Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts was ranked only sixth by FanGraphs in their latest Trade Value column. Should he be higher on the list?
You would be hard-pressed to find any one major league player that Boston Red Sox fans would be willing to part with Mookie Betts for. Apparently, not everyone agrees.
FanGraphs released their annual Trade Value column this week, which surprisingly lists Betts outside the top-five. Boston’s star outfielder ranks No. 6, behind Carlos Correa, Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Francisco Lindor, and Jose Ramirez.
Wait, so there’s a handful of players better than Betts? Well, not exactly. FanGraphs currently has Betts tied with Trout with 6.4 WAR this season, trailing only Ramirez (6.7 WAR). Mookie leads the majors with a 199 wRC+ and .466 wOBA. He also provides Gold Glove defense and elite base running. Betts is having an MVP-caliber season yet that’s not all that is factored into trade value.
The list FanGraphs compiled is based primarily on five-year WAR projections, salary and remaining years of team control. Contracts matter. Two players could be producing equally on the field yet if one costs half as much then he has more trade value.
Years of control matter. Manny Machado is tied for 8th in the majors with 4.0 WAR but doesn’t sniff the top-10 on this list. Why? He’s a free agent after this season. That’s why the Los Angeles Dodgers managed to acquire him for a package that didn’t include a top-50 prospect. Teams are starting to realize that if they want to cash in for a bounty on the trade market they can’t wait until their star becomes a three-month rental.
Now that we’ve established the ground rules, let’s see if FanGraphs has Betts ranked fairly.