FREE AGENT RANKINGS
The free agent class this season is weak in comparison to the overall talent of the world. Only one star is available, while the very good players only total 8. The rest of free agency is pretty barren. Pitching is deeper than hitting this season, while the top 5 and 6 out of the 7 players are hitters. Once you get below the top 6 hitters, the talent level drops significantly. There is only one thing to say to teams looking for impact players in this free agency…good luck.
ML TALENT: B
FA TALENT: C
MLP TALENT: B-
FAP TALENT: C-
MLH TALENT: B
FAH TALENT: D
** (OVERALL GRADE OF TOP 70 FA; TOP 10 GRADE)**
HITTERS (D, B-)
1. Andres Tabaka - Tabaka may not realize that he’s supposed to call a game behind the plate, that’s what the coaches are for. They are glad to help as he is far from lost when he’s in the batter’s box. The premier free agent in this season’s class, he is also the only “Star” available this year. Makes great contact, hits with power, and can work a walk, he will dominate lefties. Good durability, he played in 145 games this season, catching in 141 of those. For those looking to jumpstart their offense, he could be a fit at C, 1B, or DH.
2. Javier Lucano - The #2 hitting free agent this season, Lucano split time between Anaheim and New York, he struggled with the east coast part of his season. One of a group of 3 similar players this season, he is the best of the group. Great durability and health means he rarely misses a game. Has decent speed but is only vaguely aware what order he needs to run the bases, he’s quoted as saying “I’m glad those guys are next to the bases telling me where to go all the time!” Will dominate righties, earn walks, hit for contact and power, and flail wildly against lefties. A good fit for a team looking for some offensive firepower. A great arm and decent range means he isn’t a liability in the field.
3. Hunter Sizemore - Sizemore sure picked the wrong season to have a down year. His contact, power and eye almost dictate he has to be in the lineup against righties, even though he’s not likely to solve their mysterious nature. Has a good arm and decent accuracy and could likely help someone who is looking for an offensive catcher, but they had better have exceptional pitching to put him behind the plate. Average durability means he won’t get into much more than 140-150 games no matter where you put him. Should rebound to hit in the .270s with 35+ home runs.
4. Ryan Laxton - The second catcher and 2nd of 4 New Yorkers to make the top 10 list, Laxton is held back by average durability. He is average on defense as a catcher, and is another example of someone whose power and eye make it necessary to have him in the lineup against righties, even given his deficiencies against them. Let’s talk his bat, He can hit home runs, destroy lefties, and work a walk, but righties will eat his lunch. Won’t strike out too much. Should hit between .240 & .270 each year, with around 25-30 home runs. Not a bad pickup if you need a catcher who isn’t a liability on defense, especially if you can get away with platooning him against righties.
5. Glen Theriot - A second baseman by trade, Theriot could help solidy a number of positions, as he has the range and arm to play 3rd as well as second…could help a team in the corner outfield spot without hurting the offensive production. Doesn’t do anything exceptional on offense, but he does a lot of things well. Can hit for power, contact, won’t hurt you against lefties or righties, can work the count as well as stretch singles into doubles and score from first when necessary. Had 23 steals in 33 attempts for a running team this season.
6. Wendell Matusz
7. Spike Dresden
8. Randy Gordon
9. Otto Sorrento
10. Mitch Harris
PITCHERS (C-, C+)
1. John Tomlinson - His ratings say he has the potential to be an ace, but his performance sure stuck. Should be able to eat lefties alive while not getting crushed by righties. He’s a groundball machine with a top-notch sinker and change-up. Great control means he won’t walk a lot. Should be able to start 32-35 games a season with his combination of great durability and above average stamina.
2. Dario Keefe - The top reliever on the market, Keefe could be a “save situation only” closer for a team. He has great control, and his ability to work them inside and out gives batters from either side of the plate fits. Won’t throw it by you, but he has a good fastball, and average curve and slider, so he can get some strikeouts. Average at inducing grounders. His poor durability and stamina combination could end up costing him some money in the marketplace.
3. Gerald Satou - Another good reliever available, Satou could possibly close for a team looking for help at the back-end of the rotation. With his durability and stamina, he could be a 2-inning closer, a 2-inning set-up guy, or a 1-inning super reliever. Should see between 70-100 games a season, with around 110 innings. Struggles with control at times and has an average fastball that can get on you quickly. A great screwball and the ability to force hitters into groundballs is what sets this guy apart. Can have slight issues against righties.
4. Chris Sowders - Another guy whose durability and stamina will concern his potential suitors in the marketplace. He has two great pitches, a 4-seamer and a change-up, and his cutter will get him hurt big-time, so being paired up with a good pitch-caller behind the plate would be advantageous. Great control and solid versus righties, he has trouble hitting the locations against lefties. Can induce important ground balls nearly at will. Should help a team looking for specialists at the back-end of the bullpen.
5. Mark Tomko - Another reliever on the list, Tomko has the combination of stamina and durability to be a real valuable asset to a team. Great control and a tremendous ability to coerce batters into hitting grounders offset his inability to consistently keep balls out of the hitting zone against righties. Doesn’t throw hard, but has an exceptional sinker, a very good cutter, and an average slider to keep batters off balance. Could do some real damage at the back end of a bullpen, working 70-100 games and 100-110 innings while keeping runners off the basepaths.
6. Jesus Hernandez
7. Omar Calvo
8. J.C. King
9. Victor Duran
10. Sherman Hernandez