CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Gett... (12/14)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Future Shock: Rule 5 W... (12/11)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Future Shock: Yankees ... (12/22)
Next Article >>
Baseball Therapy: Home... (12/15)

December 14, 2009

Future Shock

The Top 20 of the New Decade

by Kevin Goldstein

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

As Major League Baseball gets ready to start another decade, who will be the most valuable players for the next decade? To find out, let's have a fantasy baseball draft, only this one goes by some different rules. Instead of a fantasy scoring system, we'll base the value on real baseball value, using something like our own WARP (Wins Above Replacement Player). Just as importantly, there will be no trading and no future draft. In other words, if you are one of those people who are scared off by both the inconsistency and inability to depend on the health of pitchers, you best look else where, because just like real-world baseball, you can't just ignore pitching because it's risky. You have to take some, or have none.

Now that we've got the rules down, let's start drafting.

1. Hanley Ramirez, SS, Marlins
2010 Birthday:
27 on December 23
In the last three seasons, Ramirez has been worth just short of 25 wins, and he's not even entering his prime yet. Sure he's not a very good shortstop in the field, but when you are talking about a 925-950 OPS every year, who cares?

2. Justin Upton, OF, Diamondbacks
2010 Birthday:
23 on August 25
Upton showed up on an MVP ballot in 2009, and on a better team, he would have been written on more. Even scarier is that his .300/.366/.532 season is just scratching the surface, because while it was Upton's third pro season, he was still the sixth-youngest player in the game. Offensively, he remains on a Griffey-esque career path, and I don't mean Sr.

3. Joe Mauer, C, Twins
2010 Birthday:
27 on April 19
The power that scouts had been projecting for nearly a decade finally showed in 2009, as Mauer had one of the best seasons in the history of catchers. The scary part? He might just be entering his prime. The only question at this point is how man more years can he catch, and the smart money is on him being a first baseman somewhere around the middle of the decade.

4. Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants
2010 Birthday:
26 on June 15
The winner of back-to-back Cy Young awards, his 2009 year was even better than his 2008, with both his hit and walk rates going down appreciably. Beyond being the best pitcher in baseball, he's also arguably the one whose health can be counted on the most, as he seems like that one-in-a-decade guy where innings and pitch counts just don't matter. By the end of the decade, he'll be pushing 3000 career strikeouts, or more likely, he'll already be there.

5. Zack Greinke, RHP, Royals
2010 Birthday:
27 on October 21
The 2009 season was a magical year for Greinke, but Lincecum's slight age advantage and longer track record of greatness gives him the edge. With his non-performance problems seemingly behind him, all systems are go for Greinke, who Royals fans will be able to enjoy for at least three more years.

6. Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays
2010 Birthday:
25 on October 7
The best third baseman in the game and just 24, Longoria has developed into a Gold Glove defender at the hot corner, and while his 2009 seasons looks to be a statistical doppelganger of his rookie year, there are indications of growth, primarily more walks and fewer strikeouts, both of which bode well for further growth. From the useless information department, Longoria is a perfect 16-for-16 stealing bases so far in his career.

7. Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers
2010 Birthday:
27 on November 17
It amazing to see the Braun has already amassed 974 total bases in his first three pro seasons, a fact made all the more remarkable by the fact that he started 2007 in the minor and played just 113 games for Milwaukee. His athleticism should make him effective for the entire decade, with a slow aging process, and he's the kind of hitter who can annually put up 200 hits, 80 of them going for extra bases, into his early 30s.

8. Stephen Strasburg, RHP, Nationals
2010 Birthday:
22 on July 20
Sure he's never pitched an inning in the majors, but if you were setting odds, who would be your pitcher most likely to win three Cy Young awards in the upcoming decade? If Strasburg isn't among your top three, you are only deluding yourself. On a scouting level, this guy is Tim Lincecum with half a foot more height, a better changeup, and a command that's a full two grades higher than the Giants' star.

9. Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners
2010 Birthday:
24 on April 8
Hernandez delivered his first truly great year in 2009, and with such an early start to his big-league career, he'll be a 25-year-old free agent after the 2011 season, and in line for the largest contract ever given to a pitcher, maybe even by a wide margin. Younger, and arguably more established than everyone above him, the only reason he ranks a touch lower is the fear of breakdown, as he's had some minor bumps in the road here and there, while scouts have always loved his stuff, but have also always worried about his mechanics.

10. Albert Pujols, 1B, Cardinals
2010 Birthday:
30 on January 16
The oldest player on this list by a wide margin, but also the best current player in baseball who is showing no signs of slowing down. Even conservatively, Pujols is going to be pushing 3500 hits and 700 home runs by the time I'm writing this piece again ten years from now.

11. Prince Fielder, 1B, Brewers
2010 Birthday:
26 on May 9
The youngest player even to hit 50 home runs in a season, Fielder threatened to do it a second time in 2009, and chances are excellent that it will happen at least once more in the upcoming decade. Any purely offensively measurement pegs him as a better hitter than Braun, but with that body, there a chance of a Mo Vaughn-like precipitous decline in his early 30s.

12.Jon Lester, LHP, Red Sox
2010 Birthday:
26 on January 7
This ranking surprised even me, which is shocking considering both the fan base and media coverage of the Red Sox. Still, he's been among the American League's Top 10 pitchers for each of the last two seasons, and with a more gaudy won-loss record, would get more attention. He still hasn't peaked yet, and could have a Cy Young in his future still.

13.Jason Heyward, OF, Braves
2010 Birthday:
21 on August 9
The top position player prospect in the game, Heyward has a chance at opening 2010 in the big leagues, and even if that doesn't work out, he'll be in Atlanta well before he can legally have a drink to celebrate his accomplishment. A potential "face of the franchise"-level talent, Heyward hits for average, hits for power, draws walks, and even runs a bit. If that sounds like Dale Murphy, you're not the first to think that.

14.Adam Jones, CF, Orioles
2010 Birthday:
25 on August 25
It seemed as if 2009 might be Jones' bust-out campaign, but second-half injuries mean Orioles fans will have to wait until this year. After spending most of his minor-league career as a shortstop, Jones has quickly developed into one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, and like Longoria, more walks and fewer strikeouts in 2009 portend even more offense to come.

15.Brett Anderson, LHP, Athletics
2010 Birthday:
22 on February 1
Eight high school pitchers were selected ahead of Anderson in the 2006 draft, of which seven pitched at Double-A or below in 2009. Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman reached the major last year, but Anderson was among the American League's top pitchers during the second half of the year, with a 3.48 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning. He's just getting started.

16.Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates
2010 Birthday:
24 on October 10
Not only were the Pirates awful during the last decade, they were incredibly boring. McCutchen can at least change the latter with his power/speed game, and while his ceiling falls short of MVP level, he could hit 20 bombs and swipe 30 bases annually well into the latter part of the '10s.

17.Tommy Hanson, RHP, Braves
2010 Birthday:
24 on August 28
Had the Braves opened the season with Hanson in the rotation (which would have been the right decision), we'd be talking about your reigning National League Rookie of the Year. Instead, we're talking about one of the circuit's best young arms. The only thing keeping him from ranking higher is that some feel he's at his ceiling of a consistent 15-18 game winner as opposed to a true ace.

18.Rick Porcello, RHP, Tigers
2010 Birthday:
22 on December 27
Porcello kept his straight fastball in his back pocket during much of 2009, as he learned on the job how to set up hitters and use his defense, but the Porcello everyone saw during the 163rd game of the season, when he whiffed eight Twins over 5 ⅔ IP, was the real deal, and he's among the best choices around for a 2010 breakout.

19.Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
2010 Birthday:
26 on September 23
Playing in a more friendly park, Kemp's numbers would make him a no-brainer, but even with the limits of Chavez Ravine, he might the best candidate for multiple 30-30 seasons in the next decade. His tools and athleticism should lead to a graceful aging process, and if he even ends up in a better offensive environment, he could put up monster stats.

20.David Wright, 3B, Mets
2010 Birthday:
28 on December 20
How great is it to hit .307/.390/.447 and have everyone talk about how bad your year was? That's what happens when a team as a whole fails to live up to expectations. As big a nightmare as 2009 was, Wright remains one of the games best young talents, and one who is just hitting his prime.

Just missed (in alphabetical order): Pedro Alvarez, Pirates; Elvis Andrus, Rangers; Gordon Beckham, White Sox; Miguel Cabrera, Tigers; Robinson Cano, Yankees; Alcides Escobar, Brewes; Neftali Feliz, Rangers; Yovani Gallardo, Brewers; Bryce Harper, College of Southern Nevada; Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers; Mat Latos, Padres; Jesus Montero, Yankees; David Price, Rays; Anthony Ranaudo, Louisiana State; Carlos Santana, Indians; Grady Sizemore, Indians; Mike Stanton, Marlins; Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies; Justin Verlander, Tigers; Matt Wieters, Orioles; Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals.

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

Kevin Goldstein is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Kevin's other articles. You can contact Kevin by clicking here

Related Content:  The Who,  The Process

115 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

bpickclass08

I haven't looked at his birthday, but theres no way Ramirez is turning 27 on the 23rd..

Dec 14, 2009 09:42 AM
rating: -3
 
basejaw

26 this year, but I think he is talking about starting in 2010.

Dec 14, 2009 09:50 AM
rating: 0
 
TADontAsk

That is 2010 birthday. So he turns 27 next December 23. He'll be turning 26 this year.

Dec 14, 2009 09:50 AM
rating: 0
 
tradewind

no Brian McCann?

Dec 14, 2009 09:43 AM
rating: -1
 
Matthew Avery

I'm a Braves fan, and I'm more surprised about no Wieters. McCann's best years might actually be behind him, and I don't think he'll age particularly well. That said, he should be a good contributer for a while now. If the Braves can't squeeze a championship (or at least an LCS) out of Hanson/Heyward/McCann, the FO is doing something very wrong.

Dec 14, 2009 10:03 AM
rating: 1
 
jcjohnson

I'm betting that Ryan Zimmerman produces more value during the 2010s than David Wright. (Zimmerman is more than two years younger.)

Dec 14, 2009 09:47 AM
rating: 2
 
sockeye

On paper, Zimmerman's comparison to Longoria is pretty spooky.

Dec 14, 2009 09:56 AM
rating: 1
 
Hisownfool

Agreed. How you can rank Longoria sixth and keep Zimmerman out of your top twenty is a bit of a mystery, especially when the list includes players like Adam Jones who, notwithstanding his obvious potential, are about the same age and haven't really proven that they are as good as we hope they can be.

Dec 15, 2009 03:55 AM
rating: 1
 
basejaw

Cool article...thanks Kevin.

Dec 14, 2009 09:48 AM
rating: 0
 
JD Sussman

Wright, even being 38 at the end of the next decade, should be 11 on this list. Kershaw needs to be there too at 14.

Dec 14, 2009 09:52 AM
rating: -3
 
singy111
(886)

I dont understand how Matt Wieters does not crack the top 20.

Dec 14, 2009 09:54 AM
rating: -1
 
Matt Kory

Because the top 20 players in baseball is an amazingly exclusive club. Its not like the article is saying "Wieters is not a good player".

Dec 14, 2009 10:12 AM
rating: 0
 
JD Sussman

Right but Weiters is better than 13-18. And plays catcher.

Dec 14, 2009 10:16 AM
rating: 0
 
baserip4

Matt Wieters is too good for this list. He doesn't want to make everyone else feel bad.

Dec 14, 2009 10:44 AM
rating: 9
 
John from Bel Air

Matt Wieters is so good that if he were allowed to be on this list he would take all 20 spots.

Dec 14, 2009 12:40 PM
rating: 8
 
archilochusColubris

I'm with you on this. To be honest, i'm surprised Wieters doesn't top Mauer. I can understand the opinion... but not even close?

Also verrrry surprised about Adam Jones and Andrew McCutchen, and Anderson to a lesser extent. Maybe i'm underrating their speed/power packages and defense, but they seem like they've got a bit too much downside for the list. Over Zimmerman? Yikes.

Dec 14, 2009 11:29 AM
rating: 0
 
greenfrog

Interesting article. I know Travis Snider has yet to really get it going, but I could see him as one of the top 20 or 30 players of the decade (Travis's age 22-31 seasons) when it's all said and done.

Dec 14, 2009 09:55 AM
rating: 1
 
CRP13

I was wondering about this as well. KG, how close is Snider to this list, please?

Dec 14, 2009 09:59 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Kevin Goldstein
BP staff

I almost put him on the just missed list, for what that's worth.

Dec 14, 2009 10:29 AM
 
CRP13

Almost missed the almost missed is still not-too-shabby. Thanks for the reply.

Dec 14, 2009 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
strupp

It would be interesting to see the linegraph of these players value over the next ten years. I'm just shocked you have Prince so high; that Mo Vaughn comp seems more and more likely each time I see him "field". His decline will be qick, and might not see 2019.

What would this list have looked like in 1999?

Dec 14, 2009 09:57 AM
rating: 3
 
Guancous

I would love to see two 1999 lists: 20/20 hindsight and the conventional wisdom view.

Dec 14, 2009 11:08 AM
rating: 3
 
rbrianc

me too, exactly what I was thinking.

Dec 15, 2009 22:13 PM
rating: 0
 
A's Fan 38 Yrs

No Ynoa on the Just Missed list?

Dec 14, 2009 09:59 AM
rating: -1
 
billm21

Ynoa has to show that he can be healthy enough to even pitch in a spring training game before being considered for this type of list. He's still far, far away.

Dec 14, 2009 10:42 AM
rating: 0
 
Rob Moore

Ynoa could be 5 years away from the majors even if he ends up being a star. He's too far away to expect a huge impact in the next decade.

Dec 14, 2009 10:55 AM
rating: 0
 
IvanGrushenko

I kinda doubt that. A's brought up Cahill, Gio and Mazzaro and they were really marginal in 2009. If they think he's a star, Ynoa will be up pretty soon. Unless you mean he'll become a star like Jamie Moyer....

Dec 14, 2009 10:59 AM
rating: 0
 
Rob Moore

He's only 17. He'll still be a young in 5 years.

Dec 14, 2009 11:03 AM
rating: 0
 
IvanGrushenko

Well he's 18, but yeah, he won't be AARP eligible in 5 years.

Dec 14, 2009 11:13 AM
rating: 0
 
W. Clark

This seems like an article that would have been written for ESPN, and I don't mean that in a good way. Broad scope, little in the way of comparables, easy to digest. Meh.

Dec 14, 2009 10:01 AM
rating: -2
 
CRP13

Difference being that it's written by a recognized expert on the subject of baseball prospects, farm systems, and player projection. Regardless of how much statistical analysis given, I'd give an article about young players by KG much more weight than an article by [insert ESPN talking head].

Dec 14, 2009 10:03 AM
rating: 4
 
Adam Madison
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Really? That's just an appeal to authority imo. You're only as good as your next article.

Dec 14, 2009 10:23 AM
rating: -4
 
CRP13

The fact that there IS a next article for good writers gives lie to your cliché.

Dec 14, 2009 10:54 AM
rating: 0
 
JD Sussman

A version of this story originally appeared on ESPN Insider Insider.

Dec 14, 2009 10:04 AM
rating: 0
 
Jay Taylor

So, I'm in a keeper league where you get to keep two guys, and I have Longoria, Mauer, and Upton. Which two would you keep?

Dec 14, 2009 10:04 AM
rating: 0
 
JD Sussman

If you have to worry about the real contract, ditch Mauer because he'll be a FA first. If not, Upton and Mauer because there are a ton of 3B

Dec 14, 2009 10:12 AM
rating: 0
 
Adam Madison

Actually, I'd keep Upton and Longoria because (depending on how long you can keep these guys) Mauer may turn into a 1B before you're done keeping him. Also, there won't be a ton of 3B because it's a keeper league and others will be keeping the top 3B. (And because there ARE a lot of good 3Bs, you really need a good one to compete over the long-term.) The replacement level for a fantasy C, on the other hand, is much lower, and fewer Cs will be kept.

Dec 14, 2009 10:25 AM
rating: 1
 
JD Sussman

Even if Mauer moves positions, he should play enough catcher to qualify for the foreseeable future.

I don't like the replacement level argument at all. Mauer and a (fantasy) replacement level 3B is going to get you more offense than Longoria and a replacement level C. If given the opportunity, you need to take advantage of position scarcity.

Dec 14, 2009 11:00 AM
rating: 1
 
baserip4

Trade whichever one brings you back the most draft picks and keep the other two.

Dec 14, 2009 10:46 AM
rating: 2
 
Brian Kopec

Brett Anderson and Jason Heyward in the top 15, and barely even a mention of Troy Tulowitzki, Grady Sizemore, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera? I realize that Kevin is a prospect maven, but to put prospects ahead of pre-peak players who have already posted MVP or Cy Young caliber seasons? Shazzam.

Had this list been generated last year, I'm guessing Wieters would have been in the top 10 and now he is lumped with the honorable mentions after what looked like a successful (unless your name is PECOTA) rookie season. Doesn't that expose the flaw in this reasoning?

Dec 14, 2009 10:14 AM
rating: 11
 
Adam Madison

Agreed.

Dec 14, 2009 10:25 AM
rating: 2
 
Conjunction

Well, a large part of the reason for prospects (or young guys with horribly ill-advised contracts-Longoria) being ranked so highly, I imagine is that they spend their first six years making significantly less than they are worth, and as such are extraordinarily valuable to their teams.

Dec 14, 2009 10:28 AM
rating: -3
 
strupp

What's so "horribly ill advised" about the Longoria contract?

Dec 14, 2009 10:32 AM
rating: 1
 
ostrowj1

I think he is saying that Longoria could have made a LOT more money had he not signed the contract, which is likely true. However, I would have done the same if I were Longoria.

Dec 14, 2009 10:51 AM
rating: 0
 
tdrury

I think he means for Longoria

Dec 14, 2009 10:52 AM
rating: 1
 
Brian Kopec

The premise of the exercise, in Kevin's words:

"To find out, let's have a fantasy baseball draft, only this one goes by some different rules. Instead of a fantasy scoring system, we'll base the value on real baseball value, using something like our own WARP."

I see nothing in there about salary considerations. Values are based on WARP.

Dec 14, 2009 10:38 AM
rating: 6
 
Ogremace

I think the flaw is in the project: you can't make a list like this that includes prospects that won't have problems. There aren't 20 players who are head and shoulders above all the rest. This list is as much about the players as about Kevin and his predictions for the next decade.

You can't expect a performance based analysis including prospects to make perfect sense.

Dec 14, 2009 11:00 AM
rating: 0
 
DGBL

Tulowitzki, who turns 26 in late 2010, should have been in the top 20. I imagine his 2008 season held him back, but he was excellent in his first full season (2007) and was a monster from May on this year: from a CBSSports article: "He hit .344 with 16 home runs after the All-Star break and .326 with 27 home runs from the end of May, posting a slugging percentage over .600 and an OPS over 1.000 each of the last four months."

Dec 14, 2009 10:56 AM
rating: 0
 
IvanGrushenko

How close did Dustin Pedroia come? BJ Upton?

Dec 14, 2009 10:57 AM
rating: 0
 
relliott22

Those two were the exact names I had in mind. Good call.

Dec 14, 2009 17:49 PM
rating: 0
 
Rob Moore

I'm surprised that Kemp was behind Adam Jones and that Kershaw is behind Hanson and Porcello. Then again, I'm a homer.

Dec 14, 2009 11:02 AM
rating: 2
 
faithdies

Chase Utley missed why? If Pujols is on here, Utley should be as well I would think...

Dec 14, 2009 11:07 AM
rating: -2
 
DGBL

Utley's about two years older than Pujols is and Pujols is already the oldest player on this list. Utley will be 32-42 next decade... as great as he has been, that's probably too old for this list. But that's just my guess.

Dec 14, 2009 11:16 AM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

I'm sure that is the reason...plus players who get a late start tend to have early exits, no matter how great their peak.

Still, I'd be willing to lay a series of bets that Utley will accumulate more WARP between 2010-2019 than Heyward, Anderson, Montero, Harper, Stanton, Ranaudo, Santana, or Escobar. I might not win all the bets...but I'd win enough to make a fistful of dollars.

Dec 14, 2009 11:24 AM
rating: 2
 
CRP13

If Utley keeps it up, he'll probably get some Hall of Fame consideration. But in 10 years he'll be 41. The list of 2B's who were offensively "GREAT" in their late 30s starts and ends with...

Not Joe Morgan
Not Craig Biggio
Not Ryne Sandberg
Not Rod Carew

Utley's decline will probably start around 2013 or 14 and will be annoyingly prolonged, just like most great 2B's. But an "all-decade" player in the 2010's? No way.

Dec 14, 2009 11:21 AM
rating: 0
 
hessshaun

I would think that Jeff Kent might be a good way to look at it, best case scenario. He was solid through his 37 year old season. I realize he isn't a HOF.

Dec 14, 2009 11:26 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Good catch. I still don't like Utley's odds.

Dec 14, 2009 11:29 AM
rating: 0
 
DGBL

Kent SHOULD eventually get into the HOF. One of the best offensive 2B of all time.

Dec 14, 2009 11:35 AM
rating: 1
 
markjstachura
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

God, tell me we are going to see a Yankeees Top 11 this week and an A's top 11 this week???!!!

Dec 14, 2009 11:12 AM
rating: -5
 
CRP13

We are going to see a Yankees Top 11 this week and an A's top 11 this week.

What would you like me to do next? :)

Dec 14, 2009 11:30 AM
rating: 9
 
hessshaun

This is not a terribly complicated concept. Just dumb it down a bit to understand this if you are angry about player X.

Imagine that no one was on a team right now. Now, imagine you had to draft players for your team. What would your draft look like? This is what Kevin's looks like. Make your own draft.

Loved the article, but would have also loved to see the batters and pitchers split up. I understand why that didn't happen, I just think that would be interesting.

Dec 14, 2009 11:22 AM
rating: 2
 
Rowen Bell

It would be more accurate to say: Imagine nobody was on your team right now, and you were trying to draft for maximal value over a 10-year time horizon.

In reality, if you were doing a startup draft right now, it's not entirely clear that a time horizon as long as 10 years is what should drive your decision-making, as it would cause you to leave some talent on the table (e.g., Utley, ARod) that should win a lot of games for you in the next 3-5 years (if not in years 6-10).

Dec 15, 2009 06:44 AM
rating: 1
 
royalsnightly

No Yuni Betancourt? for shame

Dec 14, 2009 11:28 AM
rating: 13
 
ccseverson

Hee hee! Kevin, did we just get a preview at your Top 7 prospects? My guess is Stasburg, Heyward, Montero, Stanton, Feliz, Santana, Alvarez but maybe 3-7 aren't solidified until talking to teams/finishing top 11's.

Dec 14, 2009 11:34 AM
rating: 1
 
Hoff

You know, I'm going to have to argue that David Wright should be a lot closer to Ryan Braun then he is. We're talking about two guys who have the same career eqa, are a year apart and one plays third base, has a deeper track record with higher peaks and is projects as a defensive asset. Ryan Braun's figuring out Left Field aside, it's left field, and he's only had two great seasons. Dave has had 4.

Also 8 pitchers in the top twenty is probably way too high. Especially when 1 hasn't played in the bigs and two are rookies. I don't know if 8 pitchers don't have the last ten years highest warp totals(i doubt it), but i'm sure pegging them is harder. 10 years is a long time to throw 200 innings a year.

Dec 14, 2009 11:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Hoff

actually furthermore, both a-rod and Pujols have to be higher on this list. the threshold for making the cut is around 50 warp over the next ten years (based on taking a peek at the last ten years). I'd say pujols is a sure thing to make that list. Serious injury aside Pujols has one or two more seasons like the last three for sure. 10+warp He's done it 3 times, which if i'm not mistaken, only greinke has done it once from anyone on this list. Getting to 50 warp for the decade is really easy if you can do that once. If you do it twice you need less than 4 warp a season for your other years, which gives you room to get injured. On the other hand, being those great players that they are, arod and pujols are the least likely to turn out dud seasons.
Hanram may project for higher peaks from now going forward, but no one else has a better chance of not sucking than those old guys. I'd draft pujols first, a-rod sometime in the top ten.

Dec 15, 2009 10:16 AM
rating: 2
 
JR

Any consideration given to Pablo Sandoval?

Dec 14, 2009 11:54 AM
rating: 3
 
joeboxr36

Seriously. He finished 7th in MVP voting in his first full season.

Dec 14, 2009 16:23 PM
rating: 0
 
basejaw

Technically he wasn't a rookie...but even if he has no defensive value, he's basically performing as you PROJECT Montero to hit...dude is a monster, and I would certainly take him over Montero right now.

Dec 15, 2009 06:38 AM
rating: 1
 
toddroll

Matt Cain's W-L records have been poor thanks mostly to lousy run support, but he did experience a bit of a breakthrough in 2009, and he's actually younger than Lincecum. He's consistently been at 200 or more innings, and his career ERA is around 3.50. Surprised to see him not even an "honorable mention" unless people don't think he has an upside.

Dec 14, 2009 12:02 PM
rating: 2
 
Dailey247

Matt Cain

He's had a comparable career to Justin Verlander and is 2 years younger.

Dec 14, 2009 12:05 PM
rating: 2
 
toanstrom

I really don't understand how Cabrera isn't on this list. I know the drinking incident at the end of the year isnt that encouraging but he got himself into respectable shape this year, has turned into at least an above average defensive first baseman, and has a line of 311/383/542 over about 4500 plate appearances before he's even hit his prime. How is he less valuable than someone like Andrew McCutchen?

Dec 14, 2009 12:26 PM
rating: 4
 
trebek90

Great article Kevin! How about Asdrubal Cabrera for an honorable mention? To put up a .799 OPS as a 23 year old shortshop is really impressive as you noted in your Indians Future Shock. I think he can be an above average shortshop defensively or even better once he's healthy and allowed to settle into his natural position for a whole season.

Dec 14, 2009 12:46 PM
rating: 3
 
brian8065

Tulo not being there is the biggest mistake in my opinion.

Dec 14, 2009 12:48 PM
rating: 2
 
basejaw
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

+1

Dec 15, 2009 06:40 AM
rating: -4
 
ostrowj1

I understand lists like this are fun things to talk about, this really just a list of the top 20 players aged 22-25 with a handful of very very good older players and some fast developing younger players thrown in. Consistently finishing as a top 100 player (mostly) every year for the next 10 years should put you on this list. In that context, do names like Anderson and McCutchen make sense? I would say yes. KG isn't saying all of the players are going to be HOF candidates or anything like that.

Regarding Miguel Cabrera (and maybe Pablo too), my hunch is that his body type does not exactly scream "long term", and that while he has been amazing so far, it is not unreasonable to expect a sharp decline within the next 5 years.

Dec 14, 2009 12:50 PM
rating: 1
 
JR

I agree that the body type makes them risky picks to age well, but that would apply to Fielder too.

Dec 14, 2009 12:58 PM
rating: 0
 
basejaw

and Montero

Dec 15, 2009 06:41 AM
rating: 0
 
Morris Greenberg
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

I was a bit surprised Bumgarner+Matusz didn't even make the just missed category. They are probably the best two pitching prospects after Strasburg and Feliz, I maybe would even put Bumgarner ahead of Feliz prospectwise (although I do realize that Feliz is much closer to the majors. Matusz, will be a big leaguer next year, and he could easily win a Cy Young in the next 5 years. All of the players you mentioned are great, but I feel both of these guys are in that same group.

Dec 14, 2009 12:57 PM
rating: -6
 
joeboxr36

"Matusz, will be a big leaguer next year, and he could easily win a Cy Young in the next 5 years."

Man does 'Monster prospect could easily win MVP/CyYoung" get used too much or what? Ask Mike Moustakas how his MVP career is going.

Dec 14, 2009 16:30 PM
rating: 4
 
asomberg10

no posey? c'mon he certainly has to be included in the honorable mention doesn't he? over ranaudo for sure. i know ranaudo is good but he barely sits at 91-92 mph and has never thrown a professional pitch. All Posey has done is mash High-A and Triple-AAA pitching. C'mon Kevin. Otherwise, very interesting article.

Dec 14, 2009 13:14 PM
rating: 0
 
BurrRutledge

You know you are a dedicated BP follower when half of the 18 eligible players in the above "Top 20" have already been featured on your non-keeper fantasy team.

Dec 14, 2009 13:25 PM
rating: 2
 
amazin_mess
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Jumped the shark. This list is assinine.

Dec 14, 2009 13:47 PM
rating: -29
 
CRP13

You spelled asinine wrong.

Dec 14, 2009 13:58 PM
rating: 13
 
John from Bel Air

And who uses jumped the shark anymore? I thought it was nuked the fridge nowadays.

Dec 14, 2009 15:52 PM
rating: 0
 
kerrigrr

No Jose Reyes?

Dec 14, 2009 13:49 PM
rating: 0
 
PapaGiorgio

No giants love. Not even mentions for panda, Cain, mad-bum or posey.

Dec 14, 2009 14:06 PM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Lincecum is #4. That counts for something. Lots of teams don't even have a player on the bubble. **cough**astros**cough**

Dec 14, 2009 14:17 PM
rating: 1
 
greenengineer
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Decade starts in 2011!

Dec 14, 2009 15:31 PM
rating: -6
 
sgturner65

So 2020 is not part of the twenties?

Dec 16, 2009 11:31 AM
rating: 2
 
Aaron/YYZ

I am intrigued to see Andrus show up in the Honorable Mentions list... I assume this means that KG is higher on his bat than he was entering the season.

Dec 14, 2009 17:11 PM
rating: 0
 
fantasytool1

No kinsler but you have andrus? Great read though

Dec 14, 2009 17:32 PM
rating: 0
 
leites

The BP Virtuous Cycle: Draft the players for your 40-keeper team based on Goldstein's research on young players. Then feel all warm and fuzzy a year later when Goldstein writes about how great all your young players are (I'm in an 18-team league and have 12 of the above). My only disappointment is the absence of Desmond Jennings, but maybe next year he'll be # 13 . . .

Dec 14, 2009 18:18 PM
rating: 0
 
raygu1

Where's Clayton Kershaw on this list? Porcello makes it, but he doesn't? call me curious.

Dec 14, 2009 19:07 PM
rating: 0
 
BillJohnson

A general criticism I have of this list is the optimism regarding young pitchers who haven't passed through the Injury Nexus (age 25) yet, while ignoring those who've been through it recently enough that they'll still be under 40 in 2019. Yes, I'd bet that at least "some" of Strasburg, Hanson, Porcello, Anderson, Hernandez will withstand injury well enough to star for the whole decade. But some will not. To assert that those guys belong on this list, while others in their late 20s (Adam Wainwright, Josh Johnson, to name two), who may be getting old by the end but at least are through the Nexus, don't even qualify as also-rans, strikes me as showing faith in modern medicine and sports trainers that's wildly optimistic.

Dec 14, 2009 19:26 PM
rating: 4
 
deacs471

Glaring omission: Adrian Gonzalez! Even if he doesn't crack the top 20 he's GOT to be in the "just missed." He's Not yet 28 and hits a ton - while playing home games in one of the worst hitter's parks!

Dec 14, 2009 22:59 PM
rating: 0
 
Eric M. Van

I'd take Clay Buchholz over Porcello and probably Hanson and Anderson, too. And just to prove I'm not a fanboy, maybe over Lester. It's kind of strange that a guy can be the #1 pitching prospect in MLB, add a very good two-seamer and boost his G/F, develop his slider into a legitimate plus pitch, have a very solid and sometimes spectacular half-season in MLB (with a FB that averaged 93-4 and touched 97), and not even be a "just missed."

Dec 15, 2009 00:51 AM
rating: -1
 
sharksrog

I'm going to take a wild guess that Johan Santana -- chosen in the Rule V Draft 10 days and a day before Kevin published this article for BP -- wouldn't have made the list in 1999. :)

I would think either he or Roy Halladay was the top pitcher of the decade, and Halladay himself entered the decade with only a 9-7 record and 3.73 ERA.

The point is, it's tough to pick the top players ten years out. I think Kevin did a nice job here.

Dec 15, 2009 09:08 AM
rating: 4
 
Greg Ioannou

Halladay drew attention to himself by almost pitching a no-hitter in his first major league game. I think he would have been part of the discussion 10 years ago.

Dec 21, 2009 06:50 AM
rating: 0
 
sharksrog

I'm a Giants fan who thinks Matt pitched a bit over his head last season. My ERA projection for 2010 is 3.45 -- still quite good, but not elite as was his 2.89 ERA in 2009.

If I were going to pick a second Giant for this list, it would be Buster Posey, who I believe has a fine chance to become a top all-around catcher.

Next would be Madison Bumgarner, who if he regains his fastball, could become better than Cain.

Pablo Sandoval wouldn't be a horrible choice. He might decline in 2010, but at only 23 he could also continue to improve. As recently as 2006, Pablo was a very mediocre hitter in Low A ball.

Cain could be a dark horse. If 2009 was for real, his color would lighten considerably and he would move closer to the front of the horse. The one significant and hopefully sustainable improvement Matt made in 2009 was his control.

A decade ago, the Giants would have had no one even close to this list.

Dec 15, 2009 09:18 AM
rating: 0
 
BindleStiff

Seconded, on Posey. If I were drafting I'd have to think hard before passing on Posey to take, say, McCutchen or Porcello etc.

BA recently said that Posey "draws legitimate comparisons to Joe Mauer... a pure hitter with terrific strike-zone awareness, and his clean, unfettered swing allows him to drive pitches from pole to pole." They also note that his arm strength and accuracy grade well-above-average, and even use the "perennial all-star" tag.

Not saying he should be Top 20 as I realize it's an exclusive list and there are legitimate reasons to include/exclude from that short a list, but I'm a bit surprised he didn't make the "just missed list".

Dec 15, 2009 10:07 AM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

Was Barry Bonds not in the top 20 for WARP in the aughts?

Dec 15, 2009 10:56 AM
rating: 2
 
tdrury

Anyone else surprised to see Harper on this list? I mean, no matter how high one is on him he'll only be turning 27 at the end of the 2019 season.

Dec 15, 2009 09:50 AM
rating: 3
 
Morris Greenberg

I'm also surprised Ranuado was included. Sure he's good but only the Stephen Strasburgs of the world can be considered without throwing a single inning. Aroldis Chapman deserves some mention if two college players got in.

Dec 15, 2009 12:45 PM
rating: -1
 
HeavyHitter

Dustin Ackley probably belongs on this list.

Dec 15, 2009 16:51 PM
rating: 0
 
Rowen Bell

Maybe.

On the other hand: If a similar list had been made 5 years ago for the 'decade' 2005-2014, would you have put Delmon Young on the top 20 list? Probably. Wouldn't have turned out to be a good prediction, but might have been a reasonable position to take at the time.

Dec 16, 2009 10:37 AM
rating: 0
 
fratboy96

What was surprising about Lester? That he was that low?

Dec 15, 2009 20:29 PM
rating: 0
 
Patrick

Top WARP, 2000-2009:
1. Albert Pujols - 82.8
2. Alex Rodriguez - 72.1
3. Barry Bonds - 66.5
4. Mariano Rivera - 57.8
5. Lance Berkman - 53.9
6. Carlos Beltran - 53.6
7. Chipper Jones - 51.7
8. Jim Edmonds - 50.8
9. Scott Rolen - 50.5
10. Jeff Kent - 49.9
11. Bobby Abreu - 47.1
12. Roy Oswalt - 47.1
13. Javier Vazquez - 47.0
14. Todd Helton - 46.5
15. Jorge Posada - 45.9
16. Miguel Tejada - 45.8
17. Johan Santana - 45.2
18. Manny Ramirez - 44.9
19. Ichiro Suzuki - 44.6
20. Roy Halladay - 44.3

Now, how many of those would you have guessed? And how many do you think anybody could have guessed in 1999? I mean, the best player of the decade had just been picked in the 13th round that spring.

It's a fun topic to think about, but why get so defensive about who's where?

Dec 15, 2009 20:41 PM
rating: 12
 
ostrowj1

If those were my picks in 1999, how many would you laugh at? Pujols, Edmonds, Kent, Vazquez, Halladay? For age reasons, Bonds would be left off the list, right? Probably no Ichiro either. Who in their right mind would guess a closer (none were on KG's list)? That is 8 people from this decade who would have likely gotten zero consideration.

Dec 16, 2009 21:05 PM
rating: 0
 
Hoff

I was working on a warp3 list, was getting mostly similar results. But let me say that this really shows why probably only lincecum belongs on this list of the pitchers. You wouldn't have picked Rivera or Vazquez or Santana. Maybe you would have picked Halladay and Oswalt, I really don't know. Point is, you have to get a ton of innings to have a chance. Santana barely made the list with his 09 injuries.

The other take away from this list is that Pujols has to be number one, as bonds basically shows. Pujols is years younger than bonds and has never been anything less than great since hitting the bigs.

Jan 30, 2010 17:13 PM
rating: 0
 
leites

Vazquez as the 2nd best starting pitcher of the decade? Also surprised that Jeter missed the list - WARP does not include fielding, right?

Dec 16, 2009 06:27 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

It only took 106 comments for somebody to bring up Jeter being slighted somehow. Frankly, that's more than I would have expected. I bet I get "minused" for this comment.

Dec 16, 2009 06:45 AM
rating: 3
 
Patrick

WARP does include defense, which is probably why Jeter was 35th (honorable mention?), between Jim Thome and Chase Utley. He's also hurt by the fact that his prime was right around the end/start of the decade. If the list was 1995-2004, I bet he'd make it.

In addition to being underrated by more traditional stats, Vazquez has been incredibly healthy.

I've been trying to think who I would have put on this list in 1999. Vlad Guerrero, Andruw Jones, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina, J.D. Drew, Eric Chavez, and Nomar are all guys who could have been locks for a list like this. Edgardo Alfonso, anybody?

Dec 16, 2009 16:40 PM
rating: 2
 
sockeye

JD Drew and Rick Ankiel, for sure.

Dec 16, 2009 19:39 PM
rating: 0
 
gmehrhoff

Jose Reyes should be in the top 10

Dec 20, 2009 19:26 PM
rating: 0
 
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Gett... (12/14)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Future Shock: Rule 5 W... (12/11)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Future Shock: Yankees ... (12/22)
Next Article >>
Baseball Therapy: Home... (12/15)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, May ...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Bummed!
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, May 22
West Coast By Us: Day 1: In The Land Where E...
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: The Quarter-Season Odds Report
West Coast By Us: Taco the Town
Going Yard: The Near Perfection of Pederson

MORE FROM DECEMBER 14, 2009
Premium Article Prospectus Today: Getting Talent For Less Th...
The Week in Quotes: December 7-13

MORE BY KEVIN GOLDSTEIN
2010-01-04 - State of the Prospectus
2009-12-29 - Premium Article Future Shock: A's Top 11 Prospects
2009-12-22 - Premium Article Future Shock: Yankees Top 11 Prospects
2009-12-14 - Premium Article Future Shock: The Top 20 of the New Decade
2009-12-11 - Premium Article Future Shock: Rule 5 Wrap
2009-12-07 - Premium Article Future Shock: Twins Top 11 Prospects
2009-12-04 - Premium Article Future Shock: Angels Top 11 Prospects
More...

MORE FUTURE SHOCK
2010-01-06 - Premium Article Future Shock: Mariners Top 11 Prospects
2009-12-29 - Premium Article Future Shock: A's Top 11 Prospects
2009-12-22 - Premium Article Future Shock: Yankees Top 11 Prospects
2009-12-14 - Premium Article Future Shock: The Top 20 of the New Decade
2009-12-11 - Premium Article Future Shock: Rule 5 Wrap
2009-12-07 - Premium Article Future Shock: Twins Top 11 Prospects
2009-12-04 - Premium Article Future Shock: Angels Top 11 Prospects
More...