2016 Trade Value: #41 to #50

Alright, now that we’ve gotten the introduction and the honorable mentions out of the way, let’s get to the actual list. I strongly encourage you to read both of the linked articles for an explanation of the question we’re trying to answer and a bunch of names who could easily have ended up in this post, but despite a crowded field, these 10 guys were able to nail down spots in the Trade Value series.

It’s a risk-filled group, with some serious upside and downside throughout, but these guys are all young enough to turn into franchise players, and most of them could help a team win right now as well.

Also, thanks to Sean Dolinar, we’ve significantly upgraded the way we’re presenting the information here. On the individual player tables, the Guaranteed Dollars and Team Control WAR — which are provided by Dan Szymborski’s ZIPS projections — rows give you an idea of what kind of production and costs a team could expect going forward, though to be clear, we’re not counting the rest of 2016 in those numbers; they’re just included for reference of what a player’s future status looks like. And as a reminder, we’re not ranking players based on those projections, as teams aren’t going to just make trades based on the ZIPS forecasts. That said, they’re a useful tool to provide some context about what a player might do for the next few years.

And with those logistics out of the way, let’s get to the list itself.

Team Control WAR Total +11.1
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2019
Previous Rank #47
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 25 +3.7 Arb1
2018 26 +3.9 Arb2
2019 27 +3.5 Arb3
Arb

A couple of years ago, a lot of people — myself included — were skeptical that Martinez would succeed as a starter, but he’s now logged over 300 innings in the Cardinals rotation, and he’s been as good there as he was in the bullpen. The negatives haven’t entirely gone away, as he’s still a diminutive right-hander with some past arm problems and some weakness against left-handed batters, but the stuff has remained elite even after transitioning roles, and he’s showing this year that his BABIP problems of the past weren’t a harbinger of doom. With only three years of team control remaining after 2016, this is very likely to be Martinez’s last year on the list, but long-term value matters less for pitchers than with hitters, and Martinez would command a monster return if St. Louis put him on the blocks this summer.

Five-Year WAR +16.4
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2021
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 25 +3.4 Pre-Arb
2018 26 +3.5 Pre-Arb
2019 27 +3.2 Arb1
2020 28 +3.2 Arb2
2021 29 +3.1 Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb

What’s a 24-year-old with a career ERA of 4.94 doing here? Well, for one, a 4.94 ERA for a pitcher in Colorado isn’t actually any kind of disaster, as his career ERA- is just 103, which is right at league average for a starting pitcher. And since teams have moved beyond ERA for pitcher evaluations, there would be a ton of interest in getting Gray out of altitude if the Rockies would let him go. His stuff and strikeout rates have taken a leap forward this year, and 6-foot-4 high-velocity starters who miss bats, avoid walks, and get ground balls are in high demand. Toss in the fact that he’ll make the league minimum the next couple of years, and Gray’s combination of present value, upside, and cost control make him highly appealing to every other club in baseball.

Team Control WAR Total +15.7
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2020
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 23 +3.7 Pre-Arb
2018 24 +3.8 Arb1
2019 25 +4.1 Arb2
2020 26 +4.1 Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb

Odor is a polarizing player, with his glaring weaknesses — the lack of walks, the defensive issues, and his temper — stacking up against his elite combination of contact and power rates for a player his age, and his terrific baserunning making him a potential high-end offensive player. His edges need plenty of polishing, but he’s already a quality big leaguer, and given that he’s younger than a bunch of the guys who played in yesterday’s Futures Game, it’s easy to dream on the upside if he starts improving on his weak spots. Not many 22-year-olds can match Odor’s present value, and so even as he marches towards his arbitration years, Odor is one of the game’s most valuable combinations of short-term and long-term value.

Team Control WAR Total +11.9
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2020
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 26 +3.3 Pre-Arb
2018 27 +3.1 Arb1
2019 28 +2.8 Arb2
2020 29 +2.7 Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb

Lamb was not an easy guy to place this year. His first half is so different than anything he’s ever done that it’s easy to write it off as a fluke — and, as you can see from the forecasts, ZIPS isn’t buying into his breakout. One of the hardest parts of putting this together every year is to not overreact to recent performance, and if Lamb goes back to being a good-not-great hitter, then there’s probably not enough value to justify his placement here. But as August Fagerstrom wrote this morning, Lamb’s power surge has come from a retooled swing, and there’s also a real chance that this is the beginning of Lamb’s emergence as one of the best young sluggers in the game. With teams paying a premium for power, and Lamb playing a pretty good third base, as well, there would plenty of teams willing to take a bet on Lamb’s breakout, even if he’s only been playing at this level for a few months.

Five-Year WAR +14.1
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2022
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 22 +2.7 Pre-Arb
2018 23 +3.0 Pre-Arb
2019 24 +2.9 Pre-Arb
2020 25 +2.8 Arb1
2021 26 +2.7 Arb2
Pre-Arb
Arb

On the one hand, Reyes is a pitching prospect who hasn’t yet made the big leagues, and is struggling to throw strikes consistently in Triple-A. On the other hand, the stuff is at the very top of the scale, as he showed in his dominant Futures Game outing yesterday, regularly hitting 100 mph with his fastball and showing that his curve and changeup can both be out-pitches. I got more than one Noah Syndergaard comparison when talking to industry friends about him, and while there’s plenty of risk here, he’s also the kind of guy who could be pushing up against the top 10 next year. The upside is too high to ignore, and Reyes is close enough to the big leagues that even teams looking for present value could think about putting him right on the big-league staff if they picked him up in trade. There aren’t many guys on the list with a wider range of outcomes than Reyes, but he balances the risk with a legitimate shot at becoming a dominating ace, and teams would pay for the right to hope that he reaches that potential.

Team Control WAR Total +13.9
Guaranteed Dollars $37.3 M
Team Control Through 2020
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 26 +3.6 $6.3 M
2018 27 +3.7 $8.0 M
2019 28 +3.3 $11.0 M
2020 29 +3.3 $12.0 M
Team Option

The guy on this list most likely to be traded, Teheran has picked a good time to have the best year of his career. Teheran’s 2015 wasn’t great, but he’s bounced back in a big way, carving hitters up with improved secondary stuff and getting hitters to chase pitches out of the zone, leading to both strikeouts and a lot of weak contact. With three years and a team option for a fourth left on his early-career extension, Teheran is also locked in at bargain prices, and would give any team that trades for the Braves ace a quality pitcher who could be expected to continue to provide value for years to come. The downside, of course, is that the Braves just sold off a guy whose dominance relied heavily on weak contact, and the Diamondbacks’ current pain is a reminder of the risk of betting on guys with this skillset. But Teheran has a better track record than Shelby Miller did, and if they choose to trade him this summer, they’ll get a pretty great return.

Five-Year WAR +14.4
Guaranteed Dollars $46.5 M
Team Control Through 2021
Previous Rank #34
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 27 +3.3 $3.0 M
2018 28 +3.3 $7.5 M
2019 29 +2.9 $10.0 M
2020 30 +2.7 $13.0 M
2021 31 +2.2 $13.0 M

The Royals’ star catcher is one of the most dynamic backstops in the game, playing basically every day, and getting a lot of credit for the team’s success over the last few years. But this year, he’s also made some changes to his offensive game, swinging for the fences more often and eschewing ground balls, allowing him to add real power to his skillset. With a more productive level of offense, a sterling defensive reputation, and absurd durability given his workload, Perez has emerged as a tremendously valuable player. And even after the Royals re-worked his contract in order to reward him for his performance, he remains wildly underpaid, as his 2017 salary is in line with what a broken middle reliever gets in free agency. Perez might not age that well, given his size and what the Royals have asked him to do early in his career, but for the next few years, he’s a terrific player making peanuts.

Team Control WAR Total +12.3
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2020
Previous Rank #12
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 25 +3.1 Pre-Arb
2018 26 +3.2 Arb1
2019 27 +3.1 Arb2
2020 28 +2.9 Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb

A year ago, Pederson nearly cracked the top 10 on this list, as he was running a 137 wRC+ on the back of some of the best power of any young hitter in baseball. Since then, though, he’s posted just a 98 wRC+, as the power has regressed heavily, and for a swing-and-miss slugger, it’s tough to remain a quality hitter without hitting a bunch of home runs. While Pederson has bounced back some this year after a miserable second half of 2015, it seems pretty clear that I overreacted to his 2015 first half, and he’s probably more of a good player going forward than a great one. But he does still have high-end power, and teams still do pay a premium for guys who can crush the baseball; additionally, he’s made a big improvement in his contact rate this year, and he’s young enough for teams to dream on him as a Chris Davis-type with the ability to play center field. Plenty of risk here, but plenty of upside as well, and he’s got the kind of skillset for which teams overpay. Hopefully this year’s ranking is a somewhat better evaluation of the risks and rewards of this kind of player than last year’s optimistic outlook.

Five-Year WAR +17.2
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2021
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 24 +3.5 Pre-Arb
2018 25 +3.6 Pre-Arb
2019 26 +3.5 Arb1
2020 27 +3.3 Arb2
2021 28 +3.3 Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb

Speaking of high-strikeout sluggers, it’s a bit fitting (though unintentional) that Story and Pederson ended up side by side, as a bet on the Rockies shortstop isn’t that different from a bet on the Dodgers center fielder. Story certainly has shown enticing power for a guy who can play up the middle, but his strikeout rates also means he comes with plenty of risk, as he needs to keep hitting home runs in order to remain an offensive asset, and with only a half season of big-league performance, the track record is pretty short. But Story is also just 23, he’s been making adjustments as the season has gone along, and his contact rate isn’t actually that scary for the kind of power he’s shown. If he can refine his plate discipline a bit, Story could easily become one of the best offensive middle infielders in the game, and with five years of control remaining after this season, he’d provide plenty of long-term value to any team making a bet on his power.

Five-Year WAR +15.0
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2022
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2017 22 +2.4 Pre-Arb
2018 23 +2.8 Pre-Arb
2019 24 +3.0 Pre-Arb
2020 25 +3.5 Arb1
2021 26 +3.3 Arb2
Pre-Arb
Arb

If we were just going by performance to this point, Giolito wouldn’t crack the top 50, as he’s been more good than dominant in his climb up the minor-league ladder. And it’s not like his big-league debut last week was overwhelmingly positive. But the combination of size and stuff remains highly attractive, as his scouting profile makes him more valuable than his performance record to date, and if the Nationals put him on the block as a trade chip, they’d have a lot of teams beating down their door to land a potential #1 starter. There’s clear risk here, especially with a Tommy John surgery already in his history, but like with Reyes, the upside is too high for teams to walk away from. At some point, he’s going have to start dominating hitters like scouts expect, but for now, the potential still makes him one of the most valuable assets in the game.

2016 Trade Value, 41-50
Rk Pv Player Age 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
41 Lucas Giolito 21 +2.4
Pre-Arb
+2.8
Pre-Arb
+3.0
Pre-Arb
+3.5
Arb1
+3.3
Arb2
42 Trevor Story 23 +3.5
Pre-Arb
+3.6
Pre-Arb
+3.5
Arb1
+3.3
Arb2
+3.3
Arb3
43 12 Joc Pederson 24 +3.1
Pre-Arb
+3.2
Arb1
+3.1
Arb2
+2.9
Arb3
44 34 Salvador Perez 26 +3.3
$3.0 M
+3.3
$7.5 M
+2.9
$10.0 M
+2.7
$13.0 M
+2.2
$13.0 M
45 Julio Teheran 25 +3.6
$6.3 M
+3.7
$8.0 M
+3.3
$11.0 M
+3.3
$12.0 M
46 Alex Reyes 21 +2.7
Pre-Arb
+3.0
Pre-Arb
+2.9
Pre-Arb
+2.8
Arb1
+2.7
Arb2
47 Jake Lamb 25 +3.3
Pre-Arb
+3.1
Arb1
+2.8
Arb2
+2.7
Arb3
48 Rougned Odor 22 +3.7
Pre-Arb
+3.8
Arb1
+4.1
Arb2
+4.1
Arb3
49 Jon Gray 24 +3.4
Pre-Arb
+3.5
Pre-Arb
+3.2
Arb1
+3.2
Arb2
+3.1
Arb3
50 47 Carlos Martinez 24 +3.7
Arb1
+3.9
Arb2
+3.5
Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb
Team Option

We hoped you liked reading 2016 Trade Value: #41 to #50 by Dave Cameron!

Please support FanGraphs by becoming a member. We publish thousands of articles a year, host multiple podcasts, and have an ever growing database of baseball stats.

FanGraphs does not have a paywall. With your membership, we can continue to offer the content you've come to rely on and add to our unique baseball coverage.

Support FanGraphs




Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

newest oldest most voted
dtpollitt
Member
Member
dtpollitt

Salvador moving down 10 spots seems odd to me. He’s striking out more than ever, but like you said, he’s exchanged contract for a career-high in ISO, and is on pace to reach or exceed a career best in fWAR.

That all said, for years Ned has talked about giving Perez breathers and time off but that simply doesn’t happen. For a guy who just turned 26 it sure FEELS like he’s going to have a real sudden drop off or injury.

tinmanryan
Member
tinmanryan

Dave’s inclusion of Perez on this list seems to contradict his statements in the introductory article about weakly weighting defensive value. Without his defensive value Perez is a below-average, teetering on replacement level player. I would like to know how Dave squares this with his ranking the guy as a Top 50 trade value.

sabrtooth
Member
Member
sabrtooth

I’m not a Perez fan, but he’s a career-average 101 wRC+ at catcher. That’s not even close to replacement-level.

LHPSU
Member
LHPSU

He’s 5th in +wRC among qualified catchers.