Ask Rotoman! November 19, 2012


Would you take Justin Upton and Miguel Sano for Jason Heyward in a long-term keeper league?

“Odd Future Value”

Dear ODV:

Let’s compare what Upton and Heyward have done when they were the same age:

At 21, Heyward earned $20, while Upton earned $6.

At 22, Heyward earned $7, while upton earned $29.

At 23, Heyward earned $28, while Upton earned $20.

Though their paths were different the results of their performances before they turned 24 years old are roughly similar. In his 24th year Upton earned $35. We have yet to see what will happen to Heyward, but no one would be surprised if he had a big year this year.

So, you’re looking at two young players of comparable talents. Heyward appears to have a little more power, Upton a better chance to hit for average, but when discussing future value here I think it’s fair to say that Upton is a bit more established because he’s been around longer, but that has also served to show some of the flaws in his game. Because Heyward is two years younger I’d give him the edge in a head to head comparison. But there is, of course, another body involved.

Miguel Sano is a young power-hitting prospect for the Twins who spent all of 2012 in Low-A, hitting for power, drawing walks and striking out a ton. He’s considered one of the top hitting prospects in the game, but he has a long way to go before he reaches the major leagues. He isn’t helped by the fact that he’s a third baseman who doesn’t play his position all that well.

I don’t see a huge difference between Heyward and Upton over the next few years, but Heyward’s long-term prospects are better. Sano is considered a top prospect, but he’s likely three years away, and it is prudent to notice the flaws of youngsters playing in Low-A, not because they can’t overcome them, but because they often don’t.

If your league has so many long-term keepers that there is significant value in having guys like Sano to hold onto, trading Heyward for Upton and Sano makes sense. But I think I’d prefer to have Heyward’s career going forward over Upton’s.