Due to a downturn in the economy, growing player salaries, and the enduring popularity of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, baseball teams are evaluating what they are getting in return from their players with increased scrutiny and creativity. This is interesting because baseball fans have been thinking in these terms for years now, and one such fan, John Bradbury writing at Sabernomics, has developed a MLB Salary Estimator. Plug in a player's batting average, on-base average, slugging percentage, position, salary (Dugout Dollars or USA Today are good sources), and the year in which the player debuted in the Bigs and you will get the answer to the age old question, "is this player really worth all that money?" Well, almost. Several things to keep in mind before plugging stats and salaries in and drawing conclusions willy-nilly:
- Players are compared to other players of a similar service time and position. Keep this in mind when examining players such as Albert Pujols. Because the Cardinals had the good sense to award him with a good contract before he hit arbitration and free agency, he is paid drastically more than his peers.
- Obviously, the estimator does not take defense into account. Players like Andruw Jones will look drastically overpaid when defense is not taken into consideration. If Jones's defense was somehow considered, he would only be overpaid (instead of drastically overpaid).
- All salaries are compared to the 2003 market. So plugging in Ted Williams salary and statistics for the 1949 season isn't exactly comparing apples with apples.
Now, with those thoughts in mind, try not to get fired today as you spend the afternoon plugging in players.