Sunday, September 14, 2008

Would you trade Granderson and Cabrera for...?

Today, I'll make another attempt to take something positive away from a lackluster season. In Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers have two of the best young position players in the game. I wanted to see how this duo compared to those on other teams so I went through all the teams and attempted to rank the best young pairs in baseball.

This is a subjective process but my choices can be seen below in Table 1 below. In order to qualify for the list, a player has to be under 30 as of opening day next year. I used several different statistics to determine the final ranking but one of them was Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP). This is a Baseball Prospectus statistic which attempts to determine the overall value of a player including offensive and defensive contributions. It is the estimated number of wins that a player contributes above what a replacement level player would have done.

The best pair of young players belongs to the new York Mets with third baseman David Wright and shortstop Jose Reyes. That choice was made with little hesitation but after that it gets more difficult. I chose Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer as the next best pair. This becomes a very solid #2 if Joe Mauer can stay at catcher and stay reasonably healthy for the next few years. Even if Mauer's knees force a switch to third base, it will still be strong because this would probably increase his offense and improve his durability.

Granderson and Cabrera finished third on the list. Both got off to slow starts this year - Granderson because of the hand injury and Cabrera perhaps because of the switch in leagues. I think each will do better next year. The next four duos belong to the Rays (Evan Longoria, BJ Upton), Marlins (Hanley Ramirez, Dan Uggla), Brewers (Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder) and Rangers (Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton).

Table 1: Best young duos in the majors

Rank

Team

Player

Age*

2007 WARP

2008 WARP

1

Mets

David Wright

26

12.0

9.2

Jose Reyes

25

7.9

7.9

2

Twins

Justin Morneau

27

5.8

8.4

Joe Mauer

25

6.2

8.2

3

Tigers

Curtis Granderson

28

11.2

7.9

Miguel Cabrera

25

7.7

4.9

4

Rays

Evan Longoria

23

N/A

7.0

B.J. Upton

24

6.0

6.7

5

Marlins

Hanley Ramirez

25

7.5

8.7

Dan Uggla

29

4.9

8.1

6

Brewers

Ryan Braun

25

4.4

7.9

Prince Fielder

24

7.7

4.6

7

Rangers

Ian Kinsler

26

6.2

8.6

Josh Hamilton

27

3.3

7.5

7 comments:

  1. If you had to take into account overall value (contracts) would you change the order at all?

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's an interesting question. At first glance, I don't think it would change things much because most of the players involved are locked in with their teams for a few years. It's hard to judge how much the total of the contracts would change things because that depends on each team's budget. Ultimately, that's an important consideration though.

    Is there any duo in particular where you think the contract status might make a big difference?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lee, I'm sure you're aware of the major limitations of WARP, so I'll instead encourage you to use Justin's stats for a complete measure of player value.

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pfk_WuYpfdux2FC_hs6ROEQ

    I, subjectively, would rather have Cabrera/Granderson than Wright/Reyes, mostly because I see Granderson as the best player of all four, with Cabrera and Wright next, followed by Reyes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sky, Thanks for the link. As you know, the fielding component for the new stat is still a bit iffy but better than WARP. I look forward to the day when a stat such as Justin's can be updated regularly.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  5. I've always liked Sizemore's six year $24 million (with a team option for year #7) contract that kicked in at the start of 2007. Unfortunatley there is no real #2 for the 2008 season.

    Even though it seems like he's been around forever, Pujols is "officially" only 28 and would qualify for this list. As with the Cleveland example, I don't know if there is a real #2. Ludwick is 30 with one good season under his belt.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Only possible pair would be Morneau and Mauer.imo, Morneau and Cabrera is a wash, and Mauer would be the perfect catcher for the next 8 - 10 years. Pujols and Sizemore are also in the mix for me, but obviously from different teams so that really doesn't apply to this.
    Lets get some pitching starters and relievers and a new pitching and bullpen coach and plan for 2009.

    ReplyDelete
  7. charles listonSeptember 16, 2008

    Perhaps Mays and McCovey.

    ReplyDelete

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