My Value is Better Than Your Value


Turkey Playing FootballI hope everyone enjoyed their Thursday football. I’ve been in a tryptophan induced coma for the last 48 hours and I still haven’t finished all the leftovers. I guess I’ll head back into the coma tonight.

Earlier this week Perich posted his article about the value of Major League baseball players. Well, that got me thinking about some things I’ve read (and you can read too: Baseball Between the Numbers, Player Value: Last Piece of the Puzzle, Dollar Value of a Player: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and the Hardball Times MVPs), and that there has to be a better different way to figure out a players value. Plus, Perich said “If you have a more objective standard of value, let me hear it.” Maybe my way isn’t “more objective,” but I hope it’s a different enough view of the numbers to see some differences. It’s still not a vote, and that’s what counts. I know I want to take into account a players salary, a players performance, and the teams overall performance. The teams performance is where I vary from Perich.

Baseball Math TextbookI believe that if you perform well on a good team, you have more of a value. Why? Because a team that makes the playoffs makes more money. And like any other business the goal of the business is to make money. The hard part is to quantify this difference.

I started my calculations the same way, by downloading all the 2007 salaries from USA Today. Then I downloaded the 2007 stats for Total Bases and VORP for 2007. According to VORP Alex Rodriguz is the clear AL winner with a 96.6. Or almost 10 wins more than a replacement 3b, or 9 more wins then if the Yankees had Ty Wigginton. In the NL, Hanley Ramirez had a great year with a VORP of 89.5. Compare that to the actual MVP, Jimmy Rollins, who had 66.1. Lower than other NL powerhouses: David Wright, Matt Holliday, and Albert Pujols among others.

Curtis GrandersonWell, time to add more value to the Value Over Replacement Player and add in the players Salary. Now A-Rod is nowhere to be found, but Hanley Ramirez takes the top spot at an impressive $4,492 per run above replacement. Compare that to other NL players second and fourth in my overall list: Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun with $6,006 and $6,092 respectively. No surprises to see Braun here. Rookie of the Year and getting paid league minimum ($380,000). On the AL side, I again match Mr. Perich’s list with Curtis Granderson. And for the low price of 34 full time minimum wage McDonalds workers, Detroit is getting a deal (compare to A-Rod’s 1,892 workers).

And now for the last step. Looking at Figure 4 from The Last Piece of the Puzzle, it looks like the increase is pretty linear for value in the increasing wins on a team. So I will do the same. Setting up a base case of a player with a 45 VORP and a $1,000,000 contract, I want the value for them to be twice as much when comparing this hypothetical player on the White Sox (72 wins) and the Yankees (94 wins).

With my new math in mind, Curtis Granderson jumps to the top of the pile with an adjusted $4,759 per run over replacement. And in second is the NL winner, Prince Fielder. Sorry, Hanley, since the Florida “fire-sale” Marlins sucked they probably ended up with a lower operating income and therefore your “salary” was more of an impact on the bottom line than Curtis was to the Detroit “in-the-wild-card-hunt” Tigers. With my new numbers, If I then decided that the winner has to be from either the Rockies or the Indians (The 2 losers to the World Series Champion RedSox), then the winners would be Troy Tulowitzki and Ryan Garko.

Note: creating the excel spreadsheet I used and downloading the salary data and doing stupid math took forever, if anyone wants this, just email me (willis at and I’ll send it to you.