Archive for September, 2010

Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

2010 DMB Trade Value: #50 -#41

2010 DMB Trade Value: #40 – #31

2010 DMB Trade Value: #30 – #21

20) CF/RF Josh Hamilton (L) – Age:  29

Quick Take:  Hamilton appeared ready to take his place among the game’s elite after a stellar 2008 campaign (.530 SLG%, .385 wOBA) but things quickly turned south in 2009 as Josh struggled through injuries and a season long slump.  Well 2010 has answered any potential questions, and then some, Hamilton is having a career year and hitting for power (.277 ISO, .637 SLG%, .448 wOBA) and though his average is being propped by a .395 BABIP, he has cut his strikeouts down marginally year over year.  An average fielder, he still qualifies at CF which is a bonus.  If not for the injuries and shaky past would have ranked much higher.

DMB PRO: huge lefty slugger destroys right handed pitching, qualifies at CF

DMB CON: scary past life struggles, doesn’t hit lefties well, plays at hitter’s park, average defender, what is his true talent level?

19) 1B Joey Votto (L) – Age: 27

Quick Take:  Has put up monster numbers throughout his young career and currently sports a huge .438 wOBA for the Reds as their first basemen.  Plays solid defense and is in the early stages of his prime seasons.  Would have ranked much higher but there are a ton of great 1B and this takes away from some of his value, also some DMB leagues allow ANY player to man first base regardless of if they are rated there or not.

DMB PRO: huge power/on-base combo, good defense

DMB CON: hitter’s park and only a first basemen

18) SP Tim Lincecum (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  Though I think the ‘best pitcher in baseball’ tag might be removed after a more pedestrian 2010 (3.48 xFIP, 3.80 ERA) the ‘freak’ is still among the game’s best arms with a still solid 9.4 K/9, 30.9 o-swing % and one of baseball’s best changeups.  However, his value has taken a hit as he finally looks human after years of utter domination, playing in a pitchers park and a rising BB rate (3.6 BB/9) hurt his overall DMB value but we will give him another season to get back to his old form before starting to officially panic.

DMB PRO: strong strikeout numbers

DMB CON: rising BB rate and pitches in a pitchers park

17) 2B Dustin Pedroia (R) – Age:  27

Quick Take:  The pesky little second basemen has been a solid player since entering the league in 2006 and 2010 has been a solid but injury riddle season.  Increased power (.205 ISO) along with his rock solid defending at the scarce position of 2B give him immense value going forward.  Probably has reached the apex of his career and will likely never rank higher than this given the propensity for 2B to literally fall off a cliff in their mid to early 30s but for now, a hitter in the midst of his prime.

DMB PRO: good defense, solid bat for a 2B

DMB CON: Fenway takes away some of his hitting value

16) 1B Adrian Gonzalez (L) – Age:  28

Quick Take:  A monster with the bat given that he plays at PetCo park in San Diego, career .224 ISO and .508 SLG, his stats are hugely magnified in a neutral ballpark and he is a DMB machine if your team plays in a hitters park.  Gonzalez provides solid defense and as long as he keeps producing at this clip in San Diego will be among the best hitters in DMB.  Keep an eye on his impending free agency.

DMB PRO: huge power numbers in the worst hitting park in the majors, good defense

DMB CON: only a 1B

15) C Buster Posey (R) – Age:  23

Quick Take:  Posey has been everything he was advertised as and more, posting a .374 wOBA so far in 2010.  A few question marks remain in terms of where Posey will end up playing position wise, if he is a catcher the sky is the limit in terms of his value, if he sticks at 1B, he won’t see this list again.  There have been no indications that he won’t be a fulltime catcher so for now, all systems go and stock way up.  His numbers likely won’t be this gaudy with a full rigorous season behind the plate, but he might also see improvements in BB rate (currently only 5.6%) and this is only his first full season in the bigs.

DMB PRO: great numbers for a catcher in a pitchers park

DMB CON: positional questions, will he stick at C?

14) RF Jason Heyward (L) – Age:  21

Quick Take:  A 21 year old rookie shouldn’t be posting the insane numbers that Heyward currently has put up, sporting a solid .197 ISO and .379 wOBA Heyward has shown every indication that stardom is in his very immediate future, if not already.

DMB PRO: solid power, good fielder

DMB CON: growing pains of youth, must learn to hit lefties

13) SS Troy Tulowitzki (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  One of the better all around players in the bigs, Tulo has solid power (career .190 ISO, .362 wOBA)) and plays a mean shortstop defensively.  Injury concerns have started to creep up and playing in Coors Field definitely hurts his overall value in DMB, however given the lack of options at SS he is among the game’s most valuable players in spite of a few flaws.

DMB PRO: good hitting/fielding shortstop

DMB CON: Coors Field, lack of patience hurt his overall DMB value

12) SP Ubaldo Jimenez (R) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  A 26 year old pitcher with a 3.14 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 50% gb rate, 1.13 WHIP and 0.41 HR/9 would be one of the best pitchers in the game no matter where he pitched, but when you take into consideration the home park of Coors Field, it takes it to a whole other level.  Jimenez has simply developed into one of baseball’s best pitchers and might be the best pitcher in DMB given the park factors of Coors Field.  Just entering his prime years, Jimenez appears poised to become one of DMBs best hurlers for the next 5-6 season, possesses the hardest fastball in baseball (96.2 MPH).

DMB PRO: good strikeout numbers, solid ground ball/homerun rate and pitches in an extreme hitters park

DMB CON: high-ish walk rate

11) 2B Chase Utley (L) – Age:  32

Quick Take:  Contradictory I know as I knocked Pedroia for being close to his early 30s and here I am ranking Utley as one of the best overall players in the game, and for good reason.  Utley has been a model of good health until this season (given his age, there is slight concern going forward) and his career .387 wOBA, .222 ISO, .379 OBP and amazing defense at the thin position of 2B is absolutely insane.  Utley is definitely deserving of such a high ranking and should be counted among the game’s best hitters for the next 2-3 season at least.

DMB PRO: great all around hitter/defender at weak position

DMB CON: is hitting the age some second basemen turn into pumpkins, hitter’s park

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Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

2010 DMB Trade Value: #50 -#41

2010 DMB Trade Value: #40 – #31

30) 3B Adrian Beltre (R) – Age:  31

Quick Take:  A defensive wizard at 3B and a power bat to boot, Beltre gives you everything you want in a corner infielder.  Since leaving the hitter’s hell that is SafeCo Beltre has absolutely killed the ball (.228 ISO) and though the BABIP (.340) is helping his average his overall .390 wOBA combined with a 9.2 UZR has valued him at a 5.7 WAR thus far in 2010.  Beltre will never be confused as a patient hitter but should be productive for the next 5-6 seasons and with pending free agency, again keep an eye on what park he lands in.

DMB PRO: awesome defender, great power

DMB CON: does not walk (5.5 BB %) and this affects his overall DMB value

29) SP Felix Hernandez (R) – Age: 24

Quick Take:  Seemingly been in the league forever, Hernandez is just entering his prime and his resume is impressive.  Has been a workhorse since 2006 (191, 190, 200, 238 and 204 IPs so far in 2010) and has been a solid groundball/strikeout guy since making his debut in 2005.  While not the K-machine I think some had envisioned there is not much to dislike about a 24 year old with the body of work that Felix possesses and no reason not to invest heavily over the next 5-6 seasons.  My only concerns would be workload on his young arm, his home park is extremely pitcher friendly and he plays in front of one of the better defences, sometimes affecting his DMB value depending on chosen ballpark and defense.

DMB PRO: solid ground ball rate, good control, consistent

DMB CON:  extreme pitchers park

28) RF Justin Upton (R) – Age:  23

Quick Take:  A fulltime player holding his own at age 21 is a rare breed and Upton is truly a rare talent.  Upton possesses huge power potential (career .200 ISO) to go along with his solid defense, arm and speed.  If he could only improve his lacking plate discipline we could be looking at one of the best overall players in baseball.  His ‘off’ year so far in 2010 has still produced a .350 wOBA and 3.3 WAR, not bad for a 23 year old.  Upton is still a talent on the rise who at worst will provide a low average power bat with amazing right field defense, but his upside is that of top player in the game and definitely an intriguing talent.

DMB PRO: big power, solid defender, speed

DMB CON: lack of patience and high strikeouts, hitter’s park

27) SP Cliff Lee (L) – Age:  32

Quick Take:  Normally a pitch to contact left hander is bad news in the world of DMB but Lee is a rare talent which his unreal control (.60 BB/9!), decent K rate (7.8 K/9) and normally solid numbers versus right handed hitters that he was another must addition to this list.  Doesn’t appear to be slowing down any as he has entered his 30s and is one of the top lefties in the game, keep an eye on what team he signs with in the off-season.  If he signs with the Yankees, expect a drop in his overall numbers playing in that ballpark and division.

DMB PRO: impeccable control, solid K rate, good numbers vs. Righties

DMB CON: is still a lefty and susceptible to a righty heavy lefty crushing line-up, can give up a lot of hits.

26) LF Matt Holliday (R) – Age:  30

Quick Take:  Basically given up for dead while with Oakland in 2009, Holliday was supposedly only a product of his environment (Coors Field) but people failed to realize his environment in Oakland was extremely chilly to hitters.  Holliday has proven to be one of the most consistent and feared right handed hitting outfielders in the game (.390 and .384 wOBA in 2009 and 2010) Holliday provides great defense (7.1 UZR) and great power (.221 ISO in 2010) and is equally effective versus righties or lefties.  A guy you can just book for 300/390/500 with 40 2Bs/25 HRs, a solid rating in LF and a 5.0-5.5 WAR each season.  In a DMB keeper world, that is as good as gold.

DMB PRO: consistently solid with the bat and glove, good splits vs. L and R

DMB CON: low-ish walk rate (career 8.9 BB %)

25) SP Zack Greinke (R) – Age:  27

Quick Take:  If anybody is holding Greinke to his unbelievable 2009 season to say he is having a bad year in 2010, you are crazy.  He was never going to repeat that season, which was one of the best over the past 10 years however Greinke is still among the game’s best starting pitchers and is only just entering his prime seasons.  His K-rate is down (9.5 K/9 in 2009, 7.5 in 2010) however his control is still great (2.0 BB/9) and his 3.31 FIP suggests he is still an ace in the making.  I am still buying the hype.

DMB PRO: solid control pitcher, improving GB rate

DMB CON: pitcher’s park, declining K rate.

24) 1B Kevin Youkilis (R) – Age:  31

Quick Take:  The Greek God of Walks as once dubbed by Billy Beane “Youk” is an on-base machine (13.3 BB %, .411 OBP) who hits both lefties and righties well and gains an extra little bit of positional value by also being rated at 3B (for most seasons).  If he ever lost his 3B eligibility permanently it would put a serious hit on his overall value.

DMB PRO: hits both lefties and righties, OBP machine

DMB CON: Fenway is a good hitters park for righties, potentially only a 1B one day.

23) CF Carlos Gonzalez (L) – Age:  25

Quick Take: “CarGo” is another intriguing talent who has shown absolutely massive power this season (.271 ISO, .596 SLG%) but is not without a few warts.  Questions still abound whether he will be able to play CF going forward and his walk rate has been abysmal (5.3 BB %) which will hurt him immensely in DMB but that power stroke cannot be denied, even accounting for the effect his home ballpark will have.  If he can show improved plate discipline, he could be a major force.

DMB PRO: huge power, rated at CF

DMB CON: poor walk rate and the “Coors” effect could seriously affect his value in DMB.

22) C Carlos Santana (S) – Age:  24

Quick Take:  The leg injury was scary but it appears the Santana avoided a potentially career debilitating injury and is an exciting catching prospect with some very strong upside.  A switch-hitter who plays catcher has the potential to give a lot of value and Santana’s numbers while coming up through the minor leagues are nothing short of brilliant and he should be a top five catcher for the next 8-10 years.

DMB PRO: position, upside

DMB CON: will injury affect his long term value?

21) C Brian McCann (L) – Age:  26

Quick Take:  It seems like McCann should be nearly 40 but in reality he is only now hitting his prime hitting seasons and in 2010 has been a beast (.380 wOBA) and his improving patience (13.4 BB %) is a bonus.  One of the top hitting catchers in baseball and should be counted upon to put up consistently strong numbers for the next 5 seasons minimum.

DMB PRO: a strong hitting catcher, improved patience and BB rate

DMB CON: not as strong versus lefties, but that is nitpicking.

Here is the introduction to the DMB (Diamond Mind Baseball) Trade Value series.

2010 DMB Trade Value: #50 -#41

40) 2B Ian Kinsler (R) – Age:  28

Quick Take:  One of the best hitters at a thin position (2B) when healthy, which has been a major factor over his entire career.  His career high in games was in 2009 with 144 and in 2010 he has provided solid overall value with his stick (.359 wOBA) and glove (0.2 UZR).  His power is way down (.235 ISO in 2009, .120 in 2010) but can injuries be to blame for the power outage?  Another guy who needs to prove he can stay healthy and put up consistent power numbers.

DMB PRO: good bat and glove at a weak position

DMB CON: injury prone, declining power

39) 3B/RF Jose Bautista (R) – Age:  30

Quick Take:  Having a career year with his first real fulltime gig with the Toronto Blue Jays, his power has been massive (.351 ISO!!) and he leads the league in HRs (42) and even walks a ton (14.9 BB %), bonus is the positional value as he is rated at 1B, 3B and RF.  Not a great defender at any position, questions are already being raised whether he can produce anywhere near the same level in 2011, my guess is not, but until that is proven otherwise, given his power and positional versatility he is a valuable player going forward.

DMB PRO: huge power/patience, plays multiple positions

DMB CON: low average, a fluke season?  Skydome has been launching pad this year.

38) C Matt Wieters (S) – Age: 24

Quick Take:  So obviously he can’t walk on water as we were led to believe however the kid is only in his first full season at the major league level at 24 years of age and playing the toughest position in the sport in the toughest division in the game.  While some of the prospect lustre is firmly off Wieters, there is still a lot of time left for him to develop and we can’t just forget the 600 or so god like PAs from the minor leagues.  This is purely a speculative play for a weak position over the next 5-6 years and though I am still buying stock in this guy we will need to see marked improvement next year.

DMB PRO: switch hitting catcher, solid potential at the thinnest position in the game

DMB CON: lacklustre overall offensive numbers thus far.

37) SP Justin Verlander (R) – Age: 27

Quick Take: His K-rate has normalized in 2010 (8.5 K/9) after a sensational 2009 (10.0 K/9) and his walks are also slightly up, but I am still a huge believer in Verlander going forward and he is still among the game’s best starting pitchers and is only now entering his prime seasons.  Armed with one of the game’s best arsenal of pitchers, all of his pitches (fastball, curve, change and slider) show a positive run value (per 100 pitches thrown).

DMB PRO: solid K rate, consistent, doesn’t possess huge splits (good vs. L and R)

DMB CON: plays in a pitcher’s park, decreasing K’s a slight concern

36) LF Ryan Braun (R) – Age: 27

Quick Take: The Hebrew Hammer is having his worst statistical season in the big leagues and still possesses a .370 wOBA and .843 OPS.  His power is down across the board but he is still young, has shown massive power in the past and is entering his prime hitting years, consider me still on board the bandwagon for one more season in hopes that the power returns or his value will take a serious hit.

DMB PRO: destroys left handed pitchers

DMB CON: only a LF, lack of patience at plate, hitter’s park, decreasing power output

35) SS Elvis Andrus (R) – Age: 22

Quick Take:  What does it say about the current state of the shortstop position when a guy with a sub .700 OPS ranks among the most valuable players in the game?  Andrus is still an exciting (young) prospect and the Rangers still have hopes that his bat continues to improve.  He already plays one of the better defensive shortstops in baseball and adds a speed element offensively, hopefully he can hit for more power going forward.

DMB PRO: provides valuable PAs and is a great defensive player at very shallow position, speed

DMB CON: very little power and plays in hitter’s park

34) 3B David Wright (R) – Age: 28

Quick Take:  While no longer in the discussion for one of the game’s best players Wright still provides good pop (.207 ISO, 499 SLG) from a premium position.

DMB PRO: plays in pitchers park

DMB CON: declining patience/OBP affects overall value

33) CF Colby Rasmus (L) – Age:  24

Quick Take:  A slick fielding centre fielder with power gives you a valuable asset going forward.  Rasmus has massive power potential (.232 ISO) and should settle in as an average defensive centre fielder when all is said and done, plus at only 24 years of age can still improve.  His lack of plate discipline has given him a shockingly high K rate (32.6 K %) and he can’t hit lefties at all, but with time hopefully these improve or his value will definitely take a hit.

DMB PRO: good power, good defense

DMB CON: cannot hit lefties, way too many strikeouts

32) SS Starlin Castro (R) – Age: 20

Quick Take: Anytime a 20 year old more than holds his own with the stick (.338 wOBA), plays a solid position that is dying for talent (SS, -0.5 UZR) and is still growing and maturing physically is definitely a player worth owning.  Castro has given Cubbies fans something to cheer for in 2010 with a pretty decent rookie season overall.  There are a ton of holes in his offensive game (patience mostly) but he is 20 years old and this is to be expected, the future could be bright for this kid and another speculative buy at an ultra thin position.

DMB PRO: shortstop with upside, solid defender

DMB CON: growing pains of youth

31) RF/CF Jayson Werth (R) – Age:  31

Quick Take:  One of the more underrated players in the game, Werth has power (.222 ISO), patience (12.9 BB % and .390 OBP), speed (normally good for 20 SBs) and plays solid defense at all three outfield spots.  He strikes out a bit much and he plays in a hitter’s park but at just 31 years old should have some solid years left, he is a free agent at season’s end so keep an eye on where he lands (ballpark factors).  Werth also normally has extreme platoon splits and struggles against righties in DMB, has hit righties better in 2010.

DMB PRO: solid defensively (rated at CF), good power/patience

DMB CON: strikes out a lot, has heavy platoon splits (awesome vs. L, average to bad vs. R), good hitter’s park

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.