Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.
50) CF Andres Torres (S) – Age: 32
Quick Take: One of the more underrated overall players in baseball, Torres has emerged in 2010 as a fulltime player for the Giants and has shown solid pop (.213 ISO, .379 wOBA, .498 SLG%) all while playing a very solid outfield (18.1 UZR). Torres is a switch hitter though he hits much better against righties and he will be a very valuable DMB player for the next 2-3 seasons if his improved offensive ability remains from 2009 and 2010.
DMB PRO: solid bat, great defensive player at premium CF spot, pitcher’s park
DMB CON: strikes out a bit much, struggles versus lefties.
49) LF Carl Crawford (L) – Age: 29
Quick Take: When you combine a great fielder (22.1 UZR) and a solid hitter (.366 wOBA) you have yourself a valuable overall player. Crawford is having a career season (already matched his WAR total from last season in 35 fewer games) and his combination of speed, defense and pop land him on our list. His low-ish BB rate (7.4%) has sapped some of his overall DMB value and he has been an underachiever in past seasons of simulation baseball, in terms of avg/obp/slg.
DMB PRO: speed to burn, good LF defender
DMB CON: only a LF, low OBP has sapped some of his value in DMB, seems to under achieve
48) CF Austin Jackson (R) – Age: 23
Quick Take: Can’t believe the Yankees basically traded this guy for Curtis Granderson. Jackson will never be an elite hitter and his .307 batting average is being hugely (and artificially) propped up by an unsustainable BABIP of .421 and his lack of patience (6.9 BB %) and knack for striking out (27.7 K %) sap a lot of his DMB value. However, he is going to be one of the better defensive centre fielders for the next 10 seasons and at only 23 years old, he can still improve on his offensive weaknesses.
DMB PRO: plays in pitchers park, excellent defender, good speed
DMB CON: horrible patience and approach at plate, too many strikeouts
47) SP Clayton Kershaw (L) – Age: 22
Quick Take: Very impressive overall numbers for a pitcher of his age, 9.5 K/9, improving 3.9 BB/9 and good HR rate (0.58 HR/9) for a solid 3.86 xFIP. The walks are a concern and he needs to continue to improve in that area, especially as a lefty in DMB where the line-ups can be extremely stacked against the southpaws. However, for a pitcher as young as Kershaw, the future is still very bright. Pitching at Dodger’s Stadium will hurt his overall DMB value but being relatively strong against right handed batters will help, if not for ballpark and control issues (and being a lefty) might have ranked higher.
DMB PRO: big strikeout numbers, improving control
DMB CON: fly ball pitcher, still too many walks, pitches at extreme pitcher’s park
46) SS Stephen Drew (L) – Age: 27
Quick Take: I think a lot of people expected more out of Stephen Drew when he took over as the D’Backs SS in 2007 after raking in 2006 (226 PAs, .367 wOBA) but being a solid defensive shortstop (7.1 UZR in 2010) and still posting a .352 wOBA means he is probably slightly underrated in terms of overall DMB value. Entering his prime years, the lefty hitting shortstop might even show some improvement in his overall offensive game and should prove valuable given position scarcity for the next 3-5 seasons.
DMB PRO: solid bat + Glove at the ultra-thin SS position
DMB CON: plays in hitters park
45) SP Francisco Liriano (L) – Age: 27
Quick Take: One of only three lefties to make the list (and one of only eleven pitchers in total) Frankie has risen from the ashes this season after two relatively lacklustre seasons following his TJ surgery. While not quite the robot pitcher who incinerated hitter’s bats Francisco Liriano has been downright nasty in 2010, posting a 9.8 K/9, 2.33 FIP, 53.8 GB % and a 3.3 K/BB in 155+ IPs.
Liriano looks to have returned to form and should be counted among the game’s best pitchers for the next 5-7 seasons with a little luck and a clean bill of health – knock on wood. While he has some of the best stuff in the game, being a lefty knocks him down a bit as well as his overall numbers versus right handed hitters.
DMB PRO: high strikeout rate, solid groundball rate
DMB CON: lefty starter, unknown future ball park ratings in Minnesota
44) 2B Gordon Beckham (R) – Age: 24
Quick Take: After a promising rookie campaign (.351 wOBA) Beckham has had a dreadful season in 2010 (.308 wOBA) however has shown some promise over the past two months and is still a league average fielder at a premium (and shallow) defensive position (2B). I am still a believer in “Becks” and I feel he is primed for a breakout season in 2011 and should be one of the better second base options for the next 3-5 seasons.
DMB PRO: quality defender
DMB CON: plays in hitter friendly environment
43) 2B/3B Martin Prado (R) – Age: 27
Quick Take: Possibly another surprise player to rank so high but Prado has improved offensively (.355 + .367 wOBA in 2009 and 2010 respectively) and he plays multiple positions (1B, 2B, 3B) which gives him the versatility to justify this ranking. Could stand to take a few more walks but does sport a solid .360 OBP, an underrated and valuable middle infielder, second base is just a disaster position right now, giving him a serious bump.
DMB PRO: positional versatility (2B is another shallow position), solid overall offensive numbers
DMB CON: lack of patience could cut his DMB value, just an average defender at 2B.
42) SP Mat Latos (R) – Age: 23
Quick Take: If he didn’t pitch at the cavernous PetCo park, Latos might have ranked much higher but he will be punished slightly by DMB for his home ballpark. However, a 23 year old right handed starter with a 9.0 K/9, 3.15 FIP and 3.6 K/BB certainly belongs on a Top 50 list, he might have the most potential of any arm that made this list. The kid looks legit.
DMB PRO: solid K rate, limits walks
DMB CON: fly-ball pitcher, will get heavily penalized for pitching in San Diego’s pitcher friendly environment
41) C Miguel Montero (L) – Age: 27
Quick Take: Routinely overlooked, Montero plays the most demanding position and has put up a career triple slash line of 270/336/449, extremely strong for a solid defensive catcher. Possessing good pop (183 ISO in 2010) and solid patience (9.9 BB%) Montero is entering his prime years and should be among the game’s best hitting catchers for the next 3-5 seasons. He will never put up huge numbers in DMB, but compared to the very thin catcher position is a valued member of any simulation team.
DMB PRO: thin catching position, hits righties hard
DMB CON: low OBP limits overall hitting value, slightly punished for Arizona’s hitter friendly park.