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The Best Value Players in Sports

Josh SchochAnalyst IIIDecember 7, 2016

The Best Value Players in Sports

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    David Banks/Getty Images

    It's not easy to build a dynasty in sports...but these guys make that job a bit easier.

    These 10 guys are the best value players in sports today. The money they cost their teams is nothing compared to the success they bring.

    Let's examine the most efficient players in sports based on salary compared to age and production.

10. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (NFL)

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 6 G, 37 REC, 593 yards, 6 TD

    2013 Salary: $1,323,000 (via Rotoworld)

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: TBD

    Age: 26

     

    Jimmy Graham is easily the best (healthy) tight end in the NFL, and in a changing league that has begun to favor bigger, more athletic tight ends, Graham is a star.

    Just six games into the season, Graham has already had a fantastic year. He broke his own record for receiving yards by a New Orleans Saints tight end earlier this year, and he was listed as the No. 3 MVP candidate by John Breech of CBS Sports.

    Graham is simply unstoppable, yet the Saints don't pay him nearly what he's worth. No doubt, Graham will soon sign a a massive deal, but until then, the Saints can continue to underpay him for his valuable contributions.

9. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA)

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 22.5 PPG, 5.9 APG, 3.7 RPG

    2013 Salary: $5,530,080

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: 2013 NBA All-Star

    Age: 21

     

    Kyrie Irving is the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers...as long as his promise not to ditch the city holds true.

    The Cavs drafted Irving in 2011 as the overall No. 1 pick hoping he might develop into a star. He has shattered expectations; Irving has already show the league that he is a superstar.

    He's still stuck in his rookie contract, however, which is why Irving is making just over $5.5 million.

    As one of the most skilled players in the league, Irving has already proven that he is capable of great things. If he can keep playing at this level for another 10 years or so he'll be among the brightest stars in the game, and the Cavs are lucky to have him.

8. Andreas Cornelius (World Football)

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 8 G, 4 G, 2 A

    2013 Salary: £8,000,000 transfer fee (via Express.co.uk)

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: TBD

    Age: 20

     

    After signing a five-year deal with Cardiff City, Andreas Cornelius is no longer the underpaid teenager he used to be.

    However, Cornelius has yet to be paid like he deserves.

    Despite the flying opinions that Cardiff City overpaid for him, Cornelius is as valuable a player as you can find in world football, thanks to his combination of skill and his youth.

    Cornelius is going to be a great player for years to come, and Cardiff City are lucky to have him on their side.

7. Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche (NHL)

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    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 4 GP, 0 G, 2 A, 2 P

    2013 Salary: $925,000 (via CapGeek.com)

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: TBD

    Age: 20

     

    Despite being just 20 years old, Gabriel Landeskog is already the captain of the Colorado Avalanche.

    Landeskog has only two points on the year, but he has already been given the keys to the kingdom. He has been dominant at a young age, and he is going to be crucial to the team's success for years.

    The Avalanche should consider themselves lucky that they have Landeskog right now, and they have the best chance to take advantage of his future success.

    And it doesn't hurt that they're paying him less than $1 million.

6. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (NFL)

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 6 GP, 1,346 passing yards, 9 TD (2 rushing), 3 INT, 89.6 RAT

    2013 Salary: $1,394,909 (via Rotoworld)

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: TBD

    Age: 24

     

    Andrew Luck is the future of the Indianapolis Colts, and the future looks bright.

    When a legend like Peyton Manning tells his team to draft a guy like Luck, essentially ending Manning's career in Indy, you know the kid is special.

    Luck hasn't disappointed, as he brought the Colts from the worst team in the league in 2011 to a playoff berth in 2012. He also has them atop the AFC South this season at 4-2 after losing on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers.

    Luck is a rare quarterback with incredible gifts and a ridiculous understanding of the game. To have a second-year player who acts like a veteran for less than $1.4 million is almost unfair.

5. Giovani Dos Santos (World Football)

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    Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 8 G, 4 G, 2 A

    2013 Salary: €578,400 (via MatchIncome.com)

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: TBD

    Age: 24

     

    Giovani Dos Santos is already among the best attacking mids in the world at the age of 24, and he's just going to get better.

    Dos Santos has the ability to completely change a game every time he steps on the pitch, which is what makes him so valuable.

    For all the value that Dos Santos provides on the field, however, he is hardly rewarded for it with his salary, which comes out to roughly $782,000 in American dollars. That's nothing for world football clubs.

    Dos Santos is going to be a star for years, but he's hardly being paid for his services right now.

4. Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins (MLB)

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 28 GS, 12-6, 2.19 ERA, 172.2 IP, 187 SO, 58 BB

    2013 Salary: $490,000

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: TBD

    Age: 20

     

    Jose Fernandez might be the best dual-threat pitcher in MLB right now.

    Not only is Fernandez a talented pitcher, but he helps his own cause at the plate, batting .220 in his rookie season. To put that into perspective, Fernandez's .220 batting average is higher than his batting average against of .182.

    Fernandez is up for NL Rookie of the Year honors and has proven his worth to the Miami Marlins all year. He has been the best player on the team, and the Marlins paid him less than half a million dollars for his services.

    Talk about a deal.

3. Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks (NHL)

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    Don Smith/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 5 GP, 7 G, 1 A, 8 P

    2013 Salary: $925,000 (via Spotrac.com)

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: TBD

    Age: 19

     

    Tomas Hertl has emerged as one of the best young players in the NHL this season, becoming a huge contributor for the Sharks.

    In just his second game, Hertl scored two goals against the Phoenix Coyotes, including the game-winner.

    As an encore, Hertl then scored four goals against the New York Rangers three days later in his next game.

    At the age of 19, Hertl is already a star and will be for years. He's a great asset for the Sharks, and the fact that he's making less than $1 million simply because he is so new is absurd.

2. LeBron James, Miami Heat (NBA)

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    Ned Dishman/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: 26.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.3 APG

    2013 Salary: $17,545,000

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: NBA MVP, NBA Finals Champion, NBA Finals MVP, NBA All-Star, NBA All-Defensive Team

    Age: 28

     

    LeBron James is the best basketball player on the planet right now.

    Despite making the league maximum, James is still worth more money than the Miami Heat are paying him.

    In the three years since LeBron brought his talents to South Beach, the Heat have made it to the NBA Finals all three years and have won twice. LeBron also helped Team USA win a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics, and he's won two of his four MVP awards during that time.

    LeBron is worth his weight in gold, and his incredible dominance of the game lands him on this list despite making more money than anyone else on this list by a mile.

1. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (MLB)

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    2013 Statistics: .323/.432/.557, 27 HR, 97 RBI, 33 SB, 109 R

    2013 Salary: $510,000

    Notable 2013 Awards/Accomplishments: MLB All-Star, current AL MVP candidate

    Age: 22

     

    When Mike Trout burst onto the scene at the age of 20 in 2012 we all knew that he is going to be a special player for years to come.

    As arguably the best five-tool player in the game today, Trout won Rookie of the Year honors and his first Silver Slugger award in 2012 while finishing second in AL MVP voting behind Miguel Cabrera.

    Trout could easily finish in the top two for MVP honors again this season, as he was the lone bright spot for a disappointing Angels team.

    However, Trout is still getting paid like a rookie, and is barely making more than half a million dollars. While that will all change very soon, he is still making peanuts right now despite being possibly the best player to start a franchise around in MLB.

    Trout is going to dominate the game of baseball for decades, and paying him as little as he makes right now is robbery.

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