- Ratings (OVERALL/POTENTIAL) are as of July 28, 2040
- 2040 WAR figures are through July 28, 2040 and projected out for the rest of the season
- Salary figures in grey italics are projected arbitration totals
- Players selected in the 2040 First Year Draft were not considered for the list due to lack of professional experience
Part II: #40-#21
Without further ado, here's the top twenty for 2040:
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#20 - Jorge Nevárez, Charm City, SP 60/80
PREVIOUS RANK: NR
REMAINING CONTRACT: $11,300,000
REMAINING AAV: $2,825,000
Nevárez's landing at #20 might be one of the more scrutinized spots on the list, but any way you cut it, a power southpaw in his early 20s scheduled to make less than $3M per season for the next four years carries a lot of value. While Nevárez's skillset is league average according to scouts and his changeup may never develop, he's built on his fine rookie campaign. The small-framed Mexican lefty has a worrisome medical history, so Charm City could look to move the former #15-overall prospect while he carries this much trade value to a team who looks beyond the scouting reports and finds him an attractive addition to their rotation.
#19 - Félix Román, Boise, RF 65/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 48
REMAINING CONTRACT: $18,900,000
REMAINING AAV: $3,780,000
After a 7.4 WAR season between two minor league levels last year, Boise decided to call up its best prospect to slot next to face-of-the-franchise Dennis French. Román has a tremendous bat, with great speed and even better defense and is still not old enough to legally drink TELIQUA. On pace for nearly 5.0 WAR as a rookie and with another level to reach according to scouts, the Spuds have another emerging superstar in the outfield.
#18 - Jefferson Pierce, Calgary, SP 65/70
PREVIOUS RANK: 23
REMAINING CONTRACT: $9,200,000
REMAINING AAV: $4,600,000
Drafted third overall by Nashville in 2034 and inked to an astonishing $20M signing bonus, "Black Lightning" ascended as high as the #10 prospect in the BBA before being traded to Calgary in 2035. Pierce just earned his second-straight All-Star nod and has cemented himself as one of the top pitchers in the league. The 6'9" righty relies on his 100+ fastball and plus-secondary off-speed pitches but with questionable stamina and just two years of team control left after this season, his trade value may never be higher.
#17 - Orlando Ordóñez, Omaha, CF 65/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 30
REMAINING CONTRACT: $21,200,000
REMAINING AAV: $4,240,000
Despite a second straight "meh" showing in Triple A last year, Omaha rolled the dice and called up the Cuban teenager. The former #2 prospect in baseball struggled all year with a disappointing .715 OPS. It appears that Ordóñez has figured it out in his sophomore campaign, on pace for over 40 HR and 30 SB with excellent defense in center. With his high ceiling, the Hawks hope he continues this trend for the next five seasons while under team control.
#16 - Manuel Aguilar, Jr., Hawaii, 1B 75/75
PREVIOUS RANK: 9
REMAINING CONTRACT: $21,300,000
REMAINING AAV: $7,100,000
Last year's edition of the list praised Aguilar as a good player, but "he hasn't quite fulfilled the tagged "Second Coming" moniker." That's changed in 2040, as Aguilar, Jr. has taken his game to a new level. And just in time, as his AAV is starting a steep ascension for the final three years of arbitration. A candidate for a long-term extension, the lefty masher carries impressive value no matter how much he's making.
#15 - Carlos Valle, Yellow Springs, SP 70/75
PREVIOUS RANK: 16
REMAINING CONTRACT: $6,000,000
REMAINING AAV: $6,000,000
The oldest player in the top 30, Valle's value sees a boost as a pitcher in an "ace starved" league. The three-time All-Star has only one more season until hitting free agency, so this may be the highest Valle lands on this list for the next several editions unless he's signed to a team-friend extension or contract. In addition to providing consistent top-notch performance, Valle's presence in the locker room as team captain and outstanding make-up as valuable as any player in the league.
#14 - Ricardo Rivera, San Antonio, SP 70/75
PREVIOUS RANK: NR
REMAINING CONTRACT: $18,000,000
REMAINING AAV: $3,600,000
The #2 overall pick in the 2037 Draft, Rivera showed what things may come in a five-game cup of coffee in the Brewster last season (3-1, 1.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP). This year, while still technically classified as a rookie, the Guatemalan righty has been San Antonio's best starting pitcher in a rotation that features three-time All-Star Aki Kondo and Nebraska Award-winner Yrrigs Carpenter. All that can keep Rivera being one of the best starters in the league is his health.
#13 - José Zúñiga, Jacksonville, 1B 75/75
PREVIOUS RANK: NR
REMAINING CONTRACT: $18,700,000
REMAINING AAV: $4,675,000
Zúñiga is the highest ranked first-timer, thanks to leading the league in WAR at the time of print. "El Guapo" sputtered during his time in the minors but his performance in the Landis Series earned him playoff MVP honors and helped the Hurricanes win the title. Zúñiga has seemingly springboarded off his post-season breakout and is on pace for an insane 62 homers and .372 batting average. With several more years under team control at a bargain thanks to a recent extension keeping his next two arbitration years under $2M per, Zúñiga has vaulted himself into the discussion of the most valuable trade chips in the league.
#12 - Steven Collins III, Edmonton, 3B 80/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 4
REMAINING CONTRACT: $20,700,000
REMAINING AAV: $10,350,000
Sure, Collins III saw his production dip in 2039 but 4.5 WAR is still an excellent season. But the real reason why Collins fell out of the top five in this year's list is merely related to his contract, leaving Edmonton with just two more years at over $10M per season. "Scooter" is a popular, productive 2B/3B with no glaring holes in his game, which still makes him a valuable player. It will be interesting to see what kind of return he could command in a trade should the Jackrabbits front office deal him before he hits free agency.
#11 - Alex Ramírez, Wichita, 3B 80/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 12
REMAINING CONTRACT: $21,780,000
REMAINING AAV: $7,260,000
Kudos to Wichita for buying out Ramírez's last three years of arbitration to an extremely team-friendly deal. And all the two-time Puckett winner has done is put up a career-year this season. Like Collins III, the risk of losing Ramírez after 2042 is the only knock against his value. But until then, let's just sit back and enjoy one of the best well-rounded talents in the league.
#10 - Ángel Zalapa, Valencia, SS 80/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 13
REMAINING CONTRACT: $12,100,000
REMAINING AAV: $12,100,000
How does a player in his 20s at a premium position who's averaged over 7.0 WAR per season over the last three seasons not crack the top ten? Well, with just one more year under contract (at a bargain, mind you), there are only a few select teams that would trade a small fortune to acquire the generational-talent. Zalapa carries the risk of impending free agency and will command huge dollars to sign or extend him but regardless of his financial burden, the number of players better than Zalapa can be counted on just one hand.
#9 - Lorenzo Palácios, Rockville, LF 75/75
PREVIOUS RANK: 10
REMAINING CONTRACT: $66,500,000
REMAINING AAV: $13,300,000
Palácios would have ranked higher than 10th last year if not for being a pending free agent. The best outfielder in the Brewster over the last six seasons will be in a Rockville uniform for several more years thanks to a six-year extension. When lesser free agents demand salaries over $20 million a year, having Palácios locked in at an AAV of $13.3M while providing MVP-level production looks like a steal.
#8 - Aaron Haney, Valencia, CF 75/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 7
REMAINING CONTRACT: $22,800,000
REMAINING AAV: $4,560,000
If anyone can be considered "the next Dennis French," it could be Haney. The third-overall pick in 2038, "Slowpoke" put up an absurd 9.1 WAR last year in AAA and his rookie season is proving that the sky is the limit. Another massive season and Haney could find himself at the top of the list, and Valencia will find themselves one of the best and most valuable players in the Brewster.
#7 - Danya Tchekanov, Long Beach, SP 75/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 34
REMAINING CONTRACT: $14,400,000
REMAINING AAV: $4,350,000
Tchekanov's leap up over twenty-five spots on this year's list coincides with his long-awaited breakout campaign. After being named a top-10 prospect for three straight years and countless hours of Brewster general managers salivating over the Belarusian's incredible scouting ratings, Tchekanov has entered the conversation as one of the best pitchers in the Frick League. With a huge ceiling and four more years under team control, he's the very definition of "value".
#6 - David Simpson, California, LF 80/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 5
REMAINING CONTRACT: $29,400,000
REMAINING AAV: $7,350,000
Last year's edition proclaimed "Given his skillset, it doesn’t seem crazy to project Simpson to hit .320 with 50-plus homers annually." He slugged 41 home runs in less than 140 starts in 2039 and this season, he batting .325. "Horrible" is already great and once he pieces it all together, look out. Good luck to the rest of the Brewster as California has the luxury of Simpson's services for four more years.
#5 - Augusto Sánchez, Louisville, SP 70/75
PREVIOUS RANK: 6
REMAINING CONTRACT: $27,600,000
REMAINING AAV: $9,200,000
Once again, Sánchez is the second-highest ranked pitcher in terms of trade value. Lefties in their 20s who provide 6+ WAR production don't grow on trees but if they did, oh, imagine how valuable that fruit would be. After four straight seasons playing .500 ball, Louisville is putting it all together thanks to the likes of Sánchez and the several other valuable assets.
#4 - Héctor Márquez, Seattle, SP 70/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 2
REMAINING CONTRACT: $26,800,000
REMAINING AAV: $8,933,333
The reigning Frick League Nebraska Award-winner, Márquez has everything you look for in an ace: left-handed, mid-20s, top-notch production, excellent skills, workhorse capabilities, off-the-charts make-up. Add that he still has three years of arbitration (albeit next year is when he starts to see is salary spike) and arguably the most desirable arm in the Brewster.
#3 - Dong-po Thum, Yellow Springs, 3B 80/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 18
REMAINING CONTRACT: $26,600,000
REMAINING AAV: $6,650,000
Through one-and-a-half seasons, Thum's projected WAR total is higher than what Dennis French produced in his first 240 games. Although not at a premium position like center field, Thum is an outstanding third baseman and could be a very good shortstop if needed. As a rookie, Thum lead the league in two categories (triples and stolen bases) and is on-pace to have the second-highest single-season triples total in modern era history. Yellow Springs tends to get the most out of their players and with a dynamic force at their disposal in Thum, the potential is endless.
#2 - Dennis French, Boise, CF 80/80
PREVIOUS RANK: 1
REMAINING CONTRACT: $31,400,000
REMAINING AAV: $10,466,666
So how does one fall from the top spot after leading the entire Brewster in WAR and following it up with a 7.0+ season? Well, French is one year closer to free agency and will make more than $10M in each of the next three seasons. Still a bargain for possibly the best player in the league.
#1 - Semei Kwakou, Louisville, RF 75/75
PREVIOUS RANK: 3
REMAINING CONTRACT: $29,400,000
REMAINING AAV: $7,350,000
When you lead the Johnson League in WAR and win the Sawyer Silk Award as a teenager, you're going to find yourself near the top a lot of rankings. Incredibly enough, scouts actually bumped up his potential since last year and his follow-up has been impressive. Kwakou fulfilled the prophecy laid out in last year's list: "With French's arbitration numbers rising, if Kwakou keeps crushing pitchers for another year, he might be in the mix for the top spot in the 2040 list."
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And there you have it, the conclusion of the second annual BBA Trade Value Series! Who was left out or who should be shown the door? Who needs some helium to rise higher or who needs to be knocked down a rung or two?
Additionally, here's a few charts breaking down the Top 50:
|TEAM||PLAYERS IN TOP 50|
|POSITION||PLAYERS IN TOP 50|
For those interested, you can see the Top 50 spreadsheet (plus additional players considered) below: