TOP FREE AGENTS BY POSITION
This ranking is using a similar ranking system to what was done at the beginning of the season, just to capture the free agents.
After Chico Duran, the talent available in free agency drops significantly. If Duran does not resign with his current team, then you could see a serious bidding war emerge because of his abilities. Beyond him, you get a bunch of role players, who will solidify the catcher position, but not dominate it like Duran has the potential to.
1. Chico Duran - Finished 4th in the overall world rankings for catchers and 23rd in the hitter rankings, Duran is a very good player who will give a team as many at-bats as they need behind the plate. He would be an ideal player to pair with a great defensive catcher. Chico recorded a 13-game hitting streak. Owner dgtrache had this to say about Duran, “Chico Duran had another great year behind the plate for the Cougars, blasting 28 home runs and driving in 91. Duran looks to continue for another few years, but might benefit from a move to DH, with a role as the back-up catcher, where with is durability, he could likely play all 162 games.”
2. Jonathan Maduro - Maduro finished 22nd in the overall world rankings for catchers, but he is still a solid player. Can work a walk, hit righties and lefties, and still catch in about 70% of a team’s games. Jonathan recorded an 18-game hitting streak which was tops for catchers in the NCAA world and tied for 7th longest in the world. Can help a team looking to bridge the gap to a young catcher. Owner mh17 said Maduro was “a team leader and great OBP guy, Maduro is a clutch hitter and dependable run producer with 2 outs. His career numbers could easily be better on a more offensive oriented team”
3. Robert Kelley - Kelley comes in just behind Maduro in the top available catchers entering free agency. What Kelley lacks in durability and catching skills, he more than makes up for it with a solid ability to hit. Won’t give you too many more games than the 100 he put in during Season 9, but that should be enough to help a team get over the hump or to spell a young catcher with questionable durability himself. “We haven't ruled out bringing Robert Kelley back,” owner drichar138 said, “I felt like we were fortunate to get him in here on a one year deal for the price we did this season and his performance has been what we expected. Of course the big question mark going forward will be his durability more than his ability to perform.”
One of the strongest positional groups in the world, this group is a middle of the road free agent group. One all-star appearance among the top 3 players. This group has no star power, but is definitely able to help a team with their talent.
1. Bubbles Haynes - A good player in the strongest group of players in NCAA, Haynes nonetheless leads a middling field of free agents into the offseason. Haynes will hit for average and power and induce a fair amount of walks. While he won’t win a gold glove, he should be good enough to start for most teams at first base. Could be a very good stopgap to bridge the generations. Owner miggyt4 had this to say about Haynes…”Bubbles was a midseason pickup in Season 8 to boost my poor performing offense and he did exactly that, boost my offense. I'm not a huge fan of players over 30 however I decided to resign him for $900,000 for Season 9 and he was the anchor in my lineup. The only player to reach 100 RBIs he was a force in my lineup. I thought about resigning him but like I said, I'm not a huge fan of players over 30 and he's asking 4.8 million for 2 years.”
2. Otto Cosby - Otto is a solid player but does not have the durability a team will look for to build around. If you’re happy with 450-500 really good ABs, and a .400+ OBP, this guy is the man you want. Won’t hit for a tremendous amount of power as his career-high in homers is 33 (in 693 plate appearances). At 35 with a great makeup, he provides great clubhouse leadership and could definitely hold down the #2 slot on a lot of teams. Ajwalton says, “Otto provided a solid bat off the bench and was well worth the 1.3M. I have age concerns, otherwise he would have been resigned.”
3. Sid Jordan - Sid still has the power, contact, and eye to compete for a spot on a team. He’s the 24th best first baseman in the league and only appeared in 46 games last season, due largely to the first guy on this list. Finished the season at Little Rock’s AAA affiliate, where he hit .375 in 8 ABs and 3 games. He could definitely help a team who has a weakness at first base. Great durability means he doesn’t need days off. “I signed him thinking he was going to be my answer at first base.” Miggyt4 said, “boy was I wrong. Sid never really performed at the level I expected him to. He has decent ratings but his average and OBP never reflected what I expected. He was demoted in Season 9 to make way for Grant Dickerson at the DH position. I'm happy to see Sid go along with his 6 million dollar a year contract.”
The weakest group of position players in free agency also just happens to be the second weakest in the world. Despite that, there is some real talent available. Looking for defense, it’s here…offense as well. No superstars, but these guys can definitely contribute to a winning team.
1. Oscar Purcell - A good but not great player, Purcell set career highs in home runs, OBP, and walks in season 9. A weaker than average arm leads him to struggle with turning two and plays up the middle, but his offense is solid enough to make up for that weakness. He has a great eye and makes enough contact to provide help at the top of the order for a team. He did show his versatility with 13 starts at 3rd, 4 starts each in CF and LF, 21 starts in right, and 11 at DH. Also appeared in one game at catcher. Owner lefty32 could not be reached for comment.
2. Tracy Nen - Due to Seattle having the market cornered on 2nd basemen, Nen spent most of this time in right field. His numbers aren’t great, which are the product of not excelling against righties or lefties. Decent eye, great power and good contact should allow this player to perform well and justify his use at any position. Owner lefty32 was not available as of press time.
3. Jung Lee - Jung stole 37 bases in 45 tries while tying a career high with 35 doubles. Has tremendous range that led to a range factor of 4.68. He is probably more of a 7-hole hitter as his eye will lead him to struggle getting on base, as evidenced by his career OBP of .337. His other skills translate to a good lead-off hitter with the exception of his eye. Could really help a team with their depth and versatility. Lee “pretty valuable, especially for someone without outstanding 2B defensive attributes only 9 errors all season (.986), and no plus plays ... .299 BA in 142 games with nearly 600 official ABs (on-base .355 isn't terrible and only 79 Ks) ... 37 for 45 SB ... his ratings have declined each of his last couple Spring Trainings, so I'm torn on whether to resign him,” said owner tdvy31.
A weak group, there’s not a single impact player entering free agency at this time. You’ve got some specialty talent available, but if you’re looking for a guy to come in and get you over the top…this is not the position to target.
1. Terrence Washington - Washington is a veteran presence who brings a solid glove, along with the ability to work the count and hit against all pitchers. He’s not going to set the world aflame, and at his age it remains to be seen how much his abilities deteriorate over the off-season, but suffice to say, he is the clear leader of a weak group of free agents. When asked about what Washington meant to his team, jarazix responded,” Nowhere near as much as I hoped. A decent bat and excellent 3rd base play.”
2. Delino Marquez - Saw limited playing time, but produced decent numbers despite this limitation. Could be a perfect platoon player against righties. With limited range and arm strength, may be best suited to be someone’s top PH against righties. Owner hitman1979 summed up his feelings on Marquez by saying, “Delino plugged up a hole for us, but there was still a leak.”
3. Stu Ford - Is going to hit about 20-30 home runs a season, while giving you an average and on-base percentage around what he produced. He can hold his own defensively. He’s the least likely to drop off over the off-season, so he may actually be the best value out of this free agent group. Owner meteu40 said, “He played far under what his salary would dictate, but was not a complete waste of money. Needless to say, I'll not be resigning him for next season, unless his price comes way down.”
Another relatively weak group, there is no superstar setting the market, just some role players who will help a team out, but not push them over the hump.
1. Yorvit Castilla - Castilla saw limited playing time due to being stuck behind one of the better defensive shortstops in the league. Has the durability and fielding ability to help solidify a team’s shortstop position. Won’t provide much offense, but definitely could compete for a gold glove. Hitman1979 said, “Castilla was expendable because of Jacob Belle at SS. He was decent as a rather expensive defensive replacement at positions other than SS, though his bat didn't warrant much playing time.”
2. Howard Smith - Smith saw a fair amount of playing time and committed 12 errors in 108 games at SS. He’s a good defender who appears to be better off bringing a tennis racket to the plate in place of a bat. With enough innings, his glove could earn him a gold glove, but it is difficult to justify him starting at SS with that bat.
3. Carlos Park - His offense doesn’t come close to justifying the atrocious defense he provides. No range, no arm strength…if he can get to the ball, he’ll make the throw on target, yet he still committed 16 errors and 11 minus plays in only 123 games at SS. Could be a prime candidate to make the move to second or third base on a team.
This is the second best group of free agents available this season. There’s something for everyone here. Bashers who’ll anchor a lineup, leadoff type guys, defensive players…they’re all here. The top two players are two of the best free agents on the market and are nearly interchangeable.
1. Dernell Cameron - A devastating power hitter who recovered nicely from a down season in Season 8 to have a very good Season 9. The only concern is his ability to hit lefties…that’s off-set by his pure ability to pound righties into submission.
2. David Cordero - Another really good player who had another good season. Cordero won’t hit for a great average, but will always hit for power. The only real concern here is his ability to hit lefties. He will steal the occasional base as he has 111 for his career.
3. Aaron Downing - The best of the rest, Downing doesn’t have the ability to carry a team offensively with power like his peers, but he can rake with the best of them. His comparable lack of power hurts him in this ranking, but he has never hit below .275 or stolen fewer than 27 bases in a season. Can give you a very good leadoff or number two hitter to put in front of your boppers. Could be a missing piece for a contender.
Although their stats don’t speak to it, this is the best free agent position in this class, centerfield is characterized by its lack of depth. There are only 7 available free agents, and you can argue that 3 of them are really just outfielders, not centerfielders. That said, this is a strong group overall and can really help a team out.
1. Jolbert Rosado - Rosado is more useful for his defense than any particular aspect of his offense. Has the ability to hit .275 with 20-25 home runs on occasion, but his ability to hit righties really diminishes his value. Has put up some really good seasons, but those seem to aberrations. His defense makes it worthwhile to put up with his offensive struggles.
2. Rex Allen - Rex was a 20/20 guy this season (25HR; 23SB) but is an example of the lack of centerfielders available in free agency. A defensive liability in centerfield, he had 9 errors and 11 minus plays during the season. He’s a prime candidate for a move to a corner outfield spot where he could likely compete for a gold glove. He has the ability to have a couple really good offensive seasons before his career is over. Owner hurricane384 said, “Allen plugged a hole in centerfield and while the defense wasn’t great, it was more than what was expected on the offensive end. We haven’t ruled out bringing him back, but want to wait on the youngsters who were not ready last season to see if they are ready in season 10.”
3. James Lee - Lee is a defensive dynamo, able to make some very good plays and immediately compete for the gold glove in centerfield. Doesn’t have much power, but can definitely hit for a decent average. It did appear that he picked the wrong season to have a down season. Should steal about 20 bases a year as well.
Not much to write home about in this group, although there are some good players, nobody is going to win an MVP. They can definitely help a team, but as a role player, not the star of the team though.
1. Cal Riggan - Clearly a good player, Riggan is the best of this group. Will make right-handed pitchers wet themselves while working the count and walking quite a bit. Has solid power and a good ability to make contact. What you see is about what you can expect to get with him, although he followed up a 25-steal season in season 8 with a 0-steal season in 9.
2. Joe Campbell - Season 6’s gold glove right fielder has the potential to be a perennial gold glover with solid defensive ratings. He is no slouch at the plate either as he can hit for power with the best of the league. Lefties quiver in fear as he strides to the plate and he’s not an easy out against righties either. Low durability limits his value.
3. Wes Thomas - Thomas has the ability to hit for power and average, although his OBP will typically be lower than what it was this past season. He will struggle against lefties, although he has great speed. Could steal 30 bases a year on speed alone. Decent on defense as well.
This is a solid group…not an ace amongst them though. They can provide help to a rotation and some value as long as they are not overpaid.
1. Pinky Matheson - Matheson definitely has the talent to be a middle of the rotation starter, the only question is whether he can physically give a team enough innings to be worth the money he can make this off-season. If a team is creative, he might be able to get 180 innings out of him. He should get his 100th win and 1,000th strikeout this season.
2. Jimmie Daniels - Daniels is a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. Definitely can get a team 200+ innings. Has a good array of pitches, and should be able to reproduce season 9’s numbers with relative ease. Daniels should be able to get his 1,400th strikeout this season. He will definitely help a team out who is looking to remedy a weak rotation. “Jimmie did an admirable job for the Herd since joining us early in the season,” hurricane384 said, “we are strongly considering bringing him back on a long-term deal, but we want to see how our youth progressed.”
3. Bob Elster - Elster started the season in the bullpen for Dover, but was traded to Cincinnati in time to make 7 starts for the Bearcats. A solid pitcher who will definitely be a starter somewhere next season, Elster should provide really good results for his new team. He’s still young and can give a team 180+ seasons out of the rotation.
There are some guys who have the talent to be all-star closers, but spent last season as set-up men. A team could definitely run these guys to the mound in the 9th without worrying about that inning.
1. Johan Ramsay - What’s really holding Ramsay back is his lack of stamina. Lucky to finish an inning and be ready for a game 2 days later, he has all the talent in the world, he is just unable to make full use of it.
2. Esteban Cedeno - Cedeno really struggled this season, yet was able to finish perfect in save opportunities. Has all the talent as well, but can’t pitch very many innings due to an unfortunate stamina/durability combination. He would be a lights-out closer saving 40+ games a season with a stamina of 10-15 points higher. He will help a team in limited appearances this season
3. Peter Ryan - The one-time top closer lost his job last season, but that doesn’t mean he lost his effectiveness. At age 38, it’s hard to tell when Father Time catches up to him. Provided Father Time isn’t too hard on him in the off-season, there’s a very real chance that a team could get a guy to put them over the hump as closer and could help him get to 250 saves in the process. “This guy lost his closer spot after one season of 40 saves, yet you never heard him complain. He performed whatever was asked of him. I just hope he can go to a team that will help get him his 250th save,” owner hurricane384 said.
TOP FREE AGENT HITTERS
1. Dernell Cameron (LF, NAS)
2. Chico Duran (C, CHR)
3. Bubbles Haynes (1B, LR)
4. David Cordero (LF, HEL)
5. Cal Riggans (RF, OAK)
6. Aaron Downing (LF, CHR)
7. Otto Cosby (1B, LAA)
8. Oscar Purcell (2B, SEA)
9. Napoleon Saunders (LF, NY2)
10. Tracy Nen (2B, SEA)