Trade Value Index

A new perspective on how to rank MLB players in terms of value.



The "MVP"

Every year, a group of voters decide who should be crowned the Most Valuable Player in baseball, or the MVP.


For the longest time, I was always under the impression that MVP was meant to be the player who adds the most overall value to the team. This means, what player is the overall biggest contributor to the win total at the end of the season. And by no means am I trying to argue that this is wrong.


However, in the social media age of baseball we live in, it is interesting to consider a different meaning to the term "MVP".


For clubs and organizations who are committing tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars to the top players in baseball, it is important to find the most bang for your buck. When I consider what being the most valuable player to an organization means, some of the obvious stats that come too mind are games played and WAR, the amount of time a player spends on the field, and how quality the amount of time on the field is.


To me, organizations should, and really do, place a high level of value into players who can regularly show up on the field everyday, guys who can become a mainstay with the fans and who can be the guys all over social media, making big plays here and there and creating a strong public perception of the team. Think about the value of a player who is regularly mentioned on social media, and who has strong support from the fan base.


These types of players do exist, and in many varying degrees.



With key franchise players, teams get sales in merchandise, tickets, promotions, etc. Even at the lowest points in time, a great bat with the potential for explosive power, or a quick lead off guy who can steal at will, or seeing a masterful ace every fifth day.... You get the point. These guys can still create ticket sales on their own.


Now one player does not make great overall ticket sales, it only lessens the blow of having a completely disastrous and wasted year. But now consider that a team acquires a handful of these players, ticket sales bump up obviously, but overall hype goes up as well.


The beauty with a lot of major league fan bases is the mob mentality that merchandise and gear sales become in extreme periods.


There will indeed always be sales in some capacity, the newborn clothes, the kids who grew out of their last shirt, you get the picture. But these sales sky rocket when teams are doing well. The perceived value of merchandise goes up to fans and the are more willing to buy.


Look, you get the idea.


These marquee guys, these players you can stick up on the side of buildings, they are revenue generators, but I don't need to give you a refresher course in business to help you understand that. And I know what you are thinking: Aren't these marquee players just the top players in the game?


Yes, they are, but that is the point.



The Bill Simmons NBA Trade Value Rankings

I have always been a fan of Bill Simmons, or at least for as long as I can remember, and so I have taken this following onto social media, which led me to a recent segment he published about the NBAs trade value rankings, placing value into players based on three categories: stats, contract (length and price), and a Michelin ranking system.



"Michelin ratings work like this: Every restaurant tries like hell to get 1 star (which basically means, "Hey, everyone, if you're in town, you should eat here"), pines for 2 stars ("You should absolutely go out of your way to eat here") and dreams of 3 stars ("IF YOU LOVE FOOD YOU HAVE TO EAT HERE AT LEAST ONCE OR YOU"RE AN ABSOLUTE FRAUD")."

Ok, so let's explain this in baseball terms.


Guys like Robinson Cano, Nelso Cruz, Andrew Benintendi, are one star guys, where you hear their names, maybe they put up some solid numbers, or solid streaks, but it doesn't always mean that they will be the best player on the field. This also includes pitchers like J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman, and even Cole Hamels.


Then you have your two stars, guys that you should probably go see, because they are either going on the way up, or they are falling down in their career. Either way, they won't be in this category for very long, making it a very fluid area. The two star ranking includes guys like Matt Kemp and Juan Soto, but does include some established in their prime veterans like Paul Goldschmidt, guys who don't create the spectacle about their game. Two star pitchers include Syndergaard, Kershaw, and Severino.


And then the three stars, the must see guys. Lindor. Baez. Betts. Machado. Bryce Harper. These are the guys that you feel a responsibility to the game of baseball to go see. Pitchers like the stalking Max Scherzer, the some how even better short haired deGrom, no sleeves Sale. These are the guys who, as I have said before, will single handedly bring fans through the turnstiles.


Ok. So this is a lot of information. But to accurately assess the MVP, you have to look at everything that plays into a players "value" beyond just on the field performance. And for our rankings, we coupled all of the numbers into the final actual numeric ranking players received, meaning that a 2 star can be rated below a 1 star, such as Jose Altuve being labeled below J.T. Realmuto.


While Altuve had a worse year than normal obviously, he is still a draw based on name recognition. And the biggest name on the list, Bryce Harper, is listed as a 3 star, but is ranked #22 below 2 star players, who had better overall numbers and just plain scored better in our rankings system. Part of this is because Bryce Harper can't play defense, and if you don't believe me, read this article from MLB.com



Ultimately, the idea for this is that it will be a once monthly in season ranking, which keeps a gauge on who we feel is not necessarily the best player in baseball, but the most valuable player to an organization, using statistical metrics, along with eye test rankings. Unfortunately, we are in the off season, so these rankings will be a review of last year, and how we came to our conclusions. This also means, currently we will not be ranking players on contract because we don't know yet what everyone is signing for, and frankly, it is just taking me a while, but it will be added to our rankings soon.


Our system is in it's early stages, and therefore we will have some flaws to work out, but we will continue updating our system, and bare in mind names on this list aren't entirely based on a comprehensive look at everyone in baseball, but as I said, it will continue to be updated, so bare with us.


We will begin with position players. Essentially, in our system, we are assigning points values to certain milestone stats, as I have discussed before, but we place a major emphasis on hitting milestone numbers, clean looking and eye catching numbers produced by a player. When looking at this list, you will see some people who missed out on maybe 20-30 points (if not more, Yelich) just by a mere 1 RBI or 1 home run. But in our system, we see more value in a guy who has a milestone number of 40, rather than still being in the 30s.


And while this may sound flawed to you, to an average fan, they are going to quick react to stats they can easily digest, and the milestones are more impressive at a quick glance. Without further ado however, here's the equation, the numbers and the rankings for position players. Pitchers are another section entirely.


Position Players:


- Batting Average

o Batting Average +325 = 15 points

o Batting Average +300 = 10 points

o Batting Average Between .299-.275 = 5 points

o Batting Average Below .275 = 0 points

- + 5 points for every 10 RBIs

- +10 points for every 10 Home Runs

- OPS

o +1.000 OPS = 15 points

o +.900 OPS = 10 points

o OPS between .800 and .900 = 5 points

o OPS below .800 = 0 points

- Games Played

o Over 150 games played = 15 points

o 125-149 games played = 10 points

o Below 125 games played = 5 points

o Below 100 games played = 0 points

- WAR

o WAR = +5 points for each WAR number

o +5 points for every dWAR runs saved


MLB Top 50 Players – Trade Value Index


Untouchables

1. J.D. Martinez - 3 star

o 6.4 WAR, 43 home runs, 130 RBIs, .330 batting average, 1.031 OPS, 150 games played, dWAR: -1.4

o Total Score: 175


2. Mookie Betts - 3 star

o 10.9 WAR, 32 Home Runs, 80 RBIs, .346 batting average, 1.078 OPS, 136 games played, dWAR: 1.8

o Total Score: 160


3. Mike Trout - 3 star

o 10.2 WAR, 39 home runs, 79 RBIs, 312 batting average, 1.088 OPS, 140 games played, dWAR: 1.2

o Total Score: 155


4. Javier Baez - 3 star

o 6.3 WAR, 34 home runs, 111 RBIs, .290 batting average, .881 OPS, 160 games played, dWAR: 1.7

o Total Score: 150


5. Francisco Lindor - 3 star

o 7.9 WAR, 38 home runs, 92 RBIs, .277 batting average, .871 OPS, 158 games played, dWAR: 2.5

o Total Score: 150


Blockbuster Trade Pieces

6. Jose Ramirez - 2 star

o WAR 7.9, 39 home runs, 105 RBIs, .270 batting average, .939 OPS, 157 games played, dWAR: .8

o Total Score: 145


7. Alex Bregman - 2 star

o 6.9 WAR, 31 home runs, 103 RBIs, .286 batting average, .926 OPS, 157 games played, dWAR: -.1

o Total Score: 140


8. Nolan Arenado - 2 star

o 5.6 WAR, 38 home runs, 110 RBIs, .297 batting average, .935 OPS, 156 games played, dWAR: .7

o Total Score: 140


9. Trevor Story - 2 star

o 5.6 WAR, 37 home runs, 108 RBIs, .291 batting average, .914 OPS, 157 games played, dWAR: .9

o Total Score: 135


10. Freddie Freeman - 2 star

o 6.1 WAR, 23 home runs, 98 RBIs, .309 batting average, .892 OPS, 162 games played, dWAR: .2

o Total Score: 135


11. Manny Machado - 2 star

o 5.7 WAR, 37 homeruns, 107 RBIs, .297 batting average, .905 OPS, 162 games played, dWAR: 1.2

o Finals Score: 130


12. Paul Goldschmidt - 2 star

o 5.4 WAR, 33 home runs, 83 RBIs, .290 batting average, .922 OPS, 158 games played, dWAR: -.4

o Total Score: 125


13. Giancarlo Stanton - 2 star

o 4.0 WAR, 38 home runs, 100 RBIs, .266 batting average, .852 OPS, 158 games played, dWAR: -.4

o Total Score: 125


14. Khris Davis - 2 star

o 2.9 WAR, 48 home runs, 123 RBIs, .247 batting average, .874 OPS, 151 games played, dWAR: -1.6

o Total Score: 125


15. Anthony Rendon - 2 star

o 4.2 WAR, 24 home runs, 92 RBIs, .308 batting average, .909 OPS, 136 games played, dWAR: -.4

o Total Score: 120


16. Christian Yelich - 2 star

o 7.6 WAR, 36 home runs, 110 RBIs, .326 batting average, 1.000 OPS, 147 games played, dWAR: -.4

o Total Score: 110


17. Scooter Gennet - 2 star

o 4.2 WAR, 23 home runs, 92 RBIs, .310 batting average, .847 OPS, 154 games played, dWAR: .2

o Total Score: 115


18. Matt Carpenter - 2 star

o 4.9 WAR, 36 home runs, 81 RBIs, .257 batting average, .897 OPS, 156 games played, dWAR: -.1

o Total Score: 110


19. Ronald Acuña - 2 star

o 4.1 WAR, 26 home runs, 64 RBIs, .293 batting average, .917 OPS, 111 games played, dWAR: 3.8

o Total Score: 105


20. Anthony Rizzo - 2 star

o 2.7 WAR, 25 home runs, 101 RBIs, .283 batting average, .846 OPS, 153 games played, dWAR: -.6

o Total Score: 100


21. Aaron Judge - 2 star

o 5.5 WAR, 27 home runs, 67 RBIs, .278 batting average, .919 OPS, 112 games played, dWAR: 1.1

o Total Score: 100


Almost Super Stars featuring Bryce Harper and Jose Altuve

22. Bryce Harper - 3 star

o 1.3 WAR, 34 home runs, 100 RBIs, .249 batting average, .889 OPS, 159 games played, dWAR: -3.2

o Total Score: 95


23. J.T. Realmuto - 1 star

o 4.3 WAR, 21 home runs, 74 RBIs, .277 batting average, .825 OPS, 125 games played, dWAR: .1

o Total Score: 95


24. Jose Altuve - 2 star

o 5.2 WAR, 13 home runs, 61 RBIs, .316 batting average, .837 OPS, 137 games played, dWAR: .6

o Total Score: 90


25. Ozzie Albies - 2 star

o 3.8 WAR, 24 home runs, 72 RBIs, .261 batting average, .757 OPS, 158 games played, dWAR: 1.2

o Total Score: 90


26. Shohei Ohtani - 2 star

o 3.9 WAR, 22 home runs, 61 RBIs, .285 batting average, .925 OPS, 104 games played, dWAR: -.7

o Total Score: 85


27. Miguel Andujar - 1 star

o 2.2 WAR, 27 home runs, 92 RBIs, .297 batting average, .855 OPS, 149 games played, dWAR: -2.2

o Total Score: 85


28. Juan Soto - 2 star

o 3.0 WAR, 22 home runs, 70 RBIs, .292 batting average, .923 OPS, 116 games played, dWAR: -1.1

o Total Score: 85


29. Andrew Benintendi - 1 star

o 3.9 WAR, 16 home runs, 87 RBIs, .290 batting average, .830 OPS, 148 games played, dWAR: -.6

o Total Score: 85


30. Wilson Ramos - 1 star

o 2.7 WAR, 15 home runs, 70 RBIs, .306 batting average, .879 OPS, 111 games played, dWAR: .4

o Total Score:85


31. Jean Segura - 1 star

o 4.3 WAR, 10 home runs, 63 RBIs, .304 batting average, .755 OPS, 144 games played, dWAR: 1.5

o Total Score: 85


32. Matt Kemp - 2 star

o 1.1 WAR, 21 home runs, 85 RBIs, .290 batting average, .818 OPS, 146 games played, dWAR: -1.7

o Total Score: 85


33. Salvador Perez - 1 star

o 2.4 WAR, 27 home runs, 80 RBIs, .235 batting average, .713 OPS, 129 games played, dWAR: 1.5

o Total Score: 85


34. Lorenzo Cain - 2 star

o 6.9 WAR, 10 home runs, 38 RBIs, .308 batting average, .813 OPS, 141 games played, dWAR: 2.4

o Total Score: 80


35. Gleyber Torres - 1 star

o 2.9 WAR, 24 home runs, 77 RBIs, .271 batting average, .820 OPS, 123 games played, dWAR: .5

o Total Score: 80


36. Michael Brantley - 1 star

o 3.6 WAR, 17 home runs, 76 RBIs, .309 batting average, .832 OPS, 143 games played, dWAR: -.7

o Total Score: 80


37. Justin Turner - 1 star

o 4.5 WAR, 14 home runs, 52 RBIs, .312 batting average, .924 OPS, 103 games played, dWAR: .2

o Total Score: 80