20 Most Valuable Players in TKO - 2036
I did this like 10 seasons ago, so I figured I'd update it for the beginning of the 2036 season. For the newer guys, this isn't a list of the 20 best players in the league, but rather those that have the most trade value. Some of the things that could keep a great player off the list are age, contract status, eligibility for compensation, etc. Without further ado, here's the top 20.
Disclaimer - It's really hard to rank players in order, but I tried. If you're mad because your guy is 14th and you think he's better than the guy who's 12th, you're probably right, but it's essentially a crapshoot ranking a 26 year old 270 talent SP against a 24 year old 265 one.
Guys that just missed - STL SP Francisco Torres, KC RF Tim Ayers, CLE SP Whitt Bass, CHC SP Coy Woolard, PHI C Jimmy McNulty
20) Boston Red Sox SP Albert O'Neal
Albert O'Neal is one of the older players on this list, but has a track record of elite performance to back it up. After coming to Boston in a trade from Florida, O'Neal boosted across the board, and has since won 2 American League Cy Young awards.
19) Los Angeles Angels 2B Todd Burroughes
I think if you polled all 30 GM's in TKO, at least half would tell you Todd Burroughes is their favorite player in the league not on their team. In an era of 50 home run, high SLG stars, Burroughes is a throwback. The 27 year old middle infielder creates value with his high batting average and incredible speed, stealing 115 bases in each of his first three full seasons.
18) Washington Nationals SP David Franco
Franco is probably the biggest enigma on the list. With the talents to be the best pitcher in the game, Franco has been consistently very good, but yet to get to that true elite pitcher level. As he's only 27, he's still got some time. The most exciting thing about Franco? He's eligible to become a FA at the end of the season.
17) Boston Red Sox SP Pete Kacho
On a list filled with guys barely old enough to rent a car, Kacho is the old pillar of consistency. Pete, who was 2nd on my list ten seasons ago, is 29 and already accumulated 133 wins, representing the league's only threat to win 300 games, probably ever again.
16) Colorado Rockies 2B Li-zhu Zhen
Zhen, although admittedly a beneficiary of the Coors effect, is in my eyes the most valuable middle infielder in the game. His last three years have each produced 70 VORP, All-Star seasons, hitting over .340 in each of the three years.
15) Florida Marlins 2B Bartolo Perkins
I tried to stay away from putting prospects on this list that weren't essentially sure things to develop, but Perkins is the exception. Not even in the minors yet, Perkins is in elite company in terms of potential, and at 17, has Contact, Gap and Eye potential all over 100, along with ++ power. As OOTP would say, "it's easy to dream on this kid."
14) Baltimore Orioles SP Sandy Koufax
My personal favorite among the 20, Orioles SP Sandy Koufax is only 23 and already has won 44 games in the bigs. Expect big things out of Koufax in the future, as he looks to become the 5th Oriole in TKO history to win a Cy Young.
13) Toronto Blue Jays SP Juan Torres
Right above Koufax ranks Torres, who's similar in a lot of ways. He's also 23, has also spent 3+ years in the big leagues, and also bats left handed and throws right (OK fine that one was forced, I needed a third similarity). Torres' biggest strength is even at his young age, he's proven to be an innings eater on a Blue Jays roster in transition, pitching over 210 innings in each of his first three full seasons.
12) Tampa Bay Rays RF Alastor Moody
Coming in at 12th is the first player on this list who was traded when at their current abilities. In the 2033-2034 offseason, Moody was traded from the north side of Chicago to Tampa Bay for a slew of prospects and picks, and has lived up to the expectations. Posting 75+ VORP years the past two seasons, Moody also has the distinguished honor of having the highest single-season VORP in TKO history by a non-Atkins.
11) Philadelphia Phillies SP Vic Mackey
At only 20 years old, Mackey has already broken onto the scene for the Phillies. After being picked 2nd overall in 2033, he breezed through the minors in a flash and looks to be a mainstay in a Phillies rotation that hasn't had consistency since the days of Halladay, Lee and Hamels.
10) Cincinnati Reds 3B Michinori Sato
Sato might be the most interesting player on this list. After being picked in the 4th round of the 2030 draft, he spent a few years in the Texas and Cincinnati system before finally breaking out into a big time prospect in 2033. Now, in only 832 big league AB's, Sato already has 54 home runs and a 53.4 VORP.
9) Kansas City Royals CF Garrett Fowler
I remember talking with the Royals GM during the 2030 draft and he gushed over the player Fowler was going to become, and why he traded the haul he did to be able to move up and get the pick to select him. Now through 3 full seasons in the bigs, Fowler has put up a .309/.377/.498 line and played gold glove caliber CF, along with becoming the de facto leader of a Royals lineup that rivals the best our league has seen.
8) Philadelphia Phillies C Darrel Eleby
Although Eleby has been moved out of position by another Phillies star that just missed this list, Eleby's bat has more than made up for any lack of defense. Putting up a 75.5 VORP last season, Eleby's power looks to have filled out, which is worrisome for National League pitching.
7) Tampa Bay Rays SP Randy Couture
The second comp spect on the list to this point, the reigning American League Cy Young award winner comes in at 7th on our list. With the nickname "Captain America", Couture has lived up to the nickname, already winning the city of Tampa Bay it's first World Series. In the 5 games he started in the 2034 playoffs, Couture posted an unheard of 1.16 ERA in 23.1 IP.
6) Houston Astros SP Gordon Taylor
Taylor is essentially the National Leagues, left handed version of Randy Couture, without the cool nickname. Taylor is a staple point of consistency for the Astros rotation, compiling at least 13 wins and 200 innings pitched in each of his first four seasons.
5) St. Louis Cardinals LF Jim Williams
Jim Williams is probably the best player in the MLB from New Jersey since Mike Trout. With a career .326/.391/.520 line, Williams is the leagues most textbook example of a five-tool player. Now that his power showed up (34 home runs in 2035), he should be a force to reckoned with in what is considered one of the National Leagues best lineups. Ironically enough, the player picked right before Jim Williams in the 2029 draft was
4) Cincinnati Reds RF Orlando Vigil
Although Vigil, like Zhen, has numbers that look slightly inflated because of the park he plays in, he's still among the handful of best players in the league. After being traded twice into his young career, Vigil has found a home in the middle of the Cincinnati Reds lineup, posting back to back seasons of at least 149, yes that's 149, runs scored.
3) Cleveland Indians 3B Peter Burke
Burke represents the last infielder on the list, and deservedly so. Burke has become the Atkins-lite of the American League, leading the Indians to a World Series, and driving in an unprecedented 152 RBI's in each of his last three seasons.
2) Cincinnati Reds SP D'Angelo Barksdale
Being the 2nd most valuable player in the game with zero major league experience is not something that many players could handle, but D'Angelo is of a rare breed. Coming out of the slums of West Baltimore to become one of the best pitching prospects in MLB history, Barksdale is ready to dominate his competition. As D would tell you, In this game, pawns get capped real quick.
1) Washington Nationals CF Alex Atkins Jr
It seems the only way to end any rankings is with an Atkins, and AA Jr, at only 26 years old, is still the most valuable player in the game. Expect another MVP-caliber season out of one of the best to ever step onto a field.
There you have it. The list of the top 20 most valuable assets in the game. Hopefully you laughed, you cried, you shook your head in disagreement, because all of those are encouraged (except crying, that would be weird, it's just a game jeez grow up Pittz). All I care is you hook me up with my points Lil Doog.