2009 MLB Trade Value: #50-#46

This afternoon, I announced the beginning of the 2009 MLB Trade Value series. Today, we kick it off with the bottom five.

#50: Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee: 3.7 WAR

The big man is having the best season of his career, as he’s upped his walk rate while hitting over .300, and the power is still there. He’s an offensive beast, and at just 25 years old, he’s headed for the prime of his career. Unfortunately, he’s a couple of years away from being a DH, and the lack of defensive value limits the amount of teams that would give up the farm to get him.

#49: Jered Weaver, RHP, Anaheim: 2.5 WAR

Despite the ERA fluctuations, Weaver has been remarkably consistent since arriving in the majors, posting a FIP between 3.80 and 4.06 each year. That’s a quality pitcher, to be sure, but he’s not the ace he looked like in ’06 or earlier this year. Toss in the health concerns and his 50% flyball rate, and while most teams would love to have him, he wouldn’t command a king’s ransom as he heads into his arbitration years.

#48: Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia: 1.7 WAR

After looking ace-like last October, he’s resumed being a good but not great starter this year, thanks to his home run problem. Health concerns will always be an issue with Hamels, and he’s no longer dirt cheap. He’s certainly a valuable arm with upside beyond what he is now, but the risks are fairly significant. He’s one of the guys who could easily be 30 spots higher, or nowhere near the list at all, at this time next year.

#47: Robinson Cano, 2B, New York: 2.2 WAR

Cano has rebounded from a lousy 2008 season, showing improved contact skills and finding his power stroke again, which make him one of the game’s better offensive middle infielders. He doesn’t walk and his defense isn’t great, but the rest of the package makes up for a few shortcomings. The contract extension he signed contains two team options that could keep him in pinstripes through 2013 at below market rates, as well, so he’s the rare Yankee other teams could actually afford to trade for.

#46: Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas: 1.5 WAR

He’s 20 years old and already a league average major league shortstop, thanks in large part to his defensive abilities. He has a good approach at the plate, solid contact skills, and should develop some additional power as he grows. His upside is extremely high, and he’s already a quality major league player. His reduced present value, due to the lack of current power, is the only thing that drives him this far down the list.





Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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joe
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joe

I wouldnt touch Hamel’s with a 20 foot pole. Even if his peripherals are the same as his previous years, those mechanics of his are going to keep him in limbo between the rotation and DL for the rest of his career unless he fixes them.

Richie Abernathy
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Richie Abernathy

What do you think is so wrong with your mechanics?

joe
Guest
joe

Inverted L leading to timing problems.

See: Kerry Wood, AJ Burnett, Chris Carpenter, BJ Ryan, etc.

Richie Abernathy
Guest
Richie Abernathy

Oh, I thought you were going to say something about a jump in 64.1 innings from 2007 to 2008, including playoffs rather than pretend you or anybody else knows anything truly definitive about the biomechanics of pitching mechanics.

matthew
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matthew

are you the guy from the coomercial who performs brain surgery using just a pen

Terminator X
Guest
Terminator X

Is your PhD in biomechanics or kinesiology?

Stephen Fratus
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Stephen Fratus

You don’t need a PHD in BioMechanics to analyze pitching mechanics anymore than you need a PHD in statistics to analyze baseball stats. The biomechanics of pitching are pretty simple: the smooth and uninterrupted transfer of power from the body’s major muscle groups to the pitching arm.

JH
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JH

Amazing insight. The world leaders in the field will love to hear they’ve been absolute morons all these years in saying there’s absolutely no way to predict injuries resulting from various different forms of motion. You’ve cracked it!

Oh wait, you don’t know what you’re talking about? Darn.

Stephen Fratus
Guest
Stephen Fratus

The most cursory examination of the topic shows that two experts Drs Fleisig and Andrews believe that elbow injuries can be correlated to rotation of the elbow by the pitcher.

So sorry JH. I know it’s hard to deal with new ideas but just cause you don’t understand them doesn’t mean they’re wrong.

BIP
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BIP
Benne
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Benne

@BIP–

I was just about to link that post myself. Beat me to it.

Nick
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BIP
Guest
BIP

Um, that wasn’t so much a rebuttal as several paragraphs of non-statements.

Nick
Guest

I don’t want hi-jack this thread with sentiments about Biomechanics, but I thought this deserved mentioning.

In his post, Graham basically said that because each human body is unique in it’s structure, it’s nearly impossible to make any judgments based on generalizations.

That, in my opinion, is exactly what we do with estimators like FIP or tRA. Most pitchers will eventually regress towards their FIP’s, but it’s clear that some possess an ability to deviate from them. Guys like Santana and Vasquez have been doing it for so long that it *must* be a skill. However, we know that most pitchers will generally pitch to their FIP, so we use it anyway. I suspect that it is shaped like a bell curve.

The same thing is applied in Biomechanics. We know (or least can reasonably say) that certain actions are bad for most pitchers. However, we also know that some pitchers who have flaws in their mechanics and never get injured. Similarily, we know that their are certain pitchers who have great mechanics and do get injured. Should this discourage us from analyzing pitcher by their mechanics? When guys say “this guy has an inverted whatever, so he will probably get injured”, he is saying that a lot of pitchers who have that flaw do get injured, so assuming that this guy is like most pitchers, he will likely get injured.

You’re right that at this point, it is a little too anecdotal… we don’t have enough of a sample size to be able get the proper regression inputs, so while we know that a certain flaw has caused injury, we don’t know how statically significant it is.

Still, we know that it definitely affects some guys and that they probably make up the top of the bell curve. So we should still use that information, and regress it heavily, which unfortunately most Mechanics analysts don’t do.