2012 Trade Value: #40-#36

#50-#46
#45-#41

Note: salaries are rounded estimates and include all team-controlled years. Rankings from 2011 Trade Value series in parentheses.

40. (NR) Johnny Cueto, SP, Cincinnati – Signed through 2015 for $30 million.

Johnny Cueto is one of two types of pitcher — either one who, year after year, produces peripherals that are likely to lead to a league-average ERA or one who, like Matt Cain, has cracked the secret code of batted-ball suppression. The numbers support either thesis at this point. Each of Cueto’s career component stats — his 18.3% strikeout rate, his 7.6% walk rate, his 44.1% ground-ball rate — is within percentage points of league average, respectively. Cueto’s home runs per fly ball and his strand rate, however, have both improved since his rookie season — and his ERAs relative to the league have followed suit. The good news for the Reds is that even the first type of pitcher is an asset at an approximate average annual value of $8 million.

39. (NR) Alex Gordon, OF, Kansas City – Signed through 2015 for $35 million.

It came about four or five years after it was originally expected, but Alex Gordon finally had a star-type season with the Royals in 2011, posting career-bests in basically every offensive category of note and playing an excellent left field, by all accounts. That is, of course, what did happen, while the concern here is with what will happen, or what could be reasonably expected to happen. In many respects, Gordon isn’t a much different player offensively in 2012 than he was in 2007-10. The biggest differences from those earlier years are the change in position (from third base), the level of the expectations placed on Gordon, and BABIP. It’s his improvements in that last category (plus the above-average left-field defense) that have him en route to a five-win season, even in the absence of a double-digit home-run pace.

38. (45) Matt Wieters, C, Baltimore – Signed through 2015 (arbitration 2013-15).

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Wieters follows Gordon on this list: both were high draft picks out of college who were subject to great expectations and both failed to live up to those expectations immediately (even while playing mostly like average major leaguers). Both also had 2012 seasons that confirmed those original expectations. The difference, from the point of view of trade value, is that Wieters is arb-eligible for just the first time this next offseason. On pace now for a four-plus-win season, the switch-hitting catcher will command quite a bit in arbitration — probably more than $15 million over three years. Given recent trends for teams locking up catchers, there’s a great possibility that he’ll reach an extension long before he hits free agency.

37. (NR) Wil Myers, OF, Kansas City – Six-plus years of team control.

If the Royals felt comfortable with Myers’ defense in center field, the clock on his team-controlled years would have started ticking already. They don’t, however, so, as it is now, he’s just your typical 21-year-old minor-league outfielder on pace for 40-plus home runs. Despite a down season by his standards in 2011, Myers still ranked pretty highly on most prospect lists entering 2012 — and that confidence in his abilities seems to have been justified. With the PCL now conquered, the only challenge remaining for Myers is major-league pitching. Well, major-league pitching and Jeff Francoeur’s mysterious hold over the Royals coaching staff and front office.

36. (22) Jay Bruce, OF, Cincinnati – Signed through 2017 for $58 million.

Yes, the average is down this year, but Bruce’s is a legitimate power bat (he’s on pace for his second consecutive 30-homer season) in a league that currently has fewer of those than in quite some time. At his current age (25), there are reasons to believe that Bruce still has his best years ahead of him, too. More power, more contact, more walks: an improvement in any of those departments could bump Bruce from above-average piece to star — and that would be a star who’s making about $11 million per year. That’s a risk that a number of teams would be willing to make in a trade. And even if Bruce stays who he is, he’s still likely to provide surplus value year-by-year over what he’d get on the open market.

We hoped you liked reading 2012 Trade Value: #40-#36 by Dave Cameron!

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Nitram Odarp
Guest
Nitram Odarp

Alright, I will officially be disappointed if Simmons doesn’t make the list now that we’ve seen Wil Myers make it.

Colin P
Guest
Colin P

Assuming you are talking about Adrelton Simmons, it’s pretty much consensus that Myers has a much higher ceiling, not to mention a power hitting skillset that is worth more on the trade market.

Nitram Odarp
Guest
Nitram Odarp

Trade value isn’t all about ceiliing. Myers is a much bigger gamble than Simmons whose defense guarantees he’ll be a highly valuable player for the foreseeable future, not to mention that Simmons already made the transition to the majors without missing a beat (including maintaining elite contact rates that portend well for his offensive development). Don’t sell Simmons short on his offensive upside either. The progress he’s made in the past two years since initially being drafted as a pitcher is truly amazing. It is pretty much unheard of for someone to develop this much in this short a period of time.

jpg
Guest
jpg

Ladies and Gents meet Adrelton Simmons, the 2012 Trade Value version of Yunel Escobar.

Nitram Odarp
Guest
Nitram Odarp

To a certain extent, Simmons case reminds me of Pujols in that the prospect rankings never got a chance to catch up with his quick development after being drafted out of a JC. Now I’m not saying Simmons will ever compare to Pujols as a player, just that both are guys who were undersold by prospecters’ rankings.

Nitram Odarp
Guest
Nitram Odarp

Not really fair. Escobar was never considered the consensus best defensive SS in baseball, and Simmons is showing better contact rates at 22 than Escobar has ever shown in his entire career.

kid
Member
kid

Hahaha, jpg just before I got to your comment I was thinking exactly the same thing…

kid
Member
kid

Martin if you don’t remember last 2011’s TV comments, they included an all out love-affair with both Yunel Escobar’s contract and the Jays’ AA. Jpg isn’t directly comparing the two players, but they do both play SS and they do both have good gloves… plenty of basis for the analogy.

Nitram Odarp
Guest
Nitram Odarp

Basically because they play the same position then? Because no one puts Escobar on Simmons level as a defender, he’s never posted contact rates as good, at this age he was still in A ball, and he had only 4 years of team control left compared to 6. If Yunel is borderline then Simmons seem like a pretty obvious no doubt selection.

Anon21
Member
Anon21

It’s Andrelton, guys.

And I agree he’s not a top 50 value at this point, given the strong possibility that his bat will falter. If he’s able to keep up the contact rates and flash consistent doubles power, he should easily make next year’s list.

Nitram Odarp
Guest
Nitram Odarp

What reason is there to believe there is a strong possibility his bat will falter? All he’s done since coming out of junior college ~2 years ago is hit despite all the questions that were initially raised about his bat. He posted elite contact rates in the minors and that has carried over to the majors as well (and he’s already at the point where his contact rates should be relatively stabilized based on sample size). Other than the scouting reports from the time he was drafted, there is absolutely no reason to think his bat will falter.

byron
Member
Member
byron

I think Simmons had a strong case to be on this list. I do not think Simmons has a strong case to be on this list ahead of Wil Myers.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Why do you have Martin Prado written backwards as your handle?

Nitram Odarp
Guest
Nitram Odarp

Is it? I wouldn’t know anything about that.

Carson
Guest
Carson

Why do you have Nosaj written backward as your handle?

Craig Kimbrel
Guest
Craig Kimbrel