The top-4, in order, are Evan Longoria, Jason Heyward, Strasburg, Hanley Ramirez. Well, whaddya know? Exactly the same as I had them. This is actually not surprising when you consider the fact that younger players are more valuable than older players (aside from Pujols, no one was over 26 on my list of players to consider), and also that young players generally have better contracts than older players in baseball. Therefore, adding contract in the the equation should not change my list very much.
The better question may be how has Strasburg's performance over the past month changed his ranking on my list. As Fangraphs states,
"This may be as high as any pitcher will ever rank on this list. Strasburg has been nothing short of sensational so far in the big leagues, posting a ridiculous 2.11 xFIP in his first eight starts. His stuff is better than anyone in baseball, and it’s hard to see hitters figuring him out as long as he keeps throwing this hard. Oh, and the Nationals control his rights through 2016. He won’t make any serious money for another three years, so for now, the Nationals get one of the game’s best pitchers at about 5 percent of his market value. But, as with any pitcher, the risks are significant. The superlatives could all disappear with one pitch, as it has for so many phenoms before him. Pitcher attrition would keep other teams from giving up the kitchen sink to get Strasburg, but as good as he is, the refrigerator is probably on the table."
I think it is safe to say at this point that only thing holding back Strasburg from being the #1 guy are the injury concerns that go with being a pitcher . There is no issue with him facing good lineups or the league facing him a 2nd time, he might already be the best pitcher in baseball, and isn't about to dropoff anytime soon. Revisiting my list, with or without contracts, I can only come up with the same list as that from Fangraphs, so have only moved Strasburg up one spot past Hanley Ramirez; I still have to rank Longoria and Heyward ahead of Pitching Jesus.
(Image courtesy of examiner.com)