The Most Valuable PEBA Players – 2029 Edition

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Updated: July 5, 2019

After a lengthy hiatus, “The Most Valuable PEBA Players” returns!  This article, once an annual tradition, attempts to take a look at the various players in the PEBA and put a relative trade value on them, then rank them in order.  A top 50 will be presented here, with 1 to 25 in defined order and comments added.  The second half of the list will be presented with brief notes and listed just in alphabetical order.

How is the list determined?  The most important factor is recent player performance and expectation going forward, but a player has to have shown they can handle the pressure of the big stage.  You won’t find any top prospects on this list.  Some weight is also added for a player’s position and age.  Finally, a player’s contract is also taken into account.  A player may be a superstar, but if they’re getting paid a huge amount, that player may be considered less valuable than a player who isn’t as good but is getting paid much less.  At the end of it, a higher ranked player would not typically be traded 1-for-1 for a lower ranked player.

The last time this list was published was prior to the 2020 season, and Yuma starter Adrian Peterson topped the list.  Many of the players on the list from that year have since retired.  The most notable name that is still frightening opponents is Don Mercer.  At age 25, he ranked 20th on the list, having just come off his first All-Star appearance.  The oldest player on the list was Markus Hancock, who at age 34 still had 7 seasons, 2 All-Star appearances, and a 7th Golden Arm in his future.

Enough about the past… it’s time to take a look at the most valuable PEBA players of 2029!

The List

25. SP Ángel Valdéz (REN) – 31 – A control freak, Valdéz came over to Reno as a free agent out of the San Juan Winter Leagues.  He tallied identical walk and strikeout totals in his first two PEBA seasons.

24. SP José Fernández (NT) – 27 – Everyone talks about the young Akira hitters, but Fernández is the face of the staff.  With 20 wins last year and an ERA under 3.00, he’s put the league on notice.  His only weakness is a propensity to give up some walks.

Shane Willis

23. RF Shane Willis (PS) – 26 – Willis came into his own last year and the Codgers will be looking for that growth to continue for many years to come.  He’s got excellent bat to ball skills, leading the SL with 187 hits, 44 doubles, and a .304 average in 2028.  His 73 extra base hits were second only to Andrés Hernández.

22. SP Dean McNeil (CL) – 30 – You might be surprised to learn that McNeil has only been an All-Star once.  He averages nearly 5.0 WAR per season and has the reputation of a great starter, just not the recognition.  He’s not a big strikeout pitcher, and he gives up a few too many home runs, but he doesn’t walk many.  Last year, he led the SL in BB/9IP.  He’s good for a low to mid 3’s ERA each year.  Fun fact: from 2025 to 2027, he walked exactly 29 batters each season.

21. SP Fred Womack (BAK) – 29 – Womack was 6th in the SL with 16 wins and 2nd with a 1.89 ERA last year.  He’s the kind of pitcher that looks perfectly tuned to The Chocolate Factory at Yum! Field.  A bit of a late developer, the Bears have him under control for four more seasons.

20. LF Jeffrey Grier (NT) – 25 – Stolen base numbers have risen dramatically over the past 4 seasons. In 2025, there were 2470 steals across the league.  Last year, there were over 2200 in the SL alone, and 4241 across both leagues.  Grier posted 88, the second highest individual total in PEBA history.  An on-base machine, don’t be surprised to see him become the first player to crack 100 steals sitting atop a potent Akira offense.

19. RF Tomás Martínez (NT) – 25 – A first time All-Star last year, Martínez is looking to build on a year in which he hit 31 HR’s and had 105 RBI.  He’s one of 11 PEBA players to post a 30/30 season.

18. SP José Hernández (SS) – 32 – Hernández has been yanked back and forth between the pen and the rotation, but he’s a tremendous starter and has the most value there.  He won 15 games with a 2.73 ERA last year for the Eva’s.

17. SP Richard Neely (SA) – 26 – Neely doesn’t quite have the pedigree that you would expect from a player ranked this highly, but his performance the past two years has earned it.  In 2028 he led the IL with 26 quality starts and 6.80 H/9IP.  The caveat with that is that batters had just a .229 BABIP against him, which may be hard for him to repeat.

16. RF Jerry Long (SS) – 31 – The former Royal Raker has had some injury issues over the years, but for the most part, they’ve been of the minor variety that rarely kept him out of the lineup for extended periods of time.  When he’s healthy, he’s a dangerous hitter with 30 HR power, a disciplined approach, and some speed.  He’s under contract for some time, but the salaries decline as he ages.  He led the SL with 112 runs scored last year.

Harley Schneider

15. 2B Harley Schneider (SS) – 30 – While he may be a household name now, Schneider didn’t have an easy road to PEBA stardom.  Originally a 13th round pick of the Borealis, he was released just two weeks after the draft.  It took him 10 months of sitting around before Kentucky came calling.  He gradually worked his way up through their farm system until Charleston claimed him in the Rule 5 draft.  He got his first taste of PEBA play in 2023 with the Statesmen, who were banished to the WIL after the season.  The team released him the following July, and he soon signed back on with Aurora.  A later trade to Duluth saw him finally blossom into the player he is today: a two time All-Star and hitting 2nd for the Evil Eva’s.  A player who hit 12 home runs over 9 minor league seasons, he’s had 30+ each of the past three seasons.  Incidentally, Schneider had 14 triples last year, one fewer than Andy Sharp.

14. RF Claudio Hernández (HAV) – 27 – He has just one season under his belt, but it was something else.  He finished 3rd in the Royal Raker voting, belting 39 home runs and scoring 102 times.  Along the way, he set a new PEBA record after being hit by a pitch 27 times during the season.  It appears that efforts to intimidate the Panamanian did not work.

13. 1B Andrés Hernández (SS) – 32 – The only reason he’s not higher up the list is his large contract of $27 million annually for the next four years.  He’s coming off of back-to-back Royal Raker seasons, with 40+ HR and 120+ RBI.  He doesn’t walk much and won’t run, but boy can he rake.

12. SP Ernesto Molina (FAR) – 31 – The ace of the PEBA champion Dinosaurs hasn’t had an ERA over 3.00 since 2024.  While still under contract for 2029, he did sign an agreement to stay with Fargo for a long time, possibly to retirement.  He struck out over 240 batter in 2026 and 2027, and kept that pace up last year after missing the first part of the season.

11. SP Eric Elliott (KEN) – 28 – Elliott went just 9-10 last year, with an ERA of 3.63.  A deeper look at his peripheral numbers suggests he was better than either of the two years prior, when he had more wins and better ERA’s.  His per inning rates for strikeouts, home runs, and hits allowed were all in line, but he walked fewer batters and the result was a lower FIP.  He’s under team control for a couple more years.

Jim MacCowan

10. SP Jim MacCowan (CL) – 29 – The Gnats locked up MacCowan to a long term deal when he was just 24 and it has paid off tremendously.  He’s now a 3 time All-Star and good for 180+ K per season.  With solid mechanics, he’s managed to avoid the DL that nabs so many starters, having thrown over 200 innings in each of the last four seasons.

9. CL Ricardo Pérez (HAV) – 29 – Pérez is the league’s best closer, and has been with the Leones ever since Shin-Seiki left him exposed in the Rule 5 draft years ago.  Over his 7 PEBA seasons, 2023’s 2.34 ERA is the only year he’s had an ERA over 2.00.  For his career, he has struck out 12 batters per nine innings, and his 55 saves in 2027 are tied for second most in PEBA history.  Havana get him in the game often, averaging 80 appearances over the past three seasons.

8. C Tony Parker (CL) – 29 – Parker led the SL in OPS in 2028, which no one really noticed because he didn’t do anything amazingly well or lead the league in anything else.  A large part of that is the fact that the Sandgnats give him plenty of days off throughout the year.  He’s averaged 132 games each of the past three seasons, and with that level of playing time is good for about 30 home runs, 80 or so RBI, and 60-70 walks.  As for his defense, we’ll simply say that Tony Parker plays catcher for the Sandgnats.

7. RF Clarence Carpenter (CL) – 28 – Traded from Okinawa to Crystal Lake last July, Carpenter is a tremendous all around player.  He hits for a solid average, good power, and can steal bases almost at will.  His 69 stolen bases last year were second in the SL, and he’s led the league on 5 different occasions.  The Sandgnats locked him up to a long term deal over the winter, effectively doing their free agent shopping in July, and while it’s not cheap, it’s probably a slight discount on what he would’ve received on the open market.

6. SP John Turner (AUR) – 30 – After spending his career with the Trendsetters, Turner put in a career year in 2028 for Aurora, with a 2.17 ERA and league leading 0.85 WHIP.  He’s regularly among the league leaders in K/9IP, but doesn’t typically go deep enough into games to lead the league in strikeouts.  He’s currently on a streak of 6 consecutive seasons with between 180 and 200 K’s, never breaking the 200 K barrier.

Players Ranked 26-50, In Alphabetical Order

Before we finish out the list with the top 25, here are the next 25!  These are the players that for one reason or another, perhaps an injury or high salary or age or simply the depth of quality players in the league, aren’t quite worthy of the top 25.  These players aren’t ranked in order, so you’re welcome to place them in whatever order you like.  Perhaps the real debate begins with the players not listed at all.

Matt Brown

CL Matt Brown (HAR) – 26 – Brown’s been one of the best relievers in the league the past two seasons, finishing 2nd in holds the past two years while making the All-Star team each year.  He’s been striking out nearly 12 batters per nine innings, recording 233 K’s over 176 1/3 innings.

LF Danny Burton (FLA) – 31 – Last year was just the third time that Burton has been an All-Star, and he led the IL with 109 RBI.

RF Paul Carlisle (AUR) – 33 – A consistent presence in the Aurora lineup for the past 8 years, Carlisle won his first All-Leather award last season after making his 3rd All-Star team.  He also set a career high with 30 home runs.

SP Jorge Castillo (SS) – 25 – Castillo won 15 games in his first full season after getting called up to the Evas in the middle of 2027.  He has three above average pitches with a changeup that he’s still working on.

CF Luis Cervantes (LON) – 28 – The only hitter significantly better than league average for the Underground, Cervantes has a bit of power, a bit of speed, and a solid glove.

Mike Clarke

LF Mike Clarke (OKA) – 30 – Coming off of back to back .300 seasons, including 202 hits in 2027.  He’s in his final year of arbitration and will become a free agent in the offseason if he doesn’t get extended.

CF Pedro Flores (WV) – 27 – He’s had a hard time staying on the field, but last year he was healthy and put together a very good season for the Alleghenies.  There’s unrealized potential if he can stay off the DL.

2B Carlos Garza (WV) – 27 – Don’t be surprised to see Garza on this list for a long time, his value has manifested itself in a good average, lots of walks, and stunning defense.  He has yet to hit 15 home runs in a season, but some scouts think he still has power to tap into that simply hasn’t shown up yet.

CL José Gómez (SJ) – 27 – He improved in every way imaginable last year, posting a 1.71 ERA with 24 saves.  Formerly a setup man who led the league in holds in 2026 and 2027, he’s been moved to the back of the pen.  The Coqui have gotten over 100 innings out of him each of the past two years, making him more valuable than most relievers.

SP Edgardo Guerra (PS) – 27 – A solid all around pitcher, he made his first All-Star game last season.

C Marvin Hansen (ARL) – 28 – A career year for the Bureaucrats was a revelation for the rest of the league.  He led the offense that helped Arlington earn an uncertain playoff berth.  He set career highs in just about every offensive category while handling the catching duties with the aplomb he’s always been known for.

SP Noboru Imai (FAR) – 25 – Imai led the SL with 246 K’s last year.  He’s also been in the top 10 in BB’s and HR’s allowed each of the past two seasons.

CF Rubén Jiménez (KAL) – 29 – A prototypical leadoff hitter, Jiménez led the SL in on-base percentage after finishing in the top 10 in average and walks.

Gustavo ‘Bullets’ López

1B Gustavo López (FAR) – 27 – An All-Star each of the past two seasons, López crushes righties.

SS Ricardo Mateo (HAV) – 22 – He was the runner up to his teammate in the Wunderkind voting, which is a nice way of saying that Havana’s set for years.

LF Don Mercer (WV) – 34 – Mercer’s the ultimate win now type of player (non-Rob Raines division).  He’s a great player who’s got a big contract and is old enough to have a big decline at any moment.  His Q Score has never been higher.

SP Iwao Murayama (SA) – 22 – The youngest player on this list, he tied for the league lead with 18 wins last year as a 21 year old for a San Antonio team that was 11th in the league in runs scored.  Yeah… he should turn out alright.

SS Royce Raines (PS) – 33 – Raines has drawn more walks each of the past three seasons than any other player has drawn in any one season.  Only two other players have broken 100 walks in that time.  Luis Cedeno and his brother Rob.

SP Félix Reyes (LON) – 26 – He lost a league leading 18 games in 2027, but that came despite decent other numbers.  Last year, he was much the same pitcher with much the same peripherals, but a lower BABIP resulted in better results.

LF Pedro Rodríguez (KEN) – 28 – Rodríguez gets injured from time to time, and is not quite the hitter he was in 2025 when he won the Royal Raker, but he’s still extremely dangerous at the plate.

Roberto Salazar

SS Roberto Salazar (CAN) – 25 – His first full season saw him get on base and steal bases the way he showed he could in the minors.  He’s solid defensively and still has room to grow with the bat.

3B Andy Sharp (DUL) – Last year, Sharp became the first PEBA player to ever have 15 triples and 15 home runs in the same season.  Of course, only two other players have ever had 15 triples.

SP Clark Snow (SCO) – 33 – A bit of an enigma, Snow can hit triple digits on the radar gun but pitches more like a junkballers.  Perhaps that’s why he fell to the 11th round of the draft.  Not signing until April last year, he parlayed a good year with the Underground into a longer deal with the Claymores this offseason.

SP Erik Watson (BAK) – 26 – Another in the long line of pitchers to find success in Bakersfield, Watson has posted solid numbers each of the past two seasons.

SP To-Wai Zhou (CL) – 30 – Zhou boasts an array of pitches which he uses to strike out a batter per inning.

The Top 5

Alejandro Luján

5. 3B Aleandro Luján (WV) – 30 – Despite being one of the top prospects of the Mexican leagues as a teenager, Luján found himself released under some odd circumstances.  Crystal Lake scooped him up, and after a stay with Yuma, he’s developed into the best contact hitter in the PEBA.  He’s had over 200 hits each of the past three seasons and draws plenty of walks.  Add All-Leather skills with the glove, an honor he’s won three times, and you’ve got a stud despite a relative lack of power.

4. SP Yakamochi Suitani (SS) – 33 – If you need a single reason for why the Evas have been so successful the past several years, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to name it Suitani.  Suitani has had Golden Arm worthy seasons for years, finally winning in 2028, and has never been paid more than $10 million in a season.  He’s the consummate team player, a hard working professional.  He’s got 43 wins over the past two seasons, leading the SL both years with ERA’s under 2.50 and identical 0.89 WHIP’s.

3. LF Bartolo Mora (KEN) – 27 – Mora’s enters 2029 on a streak of three straight 30/30 seasons and the 2028 IL Royal Raker.  He led the league in SLG and OPS each of the past two seasons.  He has also led the IL in runs twice and RBI once, breaking 90 in both categories routinely.  Mora was a 2nd round pick out of high school, and just hit arbitration for the first time this past offseason.

2. 3B Luis Cedeño (HAR) – 31 – A year after winning the IL Royal Raker, Cedeño was back at it.  The only downside to his 2028 season was that a few of his home runs turned into doubles and he didn’t quite have the team support he had from the previous year.  After scoring a league leading 126 runs in 2027, he scored just 79 in 2028.  That came despite a slightly higher on base percentage.  He did lead the IL in walks for the second straight year, and posted a career high 8.4 WAR.  Not to be forgotton, Cedeño steals a base here and there.  Or rather, everywhere.  He has led the IL in stolen bases three times, stole 68 last year, and has been a 30/30 man three times in his career.

Enrique Vazquez

1. SP Enrique Vázquez (HAV) – 27 – The first overall pick in the 2023 draft, Vázquez was in the PEBA the following year.  He had a bit of a learning curve, walking 97 batters in 2025, but it all came together for him in 2027.  He led the IL in wins and ERA, winning the Golden Arm award.  Last season, he upped his strikeout rate dramatically and ended up with a pitching triple crown and a second consecutive Golden Arm.  He’s right in his prime and under contract for the next four seasons.