The ZiPS projections used to determine the WAR forecast has Betts pegged for 34.3 WAR over the next five years. That average of 6.8 WAR per year seems conservative but reasonable. He will blow by that figure this year but projections have to take into account the potential for a down season like the one Betts had last year when he produced 5.4 WAR.
Among players FanGraphs ranks in their top 10, only Trout (44.5) and Lindor (34.8) have a higher five-year WAR projection than Betts. Trout is the best player in baseball and would top the list if it were based on expected production alone. Lindor barely edges out Betts in this forecast, although it’s fair to question the projections.
Betts has been worth 18.5 WAR over the last three seasons, or 6.2 WAR per year. Lindor has been worth 15.5 WAR over the last three years for an average of 5.2 WAR. Betts has been worth almost one full win more than Lindor this season. While Lindor is a year younger, both players will be in their prime for the duration of this five-year projection. It’s hard to fathom how Lindor ended up ahead.
Trout is the only position player to produce more value than Betts over the last three years. Going based on average, Judge comes in second behind Trout with 8.2 WAR in last year’s rookie campaign. The small sample works in Judge’s favor. The long-term projections do not. His 28.2 five-year WAR projection is the lowest among those in the top-six on the Trade Value list, yet FanGraphs ranks him third overall.