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Ranking the trade chips, vol. V

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Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Maybe we’ll start seeing more action after the All-Star Break? In any case, we’re back with another look at what the Giants have to offer on the trade market. Here are the previous rankings:

Vol. I
Vol. II
Vol. III
Vol. IV

A reminder of “the rules”:

  • Don’t assume the Giants will pay down a player’s salary.
  • Don’t assume a player will waive his no-trade clause.
  • Players not on the 25-man roster could absolutely be traded, but ranking them is harder to define.
  • The Giants will only move him for a deal that upgrades some other area of the organization.

I’ve added two new points to the criteria list this week. They’ve already been in my head while doing these, but I haven’t made them explicit, I don’t think, except with maybe some generalized notion within each player’s blurb.

  • Player is more likely to be moved than player(s) ranked beneath him.
  • Player is either more or less likely to be moved than player(s) ranked beneath him but more likely to bring back a greater prospect return.

And on this last point, I’m making the return part a little more explicit. This is just what I’m thinking. Feel free to disagree.

I’ve worked out what I think Will Smith and Madison Bumgarner might bring back in separate trades, and in those specific cases, context will no doubt influence the final result. Absent context and just going on what’s on paper, these two are probably not going to bring back anything more than two or three Double-A players each. Put it another way: on the scouting scale, players currently rated with 40-45 Overall value.

That value is subject to change over the course of a season as new data comes in and prospects develop, but right now, they’re what the scouts project that player to be when/if he makes it to the major leagues. For reference:

Players are graded on a 20-80 scale: 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. When discussing prospects, the most important number is the future overall grade, an all-encompassing number on the 20-80 scale that signifies what each player is projected to ultimately be in the big leagues.

And for context:

Joey Bart = 55 Overall
Heliot Ramos = 55 Overall
Chris Shaw = 45 Overall
Aramis Garcia = 40 Overall

Thirteen of the current prospects on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 ranking for the Giants have that 40 Overall value. By comparison, the Dodgers have just six, the Yankees just five, and the Padres have zero (all have at least a 45 Overall or better).

  • So, this list, officially, can be boiled down to two things: which player can bring back the greatest return of 45 Overall prospects and which player is most likely to be moved.

Spoiler: the top five remains unchanged from last week —

  1. Will Smith
  2. Madison Bumgarner
  3. Tony Watson
  4. Sam Dyson
  5. Reyes Moronta

— because I think it’s self-evident that this is the best of the bunch. Why Watson third when Dyson and Moronta have had more value, wins above replacement-wise?

I think an experience lefty reliever is more likely to be moved before either of those guys. Yes, a team might be more interested in Moronta, but it seems like the Giants would be more inclined to keep him since he’s still pre-arbitration. Dyson has another year of arbitration to go and Watson’s a free agent after this year (assuming he doesn’t use his player option), but Watson leaps over him in this ranking because, again, I think an experienced lefty is more likely to be traded for. In the case of any of these three relievers, the return would be about the same: 1-2 45 Overall-types.

That’s basically same for the rest of the list, too.

10. Kevin Pillar

Last week: unranked

Pillar is the team leader in home runs, RBI, and batting average, which is not great for the Giants, really, but could make him a somewhat interesting addition for a team. He’s almost the perfect August trade waiver candidate. Too bad those are gone now.

Since June 1st, he’s hitting .310/.328/.575 (.903 OPS) with 6 HR and 22 RBI. For the season, he’s been just a hair above average as an outfielder, playing much better in RF (+3 DRS) than CF (-1 DRS). On the year, he has also been decent against fastballs 95 mph+ (10-for-43), which is good enough for 125th in baseball. Cody Bellinger, for comparison, is 13-for-46, so, Pillar is hanging in there with the big bats in a category that’s most important come the postseason.

9. Stephen Vogt

Last week: #8

Vogt’s an average all around player to the point that a steady backup catcher with average contact, speed, and base running ability should have value to a contender. Like Pillar, it might come in a situation where a primary or crucial backup gets injured. More likely, a savvy team will see an opportunity to upgrade a spot in the 21-25 slots on the active roster, and both Vogt and Pillar would be solid improvements.

8. Joe Panik

Last week: #7

Still the best defensive second baseman in baseball (for the moment), still decent bat control (top 3% in strikeout rate, 9.9% walk rate). Regrettably, his 25.3% hard hit rate is well below league average (34.3%). Still, as an injury replacement or depth add, he can still be a useful player for a contending team.

7. Trevor Gott

Last week: #6

The past week has sort of returned Gott to Earth. He was out-trending his xFIP (basically, the expected ERA based on the quality of contact) for most of the year (around 4) with a sub-3 ERA, but now he’s much more around what’s been projected and much more in line with an average reliever: 3.93 ERA / 3.24 FIP / 4.09 xFIP.

His 0.5 fWAR still puts him near the top of the Giants’ accomplishment chart, but his skill set and projected performance don’t necessarily put him in the upper echelon of league relief pitching, but for cash-constrained teams in need of bullpen help, someone young and controllable like Gott might still be valuable.

6. Brandon Belt

Last week: #10

Who led all of Major League Baseball in walks drawn for the month of June? This guy. Belt had 24 walks in 106 plate appearances, which also gave him a league-leading 22.6% walk rate. He also had just a 16% strikeout rate. On the other hand, just a 103 wRC+, meaning he was just 3% better than league average for a calendar month.

His June slash line of .213/.387/.338 was also lower than his season line: .234/.362/.421. And we know about the knee. So, walky line, balky knee, hefty contract, and no trade clause could conspire to keep him a Giant for life (or, at least through this season), but his strike zone control is so strong that but for the knee, he would be great is a great tease for a team in desperate need of offense and a fun yet dopey clubhouse personality.