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Assessing the 2019 MLB Free Agent Class

Assessing the 2019 MLB Free Agent Class
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Dallas Keuchel, SP, Astros

Current Valuation: $20.6M

After back to back elite seasons in 2014-15, Keuchel has yet put together a full, electric year since. With that said, he’s held a sub-3 ERA 3 times in the past 4 years, with a 1.1 WHIP and nearly 8 Ks per 9 innings in that span. The 30-year old has ace stuff when healthy, & might prove too rich for Houston going forward.

Honorable Mention: Clayton Kershaw (opt-out, Dodgers, 31), David Price (opt-out, Red Sox, 33), Drew Pomeranz (Red Sox, 29), Patrick Corbin (Diamondbacks, 28)

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Andrew Miller, RP, Indians

Current Valuation: $17.9M

Now 32, Miller and his versatile set of weapons continues to be one of the most “un-hittable” options in the middle of a game. Miller is tough to evaluate, as he averages over an inning per outing, nearly 2Ks per outing, a 1.45 ERA, and 0.75 WHIP per outing over the past 2 seasons. Unthinkable numbers, nearly 25% better than any of the recently signed closers. This places his calculated value at a whopping $18M, a ridiculous number for a middle reliever - but proof that it will cost plenty to bring him into your clubhouse next December. The $15M mark is a more likely ceiling.

Honorable Mention: David Robertson (NYY, 32), A.J. Ramos (Mets, 31), Greg Holland (Cardinals, 32)

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Craig Kimbrel, CL, Red Sox

Current Valuation: $16.5M

The closer market is deep next offseason, but at just 29 years of age and still remarkable consistent in terms of production, Kimbrel gets the slight edge as the best available. He averaged 1.8 Ks per inning in 2017, while posting 35 saves, a 1.43 ERA, and a ridiculous 0.68 WHIP. It’s tough to imagine Boston letting him walk, but the payday will be lucrative.

Honorable Mention: Zach Britton (Orioles, 30), Cody Allen (Indians, 29), Jeurys Familia (Mets, 28), Kelvin Herrera (Royals, 28)

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Yasmani Grandal, C, Dodgers

Current Valuation: $9M

He’s gotten increasingly better in each of the past 4 seasons, sacrificing a bit of power production last year, for a raised average (.250). The 29-year-old could be a hit-a-game candidate for the next few seasons, and should be seeking a big of a jump up from his near $8M salary in 2018.

Honorable Mention: Jonathan Lucroy (Athletics, 31), Martin Maldonado (Angels, 31)

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Joe Mauer, 1B, Twins

Current Valuation: $13.2M

Mauer had a really nice bounce-back season in 2017, pumping out 160 hits, 36 doubles, 71 RBIs, an average north of .300 and an OPS north of .800. At 34, teams won’t be chomping at the bit to sign him to a multi-year blockbuster, but his recent numbers do put him in position to cash in a bit.

Honorable Mention: Lucas Duda (Royals, 32), Adrian Gonzalez (NYM, 35)

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Brian Dozier, 2B, Twins

Current Valuation: $20.2M

His past two year averages (166 hits, 32 doubles, 38 homers, 96 RBIs, and an .871 OPS) make him a legitimate Top 3 free agent. Toss in that he’s only 30, and plays a middle-infield position, and he’ll draw plenty of interest should Minnesota be priced out.

Honorable Mention: D.J. LeMahieu (Rockies, 29), Daniel Murphy (Nationals, 33),  Eduardo Nunez (opt-out, Red Sox, 31), Josh Harrison (opt-out, Pirates, 31)

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Manny Machado, SS, Orioles

Current Valuation: $26M

The 25-year-old had a less efficient 2017 (.259 average, .782 OPS), but the production (163 hits, 33 doubles, 33 homers, 95 RBIs) was still plenty. He’ll hit free agency in the prime of his career, and it’s perfectly possible offers at the $30M per year mark are in his future.

Honorable Mention: Freddy Galvis (Padres, 28), Jordy Mercer (Pirates, 31), Adeiny Hechavarria (Rays, 28)

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Josh Donaldson, 3B, Blue Jays

Current Valuation: $27.1M

Yes he’s 32, yes he’s coming off a 2017 injury, but Donaldson has proven to be consistently durable, and overly productive in 6+ seasons with Oakland and Toronto. His $23M salary in 2018 to avoid arbitration is just a foundation for what may come. He’ll fall into Brian Dozier’s tier this winter.

Honorable Mention: Mike Moustakas (opt-out, Royals, 30), Pablo Sandoval (Giants, 31), Chase Headley (Padres, 33), Adrian Beltre (Rangers, 38)

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Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals

Current Valuation: $31M

Many say $400M. Many say the Yankees. It’s tough to see either happening at this point quite honestly. It should go without question that Harper (25), is in prime position to reset the batter’s pay market. But with up and down production, over the past 3 seasons, his calculated value is on par with Miggy Cabrera’s current $31M AAV.

Furthermore, no player is interested in being locked in to a 10-year contract anymore, so it’s fair to expect that a 10 year, $400M contract may be “signed”, but that Harper will have the ability to opt out after 4-5 years, $175M-$200M. Plenty to keep an eye on here over the next few months.

Honorable Mention: A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks, 30), Marwin Gonzalez, Astros, 29), Andrew McCutchen (Giants, 31), Adam Jones (Orioles, 32)

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