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Friday, July 19, 2019

2019 Trade Value:

Ronald Acuna is #1!

And here we are at No. 1. Many of you predicted this in the comments, and it seemed pretty obvious from the start to me and everyone I ran this list by. Acuna was being hyped by very reasonable people last year as the next best player in the game, whenever Trout decides to let that happen. That still seems to be the thought around the game, but it’s also important to note that it wasn’t so obvious when last year’s list was written. On that day, Acuna had a 109 wRC+ and a 30% strikeout rate. Since then, he put up a 141 wRC+, 41 homers, and 6.4 WAR in 163 regular season games, good for ninth in all of baseball in that period, all at ages 20 and 21. He didn’t have a great showing in the Braves playoff series loss to the Dodgers but did produce one of the more electric moments in recent memory with a grand slam off Walker Buehler.

On top of being the consensus best young player in the game by just about every measure, Acuna also signed a team-friendly extension before the season, tying him to the Braves through 2028 (his age-30 season) for $124 million if both options are picked up. Tatis would be No. 1 if he had Acuna’s extension and Acuna had Tatis’ service time situation, but it would take something close to that extreme to close this gap. Here’s hoping that this year’s No. 1-Ranked Trade Value (by a good margin) has a season better than Jose Ramirez’s 2019.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 19, 2019 at 03:47 PM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: trade value

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   1. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: July 19, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5863300)
Initially surprised at Yelich not being in top 5 but I get the reasoning. Brewers still have a great deal. Wonder if they are thinking of redoing not that they have to for any other reason that the guy has totally outgrown that contract.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 06:01 PM (#5863317)
Acuna's project WAR seems nuts. They've got him as a 6-7 win player for the next 5 years, 33 total. Trout's only at 35.5.

Man, I'd bet a lot of money Trout handily beats Acuna in total WAR over the next 5 years.
   3. eric Posted: July 19, 2019 at 06:38 PM (#5863323)
Man, I'd bet a lot of money Trout handily beats Acuna in total WAR over the next 5 years.


In five years, Trout will be turning 33. Acuna will still be 26. Injuries and decline hit older players much harder, even at just 30--just ask Pujols, or Griffey, Jr., or Frank Thomas, etc. It's more a testament to Trout that he projects as highly as he does.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 19, 2019 at 07:39 PM (#5863332)
In five years, Trout will be turning 33. Acuna will still be 26. Injuries and decline hit older players much harder, even at just 30--just ask Pujols, or Griffey, Jr., or Frank Thomas, etc. It's more a testament to Trout that he projects as highly as he does.

Guys like Trout don't decline that early. He's gonna end up one of the 5 best players in MLB history.

Look at Ruth, Mays, Bonds, Aaron, there's no decline between their 22-27 seasons, and their 28-32 seasons. The next 5 after that, yeah Trout will fad a bit.

But Trout's single worst season is 7.2 WAR, and he's averaged 9. Acuna is on pace for 5.

I don't care how young he is. The odds are that Acuna never has one season that cracks Trout's top-10.
   5. bookbook Posted: July 19, 2019 at 11:01 PM (#5863376)
Pujols was that guy. Griffey was that guy. They each had a legitimate claim as their twenties ended to be as good as anyone. Players decline, and you can’t know which will and which won’t.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 19, 2019 at 11:55 PM (#5863385)
Pujols’ decline came after productive age-28-32 seasons totaling 36.6 WAR, including 4.8 in his age-32 season. Maybe Acuña puts up more WAR than Trout over the remainder of their careers, but I doubt he does so over the next 5 seasons.
   7. bookbook Posted: July 20, 2019 at 05:41 AM (#5863404)
I agree. Trout probably beats Acuna in WAR—absent injuries, by more than two. That said, injuries are more likely for the older guy, maybe much more so. The estimates reflect those odds, right?

(And how much more does Trout get paid over that time? More than $100 million? That’s gotta affect trade value.)
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 20, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5863437)
Trout's salary is counted. That's the only reason he fell to 3 here.

I totally buy Acuna as the #1 guy. He's 21 and a ready made all-star. And yet his tools make it feel like he's only getting started. Maybe he never cracks that 6/7 WAR threshold and become a Trout caliber player but who cares? He's a heck of a player at 21.

He is on some kinda SB tear right now. He's stolen 6 bases since the All-Star break.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 20, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5863440)
I totally buy Acuna as the #1 guy.

I totally buy him as the #1 trade value guy. I totally don't buy he and Trout being projected for basically the same WAR over the next 5 years.
   10. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 20, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5863448)
Got it! No disagreement from me.

Matt Chapman seems really out of place in the top 10. But I think that's due to my ignorance, he's been really good the last two years.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: July 20, 2019 at 06:15 PM (#5863507)
Players decline, and you can’t know which will and which won’t.

And young players stagnate and get hurt and you can't know which will and which won't. Through age 21, Acuna has 4.5 WAA; in just 64 more PA, Carlos Correa had 6.6. In the 3 years since, he hasn't cracked 500 PA in any of them, still absolutely crushed at 22, was average at 23, has been very good again at 24 when he can get on the field. Cesar Cedeno had 8 WAR at 21 and was outstanding for the next 5 years (but not Trout) but then not so much. Heyward had more WAA than Acuna through 21 in only about 1000 more PA. Pinson was very Acuna-like and had an excellent run for the next 7 years (34 WAR) but that was pretty much it. Stanton was a bit shy of Acuna and has had trouble staying health and consitently hitting at a high level. Heck, Brunansky had 4.2 WAA in less than 600 PA and never touched 3 WAR in a season again. (I will grant Acuna is probably a smidgen more talented than Bruno. :-)

And of course Soto is 10 months younger than Acuna. (Yes, I understand that Acuna's contract gives him more "trade value" than Soto or Tatis.)
   12. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 20, 2019 at 06:25 PM (#5863508)
Carlos Correa had 6.6. In the 3 years since, he hasn't cracked 500 PA in any of them, still absolutely crushed at 22, was average at 23, has been very good again at 24 when he can get on the field.

Boy, he and Seager (who was 21 when he came up and mashed for 110+ ABs) have not gotten better as they have closed in on 27. Seager dropped from 13 to 47 this year. Correa from 5 to 45.

Your point is a good one but most of the top 10 are young guys who, if they age according to plan, will be amazing for years to come. Would you rearrange the order of the top 10 based on the point you raise in your post?
   13. puck Posted: July 20, 2019 at 07:39 PM (#5863528)
Yoan Moncada at #19 is interesting. I wonder what his performance level is going to be in the next few seasons.

German Marquez at #22 seemed reasonable...except he's sure broken all of a sudden.
   14. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 20, 2019 at 08:16 PM (#5863534)
Acuna stole another bag tonight! Maybe he's gonna be the second coming of Eric Davis since Trout seems to be more set on being Mays.

Moncada is interesting. His improvements looks like they are tied to swinging more often and having a really high BABIP. I'm not sure how sustainable they are. But he's young and insanely athletic so I can understand wish casting on him.

I don't know about Marquez. Has any SP left Colorado after multiple seasons and had a better performance than, say, Shawn Chacon? Even the kid who sat at 97 (U name of some sort maybe) was broken by the time he got out of Coors. I wouldn't trade market value for Marquez.
   15. puck Posted: July 20, 2019 at 09:37 PM (#5863543)
They don't have a great track record of developing starters. Ubaldo Jimenez is the guy you were thinking of, he lost a few MPH off his fastball and wasn't as effective.

11 Rockies have had 10+ WAR. Jhoulys Chacin looks like the most successful of these post-Coors. But the Rockies let him go because of injuries. Most of them were with the Rockies until they pretty much had nothing left: Ubaldo, Aaron Cook, Jorge de la Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin, Steve Reed, Kyle Freeland, Pedro Astacio, Jon Gray, German Marquez, Jason Jennings, Jeff Francis. (Just short of 10 WAR w/Rockies: Brian Fuentes, Tyler Chatwood.)


Some relievers (like Houston Street) and Jason Hammel were pretty much the same guys after leaving Coors. (Hammel and Chacon were not one of the players with 10+ WAR for the Rockies).
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 21, 2019 at 11:44 AM (#5863580)
And young players stagnate and get hurt and you can't know which will and which won't. Through age 21, Acuna has 4.5 WAA; in just 64 more PA, Carlos Correa had 6.6. In the 3 years since, he hasn't cracked 500 PA in any of them, still absolutely crushed at 22, was average at 23, has been very good again at 24 when he can get on the field. Cesar Cedeno had 8 WAR at 21 and was outstanding for the next 5 years (but not Trout) but then not so much. Heyward had more WAA than Acuna through 21 in only about 1000 more PA. Pinson was very Acuna-like and had an excellent run for the next 7 years (34 WAR) but that was pretty much it. Stanton was a bit shy of Acuna and has had trouble staying health and consitently hitting at a high level. Heck, Brunansky had 4.2 WAA in less than 600 PA and never touched 3 WAR in a season again. (I will grant Acuna is probably a smidgen more talented than Bruno. :-)

I also think there's significant evidence that the traditional aging curve doesn't apply anymore, at least not for top players. More and more top prospects seem to be reaching the majors fully formed, and not progressing. Maybe it's due to early specialization in baseball?

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