Did any of the released minor leaguers have trade value?
Sadly, MLB teams have been releasing minor leaguers in droves recently. Our reaction here is to, first, update their statuses (if they’re in our database at all); and second, check the player’s valuations. After all, if teams were releasing players who we thought had positive value, it would be a signal that something about our model was off.
So: did any of these released players have any trade value?
As of this writing, there have been 766 players released this spring, according to Baseball America, whose J.J. Cooper has been tracking all the moves. Of those, the grand majority of them were not in our database. This is because they weren’t considered prospects at all — they did not show up in any of the prospect evaluation publications we cover. Our model goes all the way down to a valuation of $0.1M, so if they’re not worth that, there’s no point in our listing them.
There were a few exceptions. As of this writing, the highest-value released players in our system were Brewers SS C.J. Hinojosa, at 0.6, Cubs RHP Oscar de la Cruz at 0.6, and Rangers reliever Shane Carle, at 0.5. Others in our database who were released, with our estimates (note that some veterans on minor-league contracts were also in our database and are included here):
- Nick Rumbelow, Mets: 0.4
- Luis Pena, Angels: 0.4
- Luiz Gohara, Angels: 0.3 (former top prospect)
- Tyler Jay, Reds: 0.3 (former 1st-round draft pick)
- Preston Palmeiro, Orioles: 0.2
- Jomar Reyes, Orioles: 0.2
- Raul Rivas, Phillies: 0.2
- Cash Case, Reds: 0.2
- Nick Gardewine, Rangers: 0.1
- Brett Adcock, Astros: 0.1
- Angel Duno, Athletics: 0.1
- Marino Campana, Red Sox: 0.1
- Jordan Milbrath, Marlins: 0.1
- Jose Lopez, Reds: 0.1
- Dalton Lehnen, Yankees: 0.1
- Brock Stewart, Cubs: 0
- Edwin Jackson, Diamondbacks: 0
- T.J. Rivera, Phillies: 0
- Manny Banuelos, Mariners: 0
- Dalton Pompey, Diamondbacks: 0
- All others: 0
- So out of 766 players released, only 18 had any positive estimated value. That’s 2.3%. Said another way, 97.7% of the released players had no trade value.
Of the 18 we thought still did, the numbers were obviously low. None even came close to 1. In fact, their combined valuation numbers add up to a grand total of 4.6, out of 766, which means the average valuation of the released players in our model was 0.01 — effectively zero.
In short, our model seems to have the bottom of the market pretty well covered. And it seems to validate that the majority of released players are either non-prospects or org-filler guys.