August 28, 2009 at 2:59 pm by Capitol Avenue Club under Atlanta Braves, Economic Analysis, Front Office
The Braves’ roster is made of two types of players, acquired and developed. These two types of players are divided into 3 sub-categories based on service time. Those who are yet to become eligible for arbitration, those who are arbitration eligible, and those who have already qualified for free agency. I took the 25 players that I consider the most important 25 to the club to this point (Vazquez, Lowe, Kawakami, Hanson, Jurrjens, Soriano, Gonzalez, Moylan, O’Flaherty, Carlyle, Acosta, Medlen, Chipper, Escobar, Prado, LaRoche, McCann, Anderson, McLouth, Church, Diaz, Ross, Kelly, Norton, and Infante) in an attempt to see how valuable they’ve been to the club, how valuable they’ve been relative to their salaries, and various other things.
Here is what the table looks like:
For analytical purposes, I cut off the “developed” tag at AA. That is, if you spent your first full season at AA with the Braves, you’re considered a developed player. LaRoche I considered developed.
The columns are simply, name, WAR, WAR$ (which is $4,500,000*WAR), 2009 salary, 2009 salary pro-rated based on the portion of the season we’ve completed (127 of 162 games), and the 2009 pro-rated salary minus the WAR$ (so, how much more or less valuable the player has been to the market than he’s making).
There are some very good signs. First of all, this team, as it is currently constructed, has posted about 39 wins above replacement. Replacement level teams figure to post a .300 winning percentage. A replacement level team would’ve won 38 games of the first 127. Add the 39 and this is a 77-50 team*.
*If you want to know where the 10 wins went, ask Casey Kotchman, Jeff Francoeur, Jordan Schafer, etc.. The “as it is currently constructed” is key. Basically the theme of the Braves blog-sphere as of late has been: “This team is good enough, I hope it’s not too late”. This piece doesn’t deviate.
Secondly, only three players on the roster are worth less to the market than they are making. Buddy Carlyle (who has suffered from Diabetes, so we don’t have meaningful data on), Garret Anderson, and Greg Norton. Garret Anderson has posted a .785 OPS since June 2, so there’s plenty of reason to believe he may be able to push his value out of the red by seasons’ end. He doesn’t have a shot at being a super-valuable player, though. Norton has been awful (actually the worst current Brave, Frenchy would blow him away if he were still here). I don’t get him, but whatever. And Carlyle will likely improve over the final month as he pitches with the aid of modern medicine.
Point is, there are 22 players on the roster that make less than the market values them. That is good for a club, if you didn’t know.
Categorically, the pre-arb developed bunch is–by far–the most marginally valuable unit on the team. Naturally. The Braves are good at development and those players are cheap (to the tune of ~$400,000). I would suggest this is nearly universally true. The pre-arb bunch is worth $49 million more than the market pays. The developed portion is worth around $36 million and the acquired portion is worth around $13 million. The arb-eligible bunch is worth a collective $39 million over market value, being split nearly identically between the acquired and developed portion. The FA bunch is worth around $20 million over market value. $19 million of that comes from the acquired bunch and $1 million comes from Chipper.
The most valuable Brave is Vazquez, making slightly more than $14 million less than the market values him. The next three are, in order, McCann, Jurrjens, and Yunel. All three of them are valued at between $13 million and $14 million more than their salary.
This team is chucked full of very valuable contracts. Nearly every player on the team makes less than the market values him, including the free agents (who traditionally make more than the market values them, that’s the reality of the whole service time and arbitration phenomenon). Say what you will about Frank Wren, but he’s put together a very, very valuable roster.
If this team were to keep up the pace for the rest of the year and someone bought every player as a free agent, it would cost them $223 million. That’s more than the Yankees’ 2009 payroll.
And yes, I took my inspiration from this post.