The third article in this series we'll look at a couple Royal infielders. First as always refresh yourself with the rules, guidelines, and formulas which you can find here.
Max FA date: 2018
Total money owed: $19.2M ('15 $5.2M, '16 $6.5M, '17 7.5M)
3 year fWAR average: 0.53
2015 Steamer: 2.4 fWAR
Steamer thinks Hosmer is a slightly above average player next year, which for the projected $5.2M he'll be paid creates surplus. $5M doesn't buy you much anymore it seems (Aaron Harang just signed for near that amount). Since Hosmer hasn't destroyed the league like he was once projected to do given his prospect ranking, he won't have a high baseline for future arbitration raises (which is a good thing for the Royals). Maybe I was conservative in his total money owed by only giving him a million dollar raise. Even if you give him more, $7-9M is close to the cost of 1 win so and anything in excess is surplus.
The question here is how to project Hosmer in 2016 and 2017. Steamer sees a bounce back from him and returns his hitting to his career year of 2013 (120 wRC+ in 2013, 119 wRC+ for 2015). With a little love from the defensive and baserunning metrics, Hosmer could return to his 2013 3 win season, something that would go a long way in helping the 2015 Royals.
Hosmer is still pretty young at just 25 so his theoretical peak years are coming soon, but he also has a checkered past with a truly miserable 2012 and two replacement level years. If Steamer is right about 2015 then it would be only his second year where he was really above replacement level or so. Pecota has Hosmer (pre-2014 season of course) as about a 2-3 win player for the next couple years. I think 3 might be a little high given his volatility so I'm going to put him as a 2-win player in 2016 and 2017 (which would actually be some regression off of Steamers 2015 projection). There's nothing necessarily in his past numbers that suggest a breakout per say, but he was a once vaunted prospect and had a very successful age 23 season which bodes well for future success.
Wins: 6.4 fWAR
Dollar Value: $62.91M
Total money owed: $19.2M
Total Surplus: $43.71M
I'm a little torn by that surplus amount. Under my system here $43M is one 55/60 OFP prospect and some change or two 50 OFP guys. I think Hosmer could get more on name value and age than one 55/60 OFP guys (which is a 50-75ish range top-100 prospect).
Possible fit: New York Yankees
Luis Severino SP: 60 OFP
Gary Sanchez 1B/C: 55/60 OFP
Aaron Judge OF: 55/60 OFP
Rob Refsynder 2B/OF: 50 OFP
Ian Clarkin SP: 50 OFP
Jorge Mateo SS: 45 OFP
Eric Jagielo: 45 OFP
Greg Bird 1B: 45 OFP
Jacob Lindgren RP: 45 OFP
Leo Molina OF: 45 OFP
Luis Torrens C: 45 OFP
We can rule out Severino I think as the Yankees really like him (as they should) and he's fairly close to a starting job in New York. Sanchez is probably off the list as well as they still seemingly see him as a catcher. He could also team as a 1B/DH pair with Hosmer (likely with Hosmer as the 1B split).
This was a tricky one. Hosmer isn't a large replacement above most guys teams have manning 1B for 2015, and some teams who could use an intermediate term improvement aren't likely to compete in 2015 (like the Rockies). I went with the Yankees here. They are always in competition mode. Currently they have an aging Mark Teixeira who's had health and production issues recently. 2016 will be his final year in the 8-year $180M deal he signed (which by the way was especially a lot when he signed it in 2008). It's not a perfect fit (it rarely ever is) and maybe the Marlins or Phillies or Brewers would be a match instead. One thing of course is that Hosmer could see a large spike in power if he got 300 PA's in Yankee Stadium.
HR Park Factor as a lefty:
Aaron Judge $38.5M
Ty Hensley $12.55M
Judge profiles as a future everyday rightfielder with the ability to hit 25-30 home runs (in Yankee Stadium at least). I don't think the batting average will touch above .270 or so consistently but it won't need to with his power. For a guy his size and with his raw power you'd expect high-K's/low-BB and that was partially true. He struck out at a 20%+ in both A and A+ this year, but he coupled that with a 14% and 17.5% BB% in A/A+, which I believe would have lead both leagues if he would have qualified (had ~280 PA in both). The defense isn't going to be a card he'll rely on and grades as average on a very good day, but in the box is what teams are going to care about.
Hensley was a former first round pick with some injury history right out of the draft and more recently as this year. His first issue was his shoulder coming out of high school and this past season a hip impingement in both hips I believe has set him back. Drafted in 2012, Hensley has pitched about 40 innings in his entire professional career with more than half of them coming in 2014. He's your prototypical lottery ticket as an oft-injured player with a high pedigree. Now if only he were a Latin American, it would be even more perfect.
More realistic possible trade:
Aaron Judge: $38.5M
Rob Refsnyder: $20.8M
Ty Hensley $12.55M
Same trade as above but with Refsnyder now included. As previously mentioned I think Hosmer can get another good prospect based off his name factor, age, pedigree etc...
I've profiled Refsnyder previously on these digital pages but in a nutshell he's a strong contact hitter with some power that is near or is currently major league ready, but does not necessarily offer star level upside, but more so roughly a major league average equivalent player.
Max FA date: 2018
Total money owed: $13.1M ('15 $2.7M, '16 $4.2M, '17 $6.2M)
3 year fWAR average: 1.7
I'm not sure I expected Moustakas to have a better 3 year average than Hosmer, but Moose has avoided terrible seasons (like Hosmer's 2012) and third base vs first base is also a thing that allow an okay-ish player more leeway to be just okay or bad. Would it surprise you to know that since 2012, Moustakas, Jay Bruce, Adsrubal Cabrera, Pedro Alveraz, and Carlos Beltran have provided the same value in roughly the same amount of plate appearances. I think most of us might have ranked Moustakas in the bottom of those players if asked to rank them, but of course that would be a trick question really because they've all been roughly equal.
Dollar value: $56M
Total money owed: $13.1M
Total surplus: $42.9M
I think that's pretty fair there. Like Hosmer, Moustakas carries name value, but it's hard to squint and think Moustakas could hit better really than he has given his past. At least with Hosmer you've got at least one season (two actually) with an above league average batting line and Hosmer has a career 104 wRC+. Moose on the other hand has a career 82 wRC+ with his best offensive season coming in 2012 with a paltry 90 wRC+, which would be good if Moustakas played about 30 feet to his left defensively every game.
What Moustakas does bring is an at least average glove at 3B. A glove that seemingly passes the eye test and has been liked by defensive metrics so far. Since 2012, Moustakas has been the 3rd best third baseman in baseball by Fielding Runs Above Average + positional adjustment (aka Def).
Now a trade for Moustakas means that the acquiring club values defense over offense in some manner at third and that they buy into the defensive metrics. I think the latter is much more possible than the former. Players like Nick Punto, Placido Polanco, and Juan Uribe to an extent have carved out sizeable playing time due to their defense first reputations.
Possible Fit: Detroit Tigers
Derek Hill OF: 55/60 OFP
Steven Moya OF: 50 OFP
Austin Kubitza SP/RP: 50 OFP
Kevin Ziomek SP: 40/45 OFP
Buck Farmer SP: 40/45 OFP
Hernan Perez 2B: 40/45 OFP
Domingo Leyba SS/2B: 40/45 OFP
James McCann C: 40/45 OFP
Tyler Collins OF: 40/45 OFP
The Padres, White Sox or Giants were my first thought. For San Francisco, AT&T Park is a death sentence for left handed power. San Diego recently traded for Will Middlebrooks and one can assume they envision him at third base. Moustakas and Middlebrooks would make a great platoon duo at 3B as each one hits a different handiness better. Of course though, Moustakas' best split is an 89 wRC+ vs righties so we can put that baby to bed immediately. For Chicago, US Cellular plays up left handed home runs a bit (106 park factor) but they already have a probable incumbent Matt Davidson with Connor Gillaspie behind him.
Detroit was next on my list and this involves two caveats: First, we have to assume KC is okay with an intra-division trade (something they should be) and since we are suspending mostly all practical belief in this exercise anyways, let's assume they are. Second, current 3B Nick Castellanos would need to move to the outfield on a full time basis. Castellanos has hit poorly through his career like Moustakas. Unlike Moustakas though, who's career has been buoyed by good defense, Castellanos is what one might call a butcher at third base defensively. Meanwhile Nick has had a sizeable amount of experience in the outfield and could be a better third outfielder out there than the current options of Anthony Gose, Rajai Davis, Tyler Collins, and Steven Moya.
Austin Kubitza: $20.8M
Domingo Leyba: $12.55M
Random low-40 OFP prospect: $5M
A lackluster package here, but the Tigers don't have a great farm to begin with and we can eliminate Derek Hill and Steven Moya.
The "headliner" of the package was between Ziomek and Kubitza with Kubitza getting the nod since he's the lesser prospect in a way. If we are looking at both of those guys being starters then Ziomek has the edge, even despite profiling as more of a back-end guy. If instead we compare Ziomek as a starter vs Kubitza as a reliever then it's a closer race, but I'll still take Ziomek.
Kubitza profiles as a reliever long term with his low-90's fastball and plus slider. His changeup is well below average which makes him more of a two-pitch finesse righty with a clear put away pitch slider. A pitch he dominated the college ranks with at Rice University.
Leyba isn't a flashy prospect by any means. He doesn't have the speed to stay at SS (where he spent some time in 2014), and there's little power in the profile. Leyba's positives are a strong all fields approach which he sprays line drives due to his solid hit tool and propensity for contact with his approach. He's a lottery ticket you could hope one day hit .280/.330/.400 in the vein of Howie Kendrick-lite due to his plate discipline profile.
Maybe if another organization with a stronger farm system was in the mix for Moustakas then perhaps the Royals could reap a better package, but given his struggles to hit I'm not sure how much better you could do.