2020 Trade Value: #11 to #20

While a shortened season might make this year’s version of our Trade Value Series an unusual one, with the deadline looming, we are not about to break with tradition. For a more detailed introduction to this year’s exercise, as well as a look at those players who fell just short of the top 50, be sure to read the Introduction and Honorable Mentions piece, which can be found in the widget above.

For those who have been reading the Trade Value Series the last few seasons, the format should look familiar. For every player, you’ll see a table with the player’s projected five-year WAR from 2021-2025, courtesy of Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections. The table will also include the player’s guaranteed money, if any, the year through which the team has contractual control of the player, last year’s rank, and then projections, contract status, and age for each individual season through 2025, if the player is under contract or team control for those seasons. Last year’s rank includes a link to the relevant 2019 post. Thanks are due to Sean Dolinar for creating the tables in these posts. At the bottom of the page, there will be an updated grid showing all the players who have been ranked up to this point.

With that out of the way, let’s continue with the rankings.

Five-Year WAR +20.4
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2024
Previous Rank #32
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 26 +4.2 Pre-Arb
2022 27 +4.2 Arb1
2023 28 +4.2 Arb2
2024 29 +4.1 Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb

Hit 53 homers as a rookie and you are going to move up the trade value rankings. There is some risk of an early decline with Pete Alonso’s old-man skillset. His strikeouts are already high, he’s not good in the field or on the bases, and if his power dips, his value will drop precipitously. That’s the bad. The good is that Alonso’s five-win rookie season wasn’t marked by a ton of batted ball luck. He earned those 53 homers, and his 143 wRC+ matched up with his Statcast figures.

The projections like Alonso as well. The table above shows Alonso’s five-year ZiPS for easy comparison with the rest of the players on this list, but his four-year ZiPS projection of 16.6 WAR ranks 19th among the players on this list. It’s hard to move Alonso much higher than this given the potential for decline, but the team control, the minimum salary through next season, and the power he’s already shown makes it difficult to slide him down past this slot. He will have higher arbitration salaries than most given his home run totals, but $40 million or so in salary for the next four years still provides excellent value.

Five-Year WAR +21.8
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2023
Previous Rank #HM
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 25 +4.7 Arb1
2022 26 +4.6 Arb2
2023 27 +4.2 Arb3
Arb

The Cardinals’ ace was an Honorable Mention last year after a solid rookie season in 2018 and a decent first half of last year. Then he put together a brilliant second half worth four wins with a 2.22 FIP and 0.79 ERA. Still just 24 years old, Jack Flaherty has age and performance on his side, and ZiPS loves him. Of the pitchers considered for this list, Flaherty’s 21.8 five-year ZiPS WAR projection was the highest total; for comparison, that’s the same figure as Brewers’ star Christian Yelich’s. Among all pitchers, only Gerrit Cole is projected for a higher ZiPS over the next five seasons. Flaherty also leads this list among pitchers with 13.5 wins over the next three years before he reaches free agency. Per our rest-of-season Depth Chart projections, the only pitchers ahead of Flaherty are Cole (who inked a $300 million-plus contract), Shane Bieber (who hasn’t yet appeared on this list), Max Scherzer (whose $210 million contract ends after next season), and Jacob deGrom (who is in the middle of a $137.5 million contract that includes an opt-out after 2022).

If you are looking for ace-level production over the next three seasons at a reasonable salary, Flaherty is bettered in value by only one pitcher (Bieber), and even then, ZiPS favors Flaherty. He’s a cut ahead of the pitchers with three-plus years of team control bunched behind him, which puts him in the top-20 here.

Five-Year WAR +17.5
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2024
Previous Rank #11
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 26 +3.9 Arb1
2022 27 +3.8 Arb2
2023 28 +3.3 Arb3
2024 29 +3.3 Arb4
Arb

Walker Buehler was tough to place. Since being put 11th on this list a year ago, Buehler had a very good 3.21 second-half FIP and 2.99 ERA. He was phenomenal in two postseason starts, and while he’s struggled early this season, it’s hard to put too much emphasis on just four starts. Kiley McDaniel noted some of the concerns around Buehler last year (“pitcher, TJ, slight frame, throws hard”), and I heard some of those same concerns this year when I shared a version of this list that initially had him ranked slightly higher than his current position.

Since the second half of the 2018 season, Buehler’s numbers line up with those of Luis Castillo, Lucas Giolito, Aaron Nola, and Flaherty. Buehler’s projections are slightly behind Giolito’s, even with Nola’s, and ahead of Castillo’s. Flaherty’s projections separate him from the rest of the group, but Buehler has an extra year of team control over all those pitchers. Even though all four years will be in arbitration, there’s still a significant salary discount in getting an extra year for around $5 million compared to the other pitchers ranked in this range. It’s just enough to push Buehler to the top of this pitching tier.

Five-Year WAR +20.9
Guaranteed Dollars $11.0 M
Team Control Through 2023
Previous Rank #33
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 28 +5.0 $9.0 M
2022 29 +4.7 $11.0 M
2023 30 +4.3 $13.0 M
Team Option

In both 2017 and 2018, José Ramírez put up a 146 wRC+. For the first two months of the 2019 season, his wRC+ was a dreadful 57. The rest of the way, it was a normal 137 wRC+, and he’s started off this season in the same fashion. It certainly seems like approach was the issue rather than decline, as Ramírez briefly tried to go the other way instead of tapping into his pull power. He’s 27 years old and only guaranteed $11 million after this year, with two potential options increasing the total owed over three seasons to $33 million. Over that span, only 11 players considered for this list had better ZiPS projections than Ramírez’s 14 wins. Having just three years of control keeps him from placing any higher on this list, but being able to provide very good production at such a low cost is a great value.

Five-Year WAR +21.6
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2023
Previous Rank #14
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 24 +4.2 Arb1
2022 25 +4.4 Arb2
2023 26 +4.4 Arb3
Arb

There’s very little to separate Devers and Ramírez on this list. Their projections are nearly identical, and they both play third base. They are both under team control for three more years, likely at similar salaries. Ramírez is probably the better defender and has the longer history of production, but Devers had the better 2019 season and is four years younger at 23 years old. Devers’ breakout came last year as he reduced his strikeout rate and hit for more power. He’s a good baserunner when he’s not trying to steal bases, while his defense is more of an open question. Last year, everything came together enough for him to put up a six-win season that ranked 12th among all position players, and behind only Cody Bellinger among players 24 years old and under. He’s started off slowly this season, but his steps forward last season combined with his age mean he’s only dropped a little bit from last year despite losing a year of control. His salaries will rise over the next three years, but those will be his age-24 through age-26 seasons, which means his 2019 season might not be his career year.

Five-Year WAR +21.8
Guaranteed Dollars $202.5 M
Team Control Through 2029
Previous Rank #7
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 29 +5.1 $14.0 M
2022 30 +4.9 $26.0 M
2023 31 +4.5 $26.0 M
2024 32 +3.9 $26.0 M
2025 33 +3.3 $26.0 M

Christian Yelich is owed about $200 million over the next eight seasons. Before inking that deal, he was still on the contract he signed with the Marlins back in 2015, which wouldn’t have made him a free agent until after the 2022 season. As a result, the Brewers were able to sign Yelich at something of a discount. There haven’t been any exact analogues in free agency to Yelich, but consider that Anthony Rendon just received a $245 million contract over seven years heading into his age-30 season, while Mookie Betts received $365 million in guarantees heading into his age-28 campaign. Yelich will be just 29 years old next season and has been a slightly better player than Rendon the last few seasons while being slightly worse than Betts. Yelich’s contract also contains some deferrals, which make his salaries a little bit more palatable. After starting the season 1-for-27, Yelich’s August wRC+ was 181 going into yesterday’s action, making the early slump look more like a six-game blip than anything more ominous. He’s a star on a contract essentially all teams can afford, and that keeps his value on the high end despite the big extension.

Five-Year WAR +16.0
Guaranteed Dollars $48.5 M
Team Control Through 2027
Previous Rank
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 23 +3.1 $3.5 M
2022 24 +3.3 $6.0 M
2023 25 +3.3 $9.5 M
2024 26 +3.2 $12.5 M
2025 27 +3.1 $15.0 M

Robert was a bit divisive with the team sources I spoke with. There are the obvious swing-and-miss issues, which have been present in his debut this season. There’s also the $50 million guarantee, considerable when compared with other unproven prospects. Robert’s placement in these rankings is due to both a high floor and ceiling, as well as a contract that can potentially extract even more value if Robert reaches his ceiling. Robert’s defense, baserunning, and power (even if he can’t always make contact) mean he should be at least an average player. The ability to hit the ball so hard and so far has already been present in the majors, and making a little more contact will get him to a star level.

Robert’s contract potentially runs through 2027, which is longer than every other prospect-type player considered. That those years cover his age-23 through his age-29 seasons means that the White Sox are likely to get the very best seasons of Robert’s career. There’s some risk in Robert’s bat, but the risk is only that he won’t be a star, not that he won’t be a solid contributor. A year from now, he might move up this list, but he’s not likely to make a significant move down.

Five-Year WAR +23.0
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2023
Previous Rank #9
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 28 +5.2 Arb1
2022 29 +4.9 Arb2
2023 30 +4.8 Arb3
Arb

After ending up ninth on this list a year ago, Chapman was bound to move down as he edged a year closer to free agency, but dip wasn’t significant. That’s hardly surprising. Since the start of the 2018 season, Matt Chapman’s 13.5 WAR ranks sixth among all position players. His 92.9 mph average exit velocity ranks fourth in the game, and he’s the best-fielding third baseman in baseball. Oakland still has three years of team control in the form of arbitration salaries, and those three years come at a cost far less than almost all comparable players. The five players ahead of Chapman in WAR the last two years are on contracts that pay them an average of $29 million per year while Chapman won’t total that amount until the middle of 2023. He’s 27 years old, so the next three seasons shouldn’t see too much of a decline, and ZiPS agrees with his average of five wins per year sitting 10th among all players considered for this list. Chapman might feel underrated, but the league understands his value.

Five-Year WAR +18.1
Guaranteed Dollars $15.0 M
Team Control Through 2024
Previous Rank #17
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 27 +4.0 $6.0 M
2022 28 +3.9 $8.0 M
2023 29 +3.7 $10.0 M
2024 30 +3.5 $12.0 M
Team Option

At the time of the rankings last season, Marte had just a half-season breakout and he ranked 17th on this list. Then he went out and put up a 177 wRC+ in the second half to remove any doubt about his first half. Marte’s 150 wRC+ might have been a bit more than can be expected in future years, but his .379 xwOBA from Statcast was even with Pete Alonso’s and in line with Alex Bregman’s and Austin Meadows’. He has the ability to play second base and center field, and at 26 years of age, he should be in his prime for the duration of his team-friendly contract. Marte signed a long-term deal before his breakout, and even if both options are exercised, he’ll make just $36 million over the four seasons after this one. Last season, Marte’s projected ZiPS for 2021 was just 3.3 WAR; it’s now jumped up to four wins. You don’t have to believe that Marte’s seven-win 2019 season is the expectation going forward to see that he should be an incredible value for the next four years.

Five-Year WAR +18.1
Guaranteed Dollars
Team Control Through 2026
Previous Rank #23
Year Age Projected WAR Contract Status
2021 20 +2.5 Pre-Arb
2022 21 +3.1 Pre-Arb
2023 22 +3.7 Pre-Arb
2024 23 +4.4 Arb1
2025 24 +4.5 Arb2
Pre-Arb
Arb

There is no disagreement about Wander Franco being the best prospect in baseball. Eric Longenhaen called him, as a prospect, the “best I’ve evaluated during my tenure here.” He’s never played above High-A, but he’s dominated with the bat and the scouting evaluations are just as good. ZiPS doesn’t provide much skepticism, either, also rating Franco as the best prospect in the game and giving him the 12th-best 2025 ZiPS projection of the players considered for this list. He has hit. He will hit. He can field at shortstop. There’s not much to dislike about Franco’s game and his future.

The lack of a minor-league season will prevent teams from getting a good look at his progress in 2020, though there’s still an outside chance he comes up at some point this season. He’s just 19 years old and whether he sees big league action this season or early next year will make the difference between having team control through his age-25 season in 2026 or his age-26 season in 2027. I could have been more aggressive with this placement, and probably would have been in a normal season, but the abbreviated major league season coupled with no minor league season means his trade value is only better than all but 10 of the very best players in baseball. We can look at Ronald Acuña Jr., Juan Soto, or Fernando Tatis Jr. as the players who one day might displace Mike Trout as the best player in baseball. But the heir to Trout’s throne might be a 19-year-old who has never taken an at-bat above A-ball.

2020 Trade Value, 11-50
Rk Pv Player Age 2021 2022 2023 2024 2025
11 23 Wander Franco 19 +2.5
Pre-Arb
+3.1
Pre-Arb
+3.7
Pre-Arb
+4.4
Arb1
+4.5
Arb2
12 17 Ketel Marte 26 +4.0
$6.0 M
+3.9
$8.0 M
+3.7
$10.0 M
+3.5
$12.0 M
13 9 Matt Chapman 27 +5.2
Arb1
+4.9
Arb2
+4.8
Arb3
14 Luis Robert 22 +3.1
$3.5 M
+3.3
$6.0 M
+3.3
$9.5 M
+3.2
$12.5 M
+3.1
$15.0 M
15 7 Christian Yelich 28 +5.1
$14.0 M
+4.9
$26.0 M
+4.5
$26.0 M
+3.9
$26.0 M
+3.3
$26.0 M
16 14 Rafael Devers 23 +4.2
Arb1
+4.4
Arb2
+4.4
Arb3
17 33 José Ramírez 27 +5.0
$9.0 M
+4.7
$11.0 M
+4.3
$13.0 M
18 11 Walker Buehler 25 +3.9
Arb1
+3.8
Arb2
+3.3
Arb3
+3.3
Arb4
19 HM Jack Flaherty 24 +4.7
Arb1
+4.6
Arb2
+4.2
Arb3
20 32 Pete Alonso 25 +4.2
Pre-Arb
+4.2
Arb1
+4.2
Arb2
+4.1
Arb3
21 30 Chris Paddack 24 +2.8
Pre-Arb
+2.8
Arb1
+2.6
Arb2
+2.6
Arb3
22 22 Germán Márquez 25 +3.7
$7.5 M
+3.8
$11.0 M
+3.4
$15.0 M
+3.4
$16.0 M
23 HM Bo Bichette 22 +4.4
Pre-Arb
+4.8
Pre-Arb
+4.8
Arb1
+5.0
Arb2
+5.0
Arb3
24 10 Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 21 +3.8
Pre-Arb
+4.5
Arb1
+4.7
Arb2
+4.8
Arb3
+4.8
Arb4
25 31 Aaron Nola 27 +3.8
$11.8 M
+3.7
$15.0 M
+3.3
$16.0 M
26 HM Gavin Lux 22 +4.0
Pre-Arb
+4.4
Pre-Arb
+4.6
Pre-Arb
+4.8
Arb1
+4.7
Arb2
27 15 Aaron Judge 28 +4.6
Arb2
+4.6
Arb3
28 41 Brandon Woodruff 27 +2.4
Arb1
+2.3
Arb2
+2.1
Arb3
+1.9
Arb4
29 29 Paul DeJong 26 +3.5
$4.0 M
+3.3
$6.0 M
+3.1
$9.0 M
+3.0
$12.5 M
+2.6
$15.0 M
30 20 Blake Snell 27 +3.0
$10.5 M
+2.9
$12.5 M
+2.6
$16.0 M
31 49 Matt Olson 26 +3.9
Arb1
+3.8
Arb2
+3.8
Arb3
32 50 Luis Castillo 27 +3.3
Arb1
+3.3
Arb2
+2.9
Arb3
33 HM Lucas Giolito 25 +4.3
Arb1
+4.1
Arb2
+3.8
Arb3
34 HM Yordan Alvarez 23 +3.9
Pre-Arb
+4.0
Pre-Arb
+3.9
Arb1
+3.9
Arb2
+3.9
Arb3
35 HM Max Muncy 29 +3.7
$9.0 M
+3.2
$13.0 M
+2.6
$13.0 M
36 Ramón Laureano 25 +3.0
Pre-Arb
+2.9
Arb1
+2.8
Arb2
+2.7
Arb3
37 HM Austin Meadows 25 +3.3
Pre-Arb
+3.1
Arb1
+2.8
Arb2
+2.8
Arb3
38 38 Jorge Polanco 26 +3.0
$4.3 M
+2.9
$5.5 M
+2.7
$7.5 M
+2.7
$10.5 M
+2.2
$12.0 M
39 40 Max Kepler 27 +3.0
$6.5 M
+2.9
$6.8 M
+2.8
$8.5 M
+2.3
$10.0 M
40 39 Jeff McNeil 28 +3.9
Pre-Arb
+3.7
Arb1
+3.5
Arb2
+2.9
Arb3
41 HM Adley Rutschman 22 +1.6
Pre-Arb
+2.0
Pre-Arb
+2.2
Pre-Arb
+2.3
Arb1
+2.5
Arb2
42 28 Joey Gallo 26 +2.4
Arb2
+2.4
Arb3
43 16 Shohei Ohtani 25 +2.3
Arb1
+2.2
Arb2
+2.1
Arb3
44 HM Nate Pearson 23 +1.8
Pre-Arb
+1.8
Pre-Arb
+1.7
Arb1
+1.6
Arb2
+1.6
Arb3
45 Jesús Luzardo 22 +1.7
Pre-Arb
+1.9
Pre-Arb
+1.6
Arb1
+1.6
Arb2
+1.5
Arb3
46 HM Keston Hiura 23 +3.0
Pre-Arb
+3.1
Pre-Arb
+3.2
Arb1
+3.2
Arb2
+2.8
Arb3
47 HM Mookie Betts 27 +6.2
$22.9 M
+5.9
$22.9 M
+5.7
$25.4 M
+5.1
$30.4 M
+4.4
$30.4 M
48 24 Jacob deGrom 32 +4.6
$37.5 M
+4.1
$37.5 M
+3.8
$34.5 M
+3.5
$32.5 M
49 19 Xander Bogaerts 27 +4.1
$20.0 M
+3.9
$20.0 M
+3.7
$20.0 M
+3.2
$20.0 M
+2.5
$20.0 M
50 HM Dustin May 22 +2.4
Pre-Arb
+2.3
Pre-Arb
+2.3
Arb1
+2.3
Arb2
+2.3
Arb3
Pre-Arb
Arb
Team Option
Player Option

We hoped you liked reading 2020 Trade Value: #11 to #20 by Craig Edwards!

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Craig Edwards can be found on twitter @craigjedwards.

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Kvn
Member
Member
Kvn

You’ve got the wrong Jose Ramirez linked btw.