In May, mlbtraderumors.com ranked the top MLB free agents who were set to be free agents in the offseason. Based on their seasons, their stocks have gone up and down. I provided what MLBTR originally wrote, along with my current top 5 based on their season and careers
1. Justin Upton. San Diego agrees with Upton, who is on pace for 40 home runs this season. He could surpass his career high of 31 right around his 28th birthday, which is in late August. Oddly, the Padres left fielder has done all his damage so far at Petco Park. Upton will be 3-4 years younger than Robinson Cano and Albert Pujols were when they reached free agency, and he has a chance to top their $240MM contracts.
2. David Price. Price’s ERA at last check-in was 0.40, so it had nowhere to go but up. He’s now at a more mortal 3.40, 22nd among American League qualifiers. It’s probably just an eight-start blip on the radar, but Price’s strikeout and groundball rates are down this year and he’s allowed more than a hit per inning.
3. Johnny Cueto. Is Cueto a better pitcher than Price right now? I’m considering the possibility more seriously. Cueto, who is six months younger than Price, leads all of baseball with 7.23 innings per start. Last year, only Price bettered Cueto’s regular season total of 243 2/3 frames. Cueto is more than a workhorse, though, as he has a 3.03 ERA on the season. He stands a decent chance of being traded by the Reds this summer, making him ineligible for a qualifying offer.
4. Jason Heyward. Heyward is settling in with the Cardinals, batting .273/.343/.398 since we last checked in. That’s in line with his last couple of seasons, but another 10-15 home run campaign isn’t going to get him a monster contract. Just 26 in August, Heyward’s youth and defensive value should still result in a deal worth well over $100MM.
5. Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann has shined in the five starts since our last update, bringing his ERA down to 3.66. His skills in this quarter season have faded considerably from last year, though, as his 15.2% strikeout rate would represent a career worst. Again: it’s just eight starts. But a good $50MM hangs in the balance for Zimmermann.
All of that is in the exact words of mlbtraderumors.com
In my opinion, the top 5 looks different right now
1. Zack Grienke– In my opinion, Grienke should win the NL Cy Young award. He leads the majors in ERA with an outstanding 1.68, he also has the NL’s second best record of 18-6. He does not have as many strikeouts as some others, but he still will strike the 200 mark.
2. David Price- Price leads the AL in ERA with a 2.45. His record is slightly better than Grienke’s, as he is 18-5. He does have more strikeouts than Grienke as he comes in at 225.
3. Yoenis Cespedes– Cespedes appears to be one of the front-runners for NL MVP. Despite being a Met for just a few months, he has put up some great numbers on the season. He is currently batting .295. He has 35 homers as well as 105 RBIs, which are all among the league leaders
4. Jordan Zimmerman – A 13-9 record with an ERA in the mid 3s may sound good, but he is capable of much better. He will have a sub-200 k season, but i believe he is capable of striking out 200.
5. Justin Upton– Upton should get over $100 Million this offseason. He has hit close to 30 home runs for the past few seasons, while constantly having over 100 RBIs. The average is nothing to brag about, but it is no doubt that he will make a great middle-of-the-order-bat for any lineup.