MLB's 'Moneyball' Power Rankings 2018: Who Is Overpaying/Underpaying the Most?

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2018

MLB's 'Moneyball' Power Rankings 2018: Who Is Overpaying/Underpaying the Most?

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    David Dermer/Associated Press

    The Moneyball philosophy may not have resulted in a World Series title for the Oakland Athletics yet, but it undoubtedly has had an impact on the way MLB teams are assembled.

    Whether we're talking about a small-market club facing a payroll crunch or a large-market team with a seemingly endless cash flow, baseball is still a business.

    It's all about getting the most value out of players, whether they're pre-arbitration guys contributing at a young age or big-money stars living up to their lofty paychecks.

    So, which club is getting the most bang for its buck?

    That's what I set out to answer.


    Note: Last year's version of this article is referenced frequently in this piece and can be found here.


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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    There are a lot of numbers and names to digest, so allow me to first offer some explanations.


    Total Net Value

    This was the ultimate determining factor in where each team landed in the rankings and is based on the following categories:

    Pre-Arbitration Players

    Every pre-arbitration player projected for a WAR of 0.5 or greater was highlighted in this section.

    The cumulative WAR of that group was then multiplied by eight to get the total pre-arbitration player value.

    This will all make sense in a moment.

    This was the first big determining factor in where each team was ranked. Considering most of the players listed will make somewhere between $500,000 and $600,000 during the upcoming season, these are often the biggest values on a roster.

    Best/Worst Values

    Next up, you'll find each club's three most and least valuable players for the upcoming season, based on the following three-step process.

    Step 1: To start, I took each player's projected WAR for 2018. My personal preference is the Steamer projections, which can be found here. Those projections were referenced as "2018 WAR" throughout the piece.

    Step 2: Based on the FanGraphs value system, 1.0 WAR was worth around $8 million in 2017.

    From there, each player's projected WAR from Step 1 was multiplied by eight. That gave us the player's projected 2018 value in millions of dollars.

    Step 3: Each player's salary for 2018 was then subtracted from his projected 2018 value, resulting in his 2018 net value.

    The three highest and three lowest totals were then highlighted on a pair of tables. Player salaries came from the team pages of Roster Resource.

    Formula: (2018 WAR x 8) - 2018 salary = net value

    It's important to note that pre-arbitration players were not considered for this section. Any player from that group who makes an impact will be a bargain; that's why those players were highlighted at the beginning.

    In the case of a tie for one of the top three spots, the player with the higher projected WAR was chosen in the case of best value, while the player with the higher salary was chosen in the case of worst value.

    From there, the cumulative net values of all players under contract and eligible for arbitration was added to the total pre-arbitration player value to determine each team's total net value.


    Since this was such a statistics-heavy exercise and there is a lot to digest on each slide, I kept the analysis to a minimum. There are just a few bulleted points for each team that consist of notable observations.

    Props for going through the criteria. You'll no doubt have a better understanding of what's to come.

30. Detroit Tigers

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    James McCann
    James McCannMatt Rourke/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $38.5 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Michael Fulmer (2.7)
    • SP Daniel Norris (1.4)
    • 3B Jeimer Candelario (1.4)

    Others: OF Mikie Mahtook (0.8), SP Matthew Boyd (0.7), IF Dixon Machado (0.7), RP Buck Farmer (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    C James McCann1.8$14.4M$2.375M$12.025M
    SS Jose Iglesias1.4$11.2M$6.275M$4.925M
    CF Leonys Martin0.5$4M$1.75M$2.25M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    DH Victor Martinez-0.1-$0.8M$18M-$18.8M
    SP Jordan Zimmermann0.8$6.4M$24M-$17.6M
    1B Miguel Cabrera2.3$18.4M$30M-$11.6M



    • There are 23 players with a negative net value of more than $10 million, and the Tigers are the only team with three such players. That clinched their place at the bottom of these rankings.
    • The trio of Miguel Cabrera, Jordan Zimmermann and Victor Martinez will earn a combined $72 million this season—roughly 57.6 percent of the club's projected payroll.
    • Free-agent signings Leonys Martin (+$2.3M) and Mike Fiers (+$1.2M) both look like good, low-cost investments who could emerge as viable trade chips with strong first-half showings.

29. Miami Marlins

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    J.T. Realmuto
    J.T. RealmutoElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $40.7 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Dillon Peters (1.6)
    • CF Lewis Brinson (1.0)
    • SP Jose Urena (0.9)

    Others: RP Drew Steckenrider (0.6), RP Kyle Barraclough (0.5), SP Jacob Turner (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    C J.T. Realmuto2.8$22.4M$2.9M$19.5M
    1B Justin Bour1.5$12M$3.4M$8.6M
    SP Dan Straily1.4$11.2M$3.375M$7.825M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Wei-Yin Chen0.4$3.2M$18M-$14.8M
    RP Brad Ziegler0.2$1.6M$9M-$7.4M
    RF Martin Prado0.9$7.2M$13.5M-$6.3M



    • Can't help but wonder if we'll look back on the five-year, $80 million contract Wei-Yin Chen signed prior to the 2016 season as the tipping point for ridiculous free-agent deals being handed to middling starters.
    • Dan Straily cracked the best value list, and he's a decent middle-of-the-rotation starter with control through the 2020 season. That said, the Marlins would call "mulligan" in a heartbeat on the deal that sent Luis Castillo to Cincinnati to acquire him.
    • #FreeJTRealmutoI hear the Nationals and Astros could use a catcher.

28. Kansas City Royals

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    Salvador Perez
    Salvador PerezOrlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $43.4 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • 2B Whit Merrifield (2.0)
    • SP Jakob Junis (1.4)
    • 3B Cheslor Cuthbert (1.2)

    Others: RF Jorge Bonifacio (0.5), SP Trevor Oaks (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    C Salvador Perez2.9$23.2M$8.7M$14.5M
    SP Nathan Karns1.1$8.8M$1.375M$7.425M
    SP Danny Duffy2.1$16.8M$14M$2.8M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Ian Kennedy0.6$4.8M$16M-$11.2M
    LF Alex Gordon1.4$11.2M$20M-$8.8M
    RP Kelvin Herrera0.6$4.8M$7.938M-$3.138M



    • Ian Kennedy still has three years and $49 million left on his contract. The 33-year-old went 5-13 with a 5.38 ERA in 2017, and his 154 innings marked his lowest total since 2009.
    • Even after he reworked his contract and signed a fresh extension, Salvador Perez is still one of the best values among catchers. He has four years and $48.3 million remaining on his deal, and he won't turn 28 until May.
    • Nathan Karns joined the Royals last offseason in the deal that sent Jarrod Dyson to the Mariners. He has a 4.37 ERA and 321 strikeouts in 310.2 career innings; he just needs to stay healthy to realize his potential.

27. Seattle Mariners

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    James Paxton
    James PaxtonTed S. Warren/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $68.7 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • RF Mitch Haniger (1.7)
    • RP Edwin Diaz (1.0)
    • SP Marco Gonzales (0.5)

    Others: N/A


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP James Paxton3.7$29.6M$4.9M$24.7M
    C Mike Zunino2.5$20M$2.975M$17.025M
    3B Kyle Seager3.5$28M$19M$9M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Felix Hernandez2.0$16M$26.857M-$10.857M
    RP Marc Rzepczynski0.2$1.6M$5.5M-$3.9M
    RP Juan Nicasio0.5$4M$7.75M-$3.75M



    • James Paxton was limited to 24 starts last season, but he still posted a 3.9 WAR as he went 12-5 with a 2.98 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 136 innings. The 29-year-old might be a Cy Young Award candidate if he can throw 200 innings.
    • Signing aging, designated hitter-only players to multiyear deals is usually not advisable, but the four-year, $57 million deal the Mariners gave Nelson Cruz (+$6.6M) has been a rare exception. The 37-year-old has a 151 OPS+ with 126 home runs, 317 RBI and 13.9 WAR over the first three years of that contract, averaging 154 games per season along the way.
    • Robinson Cano (+$0.8M) and Felix Hernandez (-$10.9) account for a little more than 30 percent of the team's payroll. They'll need to perform up to their superstar pedigrees for the Mariners to contend in the crowded American League West.

26. Baltimore Orioles

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    Manny Machado
    Manny MachadoPhil Long/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $69.4 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Dylan Bundy (1.3)
    • LF Trey Mancini (1.1)
    • C Chance Sisco (0.8)

    Others: RP Mychal Givens (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SS Manny Machado5.7$45.6M$16M$29.6M
    2B Jonathan Schoop2.9$23.2M$8.5M$14.7M
    3B Tim Beckham2.2$17.6M$3.35M$14.25M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    1B Chris Davis1.6$12.8M$23M-$10.2M
    DH Mark Trumbo0.4$3.2M$12.5M-$9.3M
    RP Zach Britton0.7$5.6M$12M-$6.4M



    • Manny Machado will likely double his salary in free agency in the offseason, but for now, he remains a tremendous bargain at $16 million. A move back to shortstop should only increase his value, and a 5.7 projected WAR might be conservative.
    • Closer Zach Britton had forearm and knee injuries last year and will start the upcoming season on the disabled list, so his $12 million salary is steep for his final year of arbitration. That said, he'll be a major trade chip if he can prove he's healthy.
    • Kevin Gausman (+$13.6M) just missed the best value list. He's projected for a 2.4 WAR after posting a 4.68 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 186.2 innings last season for a 1.9 WAR.

25. Chicago White Sox

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    Carlos Rodon
    Carlos RodonCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $72.0 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • 2B Yoan Moncada (1.8)
    • DH Nicky Delmonico (1.1)
    • SP Lucas Giolito (0.9)

    Others: SP Michael Kopech (0.6), SP Reynaldo Lopez (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Carlos Rodon1.5$12M$2.3M$9.7M
    C Welington Castillo2.1$16.8M$7.25M$9.55M
    1B Jose Abreu2.8$22.4M$13M$9.4M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP James Shields0.2$1.6M$10M-$8.4M
    RP Joakim Soria0.5$4M$8M-$4M
    SP Miguel Gonzalez0.3$2.4M$4.75M-$2.35M



    • Even with the Padres paying $11 million of his $21 million salary, James Shields is still the worst value on the White Sox roster. The fact that the team gave up top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. to acquire him is just salt in the wound.
    • Re-signing Miguel Gonzalez was a nice low-risk move, even with his negative net value. He'll eat some innings and could emerge as a trade chip if he matches the 4.31 ERA he posted in 133.2 innings with the team in 2017.
    • Will this be the year everything finally clicks for Carlos Rodon? The fact that he's expected to miss a few more months while recovering from arthroscopic shoulder surgery won't help, but he's shown flashes, and he's still just 25 years old.

24. San Francisco Giants

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    Joe Panik
    Joe PanikDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $78.1 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Chris Stratton (1.3)
    • SP Ty Blach (0.7)
    • OF Steven Duggar (0.3)

    Others: N/A


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    2B Joe Panik2.6$20.8M$3.45M$17.35M
    SP Madison Bumgarner3.3$26.4M$12M$14.4M
    C Buster Posey4.5$36M$22.178M$13.822M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RP Mark Melancon0.7$5.6M$20M-$14.4M
    LF Hunter Pence1.2$9.6M$18.5M-$8.9M
    SP Johnny Cueto2.4$19.2M$22M-$2.8M



    • The projection system is fond of Joe Panik. His 2.6 WAR ranks fifth among all second basemen, trailing only those of Jose Altuve (4.4), Brian Dozier (3.8), Robinson Cano (3.1) and Jonathan Schoop (2.9).
    • Also of note: Jeff Samardzija (3.4) topped both Madison Bumgarner (3.3) and Johnny Cueto (2.4) as the projected WAR leader among Giants pitchers.
    • Newcomers Evan Longoria (+$9.1) and Andrew McCutchen (+$7.7M) both checked in with positive net values, and they'll be counted on to lead a reversal of fortunes after a 98-loss season.

23. Texas Rangers

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    Robinson Chirinos
    Robinson ChirinosTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $89.8 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • 1B Joey Gallo (2.3)
    • RF Nomar Mazara (2.0)
    • DH Willie Calhoun (1.6)

    Others: OF Delino DeShields (1.5), RP Alex Claudio (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    C Robinson Chirinos1.5$12M$2.25M$9.75M
    2B Rougned Odor1.6$12.8M$3.333M$9.467M
    3B Adrian Beltre3.4$27.2M$18M$9.2M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    DH Shin-Soo Choo1.0$8M$20M-$12M
    SP Cole Hamels2.4$19.2M$23.5M-$4.3M
    SP Matt Moore0.7$5.6M$9M-$3.4M



    • In an under-the-radar move, the Rangers gave catcher Robinson Chirinos a one-year, $2.3 million extension last March that included a $2.4 million club option for 2019. He might not be a star, but after posting a 122 OPS+ with 17 home runs and a 2.7 WAR last season, he's a steal at that price.
    • While the projections are not optimistic about Matt Moore, another recent rotation addition, Doug Fister (+$8.5M), has a chance to be a terrific value on a one-year, $3.5 million deal. He was forced to settle for a minor league contract last offseason.
    • It's hard to believe Adrian Beltre has never earned more than $18 million in any single season. With 93.9 WAR to his credit, the future Hall of Famer has been a bargain throughout his illustrious career.

22. Cincinnati Reds

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    Eugenio Suarez
    Eugenio SuarezJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $103.2 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Luis Castillo (2.6)
    • SP Sal Romano (1.1)
    • SS Jose Peraza (1.0)

    Others: SP Brandon Finnegan (1.0), OF Scott Schebler (0.9), OF Jesse Winker (0.7), SP Tyler Mahle (0.7), OF Adam Duvall (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    3B Eugenio Suarez2.4$19.2M$3.75M$15.45M
    SP Anthony DeSclafani1.9$15.2M$0.86M$14.34M
    1B Joey Votto4.2$33.6M$25M$8.6M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Homer Bailey1.1$8.8M$21M-$12.2M
    C Devin Mesoraco0.9$7.2M$13.125M-$5.925M
    2B Scooter Gennett0.5$4M$5.7M-$1.7M



    • Despite claiming the "best value" honor, Eugenio Suarez could be looking for a new position by midseason with top prospect Nick Senzel knocking on the door.
    • Scooter Gennett won his arbitration case to secure a $5.7 million salary. That's a decent raise from the $2.5 million he made last year, but the projections are not confident he can match the surprising 2.4 WAR he posted in a breakout season.
    • Joey Votto accounts for 25 percent of the team's payroll, yet he still ranks among the best values on the roster. How deep into the final six years and $150 million of his deal will that last?

21. Colorado Rockies

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    Nolan Arenado
    Nolan ArenadoRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $107.6 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Jon Gray (3.9)
    • SP Tyler Anderson (2.3)
    • SP German Marquez (2.2)

    Others: SS Trevor Story (1.8), SP Kyle Freeland (1.6), SP Jeff Hoffman (1.0), SP Antonio Senzatela (0.9)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    3B Nolan Arenado4.9$39.2M$17.75M$21.45M
    2B DJ LeMahieu2.2$17.6M$8.5M$9.1M
    SP Chad Bettis1.1$8.8M$2M$6.8M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    OF Ian Desmond0.9$7.2M$22M-$14.8M
    OF Gerardo Parra-0.3-$2.4M$10M-$12.4M
    RP Wade Davis0.8$6.4M$16M-$9.6M



    • The biggest reason for the Rockies' success last season was the starting rotation—Chad Bettis (+$6.8M) and the four pre-arbitration arms of Jon Gray (3.9 projected WAR), Tyler Anderson (2.3), German Marquez (2.2) and Kyle Freeland (1.6) comprise a high-value group.
    • Notably absent from the best value list is Charlie Blackmon, despite a reasonable $14 million salary. He's projected for just 2.5 WAR after a fantastic 6.0-WAR season in 2017. Take the over.
    • Wade Davis (-$9.6M), Jake McGee (-$3.0M) and Bryan Shaw (-$1.1M) all signed multiyear deals this offseason. They might not provide positive net value, but they'll be integral to the team's performance as the anchors in the bullpen.

20. New York Mets

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    Noah Syndergaard
    Noah SyndergaardAdam Hunger/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $111.3 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • OF Michael Conforto (2.9)
    • SS Amed Rosario (1.0)
    • SP Robert Gsellman (0.8)

    Others: C Kevin Plawecki (0.6), SP Seth Lugo (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Noah Syndergaard5.5$44M$2.975M$41.025M
    SP Jacob deGrom4.8$38.4M$7.4M$31M
    SP Zack Wheeler1.8$14.4M$1.9M$12.5M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    3B David Wright0.0$0M$20M-$20M
    LF Yoenis Cespedes2.7$21.6M$29M-$7.4M
    RP A.J. Ramos0.3$2.4M$9.225M-$6.825M



    • Thanks to an injury-shortened season that kept his salary at $3.0 million in his first year of arbitration, Noah Syndergaard (+$41.0) has the highest net value of any pitcher.
    • The two-year, $17 million deal Todd Frazier signed could be a great bargain. The projection system ranked him with a plus-$8.8 million net value.
    • Of the 20 players eligible for inclusion on the best and worst value lists for the Mets, 10 had negative net values.

19. Atlanta Braves

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    Ender Inciarte
    Ender InciarteTami Chappell/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $116.1 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Luiz Gohara (2.2)
    • 2B Ozzie Albies (2.1)
    • SP Sean Newcomb (1.8)

    Others: SS Dansby Swanson (1.3), OF Ronald Acuna (0.9), SP Max Fried (0.9), IF Johan Camargo (0.8), RP A.J. Minter (0.7)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    CF Ender Inciarte2.4$19.2M$4.7M$14.5M
    1B Freddie Freeman4.1$32.8M$21.359M$11.441M
    SP Mike Foltynewicz1.4$11.2M$2.2M$9M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Scott Kazmir0.3$2.4M$17.667M-$15.267M
    RF Nick Markakis0.3$2.4M$11M-$8.6M
    RP Chase Whitley0.0$0M$0.8M-$0.8M



    • The five-year, $30.5 million extension the Braves gave Ender Inciarte last offseason looked like a great move at the time. It looks even better on the heels of another 3.0-WAR season and his first All-Star appearance.
    • While the oft-injured Scott Kazmir (-$15.3) is a financial burden in the final year of his contract, Brandon McCarthy is actually projected for 1.9 WAR and a positive net value of $3.9 million. Anything the team gets out of either player will be a bonus, as they were simply a means of unloading Matt Kemp.
    • Rookie left-hander Luiz Gohara has the highest projected WAR (2.2) of any pitcher on the Braves staff. He'll be competing for one of what appear to be three open spots in the rotation behind Julio Teheran and Mike Foltynewicz this spring.

18. Toronto Blue Jays

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    Marcus Stroman
    Marcus StromanBill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $120.8 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • RP Joe Biagini (1.2)
    • IF Aledmys Diaz (0.6)
    • C Danny Jansen (0.5)

    Others: N/A


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Marcus Stroman3.9$31.2M$6.5M$24.7M
    3B Josh Donaldson5.9$47.2M$23M$24.2M
    CF Kevin Pillar2.2$17.6M$3.25M$14.35M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    DH Kendrys Morales0.3$2.4M$11M-$8.6M
    SS Troy Tulowitzki1.9$15.2M$20M-$4.8M
    SP Marco Estrada1.1$8.8M$13M-$4.2M



    • Josh Donaldson set a record for the highest salary ever for an arbitration-eligible player at $23 million, yet he's still one of the best values in baseball. At 32 years old, he may not stack up to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado when all three hit the open market next winter.
    • The projected starting outfield of Kevin Pillar (+$14.4M), Randal Grichuk (+$9.4M) and Curtis Granderson (+$4.6M) will earn just $10.9 million combined this season.
    • The two-year, $8.5 million extension Justin Smoak signed midway through the 2016 season looked like an odd decision by the Blue Jays at the time. Not so much anymore—he had a 38-homer season in 2017, and the pact includes a $6 million club option for 2019.

17. Minnesota Twins

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    Brian Dozier
    Brian DozierOrlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $127.3 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • CF Byron Buxton (3.0)
    • 3B Miguel Sano (2.9)
    • SP Jose Berrios (2.0)

    Others: SS Jorge Polanco (2.0), LF Eddie Rosario (1.8), RF Max Kepler (1.7), SP Adalberto Mejia (0.9), RP Trevor Hildenberger (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    2B Brian Dozier3.9$31.2M$9M$22.2M
    SP Kyle Gibson1.9$15.2M$4.2M$11M
    C Jason Castro1.5$12M$8M$4M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    1B Joe Mauer1.4$11.2M$23M-$11.8M
    SP Phil Hughes0.3$2.4M$13.2M-$10.8M
    RP Addison Reed0.3$2.4M$8.25M-$5.85M



    • The Twins led our recent homegrown talent power rankings with 14 players from the projected 25-man roster developed in-house. Those 14 players are projected for a combined 22.0 WAR in 2018, with Brian Dozier (3.8), Byron Buxton (3.0) and Miguel Sano (2.9) leading the way.
    • Addison Reed is ranked among the team's worst values, but relative to what other late-inning relievers are being paid, his two-year, $16.8 million contract looks reasonable. That's especially true if Fernando Rodney falls off the tightrope and Reed ends up closing games.
    • While Jake Odorizzi (+$1.7M) didn't get a big net value, he was a huge pickup for a team that needed help to stabilize its rotation.

16. San Diego Padres

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    Clayton Richard
    Clayton RichardGregory Bull/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $130.9 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • CF Manuel Margot (1.9)
    • SP Dinelson Lamet (1.9)
    • SP Luis Perdomo (1.8)

    Others: SP Bryan Mitchell (1.5), C Austin Hedges (1.4), SP Colin Rea (1.1), OF Jose Pirela (0.7), RP Matt Strahm (0.6), RP Phil Maton (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Clayton Richard2.8$22.4M$3M$19.4M
    1B Wil Myers2.0$16M$4.5M$11.5M
    RP Jordan Lyles0.8$6.4M$0.75M$5.65M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    3B Chase Headley1.0$8M$13M-$5M
    OF Matt Szczur-0.2-$1.6M$0.95M-$2.55M
    1B Eric Hosmer2.419.2$21M-$1.8M



    • Clayton Richard might have been the biggest surprise of any player in terms of net value. The 34-year-old posted a 4.79 ERA and 0.4 WAR in 197.1 innings last season on a one-year, $1.8 million dealenough to earn him a modest two-year, $6 million extension.
    • The newly signed Eric Hosmer will earn $21 million in 2018, giving him roughly even value on his 2.4 projected WAR. He posted a career-best 4.0 WAR last year, so it's reasonable to think the projection could be on the low side as he enters his age-28 season.
    • Wil Myers will remain a terrific bargain in 2019 with a salary of $5.5 million before his price tag shoots up to $22.5 million over the final three seasons of the six-year, $83 million extension he signed last January.

15. Tampa Bay Rays

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    Chris Archer
    Chris ArcherChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $137.3 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Blake Snell (2.4)
    • SP Jacob Faria (1.5)
    • SP Matt Andriese (1.4)

    Others: SP Brent Honeywell (1.3), SP Jose De Leon (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Chris Archer4.3$34.4M$6.417M$27.983M
    CF Kevin Kiermaier3.9$31.2M$5.667M$25.533M
    SP Nathan Eovaldi1.8$14.4M$2M$12.4M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    OF Denard Span0.4$4M$9M-$5M
    RP Sergio Romo0.1$0.8M$2.5M-$1.7M
    RP Alex Colome0.5$4M$5.3M-$1.3M



    • Since Jake Odorizzi was traded to the Twins, it looks like the Rays will break camp with a rotation of Chris Archer (+$28.0M), Nathan Eovaldi (+$12.4M) and the pre-arbitration trio of Blake Snell (2.4 projected WAR), Jacob Faria (1.5 WAR) and Matt Andriese (1.4 WAR).
    • Even with the Giants paying $2 million of his $11 million salary, Denard Span is still the second-highest paid player on the Rays roster—trailing Wilson Ramos, who will make $10.5 million.
    • A healthy Matt Duffy (+$10.3M) will have a clear path to the everyday third base job after Evan Longoria was traded to the Giants. It's easy to forget the 27-year-old was a 4.9 WAR player as a rookie in 2015.

14. Oakland Athletics

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    Marcus Semien
    Marcus SemienTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $137.4 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • 3B Matt Chapman (2.7)
    • SP Sean Manaea (2.0)
    • 1B Matt Olson (1.8)

    Others: SP Jharel Cotton (1.3), SP Andrew Triggs (1.2), C Bruce Maxwell (1.2), SP Daniel Mengden (0.9), SP Paul Blackburn (0.7)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SS Marcus Semien1.9$15.2M$3.125M$12.075M
    RF Stephen Piscotty1.6$12.8M$1.333M$11.467M
    SP Kendall Graveman1.4$11.2M$2.3M$8.9M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RP Santiago Casilla0.2$1.6M$6M-$4.4M
    1B Brandon Moss0.1$0.8M$4M-$3.2M
    RP Chris Hatcher0.0$0M$2.15M-$2.15M



    • Matt Chapman is the projected WAR leader for the Athletics on the strength of his power and defense. As a rookie last season, he slugged 23 doubles and 14 home runs in 326 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense (19 DRS, 14.4 UZR/150) at third base.
    • Oakland acquired lefty reliever Ryan Buchter, who is under team control through the 2021 season, by taking on $4 million of the $7.3 million owed to Brandon Moss.
    • Veteran infielder Jed Lowrie (+$8.4M) just missed the best value list. The A's exercised his $6 million option after he posted a 119 OPS+ with 49 doubles and 14 home runs en route to a career-best 4.0 WAR last season. A repeat performance could make him a valuable trade chip.

13. Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Paul Goldschmidt
    Paul GoldschmidtRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $138.2 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Zack Godley (1.9)
    • SS Ketel Marte  (1.5)
    • RP Archie Bradley (0.9)

    Others: SP Anthony Banda (0.8), UT Brandon Drury (0.6), RP Jimmie Sherfy (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    1B Paul Goldschmidt4.5$36M$11.1M$24.9M
    SP Robbie Ray3.6$28.8M$3.975M$24.825M
    CF A.J. Pollock3.0$24M$7.75M$16.25M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    LF Yasmany Tomas-0.1-$0.8M$13.5M-$14.3M
    SP Shelby Miller0.1$0.8M$4.9M-$4.1M
    UT Chris Owings0.0$0.0M$3.4M-$3.4M



    • Can A.J. Pollock be the 7.4 WAR player he was in 2015? The 30-year-old is not often mentioned as a prominent member of the vaunted 2018-19 free-agent class, but he too will hit the open market next winter.
    • The D-backs have one of the best rotations in baseball, and they're getting great bang for their buck. Robbie Ray (+$24.8M), Taijuan Walker (+$13.6M) and Patrick Corbin (+$7.7M) all have positive net values, Zack Godley (1.9 projected WAR) is pre-arbitration, and even Zack Greinke (-$1.6M) essentially breaks even despite his bloated $34 million salary.
    • Yasmany Tomas is a 30-homer threat, but his atrocious defense (-30 DRS, -15.9 UZR/150 career) drags down his overall value. Even if he's healthy, he could lose playing time to Brandon Drury and others.

12. Milwaukee Brewers

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    Christian Yelich
    Christian YelichDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $142.2 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Zach Davies (1.9)
    • 3B Travis Shaw (1.6)
    • SP Brandon Woodruff (1.5)

    Others: OF Domingo Santana (1.4), SP Brent Suter (1.3), SS Orlando Arcia (1.2), C Manny Pina (0.7), RP Jacob Barnes (0.7), RP Josh Hader (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    LF Christian Yelich3.9$31.2M$7M$24.2M
    SP Chase Anderson1.8$14.4M$4.75M$9.65M
    CF Lorenzo Cain2.8$22.4M$14M$8.4M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RF Ryan Braun1.1$8.8M$20M-$11.2M
    UT Hernan Perez0.0$0M$1.975M-$1.975M
    IF Jonathan Villar0.2$1.6M$2.55M-$0.95M



    • There's a reason Christian Yelich cost the Brewers so much in terms of prospect talent. With five years and $58.3 million left on his contract, he's one of the most valuable assets in all of baseball. He's already one of the game's best young outfielders, and there's still room for him to improve.
    • Ryan Braun's OPS+ dipped from 135 in 2016 to 111 last season, and it's looking more and more like the Brewers should have done everything they could to sell high during his strong 2016 season.
    • The rotation could use an established ace, but there's a lot to like about the cost-effective trio of Chase Anderson (+$9.7M), Jimmy Nelson (+$5.9M) and the pre-arbitration Zach Davies (1.9 projected WAR) at the front of the staff.

11. Los Angeles Angels

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutKathy Willens/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $146.6 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Shohei Ohtani (3.0)
    • DH Shohei Ohtani (0.6)
    • SP Nick Tropeano (0.4)

    Others: N/A


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    CF Mike Trout8.4$67.2M$34.083M$33.117M
    SS Andrelton Simmons3.5$28M$11.143M$16.857M
    3B Zack Cozart3.2$25.6M$12.667M$12.933M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    DH Albert Pujols-0.1-$0.8M$27M-$27.8M
    RP Jim Johnson0.2$1.6M$4.5M-$2.9M
    1B Luis Valbuena0.9$7.2M$8M-$0.8M



    • Even with his salary jumping from $20.1 million last season to $34.1 million this season, Mike Trout still has the fifth-highest net value of any player.
    • On the opposite end of the spectrum, Albert Pujols has far and away the worst net value (-$27.8M). He's well ahead of David Wright (-$20.0M), Matt Kemp (-$29.3M), Victor Martinez (-$18.8M) and Jacoby Ellsbury (-$18.7M).
    • Tyler Skaggs (+$12.5), Garrett Richards (+$11.1M), Andrew Heaney (+$9.6M), Matt Shoemaker (+$6.3M) and JC Ramirez (+$5.3M)—along with Shohei Ohtani, who will make the minimum salary—could make up one of the most cost-effective rotations in baseball.

10. Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Starling Marte
    Starling MarteNick Wass/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $146.9 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Jameson Taillon (3.6)
    • SP Joe Musgrove (2.6)
    • SP Chad Kuhl (1.9)

    Others: 1B Josh Bell (1.3). SP Tyler Glasnow (1.3), SP Trevor Williams (1.1), 3B Colin Moran (0.8), UT Adam Frazier (0.7), RP Michael Feliz (0.7), SP Steven Brault (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    CF Starling Marte2.8$22.4M$7.833M$14.567M
    RF Gregory Polanco1.7$13.6M$4.1M$9.5M
    SP Ivan Nova2.2$17.6M$9.167M$8.433M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    UT Sean Rodriguez-0.2-$1.6M$5.75M-$7.35M
    RP Daniel Hudson0.3$2.4M$5.5M-$3.1M
    RP George Kontos0.1$0.8M$2.725M-$1.925M



    • It will be up to the pre-arbitration trio of Joe Musgrove (2.6 projected WAR), Colin Moran (0.8) and Michael Feliz (0.7) to make the Gerrit Cole trade a win for the Pirates. Each player could break camp with a significant role.
    • Flame-throwing lefty Felipe Rivero (+$5.8M) had the second-highest net value among all relievers, trailing only Brewers closer Corey Knebel (+$6.0M). The 26-year-old signed a four-year, $22 million contract in January that includes a pair of club option years.
    • In the aftermath of the Andrew McCutchen trade, catcher Francisco Cervelli (+$1.5M) is the highest-paid player on the roster with a $10.5 million salary.

9. Washington Nationals

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    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperNick Wass/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $150.4 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SS Trea Turner (4.1)
    • SP Erick Fedde (1.1)
    • RP Koda Glover (0.4)

    Others: SP Joe Ross (INJ)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RF Bryce Harper5.8$46.4M$21.625M$24.775M
    3B Anthony Rendon4.5$36M$12.3M$23.7M
    SP Max Scherzer5.0$40M$22.143M$17.857M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    1B Ryan Zimmerman0.9$7.2M$14M-$6.8M
    RP Shawn Kelley0.1$0.8M$5.5M-$4.7M
    RP Brandon Kintzler0.3$2.4M$5M-$2.6M



    • Sean Doolittle (+$2.0M), Ryan Madson (+$0.5M) and Brandon Kintzler (-$2.6M) have minimal net value, but that trio changed the complexion of this team last season. Once they joined the bullpen, the relief corps went from a glaring weakness to a strength.
    • Bryce Harper (+$24.8M), Gio Gonzalez (+$8.8M) and Daniel Murphy (+$2.5M) will each have a chance to test the free-agent market next winter. It's safe to assume Harper will no longer be a runaway value once he signs what is expected to be a record-breaking deal.
    • Stephen Strasburg (+$17.7M) and Tanner Roark (+$10.3M) joined Max Scherzer (+$17.9M) with double-digit positive net values in the starting rotation. One of the league's best staffs is well worth the money.

8. Philadelphia Phillies

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    Odubel Herrera
    Odubel HerreraDerik Hamilton/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $151.867 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Aaron Nola (3.9)
    • LF Rhys Hoskins (3.4)
    • SP Nick Pivetta (1.8)

    Others: SP Vince Velasquez (1.2), SP Jerad Eickhoff (1.2), RP Mark Leiter (1.1), SS J.P. Crawford (0.9), OF Aaron Altherr (0.8)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    CF Odubel Herrera2.3$18.4M$3.35M$15.05M
    2B Cesar Hernandez2.1$16.8M$5.1M$11.7M
    3B Maikel Franco1.8$14.4M$2.95M$11.45M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RP Pat Neshek0.5$4M$7.75M-$3.75M
    RP Tommy Hunter0.7$5.6M$9M-$3.4M
    C Cameron Rupp0.5$4M$2.05M$1.95M



    • The Phillies had money to burn and spent a combined $16.8 million on Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter for the upcoming season to stabilize a young bullpen.
    • The team's biggest offseason expenditure—first baseman Carlos Santana—is pegged for a 2.6 projected WAR with an $18.3 million salary, giving him a modest $2.5 million net value.
    • Aaron Nola (3.9) and Rhys Hoskins (3.4) have two of the higher WAR projections among pre-arbitration players. Both look like long-term building blocks for a team set to rise.

7. Boston Red Sox

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    Mookie Betts
    Mookie BettsJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $163.6 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • LF Andrew Benintendi (3.0)
    • 3B Rafael Devers (2.4)
    • RP Matt Barnes (0.3)

    Others: N/A


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RF Mookie Betts5.6$44.8M$10.5M$34.3M
    SP Chris Sale5.4$43.2M$12.5M$30.7M
    SS Xander Bogaerts3.4$27.2M$7.05M$20.15M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    DH Hanley Ramirez0.9$7.2M$22.75M-$15.55M
    SP David Price3.4$27.2M$30M-$2.8M
    RP Tyler Thornburg0.0$0M$2.05M-$2.05M



    • Jackie Bradley Jr. (+$17.9M), Christian Vazquez (+$9.0M) and Drew Pomeranz (+$8.3M) are also worthy of mention as terrific values.
    • Andrew Benintendi (3.0 projected WAR) and Rafael Devers (2.4) are both expected to have strong sophomore seasons. Those figures are good for third and fifth on the team among position players.
    • The Red Sox have Chris Sale under contract for $12.5 million this season with a no-brainer $13.5 million club option for 2019. That's about $10 million less than they'll pay Pablo Sandoval to play elsewhere the next two seasons.

6. St. Louis Cardinals

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    Marcell Ozuna
    Marcell OzunaKurt Voigt/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $171.5 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • CF Tommy Pham (2.9)
    • SP Luke Weaver (2.6)
    • SS Paul DeJong (2.1)

    Others: SP Alex Reyes (1.7), 1B/OF Jose Martinez (0.7), SP Jack Flaherty (0.6), C Carson Kelly (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    LF Marcell Ozuna3.8$30.4M$9M$21.4M
    SP Carlos Martinez4.0$32M$11.5M$20.5M
    SP Michael Wacha2.8$22.4M$5.3M$17.1M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Adam Wainwright1.6$12.8M$19.5M-$6.7M
    RP Brett Cecil0.7$5.6M$7.75M-$2.15M
    C Yadier Molina2.3$18.4M$20M-$1.6M



    • It's interesting that Marcell Ozuna (+$21.4M) and Giancarlo Stanton (+$21.4M) have identical net values for the 2018 season since the Cardinals pursued Stanton before they "settled" for Ozuna.
    • Miles Mikolas (1.8 projected WAR) and Alex Reyes (1.7) might be the two biggest X-factors on the St. Louis roster. If Mikolas can duplicate the success he enjoyed in Japan and Reyes can return strong from Tommy John surgery, the rotation is going to be stacked.
    • At 35 years old and with a $20 million salary that is tops on the team, Yadier Molina (-$1.6M) is still essentially a wash in terms of his expected contributions. That said, with identical $20 million salaries for 2019 and 2020, he could start to creep up that worst value list.

5. New York Yankees

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    Giancarlo Stanton
    Giancarlo StantonWillie J. Allen Jr./Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $184.5 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SP Luis Severino (4.3)
    • RF Aaron Judge (4.0)
    • C Gary Sanchez (3.9)

    Others: 1B Greg Bird (1.6), SP Jordan Montgomery (1.4), 3B Miguel Andujar (1.1), RP Chad Green (0.7), IF Gleyber Torres (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    OF Giancarlo Stanton5.8$46.4M$25M$21.4M
    SP Sonny Gray2.9$23.2M$6.5M$16.7M
    OF Aaron Hicks2.0$16M$2.825M$13.175M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    OF Jacoby Ellsbury0.3$2.4M$21.143M-$18.743M
    RP Aroldis Chapman1.3$10.4M$17.2M-$6.8M
    RP David Robertson0.8$6.4M$13M-$6.6M



    • Luis Severino (4.3), Aaron Judge (4.0) and Gary Sanchez (3.9) are among the pre-arbitration leaders in projected WAR. That's a decent young core—and more impact talent is on the way.
    • Relegated to a bench role, Jacoby Ellsbury is owed $63.4 million in the next three years. Unless the Yankees front office can find a way to unload him, he'll be staking claim to that worst value spot through 2020.
    • While it's hard for high-priced relievers to play up to their contracts as far as WAR value goes, New York is probably just fine with overpaying for Aroldis Chapman and David Robertson at the back of what might be the best bullpen in baseball.

4. Chicago Cubs

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    Kris Bryant
    Kris BryantNick Wass/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $195.1 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • C Willson Contreras (2.9)
    • 2B Javier Baez (1.9)
    • LF Kyle Schwarber (1.8)

    Others: IF/OF Ian Happ (1.6), CF Albert Almora Jr. (1.2), RP Carl Edwards Jr. (0.6), RP Mike Montgomery (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    3B Kris Bryant6.1$48.8M$10.85M$37.95M
    1B Anthony Rizzo4.7$37.6M$7.286M$30.314M
    SP Jose Quintana4.2$33.6M$8.85M$24.75M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RF Jason Heyward2.1$16.8M$28.167M-$11.367M
    2B/OF Ben Zobrist1.3$10.4M$16.5M-$6.1M
    RP Brandon Morrow0.7$5.6M$9M-$3.4M



    • Kris Bryant (+$38.0M) has the highest net value of any position player—despite setting a first-time arbitration record with a $10.9 million salary.
    • While there's little question he's overpaid, Jason Heyward ranks among the top dozen right fielders with a projected WAR of 2.1. His stellar defense goes a long way toward making up for his lackluster offensive production since he joined the Cubs.
    • Newcomers Yu Darvish (+$6.2M) and Tyler Chatwood (+$2.7M) joined Jose Quintana (+$24.8M), Kyle Hendricks (+$17.4M) and Jon Lester (+$0.5M) to form a rotation of all positive net value players.

3. Houston Astros

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    Jose Altuve
    Jose AltuveEric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $217.4 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SS Carlos Correa (5.4)
    • 3B Alex Bregman (3.8)
    • RP Chris Devenski (0.6)

    Others: OF Derek Fisher  (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    2B Jose Altuve4.4$35.2M$6M$29.2M
    CF George Springer4.5$36M$12M$24M
    SP Lance McCullers Jr.2.9$23.2M$2.45M$20.75M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RP Tony Sipp0.0$0M$6M-$6M
    RP Joe Smith0.5$4M$7M-$3M
    C Brian McCann1.9$15.2M$17M-$1.8M



    • The starting pitching trio of Dallas Keuchel (+$18.0M), Gerrit Cole (+$15.7M) and Charlie Morton (+$13.0M) was next up on the Astros' best value list, while Justin Verlander (+$2.4M) also recorded a positive net value despite his $28 million salary.
    • Carlos Correa (5.4) and Alex Bregman (3.8) have the highest combined projected WAR (9.2) of any pre-arbitration duo—ahead of Francisco Lindor and Bradley Zimmer (7.9), Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger (7.8) and Aaron Nola and Rhys Hoskins (7.3).
    • Jose Altuve still has two years and $12.5 million left on a six-year, $24.3 million extension that will go down as one of the best decisions by a front office in MLB history.

2. Cleveland Indians

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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezCharles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $218.092 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SS Francisco Lindor (6.2)
    • CF Bradley Zimmer (1.7)
    • SP Mike Clevinger (1.6)

    Others: Yandy Diaz (0.6)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    3B Jose Ramirez4.8$38.4M$2.829M$35.571M
    SP Corey Kluber5.2$41.6M$10.7M$30.9M
    SP Carlos Carrasco4.2$33.6M$8M$25.6M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    RP Cody Allen0.7$5.6M$10.575M-$4.975M
    1B Edwin Encarnacion2.2$17.6M$18.667M-$1.067M
    RP Zach McAllister0.2$1.6M$2.45M-$0.85M



    • The Indians will happily pay Cody Allen (-$5.0M) and Edwin Encarnacion (-$1.1M) their respective salaries this coming season, so there's really not a bad contract on the books in Cleveland.
    • With Corey Kluber (+$30.9M), Carlos Carrasco (+$25.6M), Trevor Bauer (+$14.3M), Danny Salazar (+$13.4M), Josh Tomlin (+$2.6M) and pre-arbitration Mike Clevinger (1.6 projected WAR) waiting in the wings, the Indians have the most cost-effective group of starters in baseball.
    • Shortstop Francisco Lindor leads all pre-arbitration players and trails only Mike Trout (8.4) among all players with 6.2 projected WAR. The 24-year-old is a bona fide superstar and an American League MVP candidate.

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Justin Turner
    Justin TurnerMark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Total Net Value: $229.4 Million


    Notable Pre-Arbitration Players

    • SS Corey Seager (5.2)
    • 1B Cody Bellinger (2.6)
    • CF Chris Taylor (2.1)

    Others: C Austin Barnes (1.7), SP Walker Buehler (1.6), SP Brock Stewart (1.0), SP Wilmer Font (0.9), RP Scott Alexander (0.8), OF Andrew Toles (0.5), RP Ross Stripling (0.5), SP Julio Urias (0.5)


    3 Best Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    3B Justin Turner4.4$35.2M$12M$23.2M
    RF Yasiel Puig3.2$25.6M$9.214M$16.386M
    SP Clayton Kershaw5.8$46.4M$31.571M$14.829M


    3 Worst Values

    Player2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    OF Matt Kemp0.0$0M$19.25M-$19.25M
    RP Tony Cingrani0.2$1.6M$2.3M-$0.7M
    2B Logan Forsythe1.0$8M$8.5M-$0.5M



    • One year into a four-year, $64 million deal for Justin Turner, the Dodgers look brilliant. The former non-tender casualty posted his second straight 5.0-WAR season in 2017 and finished eighth in National League MVP voting.
    • Even with a salary north of $35.5 million, Clayton Kershaw still checks in as the 21st-best value among starting pitchers. With an opt-out available to him after this season, the former figure could climb north of $40 million.
    • The Dodgers took on two years of Matt Kemp to unload the expiring contracts of Adrian Gonzalez ($22.4M), Scott Kazmir ($17.7M) and Brandon McCarthy ($11.5M). The move was made strictly to bring them under the luxury tax threshold for the upcoming season, so anything Kemp contributes will be a bonus.

The 2018 Pre-Arbitration Team

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    Luis Severino
    Luis SeverinoTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Here's a look at the best pre-arbitration players based on WAR projections:

    Starting Lineup2018 WARValue
    C Gary Sanchez, NYY3.9$31.2M
    1B Cody Bellinger, LAD2.6$20.8M
    2B Ozzie Albies, ATL2.1$16.8M
    3B Alex Bregman, HOU3.8$30.4M
    SS Francisco Lindor, CLE6.2$49.6M
    LF Rhys Hoskins, PHI3.4$27.2M
    CF Byron Buxton, MIN3.0$28.0M
    RF Aaron Judge, NYY4.0$32.0M
    DH Carlos Correa, HOU5.4$43.2M
    Pitching Staff2018 WARValue
    SP Luis Severino, NYY4.3$34.4M
    SP Jon Gray, COL3.9$31.2M
    SP Aaron Nola, PHI3.9$31.2M
    SP Jameson Taillon, PIT3.6$28.8M
    SP Shohei Ohtani, LAA3.0$24.0M
    RP Edwin Diaz, SEA1.0$8.0M

    This group is projected to combine for a WAR of 54.1.


    Note: Corey Seager is projected for the 10th-highest WAR among all position players (5.2), but he was still behind Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa, so he's on the outside looking in.

The 2018 All-Value Team

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    Chris Sale
    Chris SalePatrick Semansky/Associated Press

    And here's a look at the best values at each position—the All-Value team, if you will:

    Starting Lineup2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    C J.T. Realmuto, MIA2.8$22.4M$2.9M$19.5M
    1B Anthony Rizzo, CHC4.7$37.6M$7.3M$30.3M
    2B Jose Altuve, HOU4.4$35.2M$6.0M$29.2M
    3B Kris Bryant, CHC6.1$48.8M$10.9M$38.0M
    SS Manny Machado, BAL5.7$45.6M$16.0M$29.6M
    LF Christian Yelich, MIL3.9$31.2M$7.0M$24.2M
    CF Mike Trout, LAA8.4$67.2M$34.1M$33.1M
    RF Mookie Betts, BOS5.6$44.8M$10.5M$34.3M
    DH Jose Ramirez, CLE4.7$38.4M$2.8M$35.6M
    Pitching Staff2018 WARValue2018 SalaryNet Value
    SP Noah Syndergaard, NYM5.5$44.0M$3.0M$41.0M
    SP Jacob deGrom, NYM4.8$38.4M$7.4M$31.0M
    SP Corey Kluber, CLE5.2$41.6M$10.7M$30.9M
    SP Chris Sale, BOS5.4$43.2M$12.5M$30.7M
    SP Chris Archer, TB4.3$34.4M$6.4M$28.0M
    RP Corey Knebel, MIL1.2$9.6M$3.7M$6.0M

    This group will cost a total of $141.1 million in 2018 and is projected for a combined WAR of 72.7, giving it a plus-$441.3 million net value.


    Thirty-two players checked in with a net value over $20 million, down from 34 a year ago:

    C (0): N/A

    1B (2): Anthony Rizzo (+$30.3M), Paul Goldschmidt (+$24.9M)

    2B (2): Jose Altuve (+$29.2M), Brian Dozier (+$22.2M)

    3B (6): Kris Bryant (+$38.0M), Jose Ramirez (+$35.6M), Josh Donaldson (+$24.2M), Anthony Rendon (+$23.7M), Justin Turner (+$23.2M), Nolan Arenado (+$21.5M)

    SS (2): Manny Machado (+$29.6M), Xander Bogaerts (+$20.2M)

    LF (2): Christian Yelich (+$24.2M), Marcell Ozuna (+$21.4M)

    CF (3): Mike Trout (+$33.1M), Kevin Kiermaier (+$25.5M), George Springer (+$24.0M)

    RF (3): Mookie Betts (+$34.3M), Bryce Harper (+$24.8M), Giancarlo Stanton (+$21.4M)

    RHP (8): Noah Syndergaard (+$41.0M), Jacob deGrom (+$31.0M), Corey Kluber (+$30.9M), Chris Archer (+$28.0M), Carlos Carrasco (+$25.6M), Marcus Stroman (+$24.7M), Lance McCullers Jr. (+$20.8M), Carlos Martinez (+$20.5M)

    LHP (4): Chris Sale (+$30.7M), Robbie Ray (+$24.8M), Jose Quintana (+$24.8M), James Paxton (+$24.7M)


    All stats and past WAR figures courtesy of Baseball Reference.


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