There are many different statistics that can be measured in baseball. That is what makes the game so great. How can you determine the actual value of a player to a baseball team. Lucky for us, in this age, we have systems that are able to calculate the true value of a player to a given team. What a great era we live in.
Baseball sites are able to plug in a players statistics and determine what he is actually worth to that team for that given season. I have found this to be a great way to analyze how effective a player is/can be for a team.
Personally, I feel the best way to determine the true value of a player is to take his actual salary and compare it to what he is actually worth. This gives you an example of how good a player is based on the contract he signed. For example of I sign John Smith for $5 million and he has a statistical value of $7 million for my team, I just netted a $2 million profit.
Of course, not all players are in their free agency years. It is tough to rate a player like Rickie Weeks considering the Brewers are not paying him what he would garnish in the free agent market. So for this article, I am going to shy away from looking at players values differences (between actual and statistical) that are still in their arbitration.
The Brewers are an amazing case when looking at true money values. Statistically, the Brewers offense alone is worth $87 million, that ranks fourth in all of major league baseball (1st in the NL). The bad thing for the Brewers is that the pitching has only been worth $12.5 million, that ranks last in all of major league baseball. A trend that produces that kind of difference in quite alarming.
The Brewers most valuable player this season has been Prince Fielder who is on pace to be worth over $28 million this season. What a truly remarkable season Prince is putting together. He is still putting up that type of value despite having a below average fielding ability. Prince is making $7 million this season, so he is essentially netting the Brewers a +$21 million return on their investment.
Ryan Braun ranks second among Brewers with a true value on pace for $25 million.
Brewers fans may be surprised who ranks after those two in value.
The Brewers third most valuable player this season is Mike Cameron. Many fans seemed confused when the Brewers exercised his $10 million option last season. There is a false conception that Cameron is not a good hitter because he "strikes out too much" and "doesn't come up with clutch hits." Cameron has played stellar defense in 2009 and has also seen his walk chart soar. For these reasons, along with solid power numbers, Cameron is on pace to have a true value of $18 million dollars. That nets the Brewers +$8 million profit on the option "they shouldn't have exercised."
Behind Cameron in position players value is soon to be 39 year old Craig Counsell. Counsell signed a one year $1 million deal with the Brewers this offseason. Counsell's defensive abilities have always been a plus, but no one could have foreseen his season at the plate. Counsell is on pace for an actual value of $14 million, which nets the Brewers a +13 million profit.
For pitchers, Yovani Gallardo has been the only valuable starting pitcher the Brewers have had. Gallardo is on pace to have a true value of $16 million. The next closest starter is Manny Parra who, believe it or not, is on pace to have a true value of just under $6 million.
The other top values for pitchers have come out of the bullpen. Todd Coffey is having an incredible season and is on pace to lead relievers with a $8 million value. Following closely behind is Trevor Hoffman whose value is $7 million. Hoffman will end up earning his salary even though he is rarely given save opportunities and missed all of April.
So what is dragging this team down?
Two of the more harped on Brewers this season have been J.J. Hardy and Bill Hall, but in terms of value, there are others to blame. Hardy's defensive ability has been amazing this season. Even though he is having his worst season at the plate, he still will have a value of about $7 million by seasons end. Hall was making $6.8 this season and actually has a true value of nothing. His defensive ability has offset his terrible numbers at the plate.
The worst offensive player for the Brewers in 2009 has been Jason Kendall. According to league average, having Kendall, rather than an average catcher has cost the Brewers an incredible 17.7 runs this season. That means if he keeps up this pace, having Jason in the lineup the majority of the time will cost the Brewers 23 runs this season. For a reference point Prince Fielder is on pace to have a positive 55 runs for his play this season. Although having Fielder in the lineup helps, there is no reason that Kendall should have started all season long.
The second worst offensive player this season has been J.J. Hardy. Having Hardy start everyday has cost the Brewers offense 12 runs this season. However, Hardy is able to offset and gain back those runs with his incredible fielding ability and arm strength. With his fielding, Hardy constitutes a player that has generate 1.4 wins this season above what a replacement could have. Yes, Hardy has not played up to potential this season, but it is not his fault the Brewers are where they are.
This article is purely a look at the statistical analysis of the 2009 Milwaukee Brewers. I, myself have become increasingly frustrated with this team over the past couple of months. When a player fails to come through in a "clutch" situation we find ourselves angry at him. That is the beauty of statistics. They take an object approach to looking at the game of baseball. It is not J.J. Hardy's fault this team is where they are. Mike Cameron is not a bad player, although many people will tell he is. Statistics don't lie.