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Welcome to Part 2 of Baseball Prospectus’ annual list of the top 50 free agents.

This is admittedly a very subjective undertaking, but my goal is a simple one: Rank free agents by their expected future value. This is not an attempt to predict contract sizes, although certainly there will be a strong correlation.

Part 1 featured free agents 1-10, listed here. (Their names link to full write-ups.)

1. Manny Machado, SS/3B
2. Bryce Harper, OF
3. Josh Donaldson, 3B
4. Patrick Corbin, SP
5. Dallas Keuchel, SP
6. Michael Brantley, COF
7. A.J. Pollock, CF
8. Craig Kimbrel, RP
9. Yasmani Grandal, C
10. Wilson Ramos, C

Below you’ll find free agents 11-30, with 31-50 available here.

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11. Nelson Cruz
Position(s):
DH
Age (as of 6/30/19): 38
Former team: Mariners

Cruz is 38 and has zero defensive value, which is why he’s in Part 2 of this list rather than Part 1, but he’s topped a .500 slugging percentage and an .850 OPS in six consecutive seasons while averaging 40 homers per 150 games. And those numbers probably undersell how good he’s been, because he spent the past four seasons calling pitcher-friendly Safeco Field home. Seattle is especially tough for right-handed sluggers, and sure enough he was far better on the road (.294/.371/.580) than at home (.274/.353/.512) for the Mariners. Cruz joins Mike Trout and J.D. Martinez as the only MLB hitters with an OPS+ above 135 in each of the past five seasons. Betting on Cruz is betting against age, but he’s won so far.

12. J.A. Happ
Position(s):
SP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 36
Former team: Yankees

Happy spent his 20s filling the back of rotations as a soft-tossing lefty, but he turned into a completely different pitcher after age 30.

IP ERA SO% BB% GB% MPH
Thru Age 30 683 4.25 19.4 10.2 37.6 90.8
After Age 30 848 3.62 22.1   7.1 42.2 92.9

In addition to across-the-board improvement, Happ has made 25-plus starts in five straight seasons after doing so just once through age 30. He’s pitching as well as ever at 36, with a career-high strikeout rate and his first All-Star nod in 2018, and Happ was particularly good (11 starts, 7-0 record, 2.69 ERA) following a midseason trade to the Yankees. Age will likely keep him from snagging a huge long-term deal, but for the next season or two he might be the second-best bet among free agent starters.

13. Daniel Murphy
Position(s):
2B/1B
Age (as of 6/30/19): 34
Former team: Cubs

Murphy has gone from bad to borderline unplayable at second base, and many interested teams may want the 34-year-old at first base or designated hitter. He was an offensive force in 2016 and 2017, leading the league in doubles both years while hitting .334/.387/.569. He sat out the first two months of 2018 with a knee injury and took a step backward after returning, but still hit .299/.336/.454 in 97 games for the Nationals and Cubs. His combined .917 OPS from 2016-2018 would have ranked fourth at 1B/DH, behind only Joey Votto, Freddie Freeman, and Paul Goldschmidt—and one spot ahead of fellow free agent Nelson Cruz—so his bat can support a shift down the defensive spectrum.

14. Nathan Eovaldi
Position(s):
SP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 29
Former team: Red Sox

Eovaldi’s postseason run, in which he served as a starter and a setup man, was equal parts heroic and, considering he spent the previous two years recovering from elbow surgery, reckless. Eovaldi can now wear a giant ring for the rest of his life and no doubt raised his profile, but his workload may scare some teams off. Or maybe that’s over-thinking it. He was impressive even before the playoffs, regaining his high-90s velocity and pitching better than ever after missing all of 2017. He set new bests in strikeout and walk rate, posted a 3.81 ERA compared to 4.47 from 2014-2016, and made a believer out of DRA with a 3.28 mark. His raw stuff has always been jaw-dropping, but a little skepticism seems reasonable.

15. David Robertson
Position(s):
RP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 34
Former team: Yankees

Robertson tends to get overlooked in discussions of great relievers because he’s more often been a setup man than a closer, but he’s thrown at least 60 innings with a strikeout rate above 10.0/9 and a DRA below 3.05 in nine straight seasons. His velocity hasn’t slipped at all, and Robertson has relied more and more on his fantastic curveball, throwing it a career-high 47 percent of the time in 2018 on the way to 91 strikeouts and a .183 opponents’ batting average in 70 innings. He’s seemingly as safe a bet as any 34-year-old reliever will ever be, although leaving his agent and choosing to represent himself could make Robertson’s free agency less straightforward than most.

16. Andrew McCutchen
Position(s):
COF
Age (as of 6/30/19): 32
Former team: Yankees

McCutchen spent a decade in Pittsburgh, got traded twice in eight months, and now hits free agency for the first time looking much more like a role player than a superstar. His speed, defense, and power have eroded, but McCutchen made up for some of that in 2018 by becoming ultra patient at the plate. He’s always had a good eye, but McCutchen swung at fewer out-of-zone pitches than every hitter but Joey Votto, doing so 18 percent of the time compared to at least 22 percent each season from 2012-2017. If you can no longer do as much damage when you swing, you might as well swing less, and McCutchen should have a nice late-career run left in him as a 20-homer, high-OBP corner outfielder.

17. Hyun-Jin Ryu
Position(s):
SP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 32
Former team: Dodgers

Shoulder and elbow surgeries knocked Ryu out for 2015 and 2016, but he was brilliant before (3.17 ERA in 344 innings) and after (3.06 ERA in 209 innings) the injuries. That includes a 1.97 ERA in 15 starts for the Dodgers in 2018, although even that involved a three-month stint on the disabled list with a groin injury. He made nine starts down the stretch after returning, posting a 1.88 ERA and 53/5 K/BB ratio in 53 innings, followed by a 20/3 K/BB ratio in 19 postseason innings. Ryu has proven again and again that he’s one of the better left-handed starters in baseball when healthy, but he’s also proven again and again that he can’t be counted on to stay healthy.

18. Mike Moustakas
Position(s):
3B
Age (as of 6/30/19): 30
Former team: Brewers

Unsatisfied with his market as a free agent last offseason, Moustakas returned to the Royals on a one-year, $6.5 million contract that included a $15 million mutual option for 2019. Despite being a year older and coming off a lesser campaign—10 fewer homers, 61-point drop in OPS—he declined that option for another crack at free agency, likely believing that not having draft-pick compensation attached this time around will help generate more interest. Moustakas was a top-10 all-around third baseman in 2018, and as a solid defender with 30-homer pop and an .808 OPS over the past four seasons, his production and age certainly warrant more than $15 million.

19. Charlie Morton
Position(s):
SP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 35
Former team: Astros

Morton followed a breakout 2017 with an even better 2018, setting new bests in starts (30), wins (15), strikeouts (201), and ERA (3.13). He faded a little down the stretch—not surprising for a 34-year-old with his injury history—but through mid-August he had a 2.78 ERA and 175 strikeouts in 142 innings. Houston signing Morton two offseasons ago was a brilliant move, as they kept him healthy, got him throwing harder and better than ever, and received 55 starts of top-of-the-rotation production for a $14 million investment. He’s a prime example of what the Astros do better than other teams, but now those other teams must decide if they want to make a bigger bet on Morton continuing to thrive in his mid-30s.

20. Marwin Gonzalez
Position(s):
IF/OF
Age (as of 6/30/19): 30
Former team: Astros

As a switch-hitter and one of the most defensively versatile players in baseball, Gonzalez makes sense as a target for almost every team. He started double-digit games in 2018 at shortstop, second base, first base, and left field, and in 2017 he did so at third base too. He predictably wasn’t able to duplicate a 2017 breakout at the plate, but remained an above-average hitter while logging a career-high 552 plate appearances. Houston’s superstar infielder trio meant Gonzalez was usually needed more in the outfield, but he’s capable of being a quality starting second baseman or third baseman. Bloated bullpens and bare bones benches means the ability to hit well and field everywhere has never been more useful.

21. Jeurys Familia
Position(s):
RP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 29
Former team: Athletics

Familia was suspended for the first 15 games of 2017 following a domestic violence arrest. He later spent three months on the disabled list with a blood clot in his shoulder, mostly struggling upon his mid-August return. He was healthy and effective in 2018, throwing 72 innings with a 3.13 ERA and 83/28 K/BB ratio, first closing for the Mets and then setting up for the Athletics. In five full seasons, Familia has a 2.57 ERA with 351 strikeouts and just 14 homers in 330 innings. His homer rate during that time was the third-lowest among all pitchers with at least 250 innings, behind Aroldis Chapman and Zach Britton, and only eight pitchers had a higher average fastball velocity than his 97.5 mph.

22. Jed Lowrie
Position(s):
2B/3B
Age (as of 6/30/19): 35
Former team: Athletics

It took a decade, but Lowrie finally became the player everyone thought he’d be. Just once in nine seasons through age 32 was he healthy and consistent enough to both play 100 games and produce above-average hitting. Then in 2017 he hit .277/.360/.448 in 153 games, following that up with a nearly identical 2018 in which he hit .267/.353/.448 in 157 games. Lowrie is 35 now, so regular action at shortstop is out of the question, but he’s a capable defender at second base or third base. At the plate, he’s a switch-hitter with excellent plate discipline and enough pop for 20 homers and 40 doubles. This is uncharted territory in terms of health and production, but he’s been an impact player in back-to-back years.

23. Andrew Miller
Position(s):
RP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 34
Former team: Indians

Ridden hard and put away wet by the Indians, the big lefty spent much of 2018 on the disabled list with an assortment of maladies and saw his strikeout rate dip below 30 percent for the first time since his days as a struggling starter. Miller finished April with a 0.00 ERA and 19/4 K/BB ratio, but then had a 6.00 ERA and 28/12 K/BB ratio in 24 innings after May 1 before two messy playoff outings. He still has plenty of velocity, but his once-dominant slider was a mediocre pitch in 2018, surrendering a .468 slugging percentage compared to .190 from 2013-2017. Contending teams figure to fight over the chance to get Miller healthy, because he’s only 25 innings removed from being one of the elite pitchers in the game.

24. Adam Ottavino
Position(s):
RP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 33
Former team: Rockies

Ottavino missed most of 2015 and 2016 recovering from elbow surgery and then struggled to throw strikes in 2017, but everything clicked in 2018 with a 2.43 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 78 innings. He worked in 34 games at Coors Field, allowing a .124 batting average and .195 slugging percentage there to blow away all previous team records. It was a spectacular season, and while he’s far from a household name Ottavino was a first-round draft pick once upon a time (30th overall by the Cardinals in 2006) and did have plenty of success (2.87 ERA and 161 strikeouts in 154 innings from 2013-2015) prior to blowing out his arm. His control still comes and goes, but his sinker/slider combo is devastating.

25. Brian Dozier
Position(s):
2B
Age (as of 6/30/19): 32
Former team: Dodgers

It would be hard to have a worse walk year than Dozier, who batted .227 for the Twins and hit .182 following a trade to the Dodgers, got benched for most of the playoffs, and revealed late in the season than he’d been playing through a knee injury since April. In addition to the injury and offensive ineptitude, Dozier’s lack of arm strength and slow double-play turns have become difficult to ignore for a once-solid defensive second baseman. He hit .258/.335/.496 with an average of 35 homers per season from 2015-2017, but at age 32 he may have to settle for a one-year pillow contract in the hopes of hitting the open market again with fewer question marks next offseason.

26. Zach Britton
Position(s):
RP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 31
Former team: Yankees

Britton had an incredible run from 2014-2016, saving 120 games with a 1.38 ERA and just eight homers allowed in 209 innings. He took a clear step backward in a 2017 season filled with arm problems and then tore his Achilles’ tendon working out after the season. He returned in June and was initially shaky before posting a 2.25 ERA and .186 opponents’ batting average after July 1. However, those nice-looking surface numbers came with diminished velocity and a 27/14 K/BB ratio in 32 innings. Britton may never get back to being that 2014-2016 monster, but he’s still a potential impact arm. His “lesser” sinker averaged 95 mph and he led MLB in ground-ball rate, inducing at least 70 percent for the fifth straight year.

27. DJ LeMahieu
Position(s):
2B
Age (as of 6/30/19): 30
Former team: Rockies

LeMahieu is an elite defensive second baseman, with three Gold Gloves and the position’s top FRAA in 2017 and 2018. Offensively his numbers look very good for a middle infielder, with a batting title in 2016 and a .309/.369/.429 line from 2015-2018. However, like so many Rockies hitters past and present, Coors Field gave him a huge boost and makes it difficult to project how he’ll fare away from Colorado. LeMahieu hit .339/.403/.463 at home from 2015-2018, compared to .278/.331/.393 on the road. Even those modest road numbers, paired with great defense, would make him a very good all-around player, assuming his lowly .277 on-base percentage away from altitude in 2018 was mostly a low-BABIP fluke.

28. Gio Gonzalez
Position(s):
SP
Age (as of 6/30/19): 33
Former team: Brewers

Gonzalez was a front-line starter from 2010-2017, throwing 1,510 innings with a 3.41 ERA. With free agency around the corner and his ERA ballooning to 4.57, the Nationals traded him to the Brewers for a modest return on August 31 … and he had a 2.13 ERA in five starts down the stretch, with Milwaukee winning all five games. Gonzalez made a huge impact in a short time with the Brewers, but his declining strikeout and walk rates, plus a fastball down 3.5 mph from his first Nationals season, are obvious red flags for a 33-year-old with lots of mileage on his arm. His control isn’t good enough to make up for diminished raw stuff, but he could still help plenty of rotations on a short-term deal.

29. Nick Markakis
Position(s):
COF
Age (as of 6/30/19): 35
Former team: Braves

Markakis became a first-time All-Star at age 34 by hitting .323 in the first half, only to come back down to earth in the second half with a .258/.332/.369 line similar to his combined .280/.357/.386 mark from 2015-2017. He rarely misses a game, remains a quality defensive corner outfielder, controls the strike zone well, hits for good batting averages with gap power, and always receives praise for his clubhouse presence. In other words, there’s still a lot to like, but any team expecting Markakis to be more than an average hitter at this stage of his career is making a mistake. He totaled 4.2 WARP in 2018 after topping 2.0 WARP just once in the previous nine years.

30. Asdrubal Cabrera
Position(s):
IF
Age (as of 6/30/19): 33
Former team: Phillies

Cabrera ceased being a capable shortstop years ago and can look stretched at second base, but his bat has bounced back well from a mid-career decline. He’s been solidly above average offensively in four straight seasons, including hitting .262/.316/.458 with 23 homers in 147 games for the Mets and Phillies in 2018. He needs to keep hitting like that into his mid-30s, because Cabrera will either give back runs with his glove as a middle infielder or face a higher offensive bar as a corner infielder. His rough post-trade stint in Philadelphia is worrisome at his age and there are plenty of average-ish infielders in this year’s free agent crop, so Cabrera may have to settle for a one-year deal.

To read Part 1, featuring free agents 1-10, click here.

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Nicholas Decaria
11/06
Are you favtoring Kikuchi in here or no?
Ryan Fay
11/06
Wondering the same. Law had him 15th or so, so I figured Kikuchi would be somewhere in this range.
Mac Guyver
11/06
"It took a decade, but Lowrie finally became the player everyone thought he’d be." I don't think there is much truth to that statement regardless of what you mean by it. I don't think anyone ever considered him a disappointment and expectations were never particularly high. I think he has probably surpassed all expectations.