The MLB 2012 Moneyball Team
Many ballclubs have the money and use it frivolously. Spend hundreds of millions on one player just because they want him and can. What if you didn't have that luxury though, what if you are on a tight budget?
Billy Beane was in the situation for real and pulled out of nowhere a championship-caliber team. I put together one using the most economically valuable players in the MLB today with only a $30 million budget (lineup)—just like Billy Beane had in Oakland in 2002.
Projections are from Rotochamp.
Catcher: Carlos Santana
2012 Salary: $416,600
2012 Projected Stat Line: 91 R / 26 HR / 86 RBI / 0.246 AVG / 0.369 OBP / 0.471 SLG / 0.840 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 5.2
It was a close race for the catcher spot as there were three catchers who would have worked. Buster Posey, another league minimum player, was cut due to the uncertainty of returning to his 2010 form after his season-ending injury.
Alex Avila was a viable option too but I gave the edge to Santana as he will most likely be batting in the third or fourth spot in the Indians lineup.
First Base: Joey Votto
2012 Salary: $9,500,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 111 R / 29 HR / 108 RBI / 0.314 AVG / 0.422 OBP / 0.548 SLG / 0.970 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 7.1
First base is one of the positions where I did not place a reputable league minimum player like Eric Hosmer or Freedie Freeman. I felt that the value I was getting from Joey Votto was too good to pass up.
Votto gets on base A LOT, about 25 percent more than the next closest competitor for the Moneyball team. He is also proven, hitting an average of 30 HR and 100 RBI for the last three seasons.
In my opinion, $9.5 million for a perennial MVP candidate is dirt cheap.
Second Base: Ben Zobrist
2012 Salary: $4,500,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 89 R / 18 HR / 85 RBI / 0.258 AVG / 0.356 OBP / 0.441 SLG / 0.797 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 5.2
The market at second base is very thin. Many second baseman being paid the league minimum are very anemic when it comes to offense. Also the lot of average second ,including Aaron Hill and Kelly Johnson, are all getting overpaid.
Ben Zobrist is the perfect mix of value and production at second and is my choice for the Moneyball team.
Third Base: Evan Longoria
2012 Salary: $4,500,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 97 R / 31 HR / 97 RBI / 0.275 AVG / 0.377 OBP / 0.517 SLG / 0.894 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 7.2
Four-and-a-half million for arguably the best third baseman in baseball. This choice was a no-brainer, Evan Longoria healthy is another perennial MVP candidate.
He has something else to him, something that can not be shown in statistics. He has incredible passion for the game and he will do anything to make sure that he stays on top of it.
Shortstop: Starlin Castro
2012 Salary: $440,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 90 R / 9 HR / 74 RBI / 0.304 AVG / 0.346 OBP / 0.430 SLG / 0.776 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 4.3
He can run, he can steal, he can hit for average. Starlin Castro is like a clone of Jose Reyes but without the huge price tag.
Dee Gordon of the Dodgers is in a similar situation with a league minimum salary and leadoff man qualities, but he has absolutely no power.
Right Field: Carlos Gonzalez
2012 Salary: $5,000,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 90 R / 30 HR / 102 RBI / 0.300 AVG / 0.365 OBP / 0.543 SLG / 0.907 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 4.7
In the outfield, there are not many options that are very economically sound. Most of the league minimum outfielders are hardly impact players, and the ones who are decent are naively signed to monster contracts.
Carlos Gonzalez is no exception to that but for 2012 he is only receiving $5 million of his $80 million contract. That's why he makes this list for 2012.
Center Field: Andrew McCutchen
2012 Salary: $493,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 97 R / 21 HR / 85 RBI / 0.277 AVG / 0.377 OBP / 0.468 SLG / 0.845 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 5.8
In a weak offense Andrew McCutchen is the only star that shines brightly over Pittsburgh. He's one of the five-tool players scouts drool over and even better he is playing a very valuable position.
He has about three more years of arbitration eligibility and the Pirates would be fools if they did not rebuild around him.
Left Field: Brett Gardner
2012 Salary: $2,400,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 69 R / 7 HR / 65 RBI / 0.274 AVG / 0.365 OBP / 0.383 SLG / 0.749 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 4.8
A Yankee on the Moneyball list? This must be a mistake. Nope, Brett Gardner is one of the most valuable outfielders out there and for only $2.4 million he is a bargain as well.
It doesn't show in the stat line but he is projected to steal over 50 bases, he has also been the No. 1 fielder in the game the last two years, saving an average of 25 runs over that time.
DH: Brett Lawrie or Jesus Montero
2012 Salary: $400,000
2012 Projected Stat Line: 80 R / 25 HR / 85 RBI / 0.280 AVG / 0.355 OBP / 0.490 SLG / 0.845 OPS
2012 Projected WAR: 3.8
For $5 million I could go get a late 30s outfielder converted to a DH. Or for the league minimum I could go out and buy a rookie with better all-around stats and a huge potential to break out.
Jesus Montero and Brett Lawrie both fit that description and have almost identical projected statistics. That is why this one is a tie between the two.