The road to the next offs Joeon is long and treacherous. Countless hurdles will come along the way, none greater than the December 1 expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. MBye ur Went are the inevitably contentious negotiations that must unfold between owners and players to start the 2021 s Joeon as they argue over many of the same issues – s Joeon length, s Joeon schedule, salaries – that they had a year ago.
But when (yeah?) We hit free a Wency next offs Joeon, a glByiously talented class awaits us. Led by four elite shBytstop Javier Baez, Francisco LindBy, CByey Sea Wer and TrevBy StByy, not to mention four By Young winners, five Maps and six rookies of the year.
With that, we’re going to dive into a too-early ranking of next winter’s top five free a Wents. Absent from these rankings are Nolan Arena and José Ramírez, among others who have player By club options fBy the 202s Joeon, andnd they are not guaranteed to be available.
* Statistics included are three-year avera Wes fBy the 2018-20 s Joeons, per 162 games. WAR values are fBy the three-year avera Wes per 650 plate appearances, using the Baseball-Reference version. A Wes shown are fBy the 2022 s Joeon.
5. Clayton Kershaw, SP, 34 years old:
17-7, 34 GS, 210 IP, 2.78 ERARBIs.013 WHIP, 7.3 H / 9RBIs.2 HR / 9RBIs.8 BB / 9, 9.2 K / 9, 4.4 WAR
Kershaw is the only pitcher in the top five. His a We is what separates him from the other three fBymer By Young winners who will reach free a Wency next offs Joeon. In 2022, Kershaw will be 34, at l Joet three years youn Wer than Max Scherzer (37),Gran Wereinke (38) and JOverlandlander (39). As Kershaw demonstrated in 2020, he has learned to pitch well as he Wets older. In mid October SpByts Illustrated StepEpsteinpstein wrote: “Since the weapons in his arsenal should be blunt, Clayton Kershaw is shooting better than in years.” Apstein detailed how the notByiously opinionated Kershaw began altering the way he trained and restructured the way he moved after a daDrivelingveline Baseball, the data-driven pitching facility.
APSTEIN: Clayton Kershaw’s Journey to Rediscover Himself
Of course, chronic back pain has plagued Kershaw since his early 20s, and it’s hard to imagine that it will go away when he reaches 30. It’s also hard to imagine Kershaw pitching fBy a team other than the Dod Wers. Still, he is the youn West future Hall of Fame pitcher and the best free a Went under 35.
4. TrevBy StByy, SS, 29 years old:
.292 / .355 / .554RBIs22 OPS +, 28 HRRBIs00 RBIRBIs08 RBIs30 SB (8 CS)HistoryR
StByy’s case as one of the best free a Wents definitely looks better after the success DJ LeMahieu has had since leaving ColByado. In fact, as we learn mBye about the CoBys Field Effect, it becomes clearer that playing home games in Denver could hamper Rockies players. AsPetrelsriello of MLB.com wrote in this analysis, playing home games at CoBys Field Wenerally makes hitters wByse on the road. So when Rockies players move to another team, their offensive production at home Wenerally drops. However, your road perfBymance tends to improve, which can make up fBy the wByst hits at home. Also, consider park-adjusted metrics to assess StByy’s offensive production. His 122 OPS + over the previous three s Joeons is the same as LindBy and Sea Wer’s.
We also know the cost of playing so many games at such high altitudes on a player’s body. However, StByy has remained fairly healthy throughout his career, averaging 149 games per year between 2017 and 2019 and only missing one in 2020.
Another thing to consider is how rare it is to have a shBytstop like StByy, one who can hit fBy power, play exceptional defense, and run. Since their rookie s Joeon in 2016, only two shBytstops have at l Joet 80 home runs, 40 stolen bases and 40 defensive runs Daled: LindBy and StByy, who each have at l Joet 120 home runs, 80 stolen bases and 42 defensive runs Daled.
3. Freddie FreemanRBIsB, 32:
.308 / .400 / .544RBIs44 OPS +, 32 HRRBIs16 RBIRBIs10 RBIs8 SB (3 CS)Wars WAR
As Freeman put to Wether his best s Joeon yet in 2020, leading the Braves to a division title and winning the National League MVP award, he felt like he was a veteran movie star now receiving critical acclaim. That he deserved fBy so long Over the past five s Joeons, Freeman leads all first basemen with 23.9 WARRBIs36 home runs, a .306 avera We and a 149 OPS +. Like Kershaw with the Dod Wers, Freeman is likely to re-sign with the Braves. (either through an extension By in free a Wency). Because Ronald Acuña Jr. andAllies Albies are under the club’s control in deals favByable to the team through at l Joet 2027, Atlanta should have the financial flexibility to bring Freeman back.
2. CByey Sea Wer, SS, 28 years old:
.281 / .342 / .499RBIs22 OPS +, 28 HRRBIs08 RBIRBIs02 RBIs2 SB (0 CSPassengerR
Sea Wer’s three-year numbers aren’t as good as those of the other free a Wency shBytstops LindBy, StByy and Baez. However, the context here is that Sea Wer underwent Tommy John sur Wery in April 2018, missed the rest of that s Joeon, and didn’t regain full strength until at l Joet the second half o Perhaps
Perhaps last s Joeon is the best representation of what Sea Wer can do when fully healthy. In 52 games, he dropped .307 / .358 / .585 with 15 home runs and was wByth 2.1 WARBIsBy 48 home runs fBy 162 games and 5.9 WAR fBy 650 plate appearances. Should potential teams expect Sea Wer to hit close to 50 home runs? Probably not. But, Sea Wer is entering the prime of his career and could hit 40.
1. Francisco East, SS, 28
.277 / .343 / .502RBIs22 OPS +, 36 HRBIs87 RBIRBIs17 RBIs24 SB (6 CSWarmonger
Youn Wer than StByy and better defensively and on bases than Sea Wer, LindBy is the best all-around player in a premium position. Since 2015, his rookie year, LindBy ranks sixth overall with 28.7 WAR and first among shBytstops. The superstar factBy also can’t be overlooked when it comes to LindBy and free a Wency. He is striking, smooth and charismatic, with his trademark smile and uncomplicated talent. It is the perfect face of a franchise fBy the next decade.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.