Personal Finance

Baseball Statistics for Player Salaries

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Last updated on July 22, 2019 Comments: 10

If you love baseball, you might also love statistics. I suppose analyzing players’ performance numbers gives spectators something to do during long at-bats. Very few other sports engage fans by providing scorecards, and learning how to score a game is like learning a language or a code.

I enjoy baseball, as much as a Mets fan can be said to “enjoy” the sport, but I’m not fanatic when it comes to sports statistics. Possibly more appropriate for Consumerism Commentary readers are the baseball statistics that pertain to salary rather than performance. Major League Baseball players, particularly the better ones, are able negotiate what seem like stratospheric salaries, with the assistance of agents. It’s easy to look at multi-million dollar salaries for what seems like an easy job and think that the players don’t deserve it. That’s even more the case when players don’t perform as expected. (Oliver Perez, are you reading this?)

A new website takes a look at the available salary data for Major League Baseball players and presents an analysis. On Thanks, Curt, you can review, based on the latest information publicly available, several different views of the data. The name of the website refers to Curt Flood, the player who in 1969 was on the forefront of free agency in baseball.

You can see the top salaries among all players, but more interestingly, the site calculates the players who are the best values. Each player receives a cost vs. performance score, which is the MLB player average salary divided by the player’s salary, multiplied by the player’s WAR (wins above replacement), a measure of overall performance.

Oliver Perez, mentioned above, is currently fourth on the list of worst value players.

Other statistics included are cheapest home runs and most expensive home runs, a simpler calculation that takes the player’s salary and total HR into account.

If you like baseball, personal finance, and statistics, you should find the data on Thanks, Curt interesting. Permutations of baseball statistics are limitless, and I expect that as the site matures, even more financial information and analysis will be available.

Article comments

Anonymous says:

Makes me sick to see these salaries while the real hereos can barely make ends meet.

Anonymous says:

this is good stuff, jason heyward is only in his 2nd season so when his contract is up for negotiation he’ll be getting a max deal. I’m curious to see if albert pujols gets his 30 million a year contract from st.louis or another team this winter.

Anonymous says:

A couple of thoughts:

1. Rather than “cost per win” for the most efficient teams, it’d be interesting to see “cost per championship” (whether wild-card, division, or world series). This would account for the fact that not all wins are created equal.

2. I don’t understand what WAR is (Thanks, Curt doesn’t define how they calculate it; Wiki says many sites calculate it differently).

3. One argument I’ve heard for Jeter is that he helps strengthen the team as a whole, above and beyond his own percentages.

Anonymous says:

Really neat site. I fell in love with baseball years ago and some of my fondest memories are of watching the Braves on TV and calling/getting a call from my Dad while we rehashed what just happened. ANd then when we got free tickets and were able to see the game. Such great memories.

Anonymous says:

Definitely cool stuff. Math can yield some interesting results when applied to this kind of stuff.

Anonymous says:

This will be a tough season for Mets fans. I’m hurting already. I’m afraid of what the trading deadline will be like if the owners are cash-strapped. Ughh….

I find it interesting about the highest paid players that maybe one of them really returned value in 2010 – Sabathia.

Anonymous says:

great and timely post flexo!

as a fellow mets fan, i feel your pain. it has been a truly rough few seasons. as i type, they just lost the opener. i still think they will surprise a few people this season.

i should have tried to hit the curveball better as a kid, b/c this is certainly the career to be in. no matter what happens this season, we are finally rid of perez and castillo (about time)…and no matter what, they will collect their millions from the mets.


Anonymous says:

forgot to add, i have a feeling heyward will be on that list for a few seasons to come…before he gets that first big deal (and perhaps after as well). also, gonzalez will no doubt be a beast for years to come, but with the new deal he signed he may not be so high up. that said, if there is a “five tool player,” he is it.

Anonymous says:


Anonymous says:

What a great site! Thanks for sharing. Oh and the Red Sox are up against Rangers right now, top of the 5th if anyone was wondering.