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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Traveling Man Yusmeiro

There has been a lot of talk about the value of prospects relative to veterans. It seems that prospects are hard to come by at the moment, with many teams attempting to re-build. Here is one example on how values change throughout a career. I know it's an imperfect, and perhaps flawed, study, but bear with me.

Season 15 Round 1, Pick 1
Yusmeiro Durazo.

Durazo was a legitimate #1 overall pick. He projected (from memory) to the high 80s low 90s overall, with high 70s/low 80s contact, power, and vs lhp, and mid to high 80s vs RHP and batting eye. He also projected to be a plus baserunner and had excellent intangibles. In the field, he projected to a plus 1B and marginal LF. Clearly, he was one of the top (if not the top) rated positional player and was the object of many re-building eyes. As a prospect, only one other type would bring more value, an elite (#1 overall draft pick or $30 million plus IFA) SP (think Ivy Latham as a prospect)

He played his first two seasons in Philly prior to being dealt to Durham. He was not injured and put up good numbers, so his value as a prospect was about as high as possible.

At the start of Season 17, he was traded from Philly to Durham for
J.R. Beckett. This was a classic top prospect for elite ML SP deal. Beckett was 30 and at the peak of his (potential) Hall of Fame career (2 Cy Young's, 4 all-star appearances at the time) and Philly had designs on the World Series. It is unclear if Philly had a chance (or thought that he had a chance) to re-sign him after the season.

Beckett would go 19-6 and win the Cy Young for the division winners before filing for free agency and signing a near-max deal with Washington. Philly would receive two picks for Beckett in the Season 18 draft, which would become Joshua Duffy and Benny Rivera.

So, before Season 17, Durazo was worth one season of a Cy Young SP and Type A compensation (anywhere from a #1-#4 rounder and a supplemental #1).

In the middle of Season 17, Durazo was traded from Durham to Boston for Aaron Simon and Tomo Yosida.

Both Yosida and Simon were SP prospects picked in the middle of the first round. Simon projected to a top of the rotation guy (low 80s overall), and Yosida to a border-line #2 (high 70s overall). Yosida was eventually traded to Hartford and is 82-79 with a 4.20 ERA in his ML career. Simon would go 48-31 for Durham before being traded to Montreal. He is 79-48 with a 4.08 ERA over his career.

So, in the middle of season 17, a still elite position prospect was worth two very good (mid-first round) SP prospects.

Durazo would spend 4 ML seasons in Boston, winning Rookie of the Year and making his only all-star appearance in Season 19. At the end of his Boston career, he had just signed a 5 year, $8.5 million per deal. So his transition from prospect to ML player was complete.

In Season 23, he was traded from Boston to Milwaukee for Ken DeRosa. At the time, Durazo was in the first year of his 5 year deal and still only 26 years old. Additionally, due to his 98 patience rating, he would likely never file for free agency. In other words, as long as Detroit wanted him, they could have him.

Durazo would bat .301 with an .858 OPS in his only season for mtorabdaddy. DeRosa is poised for his ML debut next season and will likely be a star. It will be interesting to see which one has the better career. As you can see, Durazo still had an incredible amount of value on the trade market at this time.

So, a young, controllable, elite position player was worth, basically, a younger version of himself (top 5 in the 1st round position prospect).

In Season 24, he was traded from Milwaukee to Philadelphia for Pasqual Cruz and Peter Scanlan. Still controllable and still young at 27, Durazo began his decline in value here.

Cruz was a $15 million IFA SP prospect and Scanlan a supplemental first round RF prospect. I would equate a $15 million IFA SP to a mid-1st round SP.

So, in Season 24, Durazo could command one mid 1st round SP prospect and one supplemental round position player prospect. In one season, he had gone from having the value of a younger version of himself, to being worth a mid-1st round SP and supplemental position player. Since he was worth two mid-1st SP's in Season 17, clearly his value had declined by this point.

Cruz was eventually traded to, of all places, Durham for Travis Gibson, Chin-Feng Itou, and Jose Casilla. Scanlan has yet to find a place in the majors. Durazo would hit 41 homers and steal 60 bases in 1.5 seasons in Philly.

In Season 25, Durazo is in the process of being traded from Philly to Durham for Posiedon Lueke and Melvin McCormick. Lueke is a bottom half of the Top 10 in the 1st round position prospect, and McCormick a bottom of the 1st round/supplemental SP/RP. I would argue that his value in Season 25 is about the same as his value in Season 24.

As you can see, Durazo certainly had more value as a prospect than he does now - and he was much more valuable as a 26 year old than as a 27 year old. But why? His decline in value began as a 27 year old in the 2nd season of a 5 year deal. His ratings have not declined, he has not been injured, and he is likely to hold his ratings for a long time and re-sign as long as the team will have him. The likely conclusion is an obvious one - as an elite player gets closer to 30 and is past the first year of his first big contract, people will pay less for him, but, interestingly, this does not hold true for elite SP's around 30 (see Beckett, J.R. at the top of this post).

Keep this post in mind as you navigate the trade waters. For those wanting to buy, there are great deals for elite players under 30. For those wanting to sell, prospects can be had at a premium, unless you have a true #1 SP to offer in return.

Edited to Add......

Boston just traded Homer Ross (#1 overall draft pick SP prospect) to Houston for SP Geraldo Mendez and C prospect Harry Hernandez.

This deal is close to the first deal made for Durazo. Ross, like Durazo, was the first pick in the draft. Beckett was much better than Mendez (although, Philly just got one year of Beckett whereas Mendez will be in Boston as long as Boston wants him), and the two draft picks would likely be preferable to Hernandez. Mendez was a steal in the IFA market at $10.9 million and he likely would have been drafted in the Top 10 if he had been eligible.

So, in this case, the #1 overall pick SP prospect = 30 year old top of the rotation SP and a supplemental #1 draft prospect.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Best IFA/Draft Combination - AL East

Top Draft Pick
RF Rogers Torrealba (retired)
Season 2, Round 1, Pick 6
Awards - Hall of Fame, 8 x all-star, 2 x silver slugger, 1 MVP
Stats - .306 BA, .936 OPS, 582 HR's, 1783 RBI's
Peak Rating - 82
Prototypical RF with excellent power and vs. lefties. Average eye and vs. RHP kept him from becoming a legend. Eight seasons of 600+ ABs showed his elite durability and health.
Runner-up - Omar Johnson
Alexi Terrero (active)
Season 15, $17 million
Awards - 4 x All-star, 2 x Cy Young, 1 WS Ring
Stats - 3.63 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 130-68
Peak Rating - 86
A workhorse #1 SP with excellent vs RHB, control, and velocity. Average set of pitches and relatively weak durability are the only concerns. Should win over 250 games and maybe another Cy Young or two.
Runner-up - Saul Gil

Washington DC
Top Draft Pick
RF Eddie Reese (retired)
Season 2, Round 1, Pick 14
Peak Rating - 86
Awards - 9 x all-star, 5 x silver slugger, 3 x MVP, 1 gold glove
Stats - .306 BA, 1.032 OPS, 726 hr'S, 1987 RBI's
An absolute monster at the dish, Reese had elite power to go along with above average contact, splits, and eye. He is 2nd all-time in both home runs and RBI's.
Runner-up - Victor Sierra
Alfonso Ramirez (active)
Season 20, $9.6 million
Peak Rating - 76 & climbing
Awards - none
Stats - 3.97 ERA, 1.31 ERA, 8-4 with 13 saves
This franchise has never invested heavily in the IFA market. Ramirez is the best of the bunch and is a solid LRA, SUA, or Closer with excellent control and health.
Runner-up - Ivan Crespo

Henry Wise (active)
Season 9, Round 1, Pick 17
Peak Rating - 78
Awards - 9 x all-star, 9 x silver slugger, 4 x MVP, 2 WS rings, 1 gold glove, 1 ROY
Stats - .323 BA, 1.064 OPS, 594 HR's, 1759 RBI's
One of the best hitters the game has ever seen, Wise has elite contact, power, eye, and vs. LHP. He could challenge for the all-time HR and RBI records if he stays healthy.
Runner-up -Davey Wood

2B Juan Johnson (retired)
Season 2, $10.2 million
Peak Rating - 85
Awards - Hall of Fame, 11 x all-star, 5 x silver slugger, 1 WS ring, 1 ROY
Stats - .313 BA, .928 OPS, 561 HR's, 1954 RBI's
The all-time leader in hits, Johnson had excellent durability and health to pair with solid batting ratings. He had over 600 AB's in 10 seasons.
Runner-up - Don Iwamura

Philadelphia Bacharach Giants
Top Draft Pick
2B Wendell Reed (active)
Season 9, Round 1, Pick 8
Peak Rating - 87
Awards - 5 X all star, 4 x silver slugger, 1 MVP, 1 ROY, 1 gold glove
Stats - .295 BA, .894 OPS, 300 HR's, 1024 RBI's
Reed is a tough choice as there's an excellent history of drafting in PHI. He is excellent in the field and at one time was rated over 70 in all offensive categories.
Runner-up - Cristobal Mantalban

RF Luis Lopez (active)
Season 16, $19.4 million
Awards - 1 x all-star
Stats - .271 BA, .827 OPS, 190 HR's, 679 RBI's
Solid RF with excellent speed. Only weakness is vs. RHP, which, of course, is a big one.
Runner-up - Nate Stoddard

Best IFA/Draft Combination

The first in a series. The idea is to identify the top draft pick and International Free Agent from each team and see who has the best combination. The players must have been drafted or signed by the franchise, but it does not matter which team they played for thereafter. As always, the AL North is up first..........

Top Draft Pick
RF Al Nieto (retired)
Season 3, Round 1, Pick 2
Awards - 5x all-star, 2x silver slugger, 1 world series ring
Career Stats - .302 BA, .950 OPS, 300 HR, 1229 RBI's
Peak Overall Rating - 84
Better suited for 3B, Nieto was a serviceable defensive RF with an excellent bat. He had both excellent speed and batting eye.
Runner-up - Edge Cromer

RP Desi Colon (active)
Season 10, $8.7 million
Awards - 4x all-star, 2 World Series Rings
Career Stats - 4.08 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 41-51 with 221 saves
Peak Overall Rating - 67
Montreal has not been a big buyer in the IFA market and he is the best of the bunch. Ironically, we won his two rings and had his most success with the Garde's biggest rival Cincinnati.
Runner-up - Del Gomez

Salt Lake City
Top Draft Pick
RF Ivan Walton (active)
Season 22, Round 1, Pick 2
Awards - (minors) 2x silver slugger, 2x all star, 1 MVP, 1 ROY
Stats - (minors) .315 BA, 1.118 OPS, 163 homers, 485 RBI's
Peak Overall Rating - 85 with room to grow
Walton has HOF potential. He is a 5 tool player with excellent power and speed. A yearly all-star that will re-write the SLC record books beginning next season.
Runner-up - Bo Dunham

2B Juan Olivares (active)
Season 18, $23.2 million
Awards - 1 x all-star but multiple MiL awards
Stats - .316 BA, .922 OPS, 53 homers, 173 RBI's
Peak Overall Rating - 84 with room to grow
Olivares is just now starting what is sure to be an excellent career. He is a solid defensive 2B with speed and power. He also possesses the magic combo of a plus eye and vs. RHP.
Runner-up - Junior Aguilera

Toledo Mud Hens
Top Draft Pick - 1B Brant Balfour (retired)
Season 8, Round 1, Pick 25
Awards - 3x all-star, 2x WS rings
Stats - .295 BA, .904 OPS, 305 HRs, 1018 RBI's
Peak Overall Rating - 77
Balfour was great value at the end of the first round. He was decent defensively and a monster at the dish. Although very, very, good, a relatively weak vs RHP prevented him from being elite. 1221 career walks shows what a great eye he had.
Runner-up - LF Chip James

CF Angel Bonilla (active)
Awards - 3x all-star, 1 gold glove
Stats - .267 BA, .823 OPS, 433 HR's, 1295 RBI's
Peak Overall Rating - 81
An elite defensive CF, the mustachioed Angel had excellent contact and power. His splits were average, and he tended to struggle vs. lefties. A Hall of Very Good lock.
Runner-up - Jose Alvarez

Cincinnati Redlegs
Top Draft Pick
CF Francis Herzog (active)
Season 9, Round 1, Pick 3
Awards - 9x Silver Slugger, 7x All-star, 2x WS rings
Stats - .289 BA, .960 OPS, 468 HR's, 1392 RBI's
Peak Overall Rating - 91
This was a tough call, but Herzog is the choice. A strong candidate for the HOF, Herzog had one of the best contact, power, eye, and vs. RHP combos that I have ever seen. Durability was the only thing holding him back from 1530 immortality.
Runner-up - Jonathan Gload

RF John Baek (active)
Awards - 1 all-star, 1 WS ring, 1 Silver Slugger
Stats - .282 BA, .861 OPS, 268 HR's, 854 RBI's
Peak Overall Rating - 82
"Wake and Baek" would have had a much better career if not for indulging in the vice that gave him his nickname. Only 32, he should finish with over 350 homers and 1200 RBI's.
Runner-up - Carlos Pena

Top 10 and Mid-season Review

1. Kansas City Crusaders (67-27) Prev #1
2. Fresno Fire (59-35) - Prev #3
3. Boston Massacre (58-36) - Prev #2
4. Oklahoma City Falcons (54-40) - Prev #6
5. Honolulu Tropics (63-31) - Prev #5
6. Chicago Black Sox (53-41) - Prev #8
7. Helena Hustle (55-39) - Prev #4
8. Montreal Garde Imperiale (53-41) - Prev #7
9. St. Louis Cardinals (51-43) - Prev #9
10. Jacksonville TIMUCUANS (50-44) - Prev NR

10. Los Angeles Hollywoods

AL North
Montreal has built a solid lead, with Salt Lake their only real competition. Cincy and Toledo are in full rebuilding mode. Montreal is a lock for the playoffs, with SLC having a shot at the Wild Card
MVP - Henry Wise
Cy Young - Jason Weaver
ROY - Jose Sosa

AL East
Much like the North, the East has one dominant team (Boston), one challenger (DC), and two rebuilds (Durham and Philly). Boston is a lock and DC is in a dog fight for a Wild Card spot.
MVP - Dwight Humphries
Cy Young - Albert Mondesi
ROY - Dicky Barnes

AL South
OKC and Jacksonville are the class of the south, but every team has a realistic shot at the playoffs. This is the most competitive of the AL divisions.
MVP - Don Chen
Cy Young - Timothy Crawford
ROY - Troy Everett

AL West
Fresno has built a commanding lead, while St. Louis and Salem are Wild Card contenders. Vancouver appears to be in re-building mode.
MVP - Trenidad Trajano
Cy Young - Ivy Latham
ROY - Matty Chavez

NL North
KC has steamrolled the NL, and their only real competition is for the #1 seed in the playoffs. Milwaukee and Pittsburgh are flirting with .500, while Cleveland is looking towards the future.
MVP - Midre Valentin
Cy Young - Max Winn
ROY - Cody Ott

NL East
Chicago has built a good-sized lead, with Indy hovering around .500 and Buffalo and Norfolk packed in for the season.
MVP - Harry Silva
Cy Young - Jonathan Porcello
ROY - Damaso Garza

NL South
The best race in the NL is in the South, with a fading Tampa trying to hold off a surging Houston. Montgomery is still in the picture, with Memphis biding its time for better days.
MVP - Jonathan Gload
Cy Young - Willis Floyd
ROY - Chip Lamb

NL West
With two locks for the playoffs (Honolulu and Helena), the West is the best in the NL. A fading LA is at a crossroads, and San Francisco is out of it for this season.
MVP - Stan Walker
Cy Young - Jackie Franklin
ROY - Vladimir Calles