Posts Tagged ‘Top Speedy Outfielders’

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

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.

BallHype: hype it up!

Brett Gardner gets down and dirty.

What if I told you a man existed who could single-handedly unite two sides that we have been told since birth are un-unite-able, one stolen base/triple/infield single at a time? Ok, with the hyperbole firmly in place I give you the one player that both scouts and sabermetricians can appreciate and claim as their own, that man is none other than Brett Gardner.  Currently sporting a 307/399/411 slash line, 40 BBs and 50 Ks, and successful on 25 of 31 stolen base attempts.  Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 amateur draft, he has slowly progressed into a solid everyday ballplayer.

Forget the fact that his jersey is dirty before the first pitch and that he takes the extra base when possible and more importantly steals bases (always big with the scouting/skills crowd) and looks great running down the first base line trying to chug out another infield single – Brett Gardner just looks like a ballplayer no? Even the lame Joe Morgan couldn’t disagree Gardner has been a revelation for the Yankees this season, playing solid defence (he should be starting in CF, but we will leave that for another time), giving the Yankees a spark at the bottom of the order with his all-out hustle and blazing speed – the guy can flat out fly.

However he is also extremely “saber-friendly” for a player of his ilk and style. He rarely swings at a bad pitch (18.5% o-swing) or really at all (31.2% swing rate) and when he does swing he makes contact (91.9% contact rate). Gardner currently sports a .374 wOBA mostly due to his patience at the plate (399 OBP – 12.2% BB) and despite a small hiccup in terms of his relatively neutral UZR rating this season he has already produced a 2.4 WAR in only half a season worth of games. Not bad for a guy who was barely an afterthought in the off-season and viewed more as a depth/bench player. The left-handed hitter is not a total liability versus lefties (261/371/375 – 340 wOBA) and has really earned his keep versus righties (328/412/427 – 375 wOBA) while mostly batting 8th or 9th for the Bronx Bombers this season.

While discussing Gardner’s season with my buddy Harry (also a New York native and Yankee fan – street cred enough? His last name even sounds Italian) he had made the comment that he wished the Yanks did not pull the trigger on their trade for Curtis Granderson in the off-season. He would go on to explain it had nothing to do with any particular dislike for Granderson, or that he was absolutely sold on Austin Jackson or Phil Coke, but more so the fact he felt they had the CF answer already in-house with Brett Gardner.

Not to say Gardner is a bonafide superstar, he hits more singles than rock stars and has been slightly propped by a .357 BABIP – though not outlandish given Gardner’s propensity to hit groundballs coupled with the fact he might be the fastest player in the majors. However to say he hasn’t been the Yankees biggest surprise this season would be a lie, Gardner has performed like Ichiro with more patience, he is here to stay.