal” concept just isn’t true. If you think that I’m an arrogant punk for not giving all opinions the same value, fine. I think its basic common sense.

    The fact that I’m a Red Sox fan is completely irrelevant.

    Right. You’re just lobbying for Beckett and Papelbon out of your objective neutrality.

    Papelbon was a lights-out closer last year, not an arguable point.

    There are no relievers on this list for a reason.

    Hughes has lots of potential, but hasn’t thrown a pitch at the major league level. Only after he actually pitches in the majors, and has success can you make a judgment.

    Actually, I can make that judgment before he pitches in the majors. So can major league executives. It’s why all minor leaguers aren’t valued equally.

  130. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 7:38 am

    If you are going to rank Felix #1, there is no way you can rank the other young pitchers so low. Kazmir 11th? Bonderman 16th? Cain, Verlander, Hamels, Bedard, and Haren not even in the top 25? No way Felix is that much better than all those guys in trade value. Maybe I’m crazy, but this seems like a huge knee jerk reaction. I mean come on, 96 ERA+ is nothing to get this excited about. He is a beast, we all know this.

    Lets look at last years ERA+ for the 8 guys.

    Kazmir – 139
    Bonderman – 109
    Verlander – 122
    Cain – 109
    Hamels – 113
    Bedard – 119
    Haren – 110
    Felix – 96

    I understand he is younger than these guys and have a higher ceiling. I understand that pitching is more valuable than hitting. But if you are going to construct this list and have Felix at a minimum of 10 players ahead of this guy, questions must be asked. Cabrera should be #1 without a doubt. The kid is extremely young, relatively cheap, still developing, has proven himself on the big league stage, and like Felix is of to a monstrous start.

  131. Dave on April 13th, 2007 7:43 am

    Once again, I don’t care that much about last year’s performance. You can’t trade for last year. Felix is better than all those guys, and significantly so.

  132. david h on April 13th, 2007 7:43 am

    If Papelbon goes on, the Putz has to as well, since he has a reasonable contract and was even better than Papelbon last year, and both have injury questions too. As for Hughes, there is plenty of performance history to judge him on, as well as pure scouting. I don’t know enough about it to know for myself, but I know enough to trust that others who do this more and better than I do can make these judgements, and it isn’t hard to convince me that a ton of minor league pitchers are more valuable than Papelbon.

    The only thing that gives Papelbon inflated trade value is the weird notion that he is the perfect pitcher sent from god to pitch untouched ninth innings. So if you consider completely irrational trade value that some GM’s might perceive, then yeah, maybe he gets bumped way up and into the top 40.

  133. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 7:51 am

    Some people know more about topics than others.

    I’ll grant you that’s true when discussing science, but we are talking about a hypothetical list of players and their trade value. This is baseball, Dave, not rocket science. These points are completely arguable.

    Right. You’re just lobbying for Beckett and Papelbon out of your objective neutrality.

    Actually I wasn’t lobbying for Beckett. I was merely stating that the trade had more value for the Sox than you felt it did. As for Papelbon, you show me how many 26 year old lights-out closers there are around who are pre-arbitration to-boot.

    Actually, I can make that judgment before he pitches in the majors. So can major league executives. It’s why all minor leaguers aren’t valued equally.

    Sure you can, but the road to the majors is littered with can’t miss guys. I’m not saying Hughes won’t be the real deal. I can’t say. I’ve never seen him pitch. I’m just saying that somebody who has the value of Papelbon to a team (much like Rivera does to the Yanks) belongs on a list like this before a kid who hasn’t proved a thing yet.

  134. Dave on April 13th, 2007 7:58 am

    I’ll grant you that’s true when discussing science, but we are talking about a hypothetical list of players and their trade value. This is baseball, Dave, not rocket science. These points are completely arguable.

    Pujols or Cabrera at #2 is arguable. Sizemore or Mauer at #5 is arguable. Verlander or Myers is arguable.

    Beckett or Hanley? Not arguable. There’s a vast gulf in value between the two. It’s not even close.

    Actually I wasn’t lobbying for Beckett. I was merely stating that the trade had more value for the Sox than you felt it did. As for Papelbon, you show me how many 26 year old lights-out closers there are around who are pre-arbitration to-boot.

    I like Beckett – I’ve already said that. I wasn’t railing the Sox for making the trade. I was simply pointing out the obvious – in retrospect, they’d have been better had they kept Hanley Ramirez.

    And again, there are zero relievers on this list for a reason.

    Sure you can, but the road to the majors is littered with can’t miss guys. I’m not saying Hughes won’t be the real deal. I can’t say. I’ve never seen him pitch. I’m just saying that somebody who has the value of Papelbon to a team (much like Rivera does to the Yanks) belongs on a list like this before a kid who hasn’t proved a thing yet.

    The Yankees wouldn’t trade Hughes for Papelbon. The Red Sox would trade Papelbon for Hughes. I’m certain of both of those statements.

    MLB teams value starting pitchers much, much higher than they value relievers. For a reason.

  135. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 8:02 am

    Putz = Papelbon is not true at all. Papelbon had the highest VORP among closers last season. Putz came in at 6th.

  136. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 8:03 am

    rsmiller510 said:
    April 13th, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Just to clarify, I said, if he continues to mix up his pitches as he did for the first couple of games this year, he will definitely win 18-20 games. He won 16 last year simply trying to blow his fast ball by everyone. That might have worked in the NL, but not in the AL East.

    May I ask why if he does win 18 wins it means much? Steve Traschel last year won 16 games. He was a horrible pitcher and still is for Baltimore. Last year 16 games were in the chart for Marquis. Whom is a horrible pitcher as well. I would be more interested to see Josh get his Hr/9 down. Get his Whip back in order as well. I think he could have a break out year and I think he easily could be the 2nd best pitcher in the AL East (Halladay when Healthy is by far the best).

    As for the arguement against Papelbon, a closer is the most over-rated position in MLB. Most true “saves” come in the 7th or 8th often when the game is on the line in key situations and are now marketed down as holds. Perhaps a bit of irony about how menche makes more then most elite closers or the fact most “elite” closers are failed starters.

  137. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:07 am

    Putz = Papelbon is not true at all. Papelbon had the highest VORP among closers last season. Putz came in at 6th.

    VORP is a poor measure of pitching ability.

    We’ve had the Papelbon/Putz discussion here several times. Basically, if you want to like Papelbon’s 06 season more than J.J.’s ’06 season, you have to believe that he has some kind of preternatural ability to strand runners, as his 92.4 LOB% is the only thing he did better than J.J. last year. He put guys on base and then left them there. If you think thats a repeatable skill, then you can say Papelbon was better.

    They’re both relief aces. Papelbon is more valuable because he’s younger and cheaper, but Putz is the example of why relievers aren’t as valuable as people think. They just aren’t that hard to find.

  138. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 8:07 am

    You don’t care about last season? What kind of a statement is that? You think GMs are going to make a trade based on 2 starts? Thats insanity. Felix is significantly better than those pitchers? He has potential to be sure, but what evidence do you have that i don’t that shows he will live up to that potential. I see a list of kids and Felix has so far has done the worse. Plus, if you are going by that, why is Cabrera still lower than Felix? He currently has a higher VORP. I love the site, but come on. This is SO bias its crazy. I really can’t believe you said “I don’t care that much about last year’s performance. You can’t trade for last year.” that is sooooooooo stupid.

  139. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 8:08 am

    The only thing that gives Papelbon inflated trade value is the weird notion that he is the perfect pitcher sent from god to pitch untouched ninth innings. So if you consider completely irrational trade value that some GM’s might perceive, then yeah, maybe he gets bumped way up and into the top 40.

    Only because closers tend to be difference makers, especially in a short series. In 1996 when the Yankees had Rivera setting up Wettland, if you didn’t get to the starter by the sixth inning, the game was essentially over. Rivera took over after that and controls the end of games to this day. If you have a guy like that, you can ride him to a championship. The Sox did it with Keith Foulke in 2004 and the White Sox did it with Bobby Jenks in 2005.

  140. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:12 am

    I’m not basing it on two starts or this year’s VORP. I’m basing it on talent evaluations, which takes a player’s full career (both major and minor league), as well as his physical abilities, and my interpretations of their value into play.

    This isn’t a VORP or ERA+ list. That’s not how you evaluate talent. You don’t trade for past results – you trade for future results.

  141. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 8:15 am

    Wow, this is crazy. Fine you don’t like VORP. Paps has a ARP and WXRL. After neutralizing there stats from last years Papelbon’s ERA is 0.78 Putz is 2.16, Papelbons WHIP is .721 Putz is .886. This is crazy. Do you guys even try to not be bias. LOB% is the only thing he did better than him? What are you talking about?

  142. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:16 am

    Go read this, then come talk to me.

  143. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 8:20 am

    # Dave said:
    April 13th, 2007 at 8:12 am

    I’m not basing it on two starts or this year’s VORP. I’m basing it on talent evaluations, which takes a player’s full career (both major and minor league), as well as his physical abilities, and my interpretations of their value into play.

    This isn’t a VORP or ERA+ list. That’s not how you evaluate talent. You don’t trade for past results – you trade for future results.

    May I point out there your list of reasons for talent evaluations if flawed then for Felix over Miguel Cabrera.

    If you look up his full career and project out his physical abilities, and his value into play as well as possible future results (baseball reference does this for players) you come up with his career is most identical in form to Hank Aarons. Actually his entire top 10 players on his lips most identical are Hall of Fames except 2 which will become Hall of Fames (Arod and Ken Griffey Jr).

    You can not qualify that a pitcher holds more value over a position player when talking of the most elite of talents because the possible injuries to young pitching. Look at Lirano, I would put him ahead of Felix Hernandez for talent, potential for the career and accomplishments by a good degree. But, with the injury he just had you never know what will happen. The same thing could happen to Felix tomorrow very easily as a pitcher, I would hate to see it happen though.

    If I wish to go by minor league stats factored into my projections for players then up until last year Pettit should of been on the road to become the next roger clemens.

    Yes, there are many factors to judge a players potential career. But a pitcher over Pujols and Cabrera would be insane for trade value. Sorry just figured toss out that two cents to consider over.

    Not to even mention that Miguel did play an above average 3rd base for most of last year (from after may his RF was up there pretty high, and high and his fielding percentage was top for 3rd baseman. Not to even mention his arm is ++, he turned more double plays then most last year and he has good instincts for a guy for his first full year at 3rd base. He is not going to make “flashy” plays often but he is a very consistent good defender there at the hot corner thanks to Perry Hill.

    I am not trying to bash your list, as I think it is fine overall. I just think it might be a bit biased with Felix Hernandez that high up there.

  144. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 8:20 am

    Dude, if his stuff has produced now, why is it certain that he will produce later. Cole Hamels numbers KILLS him in the minors and the majors. Why would that be true if Felix is “significantly” better? Hamels is only 2 years older, its not like he doesn’t have as much room to improve as Felix. But Hamels is 35, Felix is 1.

  145. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 8:20 am

    May I ask why if he does win 18 wins it means much? Steve Traschel last year won 16 games.

    Wins don’t equal greatness, for certain, but Traschel is a fourth or fifth starter at best. Beckett is a guy you can build a rotation around. It’s a big reason the Sox gave up a Hanely Ramirez because they recognized that Schilling can’t pitch forever and they needed a guy who step into his role. Beckett (and Dice-K) both have the potential to be top of the rotation guys for years to come. Notice I said potential. There are no guarantees. This is baseball. Lots of stuff can happen.

  146. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:21 am

    What hath fantasy baseball wrought.

    It’s not just about numbers.

  147. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:24 am

    May I point out there your list of reasons for talent evaluations if flawed then for Felix over Miguel Cabrera.

    Rather than quoting each part of your agument, let me just say that the main reason Cabrera is #3 is his contract, which was stated in the notes after the list. He’s only under club control 2007, 2008, and 2009, and since he’s not signed beyond 2007, his last two years are going to be extremely expensive. He’s a great, great player, but his contract situation makes him less valuable than other great players who are significantly cheaper and under club control for longer.

    He’s also a terrible defensive third baseman.

  148. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 8:25 am

    It’s not just about numbers.

    Agreed. There’s make-up too and grit and drive and other human qualities that are too often discounted in this Bill James stat-driven world.

  149. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 8:27 am

    # rsmiller510 said:
    April 13th, 2007 at 8:20 am

    May I ask why if he does win 18 wins it means much? Steve Traschel last year won 16 games.

    Wins don’t equal greatness, for certain, but Traschel is a fourth or fifth starter at best. Beckett is a guy you can build a rotation around. It’s a big reason the Sox gave up a Hanely Ramirez because they recognized that Schilling can’t pitch forever and they needed a guy who step into his role. Beckett (and Dice-K) both have the potential to be top of the rotation guys for years to come. Notice I said potential. There are no guarantees. This is baseball. Lots of stuff can happen.

    I completely agree he has potential. I have watched his career since he was in the minors down here in florida and I think his numbers this year will be much better overall. I believe personally that he will have a solid year and be a big cause of the success of the red sox. That said, you need to look at the full trade to evaluate it. My post above goes into details about all of the aspects of the trade from the marlins perspective why was indeed a good deal for them. If Beckett turns the year back around it could help out with the Sox as well. But we need to consider the other 3 players that were acquired by the marlins in the trade. Even if Beckett becomes a number 1-2 type pitcher for the Red Sox. If Sanchez becomes the same for the Marlins how can you argue that it will be a good trade for the Red Sox?

  150. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 8:28 am

    # Dave said:
    April 13th, 2007 at 8:24 am

    May I point out there your list of reasons for talent evaluations if flawed then for Felix over Miguel Cabrera.

    Rather than quoting each part of your agument, let me just say that the main reason Cabrera is #3 is his contract, which was stated in the notes after the list. He’s only under club control 2007, 2008, and 2009, and since he’s not signed beyond 2007, his last two years are going to be extremely expensive. He’s a great, great player, but his contract situation makes him less valuable than other great players who are significantly cheaper and under club control for longer.

    He’s also a terrible defensive third baseman.

    May I ask how many times you have watched him play in person?

  151. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:29 am

    Agreed. There’s make-up too and grit and drive and other human qualities that are too often discounted in this Bill James stat-driven world.

    You’d love Willie Bloomquist if you were a Mariners fan.

  152. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 8:31 am

    You can talk down to me all you want. You can send me links to read about information that I already understand. What i actually want you to do is give me a quantitative reason why Felix is 34 spots ahead of Hamels. I read the scouting reports, I own MLB.tv and watch all the games. I don’t care that you think you are an expert because you write for this blog.

    Actually, no nevermind. I don’t really care why Hamels is so low. I want to hear a justification for Felix being higher than Cabrera.

  153. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 8:32 am

    If Sanchez becomes the same for the Marlins how can you argue that it will be a good trade for the Red Sox?

    No, and I’m not arguing the Sox didn’t give up too much, although I think Mike Lowell has been a lot more valuable than you give him credit for, but if it were Ramirez for Beckett, it’s a different argument than when you throw in the other young pitchers in the mix. I think you can definitely make an argument they gave up too much, and if Theo had been on board, he would have argued against the trade, but those other players still have the P word (potential). Let’s see if how many of them actually make it to the majors and have productive careers, then we can judge.

  154. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 8:33 am

    Please, don’t say the contract or i will never read this site again. That would be way to dumb.

  155. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 8:35 am

    Your evaluating pitcher talent article (with the link posted above) is a very interesting read. I do admit to being skeptical upon a few points there. But, overall I find myself agreeing with the overall sentiment expressed within the work. Very well done.

  156. Grizz on April 13th, 2007 8:37 am

    Please, Dave, say it’s the contract.

  157. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:38 am

    Please, don’t say the contract or i will never read this site again. That would be way to dumb.

    Adios.

  158. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 8:38 am

    You’d love Willie Bloomquist if you were a Mariners fan.

    Hey, I’m a baseball fan. I like to watch good players play the game. I didn’t love watching Felix Hernandez 1-hit the Sox the other night, but as a baseball fan, you had to love his performance and his presence on the mound. Last year the Sox played the Twins in Minnesota and Santana was having one of the lights-out nights. My son said, “I wish it weren’t the Sox he was doing it to, but this guy is something to watch.” I agreed. I’m a huge Red Sox fan, have been almost my whole life, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have tremendous respect for Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter and how they play the game. When Jeter leaped into the stands to catch a Trot Nixon foul-ball in June 2004, that to me defined the type of player he is. The guy was fearless with no regard for his own body, just catching the ball. Nixon is like that too and Clemens and Pedro. Guys who leave their blood on the field.

  159. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 8:41 am

    # rsmiller510 said:
    April 13th, 2007 at 8:32 am

    If Sanchez becomes the same for the Marlins how can you argue that it will be a good trade for the Red Sox?

    No, and I’m not arguing the Sox didn’t give up too much, although I think Mike Lowell has been a lot more valuable than you give him credit for, but if it were Ramirez for Beckett, it’s a different argument than when you throw in the other young pitchers in the mix. I think you can definitely make an argument they gave up too much, and if Theo had been on board, he would have argued against the trade, but those other players still have the P word (potential). Let’s see if how many of them actually make it to the majors and have productive careers, then we can judge.

    I completely agree that lowell has been far more productive then I am stating from the marlins perspective they viewed him at. I am very happy he is actually, as I consider him an upstanding individual, a wonderful person to meet and talk to as well. Everytime I turn on a sox game I route for him no matter what as there are few players in my 20+ years of watching baseball that I have enjoyed watching play more then Mike Lowell. I am merely though placing his value in the above post to how the marlins viewed him because of their money situation they were currently facing.

    As for the potential word, I agree again but the list above seems to simulate potential in many places from the top spot on down. The best trades are typically decided over 3-5 years after the trade has been made. For example if the marlins had known how Johan Santana would of turned out I doubt they would of accepted the trade move to pluck him in the rule 5 draft from Houston and send him over to Minnesota. (imagine that rotation if he had been in it for houston or florida).

    I think it will be an interesting year for Beckett. And I do agree that Theo wouldnt of made the trade, which is why I am glad he was throwing a fit for more cash at the time.

  160. Ripwa on April 13th, 2007 8:47 am

    Ha, thats actually extremely funny. You think a GM is going to rather Felix over Cabrera solely over the $7M. Cabrera at $7M is the best bargain in baseball. I will leave this site under the knowledge that in 5 years Cabrera will be far and away the best player in baseball and Felix will be struggling with injury and not even the best pitcher. Have you watched Felix pitch. If he doesn’t change his motion than he wont last 2 years. Hey, there is some no stats. But you are the expert. I can’t believe that you talk like you do to your readers. Apprently, writers in the Northwest aren’t expected to show class even under less than ideal circumstances.

  161. david h on April 13th, 2007 8:47 am

    154 – Please, don’t say the contract or i will never read this site again

    The entire point of this post is about current trade value, contracts included. This isn’t a list of the most valuable player in a world where players play for free, or who helps his team win the most games – it is about trade value, which includes contract value. Barry Zito might be a better pitcher than James Shields (maybe), but Tampa would be idiotic to trade Shields for Zito. That contract is a killer. Carlos Lee is better than Jose Guillen, but there is no way the Mariners trade Guillen for Lee, because Lee’s contract is awful (well, with this front office, who knows…). A list of top talent would have Zito over Shields and Lee over Guillen, but not a list of current trade value.

  162. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 8:48 am

    I completely agree that lowell has been far more productive then I am stating from the marlins perspective they viewed him at. I am very happy he is actually, as I consider him an upstanding individual, a wonderful person to meet and talk to as well.

    Absolutely, and an outstanding third baseman. Defensively, he doesn’t have many peers. With Alex Gonzalez at Short (as I’m sure you know), not much got by on the left side last year.

  163. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:50 am

    You think a GM is going to rather Felix over Cabrera solely over the $7M.

    $7 milion this year, probably close to $13 million next year, and $18 or $19 million the year after that. And then he leaves.

    Have you watched Felix pitch.

    I can’t beleive you typed that without laughing.

    I can’t believe that you talk like you do to your readers. Apprently, writers in the Northwest aren’t expected to show class even under less than ideal circumstances.

    Respect is earned. You haven’t earned any.

  164. Baseballfan79 on April 13th, 2007 8:52 am

    # david h said:
    April 13th, 2007 at 8:47 am

    154 – Please, don’t say the contract or i will never read this site again

    The entire point of this post is about current trade value, contracts included. This isn’t a list of the most valuable player in a world where players play for free, or who helps his team win the most games – it is about trade value, which includes contract value. Barry Zito might be a better pitcher than James Shields (maybe), but Tampa would be idiotic to trade Shields for Zito. That contract is a killer. Carlos Lee is better than Jose Guillen, but there is no way the Mariners trade Guillen for Lee, because Lee’s contract is awful (well, with this front office, who knows…). A list of top talent would have Zito over Shields and Lee over Guillen, but not a list of current trade value.

    But it is not the price of the contract but the length he is comparing and he is not taking into affect the posibility of injury for a pitcher is far superior, hence the trade value is far less.

    Cabrera has 3 more years till he hits the open market (after the 2009 season).

    Felix has 4 more years till he would hit the open market (after the 2010 season I believe, please correct me if I am wrong).

    Granted it is a make believe fantasy list, on a mariners fan website, but is 1 extra year of Felix “potential, possible abilities” better then Miguel Cabrera’s stats and numbers? A guy that has been in the top 5 MVP canidates 2 years in a row, is young and rather cheap comparable to the market out there for a player of his caliber?

    Personally I would put Pujols first, contract and all. But I cant see Felix in the top 10 even currently because the there are better potential young pitches in MLB.

  165. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 8:53 am

    Respect is earned. You haven’t earned any.

    LOL. You are certainly going to make friends and influence people with that kind of attitude, Dave.

  166. Graham on April 13th, 2007 8:58 am

    People who say ‘LOL’ don’t deserve any respect anyway.

  167. Dave on April 13th, 2007 8:59 am

    Felix has 4 more years till he would hit the open market (after the 2010 season I believe, please correct me if I am wrong).

    He won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2011. He didn’t accrue enough service time in 2005 for it to count as a full year of service.

    Granted it is a make believe fantasy list, on a mariners fan website, but is 1 extra year of Felix “potential, possible abilities” better then Miguel Cabrera’s stats and numbers? A guy that has been in the top 5 MVP canidates 2 years in a row, is young and rather cheap comparable to the market out there for a player of his caliber?

    Cabrera’s not going to be cheap after this season. He’s going to be very highly compensated in 2008 and 2009.

    Personally I would put Pujols first, contract and all. But I cant see Felix in the top 10 even currently because the there are better potential young pitches in MLB.

    No, there aren’t. Felix is as good as it gets for non-Johan pitchers.

  168. Dave on April 13th, 2007 9:00 am

    LOL. You are certainly going to make friends and influence people with that kind of attitude, Dave.

    Steven Covey and I wouldn’t get along. I’m okay with that.

  169. david h on April 13th, 2007 9:02 am

    164 – I don’t think Felix put in enough time in ’05 to make him a free agent after 2010 – I’m fairly certain he’s under M’s control until after 2011.

    I think price and lenght are factors in trade value, and it seems that’s what Dave is using here.

    Better potential young pitchers in the MLB? I don’t see it. Felix is an elite strikeout pitcher, elite groundball pitcher, has good command, and is only 21. The only knock on him is injury potential, but what young pitcher are without that?

  170. nfreakct on April 13th, 2007 9:07 am

    Weren’t the Mariners also talking about gettting a four year deal with Felix with a 5th year option also? That would mean the club would control Felix until 2012 right?

  171. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 9:13 am

    Steven Covey and I wouldn’t get along. I’m okay with that.

    You should consider a career in comedy. You’re a funny guy. See ya.

  172. Evan on April 13th, 2007 9:39 am

    The whole “all opinions are equal” concept just isn’t true. If you think that I’m an arrogant punk for not giving all opinions the same value, fine. I think its basic common sense.

    Generally speaking, I find that common sense holds that all opinions are equal. Common sense is wrong, but what that means is you can’t win the argument by appealing to common sense. You’re actually making an appeal to reason, which really has very little to do with common sense.

    Steven Covey and I wouldn’t get along. I’m okay with that.

    Dave, I love you more now than I ever have before. I hate Steven Covey. How do you write a whole book about effectiveness without ever defining the term?

  173. dang on April 13th, 2007 9:41 am

    Dave.
    How far away is Victor Martinez from making this list? There are several players I would have ranked him ahead of.

  174. pensive on April 13th, 2007 10:01 am

    Dave,
    At what time frame do you suggest Felix’s arbitration years get bought? Or even extended in a deal?

  175. vj on April 13th, 2007 10:05 am

    This is a great thread for reenforcing stereotypes about Red Sox fans.

  176. darrylzero on April 13th, 2007 10:08 am

    Dave, I just wanted to say that usually when you’re kind of a dickhead to people, I feel kind of bad, even though they usually deserve it. Sometimes, not always but sometimes, I think it’s too much and you’re overstepping a bit. But this time, I feel great. Good god that thread was fun. I’m amazed you kept bothering to refute their points for so long.

  177. davepaisley on April 13th, 2007 10:26 am

    All the way back to #43:

    The Devil Rays future is so bright, you need shades to talk about them. This list doesn’t include potential all-stars B.J. Upton, Elijah Dukes, Evan Longoria, Reid Brignac, or Jeff Niemann,

    Do you think he takes much ribbing in the clubhouse?

    When he makes it to the bigs there’s no doubt who he’ll be dressing up as on rookie hazing day – in a nice Versace number probably…

  178. PositivePaul on April 13th, 2007 10:30 am

    …but Putz is the example of why relievers aren’t as valuable as people think. They just aren’t that hard to find.

    I agree that decent, solid relievers aren’t as valuable and aren’t too hard to find. BUT, I’d say that relief aces are a lot more valuable and quite a bit harder to find.

    Otherwise teams like Atlanta wouldn’t give away big time starting pitchers to get them. And a GM in Washington wouldn’t trade an All-Star .300 hitter for a relief ace prospect.

    Er, wait.

    Still, cheap jabs at Bavasi aside, I think you get my point. There are certain levels of relief aces that generally are quite a bit harder to find and acquire. I suspect that Boston would’ve probably at least pondered seriously an offer of Soriano + Putz for Manny. Possibly would’ve taken a little more, of course, but it would’ve gotten Epstein’s attention.

  179. david h on April 13th, 2007 10:36 am

    178 – you may be right about Boston considering that deal, but it would have a lot to do with Manny’s contract. As you can tell by him clearing waivers the other year, he has very little trade value without Boston picking up a chunk of his contract.

  180. bermanator on April 13th, 2007 10:57 am

    Man, Dave. For someone who wrote in the initial post:

    So, now that we have those issues out of the way, try to remember that this whole post is for fun.

    You’re taking the debate awfully personally. This really is just an opinion piece. It’s reasonable to disagree with the Felix at No. 1 overall — I doubt that a similar website run by fans of another team would agree, for example.

    I have a hard time believing that a survey of GMs would rate Cabrera over Felix as the more valuable product, because my sense is that the injury risk would give too much pause.

  181. Dave on April 13th, 2007 11:03 am

    I have no problem with anyone disagreeing with Felix being #1. Cabrera, Pujols, and even Sizemore, Mauer, and Reyes have good arguments.

    The people who got on my nerves in this thread had nothing to do with talking about Felix/Cabrera at #1.

  182. chrisisasavage on April 13th, 2007 11:04 am

    I dont get it. Dave is making his case from a pure roster management POV, hence the “Trade value” part of the title. While I think the idea of say Net Win Shares is flawed, only for using Win Shares as the base, it’s a good idea. It doesn’t take a genius to realized 450K for a star is worth more than over paying for a super star. Like, say you got a +4 WAR player getting $16 mil, and a +2 WAR (average) player getting 500k. If you use the 4 mil per win (it’s actually like 4.3) The +4 guy is getting about what he’s worth, +2 guy is getting 7.5 million less, that’s like money in the bank. Felix is at minimum a +3.5-+4 WAR pitcher already, and quit possibly even better than that, and he’s only 21.

    Felix is going to be one of 3 things, 1.) A star, 2.) One of the greatest pitchers fo all time (at least at the single season level), or 3.) injured. Close to league minimum and 5 years of club control for that outweighs Cabrera’s great bat. Not to mention, Felix may already be as valuable as Cabrera, Pujols, Santana, Reyes, etc in Win production, and if he’s not, it’s not that far off.

    Based on what I’ve seen, it wouldn’t take as much as some people might think for Felix to pass Johan Santana as the best pitcher in baseball, especially if he continues to throw an upper 90′s sinker, and mix in his wicked curve and change. Santana has very good stuff, but it’s his control, and the deception in his change-up that really sets him apart from the pack. Stuff wise (velocity + movement), Felix is superior. As long as he throws sinkers, and keeps them low, has some sembelence of control (ex, avoiding 94 mph fastballs over the middle of the plate), and mixes in his other pitches, he’ll probably be nearly as good. If he ever pulls a Brandon Webb and figures out how to pitch, well, he could give Pedro a run for his money on the alltime best seasons list (IMHO).

    Roy Hallady and Brandon Webb have been among the best pitchers in baseball, with averagish to maybe slightly above average K rates, because of their sinkers. Felix has a sinker that makes theirs look little league, and a change, curve, and slider, that are among the best of the best. I’ll stop the rant now, but I think it’s silly someone can’t see why Felix is so valuable. If the Mariners make the playoffs this year, he’ll probably be the main reason. I remember talking to my cousin in Minnesota about Felix last year, and they compared Johan and especially Liriano. Liriano is a better comp, but Felix had better stuff, and this year, now that he’s back to throwing the ball like it’s 2005, it’s not really that close.

    Sorry this got winded, I just can’t believe what I was reading.

  183. scraps on April 13th, 2007 11:13 am

    Every time Dave gets sharp-tongued, someone accuses him of taking things too personally. This is (in my goddamned opinion) a profound misreading of tone. Annoyance is not the same thing as taking offense. If you want, for some reason, to berate Dave for how he chooses to write on his weblog, it would be more accurate to suggest that he gets impatient very quickly. At least it would be an argument on the correct axis, agreeing or disagreeing about where it was appropriate to draw the line.

  184. DC Mariner on April 13th, 2007 11:18 am

    I think alot of the questions come from lack of knowledge. We’ve been following Felix for years now and know what he has done since he was 16 and what it’s going to take for him to succeed in the future. Even the best baseball fans on the east coast know him from a hot callup in 2005, a dissapointing 2006, and now the start of this season. It makes me mad that it takes him absolutely destroying their team to actually realize the kid may be good. As though the only way to prove anyones worth is to beat the Yanks or the Sawx. I’ll agree that there are alot of talented, young, cheap players today, so any list is going to be disputed. Any career (whether pitcher or position player) can be sidetracked by injuries. A list like this seems more valuable in trying to understand the type of player that holds the most value. Its not so much the names (indeed a few may be interchangable) but the combination of history, expected talent, risk, and cost that makes this list. I view it much like the old Future 40, where people get caught up in the rankings and numbers assigned, rather than the player type.

  185. Dave on April 13th, 2007 11:29 am

    I have patience with people who show an active interest in having a legitimate discussion. I have very little patience with people who say things like “this is sooooo stupid” and then demand respect.

  186. em on April 13th, 2007 11:35 am

    Why was 2006 disappointing? He was 19-20.

    A well-argued debate is a treasure. A poorly-argued debate is what I have with my kids. They suck at it, I don’t, and I don’t have to be patient about it. They just have to shut up and listen until they figure out that emotional objection isn’t a rebuttal.

  187. em on April 13th, 2007 11:39 am

    On the other hand, I do have to be patient with my wife, even though she tries to wind me up with illogical emotional tangents. You pick your battles.

  188. Dave on April 13th, 2007 11:40 am

    Thankfully, I’m not married to irrational Jonathan Papelbon lovers.

  189. DMZ on April 13th, 2007 11:49 am

    We should ask Marbledog and check on that. Remember, last time you weren’t even aware you were married.

  190. em on April 13th, 2007 11:50 am

    Speaking of emotional arguments: what about Ichiro?

    I understand why he isn’t on the list, but there is a mirror (warped mirror, of course) of this trade value list.

    In a practical sense, certain players are untradeable because they are too valuable. To me, that is what this list represents. Players that aren’t going anywhere. What about the REAL trade value list? What about the guys that are flawed to the point where the teams holding them might actually consider leveraging what value they do have in a real trade?

    In that sense, Ichiro has more tangible value than many on this list, because the M’s could legitimately consider acquiring talent for him at the trade deadline. I know we could argue that Ichiro brings too many economic intangibles for the M’s to contemplate moving him, but if we are to be completely objective, how could we use Ichiro to improve this team?

    On the other hand, if the M’s extend his contract 3 yrs @ $15M per (eg), where would he fall on the above list????

  191. Jeff Nye on April 13th, 2007 12:13 pm

    What in the world happened in this thread?

  192. scraps on April 13th, 2007 12:27 pm

    Does Lastings Milledge sniff the list?

  193. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 1:08 pm

    No he’s not. I’ve never heard that comparison once in my life, and I talk to a lot of scouts.

    As a Yankee fan from NY, I’ve heard this no less than 100 times. Mind you I’m not connected to scouts. But you hear it from players and former players. You hear it from team personnel. These are people that know the game and are familiar with player development. Reggie Jackson said he’d win a batting title BEFORE he made a run at it last season. Torre said his reminds him of Rod Carew, called him a future batting champ IN MAY 2005.

    http://bruce.mlblogs.com/bruce_markusens_coopersto/2005/05/cano_and_carew_.html

    Mattingly agreed that he has a shot to win the batting title BEFORE last season. In other words, last season wasn’t a total surprise to people in the Yankees system.

  194. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 1:10 pm

    I’d agree with your likely follow up, that these are Yankee homers. But the fact that they said it BEFORE he did it, and THEN he goes out an hits .340, shows that maybe they know a thing or two more about him than the scouts you’ve spoken with.

  195. colm on April 13th, 2007 1:13 pm

    Have they gone?

    rsmiller510, baseballfan79 and ripwa have been doing some serious harm this morning. Not merely to Dave’s equanimity, but to the English language. Each of those posters could use a good sub-editor.

    Thanks, Dave, for an entertaining and informed read.

  196. colm on April 13th, 2007 1:18 pm

    Ya see guys, Chase035 here can advance a contrarian opinion AND back it up without being a prick about it.

    And without littering his posts with malapropisms, mis-spellings, and sketchy punctuation.

    Thanks Chase!

  197. chrisisasavage on April 13th, 2007 1:18 pm

    I doubt that Cano is a true .340 hitter. Very few people are. That’s ~ 3 SD above the mean.

  198. colm on April 13th, 2007 1:19 pm

    Mind you, I just don’t see Cano as the next Rod Carew…

  199. chrisisasavage on April 13th, 2007 1:19 pm

    I meant, very few people ever have been (true talent 3 SD above mean)

  200. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 1:24 pm

    I don’t know if I’d call him a true .340 hitter. Can’t think of the last guy who deserved such an honor (Gwynn?). But I think he is a true .320 hitter who will hit .330+ a few times with a little bit of luck.

  201. Jeff Nye on April 13th, 2007 1:25 pm

    Are you arguing that Robinson Cano should be higher on the list?

    If so, where? Whom do you move down in order to move him up?

    He seems to be a good, cheap, young hitter, based on the little I know about him from his one season. I haven’t followed him at all.

  202. Dave on April 13th, 2007 1:28 pm

    Mattingly agreed that he has a shot to win the batting title BEFORE last season. In other words, last season wasn’t a total surprise to people in the Yankees system.

    The Yankees organization are notorious for publically overpromoting every player in their system. It’s not just Cano – they talk glowingly about every single guy that shows up to spring training.

    I’d agree with your likely follow up, that these are Yankee homers. But the fact that they said it BEFORE he did it, and THEN he goes out an hits .340, shows that maybe they know a thing or two more about him than the scouts you’ve spoken with.

    I sat with the scouts and watched Cano play a huge chunk of the 2002 season in Greensboro with many different scouts, and the Rod Carew comparison never came up. I saw him multiple times when Columbus rolled through Charlotte in 2004 and 2005. These guys weren’t ignorant of Cano. They’d all seen him many times over a multiyear span.

    They’re also not paid employees of the Yankees, so their opinions have a bit more credibility.

    Robinson Cano is not a .340 hitter. He’s a guy who hit .340 in his career year. Just like Ryan Howard isn’t a 58 HR guy, but he hit 58 homers last year. There’s a difference between performance and true talent level. Cano performed quite a bit above his talent level last year.

    This isn’t a knock on him – he’s on the list, after all, ahead of a bunch of established star players. But if you’re expecting Cano to begin a long, hall of fame career, I’m pretty sure you’re going to end up disappointed.

  203. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 1:28 pm

    No, I like his spot on the list. I just took issue with him being compared to Jeff Francoeur. He’s a totally different hitter.

  204. Red Apple on April 13th, 2007 1:30 pm

    I completely reject the concept that all opinions are equally valid. It’s never been true, and it never will be.

    Because there are opinions, and then there are informed opinions. The chasm that separates them can be immense, as we see on a daily basis.

  205. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 1:31 pm

    I did some serious harm, did I. How? By expressing my opinion.

    If you want your own little club where you all agree with another, why not make a private blog where you can all fawn all over Dave and what genius he is. You guys obvious know it all. Have fun.

  206. NBarnes on April 13th, 2007 1:33 pm

    Actually, no nevermind. I don’t really care why Hamels is so low. I want to hear a justification for Felix being higher than Cabrera.

    Please, don’t say the contract or i will never read this site again. That would be way to dumb.

    Of course it’s the contract. Why wouldn’t it be? Beckett would be more valuable than Ramirez, except Ramirez is under club control for the next million years and Beckett is getting $10 million a year. Felix is also under club control for forever, where Cabrera is going to start making the money he’s worth based on his performance as soon as next year.

    That’s why you take Felix instead of Cabrera. Because money matters.

    Cabrera at $7M is the best bargain in baseball.

    Also, you’re on crack. Cabrera at $7 is a bargain, but Felix at $300,000 is already a better one. And Felix will still be making near league-minimum next year, and the year after that, but Cabrera sure won’t be making only $7.

  207. colm on April 13th, 2007 1:36 pm

    When you’re talking about an outlier 3SD above normal you’re dealing with fewer than one instance in 5 million. (Assuming a normal distribution, which we probably don’t have here.) I don’t even think Tony Gwynn hit that level.

  208. chrisisasavage on April 13th, 2007 1:37 pm

    I’m not sure I’d say hes a .320 hitter yet. I’d say Cano has shown he’s a .300 hitter based on his performance, and on regression toward the mean.

  209. Dave on April 13th, 2007 1:40 pm

    No, I like his spot on the list. I just took issue with him being compared to Jeff Francoeur. He’s a totally different hitter.

    Bobby Abreu is a totally different hitter than Robinson Cano. Francoeur and Cano aren’t identical, but their differences are measured in degrees. They’re both aggressive, line drive hitters with power who make up for a lack of plate discipline through their athletic abilities. Cano’s more of a gap hitter and has a better eye, while Francoeur has more power, is better defensively and a better runner.

    But they’re similar players, and similarly valuable talents.

  210. Graham on April 13th, 2007 1:44 pm

    Dave,

    BP 2007 has Carew as Cano’s #2 comparable. I’m of course well aware that BP’s not gospel, but the point remains that the comparison has been brought up by PECOTA, which should be fairly unbiased.

    That said, I agree with you on the Francoeur/Cano offensive upside comparison. Since I’ve never spent much time watching Francoeur bat, I can’t compare his style to Cano’s though.

  211. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 1:46 pm

    According to Baseball America “Both Torre and Boston manager Terry Francona have likened Cano’s hitting style to that of Hall of Famer Rod Carew.”

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/features/051010rookieraces.html

    I wouldn’t exactly call Francona a Yankee homer. Nor would I liken Jeff Francoeur to Carew. I like your spot for him, don’t disagree that .340 probably involved a little luck. But it hit a nerve to hear him compared to Francoeur. They’re just different types of players.

  212. colm on April 13th, 2007 1:47 pm

    RS – I don’t want homogeneity. I like the argument. I do want the dissent to be both informed and grammatical.

    You’re far from the worst offender to the English language here, but your tetchy attitude is doing nothing to change the reputation of Red Sox fans as chip-on-the-shoulder career whingers.

  213. rsmiller510 on April 13th, 2007 1:52 pm

    Colm, You’re a pompous SOB. How’s that for proper english, you putz.

  214. chrisisasavage on April 13th, 2007 1:52 pm

    #207, that’s what I meant. .340 is more like 2.5 SD, but still, you might have a couple guys like this in MLB history, and when it comes to true talent, I doubt anyone has ever been that far above mean for a career, but maybe 3 year chunks, I think Gwynn was definately a .340 hitter for a few years. Also, the distribution, is not normal.

  215. Graham on April 13th, 2007 1:54 pm

    “Colm, You’re a pompous SOB. How’s that for proper english, you putz.”

    You forgot a question mark.

  216. colm on April 13th, 2007 1:56 pm

    RS – I just re-read your last post. You’re being grumpy and ungrammatical to the end.

  217. Jeff Sullivan on April 13th, 2007 1:56 pm

    ‘Putz’ doesn’t really work as an effective insult in these parts.

  218. bermanator on April 13th, 2007 1:58 pm

    If he’d said, “How’s that for proper English, you bloomquist,” would that be considered a bannable offense?

  219. Jeff Nye on April 13th, 2007 1:59 pm

    And Jeff Sullivan wins the thread!

    As far as the Cano/Carew thing goes, I’ll still take the opinion of an off-the-record scout in regards to player evaluation over a manager that knows he’s speaking to the media; but it’s a pretty fine point, regardless.

    I think Dave explained adequately why he was saying that Francoeur and Cano were similar players. Note, similar, not the same.

  220. colm on April 13th, 2007 2:00 pm

    I like winding up bad-tempered tossers. Pointing out their failings is a pretty sure-fire way of doing so.

  221. bermanator on April 13th, 2007 2:11 pm

    On another note, where would Hafner rank if he played a passable first base (or any other defensive position)?

  222. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 2:18 pm

    If it was simply made in the context that they are not patient and rely on talent to be successful while aggressive, I agree. But I can group 150 other hitters into that category as well.

    On the other hand, they have different skill sets, different swings, different approaches. Cano is good two strike hitter (.230 vs. .146), he uses more of the field, etc.

  223. The Ancient Mariner on April 13th, 2007 2:19 pm

    Perhaps when these folks were comparing Cano to Carew, they were talking about fielding?

  224. terry on April 13th, 2007 2:19 pm

    To anyone wondering if Dave is an unreasonable guy, we’re now 222 posts into this thread and still a few notables have yet to make it into the moderation que…

    ’nuff said I think…….

  225. penn94 on April 13th, 2007 2:22 pm

    Cabrera and Felix are too high on the list. The key is years of control * (open-market salary obtainable – locked up salary/ likely arb. salary) Reyes is locked up with options through 2011 at a reasonable rate, likely significantly less than arb. numbers for either Cabrera or Felix. Even David Wright is more valuable commodity to Cabrera when you factor in the better defense, the longer lock-up (and options) and the small difference in actual player value. Also, I think Ben Sheets is locked up for only two more years, basically forcing him off of this list. Also, where is Baldelli who is locked up for the next 27 years for roughly $50 (if memory serves).

  226. Brian Rust on April 13th, 2007 2:42 pm

    Actually, colm, 3 standard deviations would represent about 1 in 200. Approximately 68%, 95%, 99.5% are within 1, 2, and 3 SD, respectively, of the mean.

  227. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 3:00 pm

    Baldelli’s on the “very good but oft injured 4th outfielder” list.

  228. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 3:02 pm

    well okay, maybe on a team other than the D-rays he’d have more value…I’d rate Doyle higher though.

  229. Jeff Nye on April 13th, 2007 3:06 pm

    Call me a homer if you want to, but I think that Felix’s potential over the next few years (don’t talk to me about his mechanics or injury potential; every player in the game in general, and young pitchers in particular, are ALL injury risks) separates him from those below him on this list sufficiently that I like him at #1.

    I think he has more potential to be a truly special, once-in-a-generation type of player than any of the people close to him on the list.

    Also, belatedly, I like bermanator’s idea of using “you bloomquist” as an insult. Let’s get that into the papers like King Felix and Turbo. Maybe then he’ll demand to be traded!

  230. nathanj42 on April 13th, 2007 3:16 pm

    How come Oswalt’s not on this list, he’s not too old, he’s really consistent, and he’s pretty cheap I think comparatively.

    You think $75 million over the next 5 years is cheap for a guy whose peripherals have been trending the wrong way for three years and has a history of nagging injuries? He’ll be a league average pitcher, at best, in 2 years, and the last couple years of that contract could be very ugly.

    I’d disagree with your Oswalt remarks. He’s been very durable average 212 Innings in his first 5 full seasons. Also, while his K/IP is trending down, his BB-rate and HR-rate are both headed down too. He actually had a career high in K/BB last season.

  231. penn94 on April 13th, 2007 3:25 pm

    Jeff,

    You are a homer. I think Pujols and Reyes equally have “once in a generation” potential. More accurately, if you are a GM in a big market and if Felix is a FA, I think you can make a solid argument for offering him $22 million per year for four years. In actuality, he will probably cost Seattle about $25 million for that time period, netting about 63 million in extra value. If you could lock up Reyes for five years, I think you would pay $120 million, less the $25 million (plus option year I think of $10), he nets to about $85 million in value. Pujols I think is easily worth $30 million per for the next four, less the $50 million or so he is owed yields $70 million in excess value. By the way, if you could sign Santana to a two year deal right now, he might be worth 35 million per (remember, you would pay more per year for a shorter contract), less the 20 he is due, he is worth less than Felix, but still mighty valuable.

  232. hardball24 on April 13th, 2007 3:36 pm

    How far down is Zack Greinke?

  233. Jeff Nye on April 13th, 2007 3:49 pm

    You can call me a homer if you want. Just don’t call me a bloomquist.

    I’ve just never seen Pujols or Reyes so totally dominate a game like we’ve seen Felix do in his last two starts. Granted, as position players they have less opportunity to do so, but I just don’t see them through the same lens.

    Pujols is a great hitter, no question, and it’s nice to see him come out of the relative obscurity he’s been subject to up until last year; Reyes I think is a good, maybe even great, player who gets lots of attention because he plays for an East Coast major market team and he’s the type of player who looks good on Sportscenter highlights.

    (note, I’m not saying he’s overrated inasmuch as I’m saying that he gets media attention for reasons that aren’t entirely based on his actual performance)

    Half of the people writing stories about King Felix for the major sports media probably had to look at a map to figure out where the Mariners play.

  234. eponymous coward on April 13th, 2007 4:00 pm

    More accurately, if you are a GM in a big market and if Felix is a FA, I think you can make a solid argument for offering him $22 million per year for four years.

    So you’d offer less years than Gil Meche and AJ Burnett got? Do you consider them superior pitchers? More proven ones?

  235. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 4:05 pm

    For the sake of argument, taking in overall production and factoring in park and league, over the next 4 years, how far behind Reyes is Carlos Guillen? Also in terms of valueing players, how the hell does Guillen get such a paltry extension compared to the heart and soul of the Texas Rangers?

  236. eponymous coward on April 13th, 2007 4:08 pm

    Also:

    Pujols, I’ll give you, but let’s show you what “once in a generation” is like:

    A-Rod through age 23: batting title at .358, 3 All-Star games, 148 home runs.

    Reyes through age 23: one All-Star game, one season batting .300, 33 home runs.

    Reyes is a good player, but “once in a generation”? I don’t think so. Good player, but I think he has maybe a 10-20% chance of turning into an Alan Trammell/Paul Molitor type, as opposed to just having a good career.

  237. penn94 on April 13th, 2007 4:08 pm

    Eponymous, the number of years is not negotiable, the Mariners have him for four years. The Twins have Santana for two. The Mets have Reyes for 5 and the Royals have Gordon for six.

    to respond to Jeff, As far as domination, Pujols defensively is OK, but is Bondsian in terms of how you pitch to him. Nevertheless, to disclose my Mets fan bias, no position player can take over like Reyes, and anyone who has seen him over the last couple of years can tell you he has improved dramatically in terms of pitch recognition, selectivity and the quality of contact he makes, as well as being a superior defensive player (if not yet Adam Everett with the leather). Keep in mind that Felix, as talented as he is, is coming off of a mediocre year and that as dominating a young starter may be, pitchers are far less likely to maintain exceptional performance than batters (think Gooden).

  238. Dave on April 13th, 2007 4:09 pm

    Eponymous, the number of years is not negotiable, the Mariners have him for four years.

    Five, actually.

  239. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 4:11 pm

    And 231, inflation/insanity hasn’t reached the point where Reyes gets 24 per while A-Rod gets 25 six years ago. There is however precident for a pitcher getting 22 per (Clemens), so on these comparisons, I’d pay Felix more than Reyes. Also, this thread has nothing to do with what kind of insane contracts anyone would get on the FA market.

  240. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 4:13 pm

    236 I agree about reyes being overvalued, but for the sake of argument, couldn’t A-rod be “once in a century” and Reyes still be “once in a generation”?

  241. eponymous coward on April 13th, 2007 4:23 pm

    Molitor and Trammell were contemporaries, which is why I picked them. If you add in Lou Whitaker and and Robin Yount, that’s FOUR AL middle infielders who came up in the space of 5 years who went on to pretty good careers that bordered on or got them into the HOF.

    Four is more than one, last I checked.

    Cristian Guzman ALSO had an All-Star game at 23, in a year where he hit .300. Now, I think Reyes is better than Guzman- but I ain’t seeing why I’d put him in a class with guys like A-Rod or Bonds, based on what he’s done.

    As for comparing Felix to Gooden- show me where Felix likes nose candy and is going to be worked like a mule at a young age, maybe?

  242. chrisisasavage on April 13th, 2007 4:35 pm

    #231 Albert Pujols already is a once in a generation talent. I realize that is not the point that you’re trying to make. Just saying.

  243. marc w on April 13th, 2007 4:42 pm

    Chase035,

    I’m with you that Cano is sufficiently far from Francoeur that it makes more sense to compare Cano to others, so I humbly nominate Howie Kendrick.

    I’m curious how you’d compare the two…clearly, Cano had a great year last year, but it seems that over the long haul, Kendrick has done better at the line-drive, no walks, high average thing than Cano. I mean, Cano’s MiLB average is rather Francoeur like (though Cano has less power, as you’d imagine in a middle infielder). They’re the same age, they play the same position – what separates Cano from Kendrick in your mind? Or would you agree that Kendrick may be a better bet from 2007-2011 than Cano?

  244. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 5:01 pm

    This is bordering on off topic, but for Liriano, in considering his overall value, what’s his prognosis? I know he has mechanics and a track record that could knock him back to square one or end his career at any moment, but if he does make a full recovery (at least endurance wise) next year, how much of his talent is he likely to retain? And in terms of the service time clock in rookie contracts, does a missed year count, could the Twins option him to the minors so it delays his ML service time? I guess I’m very intrigued by Liriano, and while I like most everyone on the list, there are few I’d consider trading for the chance of a Santana/Koufax-like pitcher making nothing.

  245. loki on April 13th, 2007 5:07 pm

    Dave,

    Great post and great thread! Thanks!

    How long did it take to craft this list? I’m guessing you spent a lot of time agonizing over it.

  246. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 5:10 pm

    243- Hmm. Well I think one thing people underestimate about Cano is his defense. Granted, his first step is SLOW and that hurts his range. But range aside, Cano is about as smooth a 2B as they come. Unfortunately, his range is subpar, and for that he gets a bad rap. I think Cano has a chance to become an above average second baseman if he starts getting a better read on the ball. He’s almost so smooth that he doesn’t feel a need to square up when he should. Nevertheless, Kendrick has a long way to go before he gets to Cano’s level defensively.

    But I would take take Kendrick over Cano for 2008-2011. I think they may be battling for a few batting titles down the road, but you can’t argue with a .360+ minor league BA. There is also the possibility that Cano changes his approach as he starts to develop more power. He really could hit 25-30 HRs, and that temptation could result in a .290-.300 average. His value might actually suffer if he lengthens his swing in an attempt to turn those doubles into HRs.

  247. david h on April 13th, 2007 6:06 pm

    his range is subpar, and for that he gets a bad rap.

    Usually “getting a bad rap” implies that the rap is undeserved. But if his first step is SLOW and his range is subpar, it seems he gets an accurate rap as a not-so-good defender. Maybe he can improve, but judging by his consistent lack of stolen bases and low PECOTA speed score, quickness doesn’t seem to be one of his assets.

  248. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 6:21 pm

    I was thinking a healthy Liriano, as a potential Santana/Koufax type making nothing, would be around where Felix is, perhaps higher do to his consistancy and impeccable control. I ask, how injured is he such that he missed the list. Dave, are you thinking his career is over?

  249. david h on April 13th, 2007 6:29 pm

    #247 – would you trade away Danny Haren for Liriano, what, 9 months before we have any idea if and how well he’ll come back?

  250. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 6:36 pm

    Well I’m not a medical expert, nor do I have the numbers on recovery sucess with Tommy John, but I hear it’s possible to recover fully, and I’d definitely consider trading even someone like Haren for a chance at Liriano. Also, does missing a year on a rookie contract affect how long he’s under contract, or do the Twins loose a year of control in addition to a year of Liriano?

  251. Criminal5 on April 13th, 2007 6:52 pm

    I’ve just never seen Pujols or Reyes so totally dominate a game like we’ve seen Felix do in his last two starts.

    Pujols has 3 3-homer games, 90 games with 3 or more hits (3 with 5, 16 with 4), 30 games with 2 or more doubles (2 with 3), 32 games with 4 or more RBIs (1 with 7, 8 with 5) and 34 games with 3 or more runs (3 with 4).

    It takes a lot for an elite pitcher to be as valuable, in terms of runs, as an elite position player. Even Santana is ten or more runs behind Pujols’ average year in terms of production.

    Pujols is absolutely “once in a generation” talent, and has been for at least four years.

  252. colm on April 13th, 2007 6:59 pm

    I think you’re both correct. Pujols can’t dominate a game in the same way as pitcher who can be involved in EVERY one of the 27 outs; nor can a starting pitcher, who only plays in every fifth game, dominate a season in the fashion of a Pujols.

  253. DMZ on April 13th, 2007 7:03 pm

    Why not? In total, they’d be involved in the same number of plays, right?

  254. Jeff Nye on April 13th, 2007 7:03 pm

    Oh, sure. And I think you absolutely can make a legitimate case to swap Pujols and Felix on this list.

    I just wouldn’t make that swap, myself.

  255. colm on April 13th, 2007 7:07 pm

    Brian Rust: That’s what I thought at first too – that we ought to have 2 or 3 hitters every season who fall outside of the 3 standard deviation range (which I’m still wary of since I don’t think the range of major league hitters follows a normal distribution).

    But what ChrisSavage said in 197 was that a career .340 average was 3 standard deviations ABOVE the mean, or outside of a 6 SD range. (S/He has since amended that comment by the way.)

    Interesting discovery that they didn’t teach me in business school: The Six Sigma business analytic tool only refers to a 4.5 SD range. Apparently they rounded it up to six just to make it sound better.

  256. colm on April 13th, 2007 7:09 pm

    Hmm lemme see:
    Felix = 27 outs every fifth game
    Pujols = five times five plate appearances = only 25 plays!

    DMZ is right! Felix is more valuable!

  257. terry on April 13th, 2007 7:20 pm

    rumor has it that Pujols also plays defense too….

  258. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 7:23 pm

    Rumor has it that Felix isn’t human.

  259. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 10:24 pm

    246- by bad rap, i mean that people write him off defensively. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins a “Derek Jeter style” gold glove one day.

  260. Dave on April 13th, 2007 10:55 pm

    so you think he’ll be the worst defensive player at his position in the game and still get fawned over by the NY media and Tim McCarver?

  261. Jeff Nye on April 14th, 2007 8:54 am

    Derek “Just Past A Diving” Jeter!

  262. chase035 on April 14th, 2007 11:28 am

    Buck and McCarver hate the Yankees. There’s a reason NY fans despise those two. But I agree, he’ll be smooth like Jeter, which will get him some undeserved gold glove one of these years.

  263. chase035 on April 14th, 2007 11:37 am

    it seems he gets an accurate rap as a not-so-good defender. Maybe he can improve, but judging by his consistent lack of stolen bases and low PECOTA speed score, quickness doesn’t seem to be one of his assets.

    http://www.baseballmusings.com/cgi-bin/DisplayCharts.py?PlayerID=3269&fpos=4&year=2006

    Not quite as bad as you think. In fact, I’d call that very good.

  264. colm on April 23rd, 2007 3:10 pm

    and if anyone cares 9 days after the thread flickers and goes out, Rich Harden goes on the DL.

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