Downgrades and Upgrades
For most players, Spring Training has little effect on their trade value. But for some — particularly players who are trying to make MLB teams — performance can matter. The decisions front offices make can also play a role. As a result, we’ve made a few changes to specific cases. Here’s the latest:
There are many players whose MLB service time clocks have started based on previous call-ups, but failed to make their team’s 26-man rosters.
We have to be careful here, as there is some subjectivity. But we’ve learned the hard way that it’s important to pay attention to front office decisions, as those are often tells on how they value a player — especially those who were given opportunities to make the roster but failed to do so. The most prominent of these are (with new values):
- Spencer Howard: 32.5
- Carter Kieboom: 22.8
- Brendan Rodgers: 17.3
- Isan Diaz: 12.1
- Isaac Paredes: 11.2
- Nicky Lopez: 6.8
- Michael Chavis: 5.5
- Cole Tucker: 5.4
- Daz Cameron: 2.9
- Oscar Mercado: 2.0
- Matt Thaiss: 2.0
- Luis Rengifo: 1.8
- LaMonte Wade: 1.6
- Reese McGuire: 0.9
- Austin Allen: 0.7
Kieboom’s case is probably the most prominent here, as he is a former Top 10 prospect in baseball, but clearly he still has work to do. His trade value has dropped considerably, but it’s important to keep in mind that he’s still only 23, and there’s still plenty of upside there. And keep in mind that prospect development is not linear — remember that Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow were considered disappointments in Pittsburgh, which is why they were traded for Chris Archer, and both turned out to be great buy-low pick-ups for Tampa Bay.
Howard’s stock has fallen a little, as he had ample opportunity to make the Phillies’ rotation but failed to do so. Paredes and Cameron both could have seized their opportunities with the Tigers, but neither did. Isan Diaz lost the Marlins’ 2B job to Jazz Chisholm, who was only marginally better. Lots of other guys are just continuing and confirming the downward trend from last season — specifically Mercado, Chavis, McGuire, Tucker, Allen, Rengifo, and Lopez (notwithstanding his recent callup to replace Mondesi).
Rodgers’ case is a bit unique, because he keeps getting hurt. But at some point, being so injury-prone is going to take its toll on his value, and that time has come, we believe.
Note: In some cases, prominent post-prospects were optioned for reasons that did not align with their performances. We did not downgrade Nico Hoerner, because that seems to be a case of the team optioning him for service-time reasons; or pitchers such as Sixto Sanchez or Deivi Garcia, as those cases appear to be less about performance, and more about parking them in AAA for depth and/or to manage their innings for the long season.
In these cases, a player has outperformed his expectations — for prospects, their improvement in spring training was significant enough to raise their stock. These include:
- Jonathan India: 18.0
- Tucupita Marcano: 6.8
- Mickey Moniak: 5.7
- J.B. Bukauskas: 2.9
- Eli White: 2.2
- Moniak may be the most interesting case here, since he was on a clear path to being a total bust a few years after being taken first overall in the draft. He’s added muscle, adjusted his swing, and, according to scouts, looks like a totally different hitter. Although he was optioned, it’s clear he’s changed his trajectory.
Bukauskas’ stock had slipped coming into the year, but he looked unhittable all spring. White came out of nowhere to claim the Rangers’ CF job. India and Marcano similarly forced the issue with strong performances to make their respective teams.
Now that the regular season is underway, we will continue to monitor cases that warrant it.