It is time to update the Tampa Bay Rays Trade Value Index* in which we rank the top players in the Rays organization (40-man roster plus top prospects) based on their overall value to the team. The rankings consider a number factors in addition to talent and good looks, such as potential, age, contract and depth of position in the organization.

Notes on how the rankings are compiled and a few specific players can be found after the table…

Notes on the TVI top 50

  • The TVI is calculated using four variables: 1) talent (based on a reasonable projection of abilities); 2) age-value (based on age and years remaining until free agency); 3) position (based loosely on Bill James’ defensive spectrum, and adjusted as needed based on team needs) and 4) current level (i.e. MLB, triple-A, etc.). These values are all scaled 1-10 and given a weight of 3.0, 1.5, 1.0 and 0.5 respectively. The final value is then based on a scale of 1-100.
  • Think of the rankings this way: If the Rays had to choose between Player A and Player B, the player they would pick will be ranked higher in the TVI. And if another team wants a particular player, the higher they are on this list, the more the other team would have to offer.
  • Evan Longoria is #1 for the 4th straight year, based on both his talent level and what may be the best contract in baseball. However, his lead is shrinking as he gets older and length of this contract gets shorter.
  • Matt Moore is number two, but in reality, he and Evan Longoria are interchangeable. Moore is a young, lefty, hard-throwing starting pitcher that has shown that he can be successful in the big leagues. The Rays can also keep Moore for at least the next six seasons if they choose. It doesn’t get much more valuable than that.
  • The next 4 players (David PriceJeremy Hellickson, James Shields, Desmond Jennings) all fall in a narrow range. Price comes back to the pack a little bit now that he is in arbitration and there is little hope for a contract extension. Jennings jumps up thanks to his strong second-half showing with the big club.
  • At the other end of the spectrum we have mostly players that are marginal major leaguers, and middle relievers. These players wouldn’t command much in a trade.
  • Players were given a “bonus” based on projected free agent status (Type A or Type B). Even though these players will likely be gone next year, they will command one or two draft picks in compensation. Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta project as Type A free agents, and BJ Upton is on pace to be a Type B free agent. However, when the new CBA is finalized, it is expected that the compensation system will be modified. If that happens, these three players could lose some value.
  • 2011 Draft Picks are excluded until we get some sense of how well they will perform as a professionals.
  • Feel free to let us know in the comments if you feel there is variable that should be included in the TVI calculations and if you think the relative weights should be different. This is an evolving process. And while we try to remove as much subjectivity as possible, the nature of the beast will always require at least a little bit.

* We have been running these posts for several years now, but ultimately, the original idea was based on Bill Simmons’ NBA Trade Value List. Bill gets crabby if we forget to mention that.

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14 Comments

  1. Chris says:

    Running this a couple of months early this year. Expecting some big trades?
    Always find this valuable. Thanks.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      in the old days we ran this twice a year. Now we are going to see how it works running it now before the Hot Stove season and seeing if it will hold up through the 2012 season.

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  2. Cork Gaines says:

    I just made a quick adjustment. I took each player's final TVI and scaled it to a value 1-100. This should give the score a little more meaning. The final rankings are still the same.

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  3. Tom says:

    I think they would get much more for Zobrist than for BJ. Zo has a team-friendly contract and is a better player.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Both of those players are tough. There is a perception that Zobrist thrives in the Rays' system and that he might not be as valuable to other teams. At the same time, it seems like other teams see BJ as the exact opposite. He is that classic player that just needs "a change of scenery."

      You also have to consider that Zobrist will be 31 in 2012. That's when players start to decline (typically). Upton on the other hand is just now reaching his prime years.

      That's not to say you are wrong. I am just playing Devil's Advocate.

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  4. OakParkErnest says:

    I think you need to somehow weigh players that have proven to have sustained MLB performance more heavily; a known commodity needs to have more value. I'm a huge Matt Moore fan, but he has yet to pitch a 200 inning season at the MLB level. Until he does, it's hard to say he's more valuable than David Price.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      Well, in one sense they are. That is weighed into the ability/potential factor. Players that have proven it at the big league level are scored higher. But if you had to choose, would you rather have Price for the next four years, or Moore for the next seven years (assuming he starts year in minors)? Sure Price is likely to be better than Moore in 2012. But also consider that Price might be making $7 million (or more) and Moore will be making ~$400 thousand. Now, if Moore struggles a bit in 2012, then he will be knocked down a bit. But I think most teams with a tight budget would prefer to have Moore right now.

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    • Beth says:

      Of course, except that Cork's "value" gives a reasonably significant weight to younger players with many remaining years of team control. This may not be so relevant if your question is "who do I want on the mound tomorrow," but it's quite relevant for GMs, for whom trades represent long term investments.

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  5. Rob says:

    Are you going to show your calculations like you usually do? Thanks.

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  6. Joe says:

    Pretty good list except for one thing, I think Joyce is way too low. 4 years of control left and he's finally starting to look like a real solid regular. Hit some tough lefties in the postseason also. And people don't seem to notice but even though he isn't blessed with speed, he is a very smart base runner.

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  7. Rayon says:

    You need to spread the numerics more. Longo should be 90 or more and Andy S 10 or less. Relative and comparitive value would be more intuitive with more spread. In other words, Longo is worth 10 times what Andy is worth and the numbers should relate that fact.

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    • Rob says:

      The scale works if you think of it like the scale for earthquakes. Divide all the numbers by 10 and, for example, Evan is a 7.4 and Torres is a 6.3. Each number you go uo means you're 10 times better. That means Evan isn't a little more valuable, but is over 10 times more valuable. Sonny would have about 1/10000th the value. I wouldn't trade an infinity of Sonny's for 1 Evan. But you get the idea.

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  8. Rayon says:

    I understand that....every 10 points is 10 times as much. Decibels are measured that way too. But with that said, I'd still like to see the top performers closer to 100.

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