What would it take for each team to snag Vladimir Guerrero Jr? AL West

Toronto Blue Jays’ phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr, son of former big leaguer Vladimir Guerrero, is the consensus #1 prospect in baseball. He plays 3B, but he will presumably move to 1B down the line.

Vlad was born to play baseball and has stormed through the minors, blowing his competition away. He put up video game numbers at AA and AAA this past season as a 19-year-old…

AA

  • PAs: 266
  • AVG: .402
  • HRs: 14
  • BB rate: 7.9%
  • K rate: 10.2%

AAA

  • PAs: 126
  • AVG: .336
  • HRs: 6
  • BB rate: 11.7%
  • K rate: 7.8%

Steamer projects him to produce at a superstar level for the Jays in 2019…

  • PAs: 550
  • AVG: .306
  • HRs: 22
  • BB rate: 8.4%
  • K rate: 12.9%
  • WAR: 4.7

There is no doubt about it; Vlad Guerrero Jr is baseball’s next big thing. If you are remarkably not buying his unbelievable 2018 minor league stat-line and robust Steamer projections, then here is a clip I will let speak for itself…

In Fangraphs’ Update to Prospect Valuation, Guerrero was estimated to be worth $112 million in prospect value, which is highest among all minor leaguers (they also estimated value of non-top 100 prospects). He is the only prospect who was assigned a 70 FV on the 20-80 scouting scale.

“The results are presented in present-day WAR and translated to a rough dollar figure based on $9 million as the cost of a win on the free-agent market. Keep in mind that the dollar figure isn’t a direct value, but rather equivalent value of a prospect relative to the free-agent market. Part of the reason prospects have such tremendous value is due to the suppressed salaries permitted by the CBA until a player has reached six years of service time. By translating the WAR figure into a monetary value, we can compare the value of prospects with the values of major-league players and their contracts. These values likely roughly approximate what an individual player might get as a signing bonus if he were declared a free agent and teams could only provide a signing bonus instead of a long-term contract.”

Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards

Now we will take a look at what types of packages teams would have to offer in order to match Guerrero’s $112 million prospect value:

Angels

RF Jo Adell (60 FV; $53 million), CF Brandon Marsh (50 FV; $28 million), 2B Jahmai Jones (50 FV; $23 million), and RHP Griffin Canning (50 FV; $20 million) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million), CF Anthony Alford (50 FV; $11 million), and ($1 million cash or one of Toronto’s 40 FV pitchers: RHP Eric Pardinho, RHP Sean Reid-Foley, LHP Thomas Pannone, RHP Yennsy Diaz, RHP Justin Maese, RHP Zach Jackson, or RHP Jon Harris)

or

CF Mike Trout ($100.9 million) and $11.1 million in cash for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

Steamer projects Mike Trout to be worth 9.3 WAR in 2019. For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume that he is worth around 9.3 WAR the following season as well.

  • 2 years remaining on his contract (9.3 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – 2($33.250 million / year) = $167.4 – $66.5 = $100.9 million in surplus value

Astros

RF Kyle Tucker (60 FV; $55 million), RHP Forrest Whitley (60 FV; $54 million), and ($3 million in cash or one of Houston’s 40+ FV pitchers: RHP Rogelio Armenteros, RHP Jairo Solis, RHP Tyler Ivey, or RHP Joshua James) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

or

2B Jose Altuve ($44 million), RHP Gerrit Cole ($27.4 million), LF Yordan Alvarez (50 FV; $30 million), and [$10.6 million in cash or RHP Corbin Martin (45+ FV; $6 million) and RHP J.B. Bukauskas (45 FV; $4 million)] for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

In order to most accurately gauge the surplus value of Jose Altuve, we need to take into consideration a decline in production as Altuve is on the brink of 30 (he is 28); he will be 34 years old in 2024, the final year of his contract (he signed a 5 yr / $151 million contract that will kick into place in 2020) with the Astros.

“a basic rule of thumb is that once a player gets to 30, you sort of expect them to lose about 0.5 WAR per year of value due to aging. Some players will age better or worse, but that’s an average estimate.”

Fangraphs’ Neil Weinberg

Jose Altuve’s Projected WAR (accounting for loss of 0.5 WAR / yr once Altuve reaches age of 30)

2019 (age 29 season): 4.6 (according to Steamer)

2020: 4.1

2021 (age 31 season): 3.6

2022: 3.1

2023 (age 33 season): 2.6

2024: 2.1

The Astros are paying him $6.5 million in 2019, but for the following 5 seasons (2020-24), they will have to pay him $26 million / yr. The calculations for Altuve’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

[(4.6 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $6.5 million] + [(4.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $26 million] + [(3.6 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $26 million] + [(3.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $26 million] + [(2.6 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $26 million] + [(2.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $26 million] = $34.9 million + $10.9 million + $6.4 million + $1.9 million – $2.6 million – $7.1 million = $44.4 million in surplus value

Gerrit Cole’s projected arbitration salary for 2019 is $13.1 million, per MLB Trade Rumors. Steamer projects him to worth 4.5 WAR. He is tentatively scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019 season (has one more season of control). The calculations for Cole’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

(4.5 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $13.1 million = $27.4 million in surplus value

Athletics

LHP Jesus Luzardo (55 FV; $42 million), [LHP A.J. Puk (55 FV; $40 million) or OF Stephen Piscotty ($40.8 million)], C Sean Murphy (50 FV; $29 million) and ($1 million in cash or one of Oakland’s 40 FV pitchers: LHP Dalton Sawyer, RHP Miguel Romero, LHP Hogan Harris, RHP Kyle Finnegan, or RHP Wyatt Marks) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

Stephen Piscotty’s Projected WAR (accounting for loss of 0.5 WAR / yr once Piscotty reaches the age of 30)

2019 (age 28 season): 2.3 (according to Steamer)

2020: 2.3

2021 (age 30 season): 1.8

2022: 1.3

2023 (age 32 season): 0.8

The Athletics are paying him $7 million annually for his first two seasons (2019-20) and $7.25 million annually for his final two seasons (2021-22). For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume the Athletics do not pick up Piscotty’s $15 million option for the 2023 season. The calculations for Piscotty’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

2 [(2.3 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $7 million)] + [(1.8 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $7.25 million)] + [(1.3 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $7.25 million)] = $27.4 million + $8.95 million + $4.45 = $40.8 million in surplus value

Mariners

LHP Justus Sheffield (50 FV; $29 million), CF Jarred Kelenic (50 FV; $21 million), RHP Justin Dunn (45+ FV; $6 million), RF Kyle Lewis (45 FV; $6 million), 1B Evan White (45 FV; $6 million), RF Julio Rodriguez (45 FV; $6 million), Logan Gilbert (45 FV; $4 million), SS Noelvi Marte (40+ FV; $4 million), Sam Carlson (40+ FV; $3 million), and $27 million in cash for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

Rangers

CF Leody Taveras (55 FV; $39 million), DH Willie Calhoun (50 FV; $22 million), CF Bubba Thompson (50 FV; $19 million), RHP Cole Winn ($17 million), LHP Cole Ragans (50 FV; $12 million), and ($3 million in cash or one of Texas’ 40+ FV pitchers: LHP Joe Palumbo, RHP Owen White, or LHP Yohander Mendez) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

or

2B Rougned Odor ($50.4 million), LHP Mike Minor ($14.3 million), CF Leody Taveras (55 FV; $39 million), and LHP Cole Ragans (50 FV; $12 million) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million) and [(one of Toronto’s 45 FV pitchers: RHP T.J. Zeuch, RHP Adam Kloffenstein, or RHP Hector Perez) OR (one of Toronto’s 40+ FV position players: LF Billy McKinney, 2B Cavan Biggio, or RF Griffin Conine)]

For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume that Rougned Odor is worth around 2.3 WAR annually throughout the duration of his contract (for instance, he could be worth 3.5 WAR one year and 1.1 WAR the other) and that the Rangers pick up his $13.5 million option for the 2023 season.

Rougned Odor’s Projected WAR

2019 (age 25 season): 2.1 (according to Steamer)

2020: 2.1

2021 (age 27 season): 2.1

2022: 2.1

2023 (age 29 season): 2.1

The Rangers are paying him $7.5 million for his first season (2019), $9 million for his second season (2020), $12 million annually for the following two seasons (2021-22), and $13.5 million for his final season (2023). The calculations for Odor’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

[2.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $7.5] + [2.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $9] + 2 [2.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $12] + [2.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $13.5] = $11.4 million + $19.8 million + $13.8 million + $5.4 million = $50.4 million in surplus value

Mike Minor’s Projected WAR (accounting for annual loss of 0.5 WAR off of 2019 Steamer projection)

2019 (age 31 season): 2.1

2020: 1.6

The Rangers are paying him $9.5 million annually for his final two years. The calculations for Minor’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

[(2.1 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $9.5 million] + [(1.6 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $9.5 million] = $9.4 million + $4.9 million = $14.3 million in surplus value

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