MLB Trade Value: Top Fifty

Dave · July 7, 2008 at 10:57 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

For the last few years, I’ve done a ranking of my interpretation of the fifty most valuable assets in MLB, taking into account a player’s current and future value as well as contract status. I just finished this year’s list, which was published over at FanGraphs over the last week. In case you missed them, here are the posts:

#46 to #50

#41 to #45

#36 to #40

#31 to #35

#26 to #30

#21 to #25

#16 to #20

#11 to #15

#6 to #10

#1 to #5

And here’s the list in its entirety. I wrote commentary for all fifty guys in the fangraphs posts, so if you’re wondering why I ranked someone where I did, check out those posts. They might answer your questions.

1 Evan Longoria
2 Hanley Ramirez
3 Grady Sizemore
4 David Wright
5 Albert Pujols
6 Brian McCann
7 Chase Utley
8 Felix Hernandez
9 Tim Lincecum
10 Troy Tulowitzki
11 B.J. Upton
12 Josh Hamilton
13 Cole Hamels
14 Brandon Webb
15 Joe Mauer
16 Justin Upton
17 Jay Bruce
18 Russ Martin
19 Jose Reyes
20 Ryan Braun
21 Roy Halladay
22 Miguel Cabrera
23 Scott Kazmir
24 Josh Beckett
25 Chad Billingsley
26 Justin Verlander
27 Dan Haren
28 Geovany Soto
29 James Shields
30 Prince Fielder
31 Joba Chamberlain
32 Clayton Kershaw
33 Adrian Gonzalez
34 Ian Kinsler
35 Lance Berkman
36 Curtis Granderson
37 Edinson Volquez
38 Dan Uggla
39 John Lackey
40 Alex Rodriguez
41 Jake Peavy
42 Chipper Jones
43 Dustin McGowan
44 Jacoby Ellsbury
45 Robinson Cano
46 Ryan Zimmerman
47 Carlos Zambrano
48 Clay Buchholz
49 Johan Santana
50 James Loney


28 Responses to “MLB Trade Value: Top Fifty”

  1. OppositeField on July 7th, 2008 11:08 pm

    Would Bedard have cracked the top 50 before the 2008 season?

  2. everett on July 7th, 2008 11:11 pm

    All I’ve got to say is that I’ve been reading these religiously, and they’ve been great. It’d be interesting for me to go through and nitpick with you, but I don’t have the time. Great stuff.

  3. killer_ewok18 on July 7th, 2008 11:20 pm

    Opposite Field:

    Last year’s list:

    37 Jason Bay
    38 Lance Berkman
    39 Erik Bedard
    40 Dan Haren

    Bill Bavasi’s list:

    1 Erik Bedard

    297 Adam Jones

    362 George Sherrill

    NR Chris Tillman
    NR Kam Mickolio
    NR Tony Butler

  4. OppositeField on July 7th, 2008 11:24 pm

    Great post! Thanks. I probably should have clicked that convenient hyperlink. I just jump at any chance to engage the authors here, I’m shameless.

    Anyway, thanks for a fascinating and thought provoking post, Dave.

  5. NBarnes on July 7th, 2008 11:57 pm

    Based on entry E of the methodology, I have to think that Pujols is too high at 6. I adore Pujols, I really, really do. But the man is making $16 a year. He’s rediculously underpaid, but he’s less rediculously underpaid than, oh… Brian McCann, the man immediately below him. I would almost certainly also trade him straight across for either of the Upton brothers or Jay Bruce. The value of getting 90% of Pujols’ production at 5% of Pujols’ cost just can’t be overlooked. The only countervailing factor is the bit you guys occasionally refer to about how it gets really hard to add more wins when the only available upgrades are from someone ok and cheap to someone amazing, expensive, and unavailable. But, frankly, a lot of the guys below Pujols are also amazing, and much cheaper.

    Put more briefly, I think you undervalue contract in a lot of the guys below Pujols.

    Also, Hanley Ramirez. As a Sox fan, I cry. Then I look at Lugo’s line for the year, and I cry some more. Then I look at the banner from last year, and I stop crying, but I’m still pretty bummed.

  6. NBarnes on July 7th, 2008 11:59 pm

    Oh, right, that’s the other Pujols factor I wanted to mention. The man’s injury prone, and at this point, as a GM, I would have to regard him as a much more serious risk than most to lose significant parts of his value to injuries over the course of his contract, either to direct lost playing time or to diminished ability to produce due to injuries. Pujols is still amazing, but I’d rather have Jay Bruce or one of the Uptons or Tulowitzki.

  7. vic_romano on July 8th, 2008 12:37 am


  8. John D. on July 8th, 2008 1:09 am

    Re: # 3

    killer_ewok18 said:

    Opposite Field:

    Bill Bavasi’s list:

    1 Erik Bedard
    297 Adam Jones
    362 George Sherrill

    Where would JONES and SHERRILL have been on your list last year?

  9. giuseppe on July 8th, 2008 2:25 am

    I know this is going to get me blasted, but it’s a trade post right?

    Colletti was recently quoted saying most of their players were available because they’re looking for a shortstop. Betancourt? Is he worth anything? Throw in the names Loney, Sexson, Bedard?

    I’m sorry.

  10. Ben Ramm on July 8th, 2008 2:40 am

    9 Tim Lincecum
    10 Troy Tulowitzki

    Great. We have Jeff Clement and Brandon Morrow instead of them. AND, each of them was rumored to be going to the Mariners, not like it is just a pipe dream to think they could have ended up with Seattle. Not saying Clement and Morrow aren’t good. Just that they aren’t at the level of these two yet.

  11. smb on July 8th, 2008 7:14 am

    Pride of Everett, WA, Grady Sizemore! It would be beyond awesome to see Sizemore roaming CF in the Safe every home game. Sigh.

  12. NODO Dweller on July 8th, 2008 8:02 am

    The 41-45 link is incorrect – should be #41 to #45

  13. Steve T on July 8th, 2008 8:19 am

    Thanks, Dave, this is great. Thanks, NODO, too, for figuring out the right link there.

  14. CCW on July 8th, 2008 1:16 pm

    I don’t know whether I agree or not that guys like ARod, Peavy and Santana should be on the list, but I do think it’s a weird concept. I can’t imagine any of the appropriately highly paid stars on the list being traded for anyone other than another appropriately highly paid star.

  15. casualfan7 on July 8th, 2008 1:17 pm

    Last year:

    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.

    How is he not ranked this year?

  16. smb on July 8th, 2008 1:17 pm

    Man alive, Dave might be the best baseball analyst I have ever read, but that list from two years ago goes to show how little predictive power even the most knowledgeable person has…all we can do really well is observe, analyze, and construct an analytical snapshot, but the situation can change quickly in ways no one predicts. Not that he was predicting anything, I know that wasn’t the point…

    Dontrelle Willis was “already one of the best pitchers in the league” at 24 two years ago. “The difference between [Pronk Hafner] and [David] Ortiz as a hitter is basically nil.” Both of those guys seem to have fallen off the ledge in a pretty short amount of time. Even a broken-down, old Ortiz looks like an MVP next to Pronk, and Willis is wallowing in farm. It makes me look at this year’s list and wonder which guys are close to the precipice themselves, with no one the wiser.

  17. msb on July 8th, 2008 1:30 pm

    “The difference between [Pronk Hafner] and [David] Ortiz as a hitter is basically nil.” Both of those guys seem to have fallen off the ledge in a pretty short amount of time. Even a broken-down, old Ortiz looks like an MVP next to Pronk

    Hafner is injured.

  18. smb on July 8th, 2008 1:46 pm

    He’s been in a decline since peaking in ’04-06…are you saying that it is just injury related? I don’t know about that (not baiting, I mean I honestly don’t know). He draws a lot of walks and otherwise ain’t that great, in my opinion. I wouldn’t call him the same caliber hitter as Ortiz anymore, who has continued to mash while gimped and past his prime.

  19. msb on July 8th, 2008 2:43 pm

    not comparing the two, just that Hafner this year has been affected by the shoulder; he is likely to fall off anyway, with his skill set

  20. smb on July 8th, 2008 2:50 pm

    that is a good point, skill set trend…thanks

  21. terry on July 8th, 2008 3:54 pm

    Apparently Harden has just been traded…..

  22. msb on July 8th, 2008 4:03 pm
  23. Jeff Nye on July 8th, 2008 4:04 pm

    Naughty naughty, neither Harden or Gaudin are on this list!

  24. msb on July 8th, 2008 4:23 pm

    Naughty naughty, neither Harden or Gaudin are on this list!

    does it count that Dave mentioned Gaudin on Fangraphs as a good example of Beane picking up a cheap pitcher?

  25. HerseyChris on July 9th, 2008 8:56 am

    I find it funny that Tulowitzki is top 10 when the consensus (not just here but everywhere it seems) was that the value of him being a top 5 pick in the draft was that he seemed to be a sure/safe bet without the upside of some of the other players. A 15 hr 15 sb with a good but not great batting line. And voila, a few years later he’s a top 10 talent. I wonder, is it hard to evaluate college players? I don’t recall anyone raving about Longoria, or Tulo’s defense, though people did say that they were above average, they seem to have the type of fielding skills people might talk about years after they retire.

  26. WillClark4HOF on July 9th, 2008 10:20 am

    Completely agree with #15 – where the heck is Nick Markakis?

  27. gte619n on July 9th, 2008 3:54 pm

    Just wondering why Fauston Carmona isn’t on this list anywhere. In ~350 IP he has an ERA+ or 126. At 25 years old with a extremely team friendly contract, I’d assume that he’d be on here at least somewhere.

    Of the pitchers on this list, he’s about equivalent to Verlander and Hamels. While 350IP isn’t a huge sample, I would consider it big enough to not be entirely flukey. How did Josh Beckett make this list?

  28. andrew.chelton on July 9th, 2008 9:57 pm

    It’s been said before…but where in the world is Nick Markakis?

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