25 Most Valuable Players

The idea for this thread is stolen from everyone’s favorite internet author, Bill Simmons. The point of the thread is this, including everything about the player: age, talent, project-ability, and contract, would you trade 1 for 1 the person below them on the list. This is my take, feel free to critique, make fun of, tell me I am an idiot, mention other players or anything else you feel like doing. I didn’t spend days and days on this, so if I made a glaring omission please point it out.

Anyways for most of the players in the following list you will see a projected WAR value for the next five years. I found those For the players not listed, well you’ll have to trust my judgement that they’re going to be really good (actually you don’t).

I will also include the contractual obligations each player has and the number of years of control that a player has left. Sorry Prince, you missed the cut, you project as one heck of a slugger over the next five seasons, but you have a bad body and are going to cost a lot very soon.

Without further ado we will start at #25 and work out way quickly to #1. I’ll be sure to add my thoughts and feeling as we go.

#25 – Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers – 17.66 WAR – ’10-’14 – Arbitration in ’12-’14

Perhaps my personal favorite on this entire list, the dominant Dodgers lefty has drawn ridiculous comparisons to Sandy Koufax since he hit the scene in L.A. two seasons ago. Control issues have hindered the 22 year lefty (4.8 BB/9) to this point in his career.

#24 – Colby Rasmus – St. Louis Cardinals – 21.48 – ’10-’14 – Arbitration – ’12-’14
#23 – Elvis Andrus – Texas Rangers – 21.76 – ’10-’14 – Arbitration -’12-’14

A 23 year old CF and a 21 year old SS who after average at best rookie seasons have burst upon the scene thus far in 2010. With team control for 5 seasons at very reasonable prices, there isn’t a team in the majors that wouldn’t love these two studs.

#22 – Adam “don’t call me PacMan” Jones – Baltimore Orioles – 22.69 – ’10-’13 – Arbitration ’11-’13
#21 – Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates – 23.06 – ’10-’15 – Arbitration – ’13-15

Not a whole lot of projectable difference between the two dynamic young center fielders, but given the two extra years of team control, McCutchen is my guy here.

#20 – Pablo Sandoval – San Francisco Giants – 27.84 – ’10-’14 – Arbitration ’12-’14

Call me not entirely sold on the Panda just yet, come next year I might buy into the lofty projections just a little more.

#19 – Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals -’10-’16 – 14 Million followed by 3 years of arbitration

If you don’t know about this pitching phenom after last night you might need to reevaluate. The big, dominant 21 year old may need to be higher on this list, but with multiple Cy Young winners and a 26 year old with a sub 1.00 ERA still to come, I just can’t slide the young Strasburg any higher on this list.

#18 – Felix Hernandez – 22.18 – Seattle Mariners – ’10-’14 – $78 Million

The first big money on our list, the King has every tool in the world to win Cy Young’s for years to come, a year ago he may have ranked a tad higher, but signing that big contract makes him just a tad less valuable.

#17- Joey Votto – 22.11 – Cincinnati Reds – ’10-’13 – Arbitration ’11-’13

Learn the Name.

#16 – Chase Utley – 28.35 – Philadelphia Phillies – ’10-’13 – $60 Million
#15 – Tim Lincecum – 23.15 – San Francisco Giants – ’10-’13 – $23 Million, 2 years of Arbitration

2 future hall of famers. Pass.

#14 – Matt Kemp – 25.49 – Los Angeles Dodgers – ’10-’12 – 11 Million and 1 year of arbitration

After two months of 2010 it may not be the young Dodgers OF that everyone expects to see here, but Kemp plays an excellent CF and projects as one of the best players in baseball over the next 5 seasons.

#13 – Dustin Pedroia – 24.16 – Boston Red Sox – ’10-’15 – $50 Million
#12 – Ubaldo Jimenez – Colorado Rockies – ’10-’14 – $22 Million

Ubaldo is one of the most talked about pitchers in baseball in 2010 and rightfully so, but he won’t be sustaining a sub 1.00 ERA forever. However the Rockies have their ace for the future and for a very very reasonable price going forward.

#11 – David Wright – 25.89 – New York Mets – ’10-’13 – $55 Million
#10 – Zack Grienke – 23.75 – Kansas City Royals – ’10-’12 – $34.25 Million

Many may think this is a lofty place for Grienke ahead of the like of Ubaldo, Lincecum and Felix, but after the out right destruction of AL in 2009, Grienke projects as the best pitcher over the next 5 seasons and I wouldn’t bet against him.

#9 – Ryan Braun – 24.67 – Milwaukee Brewers – ’10-’15 – $41.5 Million

The least talked about, most team friendly contract in baseball today. Braun may never be mixed up with Roberto Clemente in the outfield, but boy o boy can he swing the bat.

#8 – Justin Upton – 30.68 – Arizona Diamondbacks – ’10-’15 – $51.25 Million
#7 – Jason Heyward – 28.53 – Atlanta Braves – ’10-’15 – Arbitration ’13-15

Justin Upton has underperformed in 2010 to this point, but before there was the hoopla surrounding Jason Heyward, Upton was tagged as the next dominant hitting corner outfield in baseball. Both of the brilliant young outfielders project amazingly well over the next five seasons, but until Upton lives up to what Heyward is currently doing, the J-Hey kid gets to nod at #7.

#6 – Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals – 30.29 – ’10-’11 – $32 Million

The best player in baseball for the last decade and likely the safest bet to meet his projections in the next five years. At just 30 years old, Pujols is still not old, but his age relative to the other members of this list knock him down just a couple slots. That and the pending mega contract, Pujols will command after the 2011 season.

#5 – Ryan Zimmerman – Washington Nationals – 29.30 – ’10-’13 -$41.75 Million
#4 – Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies – 28.72 – ’10-’14 – $42.25 Million

I personally think Zimmerman is the safer bet to keep up his current production going forward, but Tulowitzki’s position and extra year of control give him the nod. This was one of the most difficult decisions I had making this list.

Now to unveil the top 3 and lets be reasonable, if you’ve even read this far, you know who they are.

#3 – Joe Mauer – Minnesota Twins – 32.85 – ’10-’18 – $196.5 Million

By far and away the largest contract on the list, but I also find it hard to believe that any team wouldn’t jump at the chance to acquire this special special talent. Coming off perhaps the greatest offensive year ever for a catcher, Mauer projects to have the second most WAR over the next 5 seasons, but the lofty contract keeps him just a notch behind the last 2 members of our list.

#2 – Hanley Ramirez – Florida Marlins – 33.59 – ’10-’14 – $64.5 Million

Hanley projects as the leader in WAR over the next 5 seasons, is signed to a very reasonable contract for someone of his memorable talents and plays the second most important position on the diamond. The only reason he isn’t number 1 on this list is because the following guy has been signed to the single most team friendly deal in all of baseball (and probably all team sports).

#1 – Evan Longoria – Tampa Bay Rays – 32.27 – ’10-’16 – $37.5 Million

Longoria is arguably the best third baseman in baseball (Ryan Zimmerman fans feel free to object) and is only 24 years old. Tampa Bay’s cornerstone for the next 6 years will only $5.5 million more over the life of his contract then Alex Rodriguez will make in 2010 alone, if that isn’t value I don’t know what is.

Thanks for reading this, I know it is long.

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One Comment on “25 Most Valuable Players”

  1. Disco Says:

    My bad for stealing blog space from you. I posted mine without realizing you put yours up.

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