Roughly nine percent of the regular season is in the books, and it's time for a new installment in our 2014 Free Agents Power Rankings series. Since our last update, top potential free agent starter Adam Wainwright was locked up by the Cardinals through 2018.
The full list of players who will be eligible for free agency can be found here.
1. Robinson Cano. Interesting news earlier this month, as Cano fired agent Scott Boras in favor of CAA and Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports. Seasoned baseball agent Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA will take lead on contract negotiations, though the agent told Jon Heyman of CBS Sports Jay-Z will be "intimately involved." There's a general feeling that Cano's agency switch makes an extension more likely, but we haven't heard of any progress on that front lately. In an MLBTR poll a week ago of over 13,000 readers, 78% felt Cano would be extended by the Yankees.
2. Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury is not off to a blazing start — he's got six extra-base hits in 67 plate appearances, but he's drawing fewer walks than ever. I'm willing to overlook that for now and focus on the fact that the 29-year-old appears fully healthy.
3. Shin-Soo Choo. The 30-year-old doesn't appear suited for center field, but he's off to a great start offensively. With good health, he could hit 15+ home runs and score 100 with his usual solid OBP, which should play quite well in free agency.
4. Josh Johnson. JJ looked good in his last start against the White Sox, a nice bounceback from a career-worst 1 1/3 inning stint against Detroit. In an MLBTR poll Monday of over 15,000 readers, Johnson was voted the best free agent starter of the upcoming class. However, he won that vote with about 19.6% of the total, and plenty of readers favored Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Matt Garza, or Paul Maholm.
5. Hunter Pence. He's shown some pop in the early going, but Pence's walk rate is down and his strikeout rate is up. Pence's ranking here is tenuous.
6. Chase Utley. A new entrant to this list, Utley is finally healthy and is hitting for big power. His .566 slugging percentage ranks fourth among qualified second basemen. A healthy campaign should lead to a multiyear deal, though at age 35 in December it may be difficult to find a third guaranteed year.
7. Matt Garza. That Garza ranks as the second best free agent starter speaks to the huge question marks in this free agent class, since he hasn't pitched in the Majors since July 21st of last year due to injuries. Garza is slated for a minor league rehab appearance tomorrow, weather permitting, and Cubs manager Dale Sveum told reporters including Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that the righty will make four rehab starts before the team decides whether to activate him.
8. Brian McCann. As he rehabbed from shoulder surgery, McCann encountered some tenderness in his right wrist. It's said to be a minor issue, and he should begin catching in extended spring training soon.
9. Tim Lincecum. There's been nothing positive about Lincecum's first three starts, as he leads MLB in walks allowed and has surrendered three home runs in 16 innings. It's much too early to declare him finished as a useful starting pitcher, but he is in danger of dropping out of the top ten free agents.
10. Roy Halladay. It hasn't been much better for Doc, who looked quite bad in his first two starts of the season. He did shut down the Giancarlo Stanton-less Marlins on Sunday, a team currently hitting .209/.272/.271. Tomorrow's start against the Cardinals will be a better test.
Four starting pitchers are nipping at the heels of Lincecum and Halladay: Paul Maholm, A.J. Burnett, Tim Hudson, and Hiroki Kuroda. Curtis Granderson does not yet have a timetable to resume swinging a bat after fracturing his right forearm, but perhaps he will return in May and make a run at the list.