Three Up Three Down – Carlos Santana

Carlos Santana signed a 3 year $60 mil deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, after 8 MLB seasons with the Cleveland Indians.  It was the Los Angeles Dodgers that signed him as an amateur free agent back in 2004, before trading him to Cleveland for Casey Blake, near the 2008 trade deadline.  He started out as a catcher, but by 2014 he would no longer play the position, moving to 1B/DH.

With the addition on Edwin Encarnacion last offseason, the Indians felt comfortable letting Santana walk in free agency.¬† They also just signed Yonder Alonso for 2 years and $19 mil, a bargain compared to Santana’s price tag. Cleveland also has two 1B prospects in Bobby Bradley and Nellie Rodriguez.¬† Both are big HR and SO guys.

Philly and Santana were not exactly a perfect match, but they worked things out.  The Phillies already have a future 1B in Rhys Hoskins, who took the MLB by storm this past summer, hitting 18 HRs in 212 PA.  That was a 58 HR pace!  Hoskins will turn 25 before the 2018 MLB seasons throws its first pitch and now has to share an OF with Nick Williams (24), Odubel Herrera (26) and Aaron Altherr (27).  There is also Tommy Joseph (26), who is likely to get his ABs at 1B.  The Phillies either have a trade in mind, or they just stunted the growth of some of their top prospects who might never reach their full potential.  Only time will tell.

Overall, the switch-hitting Santana has turned in a .363 OBP in nearly 4600 plate appearances since establishing himself as a Major League regular back in 2011, averaging 153 games played and 24 homers per season along the way. One would think that a move to a much more hitter-friendly environment, Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, should help to improve his power output as well (though his .196 ISO in that time is already plenty strong). РMLB Trade Rumors

Let’s take a look at how Carlos Santana compares to other 1B and the rest of the league over the past two seasons. We will look at HRs, ISO, wOBA, OBP & BB%. When sorted by each category, we will find Santana and then list the players ranked 3 spots above and below him.

Home Runs

Of the 22 qualified 1B, according to FanGraphs, Santana ranks 10th over the last two seasons in total home runs with 57.  The average total is 51.2 with a high of 80 (Edwin Encarnacion) and a low of 18 (Joe Mauer).

$92 Paul Goldschmidt 60
$66 Jose Abreu 58
$19 Wil Myers 58
$31 Carlos Santana 57
$75 Miguel Cabrera 54
$19 Hanley Ramirez 53
$3 Ryan Zimmerman 51

*2018 Salary

Zimmerman’s 51 HRs for $3 is the highest $/HR at 1B – 17.¬† Goldschmidt ranks last at .65.¬† Santana ranks 10th at 1.84.

16 of the 48 qualified hitters with 50 home runs over the last two years are 1B eligible.

There are 131 qualified bats according to FanGraphs.  Santana ranks 32nd in HRs since 2016.

ISO

Santana ranks 9th of 22 at 1B.

Only 7 1B eligible players have more XBH than Santana over the last two years.

Santana ranks 30/131 eligible bats in the MLB since 2016.

The Phillies new 1B ranks 25th overall in XBH during his final two years with the Indians.

wOBA

Carlos Santana ranks 10th in wOBA at 1B.

He ranks 31st out of 131 eligible bats at all positions.

OBP

Santana ranks 9th in OBP at 1B.

He ranks 31st out of 131 eligible bats across all positions.

BB%

Carlos Santana ranks 7th in BB% since 2016.

He ranks 10th in the MLB with Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista being the only non 1B eligible.

When looking at these five categories and focusing on just 1B, Santana ranks very similarly to Goldschmidt, Abreu, Cabrera & Belt.  When you take it into the league, of 1B that cost at least $20 and have scored a total of 1,000+ fantasy points over the past two seasons, Santana has the 2nd highest fantasy points per dollar, behind Belt, while Goldschmidt & Cabrera sit at the bottom.

 

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Team Hydra

Team Hydra sends: 3B Nolan Arenado ($71), SP David Price ($75), LF/CF Tommy Pham (FA), 2018 5th round pick
HLR sends: LF/RF/CF Aaron Hicks (FA), SP Yadier Alvarez, C Zack Collins, 2018 1st & 2nd round pick

Andrew’s Thoughts:¬†Roughly a year ago, I traded Miguel Cabrera, Sonny Gray, and stuff for Cody Bellinger, Ian Happ, Jorge Soler, and what ended up being the second overall draft pick plus other stuff. Alex from Team Hydra commented on the trade as such: “to be fair Bailey said those guys were on the block. He just didn’t say they were going to be given away for free.”

Fast forward to yesterday and, well, to be fair, Alex said these guys were on the block. He just didn’t say they were going to be given away for free.

Two of my first thoughts upon seeing this trade were that (a) Aaron Hicks is the best piece going to Hydra, and (b) Tommy Pham may as well be the same guy. I did a quick Google search and here’s some random Cardinals blog that thinks the same thing. So there’s that. Hicks is hitting at a 1.644 PT/PA clip, whereas Pham is at 1.502. Pham’s older and has one less outfield position. They were both free agent adds that will start at $5 salary next year. They just feel very same-y to me, to the point where if one is your main piece and you’re giving up the other, the point feels a tad defeated.

I really didn’t think David Price was going to go for much. He’s got a lot of mileage, has developed a homer problem (who hasn’t?), and there are lingering injury concerns. Also, he’s been pretty bad this year. At $77 next year, I think he’s an easy cut or Hustle will just give him away the moment the season ends and clog up some other team’s budget. I thought he should’ve been cut this year (pre-injury). So whatever team bought him was likely doing it on a rental basis, and I just didn’t see teams spending big to rent anyone. I thought maybe a pick and a prospect would get it done. In that vein, I don’t think sending Collins or Alvarez, or maybe even both, for Price as a rental is that bad on its own, assuming you really believe Price can get it going and help your team this year. Given the pitching landscape, gambling on Price seems like a reasonable bet.

So we haven’t even gotten to the big gun in this trade, and I feel like Hicks and Pham have cancelled each other out and a moderately valuable Price has fetched a couple pieces. There aren’t a ton more assets floating around here.

As for Arenado, well, I’m not sure all the pieces going to Hydra is enough for him alone. He’s expensive, sure, but he’s young, in his prime, plays a premium position, and plays in Coors. His salary is only going to go up by $2/year. That’s nothing. He’s a superstar, priced reasonably at $73 next year, and yet he didn’t land someone universally viewed as an “elite prospect”? I mean, maybe you think Yadier Alvarez is. That’s fair. Everyone’s prospect valuations are different. But he’s pitched 45 innings at A+. The lead time on him is a factor and that assumes that he dodges injury and experiences no developmental speed bumps. He’s already struggling with command this year.

And I like Zack Collins as a hitter, but if he doesn’t stick at catcher, a lot of his value will be sapped in a world where Ryan Zimmerman, Justin Smoak, ¬†Yonder Alonso, Mark Reynolds, and Logan Morrison are awesome and can be had for free. Heck, the Braves are moving Freddie Freeman to third base (I imagine this factored into Hydra’s long-term calculus for moving Arenado) to make room for Matt Adams‘ bat. First base is not lacking for depth. And the cost control aspect is neat but if Collins is $1 and Alonso gets greeded up to like $5, is that really significant value?

If he does stick at catcher, that might push his MLB ETA out further. Again, for me personally, Alvarez and Collins are guys you can afford to spend on a rental player or two or just a quality lineup upgrade, not really key cogs to dealing a stud.

And those picks are… something? It’s going to be a late first rounder and a pick somewhere in the second round, but this year’s MLB Draft class was weak. Looking at last year’s draft, I feel like around the 11th or 12th pick is where it started really being a coin toss. The first belongs to Hustle and the second belongs to Haddy. Today, that’d be pick 16 and pick 27, I think. You can definitely land good talent there, but your odds of whiffing also go up considerably the deeper you go.

Look, I won’t argue anyone’s prospect evaluations. If you think Collins is going to be a star and Alvarez is going to quickly develop into an ace, awesome. I definitely think, at least in Collins’ case, he’s a better fantasy prospect than real life prospect. But I don’t really know. I doubt you know either. We’re all making our best guesses. But I really do have a hard time imagining that, in terms of prospect currency, no one was willing to beat Alvarez and Collins even if, as the buyer, you’re super high on them both. Arenado’s not some declining veteran, win-now salary sell off. He’s a player that even if you’re at the bottom of the standings, you should probably be in on. I’d be curious how many teams even inquired here.

In terms of dynasty rankings Collins and Alvarez are… top 50? Maybe top 30 guys? (The rankings are irrelevant, of course. I don’t recall Bellinger being an “elite” guy a year ago.) I’m not sure if HLR had added Vladimir Guerrero Jr to this package it’d still feel totally right, but it’d at least be closer. At least then there’s a consensus “elite prospect” in the mix.

There’s no telling how this will play out. If the prospects turn into anything decent, Hydra’s probably content. I think some of it will depend on if teams sell players at discounted prices in the off-season like last year, at which point Hydra can put some of the cap space they’ve freed up to use. I know Hustle’s probably thrilled to just plug in Arenado every day instead of oscillating back and forth between Yuli Gurriel and Nick Castellanos.

Hustle’s Take

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | Preseason Double Stuffs

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 3B Maikel Franco ($25), SP Wily Peralta ($3)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: 3B Nick Castellanos ($18), LF Michael Conforto ($23), 2019 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I think I might rather have Castellanos than Franco at even money. Those two are close though. I assume some of Ferns’ willingness to spend an extra $7 on possibly the same player is based on Phillies fanhood, which is totally fine. If Vladimir Guerrero or Cal Ripken were still in the player pool, I’d gladly pay them $7 a season just to sit on my bench and look pretty.

The rest of the trade feels like a dart throw. Michael Conforto is basically Byron Buxton: a hot prospect that’s already priced like a steady contributor, so the bar he has to jump is higher. I like Conforto and he was awesome in a small 2015 sample. If he hits like that, he’s easily worth $23. If he doesn’t or if he can’t find regular at-bats, wasting $23 sucks but isn’t the end of the world. Almost every projection system likes Conforto to be around a .335-ish wOBA player, but with only 300-400 plate appearances. I think you could make a case that 400 PA of a .335 wOBA is worth $10-$15 or so by itself. It’s a decent gamble.

Wily Peralta was awful in the first half and pretty good in the second half. I watched him pitch a game once last year and man, it was brutal. He just threw slider after slider after slider and the batters just took ball after ball after ball. But yes, sorry, good in the second half. He also seems like a decent gamble, but with a much cheaper price. I need to ask Ferns how much Chris influenced acquiring Peralta. Peralta is such a Chris player. If there’s one thing Chris loves, it’s filling a roster with “sleepers” and “post-hype sleepers” and guys with “upside.”¬†Chris is the Steve Bannon of the Preseason Double Stuffs. His only objective is to see the whole roster come crumbling down into chaos and disrepair. And Ferns over there, well, he’s too distracted by getting angry at what people say on the internet to notice.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I really like Peralta. I really think he is the difference in this trade. I think Franco’s ceiling is higher as well. I think I’d prefer the Double Stuffs side on this trade. Michael Conforto can’t seem to break through in New York despite the hype and that makes me worried about his ability to come through.

Trade: The Foundation | Preseason Double Stuffs

The Foundation sends: SP Braden Shipley (minors)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: 3B/LF Danny Valencia ($4)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†This trade created quite a bit of buzz in our group chat and here’s why: since the beginning of 2015, Danny Valencia ranks 13th in the major leagues in wOBA (minimum 400 PA). He has the same wOBA as Manny Machado in that time and is just .002 behind Nolan Arrenado. He’s posted a higher weighted on-base than Edwin Encarnacion, Chris Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Kris Bryant, and… well, you get it.

And Valencia costs $4.

So the controversy was: sure, Braden Shipley is cost controlled and will be $1 next year assuming he debuts in 2016 (likely), but Valencia will be just $6. Maybe he gets hit with greed. Even if he does, he’ll cost around $20 maximum. For the thirteenth most productive hitter in baseball, 2015-present! He’s also just 31-years-old. He’s not over the hill. He’s certainly not¬†any more of a risk than a prospect, particularly a pitcher.

The problem, of course, is that Valencia has heavy platoon splits that make him questionable against RHP, though this year he’s crushing them too, to the tune of a .354 wOBA. And this isn’t totally new. He had a .351 wOBA in 2010. He had a .381 wOBA in 2013. Granted, he was a sub-.300 guy in every other year he played, but the point is that it’s not like he’s just all of a sudden hitting. He’s done this before.

For the Double Stuffs, I do like getting Shipley, who recent reports suggest has turned a corner and has been able to generate more K’s, in a vacuum. Even if he’s “just a number four starter,” as some lamented in our chat, that type of guy can be quite valuable in a system like ours where prospects get paid only if they produce. More valuable than Valencia? Likely not. But still.

I think the Double Stuffs wanted to “sell high” here, but to me, the definition of selling high isn’t simply exporting¬†a guy when he’s performing well. It’s being overpaid for that player at that time, which I¬†don’t think happened here. I do understand wanting to cash out¬†before he crashes back down to Earth though, but this is a case where I’m not sure that crash even happens. And if it does, it’s not like it was going to happen overnight (part of the controversy was along the lines of “we put him on our trade block and this is all we were offered,” which is true, though he was only on the trade block for less than 24 hours, so how thoroughly was the market tested?).

Ultimately, I don’t feel strongly about this for either team. But it’s boring to write a review where you just shrug. I can see it from both sides. I think landing Valencia is great for The Foundation. Jordan needed a 3B and some offense and got it without sacrificing any present day contributors. The Double Stuffs don’t really need Valencia, since they’ve also got Nick Castellanos and Yasmany Tomas at third.

I’m not sure the market has caught on yet to the value of productive veteran players¬†on cheap contracts. Like, how is any prospect’s cost control status worth a lot but a guy like Valencia being only $4 seems like an afterthought? I don’t know. If Shipley sucks,¬†his cost control status means you just never pay him until the day you eventually cut ties. If Valencia falls off between now and 2017, you just cut him and move on. If he doesn’t, he’s $6. I think cheap, productive players have as much risk/reward as prospects do. There’s a cost of acquisition involved, sure, but any asset you acquire has risk associated with it. With guys like Shipley (cost control) and Valencia (cheap), I¬†don’t think there’s any big difference. At least with the veteran player, you pretty much know what you’re getting.

2016 Auction Review – Preseason Double Stuffs

Preseason double stuffs

pf

The cookie munching team¬†ended their draft with a case for the best pitching staff in the league. That’s hardly even a stretch. Value was gained¬†with a couple of guys at good values like James Shields and Jake Odorizzi. Value was lost spending on $45 on three second basemen. All of whom could easily finish outside the top ten at their position. Questionable and unreasonable risks.

Hitting – Uh-oh

Things must have gone wrong here on draft day. In a vacuum, I really like Carlos Gomez, Shin-soo Choo, and Michael Conforto. Nick Castellanos and Yasmany Tomas as your third base platoon for $25? Is that a hedge? Odor, Profar and Schoop at second base? I’m not even certain they’re good trade bait. Greg Bird for $7 to not play this year I like, but this roster needs Bird this year. Moreland at first base could be okay, unlikely. Eduardo Escobar seems prime to lose his everyday job, and Travis d’Arnaud is a perfectly okay catcher.

Pitching – Oustanding

This was a case of sitting on Very Good, seeing the bullpen and decided outstanding. I’m not sold on it, but I’m not betting against Max Scherzer. Chris Archer was great last year why not repeat. James Shields seems like a safe bounce back candidate. Odorizzi is pretty good. I like Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen even if when he misses time. Zach Britton has been solid for a few years. The first four starters cemented. When you fill out 5 and 6 with a choice of Eduardo Rodriguez, Jesse Hahn or Ian Kennedy that’s pretty exciting. They’re flush with pitching. Lance Lynn to hold the DL down this year like Greg Bird for under $10 seems like a potential steal.

Depth – Good

I think technically it is alright. But, again I gave myself credit for depth with injured guys, so I’ll do the same here. They have coverage even 3 or 4 deep at some positions, that’s a good thing no matter what. The starting pitchers are deep clearly. Frankly you could lose the entire hitting line up and probably still compete here.¬†#backhandedcompliment

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

What if James Shields is broken. If Max or Archer go down too, almost all is lost. This team paid for future in a few spots, they can definitely handle some injuries if the upside shows up. However, a lot of that bet is hinged on Max and Archer. A great bet to make, but that can change in a day.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

If you get a tier 2 season from Shields or Odorizzi and a tier 3 from the other you’re so sweet. Scherzer and Archer should be at the tier 1 level. That alone will allow this team to compete all year at a good level. If they’re paying attention to matchups with the hitters, perhaps there’s some three headed monster that makes a good player at one position that I’m missing. More power to them. Well actually yeah, they need more power to them.