MLB's 'Moneyball' Power Rankings 2019: Who Is Overpaying/Underpaying the Most?

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2019

MLB's 'Moneyball' Power Rankings 2019: Who Is Overpaying/Underpaying the Most?

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Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Moneyball philosophy and ever-growing implementation of sabermetrics have had a profound 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 young ages or big-money stars living up to their lofty paychecks.

So, which club will get the most bang for its buck in 2019? That's what I set out to answer.

Note: The 2018 end-of-year version of this article can be found here.

Methodology

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Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

There are a lot of numbers to digest in the following article, so allow me to first offer an explanation.

Total Net Value was the ultimate determining factor in where each team landed in the rankings and was calculated as follows:

Step 1: To start, I found each player's projected WAR total for the 2019 season, courtesy of the Depth Charts projections at FanGraphs.

Step 2: Based on the FanGraphs value system, 1.0 WAR was again worth around \$8 million in 2018.

So from there, each player's WAR from Step 1 was multiplied by eight to give us the player's projected 2019 value in millions of dollars.

Step 3: Each player's 2019 salary was then subtracted from his projected 2019 value, resulting in his 2019 projected net value. Player salaries came from the team pages of Spotrac.

• Formula: (2019 WAR x 8) - 2019 salary = net value

From there, the cumulative net values of all players who are projected to record at least 50 plate appearances (position players) or 20 innings pitched (pitchers) during the upcoming season were totaled to determine each team's total projected net value.

Included is a look at each team's five best and five worst projected values, along with a few bulleted points that consist of notable observations.

For those of you looking for a complete picture of your favorite team, a full breakdown can be found by clicking on the link located on each team's net value total.

30. San Francisco Giants (2018 Rank: 29)

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Joe PanikJason O. Watson/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$44.5 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 2B Joe Panik: +\$14.6 million
• C Buster Posey: +\$13 million
• SS Brandon Crawford: +\$7.2 million
• 1B Brandon Belt: +\$6.8 million
• SP Andrew Suarez: +\$6.6 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• SP Johnny Cueto: -\$21 million
• RP Mark Melancon: -\$15.8 million
• SP Jeff Samardzija: -\$7 million
• RP Sam Dyson: -\$3.4 million
• OF Gerardo Parra: -\$1 million

Notes

• Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon will earn \$59.8 million in 2019, which accounts for more than one-third of the team's payroll. The high-priced trio is projected for just 2.0 WAR combined.
• Yangervis Solarte, Cameron Maybin, Rene Rivera and Gerardo Parra all have legitimate chances of making the Opening Day roster as non-roster invitees. All four will make less than \$2 million if they earn spots, so there'll be plenty of room for value with those under-the-radar signings.
• Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez (+\$43.1 million) has the highest projected net value of any player, which leaves him less than \$2 million shy of the entire Giants roster.

29. Baltimore Orioles (2018 Rank: 30)

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Renato NunezG Fiume/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$53.1 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Renato Nunez: +\$14.6 million
• CF Cedric Mullins: +\$13.8 million
• SP Dylan Bundy: +\$9.2 million
• C Austin Wynns: +\$8.2 million
• LF Trey Mancini: +\$8.2 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• 1B Chris Davis: -\$20.3 million
• SP Andrew Cashner: -\$7.9 million
• DH Mark Trumbo: -\$5.4 million
• RP Miguel Castro: -\$2.2 million
• SP David Hess: -\$2.2 million

Notes

• Third baseman Renato Nunez (+\$14.6 million) posted a 116 OPS+ with 13 doubles and seven home runs in 60 games with the Orioles last season after Baltimore claimed him off waivers from the Texas Rangers. If he can hold off prospect Ryan Mountcastle, he's a dark horse for 30 home runs over a full season.
• While Chance Sisco (+\$7.4 million) was the hyped prospect and presumptive catcher of the future, the projection system likes Austin Wynns (+\$8.2 million) better for the 2019 season. Wynns, 28, was a 10th-round pick in 2013.
• The Orioles still owe Chris Davis (-\$20.3 million) a whopping \$92 million over the next four seasons. Buckle up, folks. This nightmare is not going to be over anytime soon.

28. Detroit Tigers (2018 Rank: 27)

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Jeimer CandelarioDuane Burleson/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$54.2 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Jeimer Candelario: +\$20.2 million
• SP Michael Fulmer: +\$15.6 million
• C Grayson Greiner: +\$13 million
• 2B Josh Harrison: +\$10.8 million
• DH Christin Stewart: +\$10.6 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• SP Jordan Zimmermann: -\$17.8 million
• 1B Miguel Cabrera: -\$7.6 million
• SP Tyson Ross: -\$3.6 million
• C/1B John Hicks: -\$3 million
• RP Shane Greene: -\$1.6 million

Notes

• The projection system likes the Josh Harrison (+\$10.8 million) and Jordy Mercer (+\$4.4 million) signings, while it has a less favorable view of the Tyson Ross (-\$3.6 million) and Matt Moore (-\$0.1 million) additions. Similar low-risk moves to sign Mike Fiers and Leonys Martin paid dividends a year ago.
• Despite a less than stellar 70 OPS+ in 30 games last season, Grayson Greiner (+\$13 million) appears to have a clear path to the starting catcher job. He showed decent pop and a good throwing arm in the minors, and that should be enough to make him a good value at a league-minimum rate.
• Veterans Jordan Zimmermann (-\$17.8 million) and Miguel Cabrera (-\$7.6 million) are by far the two worst projected values on the roster. They'll earn a combined \$\$55 million, which accounts for more than half of the team payroll.

27. Seattle Mariners (2018 Rank: 14)

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Mitch HanigerStephen Brashear/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$60.1 million

5 Best Projected Values

• RF Mitch Haniger: +\$22.6 million
• CF Mallex Smith: +\$17.8 million
• SP Marco Gonzales: +\$16.7 million
• C Omar Narvaez: +\$13 million
• SS J.P. Crawford: +\$12.2 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• SP Felix Hernandez: -\$23.9 million
• OF Jay Bruce: -\$8.4 million
• RP Anthony Swarzak: -\$5.3 million
• RP Hunter Strickland: -\$2.1 million
• 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion: -\$1.8 million

Notes

• The Mariners plummeted 13 spots from where they finished the 2018 season, due in large part to taking on bad contracts like Jay Bruce (-\$8.4 million), Anthony Swarzak (-\$5.3 million) and Edwin Encarnacion (-\$1.8 million). Their busy offseason went a long way toward rebuilding a thin farm system, though.
• Starting pitchers Marco Gonzales (+\$16.7 million), Justus Sheffield (+\$4.2 million) and Wade LeBlanc (+\$3.3 million) all provide good value. Even high-priced Mike Leake (+\$1 million) and newcomer Yusei Kikuchi (+\$0.1 million) are positive net values.
• The anchor here is obviously Felix Hernandez (-\$23.9 million), who will earn \$27.9 million in the final year of his contract. The 32-year-old posted a career-high 5.55 ERA over 155.2 innings last season.

26. Miami Marlins (2018 Rank: 28)

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Brian AndersonJim McIsaac/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$65.9 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Brian Anderson: +\$21 million
• SP Caleb Smith: +\$13.8 million
• SP Trevor Richards: +\$9.8 million
• C Jorge Alfaro: +\$9 million
• OF Austin Dean: +\$8.2 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• IF Martin Prado: -\$14.2 million
• SP Wei-Yin Chen: -\$8.8 million
• 1B/OF Peter O'Brien: -\$5.4 million
• RP Jarlin Garcia: -\$2.2 million
• RP Adam Conley: -\$1.9 million

Notes

• The projection system is surprisingly high on left-hander Caleb Smith (+\$13.8 million), who quietly posted a 4.19 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 88 strikeouts in 77.1 innings as a rookie in 2018.
• A healthy Martin Prado is capable of more than the 0.1 WAR he's projected for opposite a \$15 million salary. However, after playing just 91 games the past two seasons, he's far from a sure thing to stay upright.
• Jorge Alfaro (+\$9 million) is projected for roughly one-third of the net value that the recently traded J.T. Realmuto (+\$26.1 million) is expected to produce. However, he comes with three additional years of control, which means a lot for a team that likely won't be ready to contend in the near future.

25. Kansas City Royals (2018 Rank: 25)

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Total Projected Net Value: +\$72.1 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SS Adalberto Mondesi: +\$24.2 million
• 2B Whit Merrifield: +\$20.6 million
• SP Jakob Junis: +\$15.4 million
• C Salvador Perez: +\$12.8 million
• SP Brad Keller: +\$9 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• SP Ian Kennedy: -\$13.3 million
• LF Alex Gordon: -\$9.6 million
• RP Brad Boxberger: -\$2.2 million
• RP Wily Peralta: -\$1.5 million
• RP Conner Greene: -\$1.4 million

Notes

• The team-friendly four-year, \$16.25 million extension late bloomer Whit Merrifield signed in January will pay him just \$1 million in 2019, again making him one of the best values in baseball.
• The Royals have done well by finding tremendous value with a 29th-round pick (Jakob Junis) and a Rule 5 selection (Brad Keller); both are holding down spots in the starting rotation.
• The two worst net values on the teamIan Kennedy (-\$13.3 million) and Alex Gordon (-\$9.6 million)will earn a combined \$36.5 million. That's a big piece of the pie for a team with a projected payroll shy of \$100 million.

24. Texas Rangers (2018 Rank: 21)

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Joey GalloMike Stone/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$85.9 million

5 Best Projected Values

• LF Joey Gallo: +\$28.2 million
• 3B Asdrubal Cabrera: +\$14.9 million
• RF Nomar Mazara: +\$13.5 million
• 2B Rougned Odor: +\$9 million
• RP Jose Leclerc: +\$8.2 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• DH Shin-Soo Choo: -\$12.2 million
• RP Shawn Kelley: -\$2.5 million
• IF/RP Matt Davidson: -\$1.8 million
• SS Elvis Andrus: -\$1.7 million
• RP Jordan Romano: -\$1.4 million

Notes

• Designated hitter Shin-Soo Choo (-\$12.2 million) was an All-Star for the first time in his age-35 season, and he's a consistent on-base threat. Still, with a \$21 million salary for each of the next two campaigns and no defensive contributions, it's hard for him to live up to his price tag.
• A one-year, \$3.5 million deal for Asdrubal Cabrera (+\$14.9 million) could prove to be a steal if he hits like he did last season, when he posted a 112 OPS+ with 36 doubles and 23 home runs for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. The 33-year-old should also benefit from moving away from the middle infield spots.
• Hard-throwing right-hander Jose Leclerc (+\$8.2 million) ranks fifth among all relievers in projected net value. With team control through 2022, he's a valuable asset for a Rangers team entering a transition period.

23. Chicago White Sox (2018 Rank: 23)

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Eloy JimenezJamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$87.5 million

5 Best Projected Values

• LF Eloy Jimenez: +\$25.8 million
• 2B Yoan Moncada: +\$17 million
• SS Tim Anderson: +\$9 million
• C Welington Castillo: +\$8.8 million
• SP Carlos Rodon: +\$7.8 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Kelvin Herrera: -\$5.3 million
• RP Alex Colome: -\$4.1 million
• SP Carson Fulmer: -\$3.8 million
• OF Jon Jay: -\$3.2 million
• SP Ivan Nova: -\$2.8 million

Notes

• Eloy Jimenez (+\$25.8 million) is projected for the second-highest WAR (3.3) among all rookies, trailing only Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (5.1).
• Fellow rookies Dane Dunning (+\$3.4 million) and Dylan Cease (+\$1.8 million) are also projected to make a positive impact in the starting rotation once they arrive in the majors.
• The White Sox acquired relievers Kelvin Herrera (-\$5.3 million) and Alex Colome (-\$4.1 million) this offseason. Both check in as negative net values, but they could easily turn into valuable trade chips with strong late-inning numbers.

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German MarquezMatthew Stockman/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$120.7 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SP German Marquez: +\$30.6 million
• SS Trevor Story: +\$23.8 million
• SP Kyle Freeland: +\$18.6 million
• SP Jon Gray: +\$17.9 million
• SP Antonio Senzatela: +\$14.6 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Wade Davis: -\$11.6 million
• RP Mike Dunn: -\$8.6 million
• RP Jake McGee: -\$7.7 million
• RP Bryan Shaw: -\$6.9 million
• 1B/OF Ian Desmond: -\$6.2 million

Notes

• The young starting rotation of German Marquez (+\$30.6 million), Kyle Freeland (+\$18.6 million), Jon Gray (+\$17.9 million), Antonio Senzatela (+\$14.6 million) and Tyler Anderson (+\$12.6 million) will earn just \$7.3 million combined while providing +\$94.3 million in positive net value.
• On the other hand, relievers Wade Davis (-\$11.6 million), Mike Dunn (-\$8.6 million), Jake McGee (-\$7.7 million) and Bryan Shaw (-\$6.9 million) are the four worst projected values on the roster. They'll earn a combined \$42 million in 2019, which amounts to roughly 28 percent of the team's payroll.
• Outfielder David Dahl (+\$9 million) and second baseman Garrett Hampson (+\$6.6 million) both look like potential breakout candidates who could provide huge value on league-minimum salaries.

21. Toronto Blue Jays (2018 Rank: 24)

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Total Projected Net Value: +\$122.7 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.: +\$40.2 million
• C Danny Jansen: +\$21 million
• RF Randal Grichuk: +\$13.4 million
• SP Marcus Stroman: +\$12.6 million
• CF Kevin Pillar: +\$11 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• DH Kendrys Morales: -\$6.4 million
• RP Elvis Luciano: -\$2.2 million
• RP John Axford: -\$1.7 million
• RP David Phelps: -\$0.9 million
• OF Anthony Alford: -\$0.6 million

Notes

• Third baseman Vlad Jr. (+\$40.2 million) and catcher Danny Jansen (+\$21 million) rank as the third- and fourth-best projected values leaguewide at their respective positions. Those two rookies will be vital pieces of the long-term puzzle as the Blue Jays start to rebuild.
• With a \$12 million salary, Kendrys Morales (-\$6.4 million) is the highest-paid player on a team that could have a payroll south of \$100 million this year.
• Veteran additions Freddy Galvis (+\$4 million), Clayton Richard (+\$4.9 million) and Matt Shoemaker (+\$3.7 million) are all projected to provide modest positive net value.

20. Arizona Diamondbacks (2018 Rank: 13)

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Ketel MarteNorm Hall/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$134.9 million

5 Best Projected Values

• CF Ketel Marte: +\$22.8 million
• SP Robbie Ray: +\$19.6 million
• SP Zack Godley: +\$17.8 million
• 2B Wilmer Flores: +\$15.5 million
• SP Luke Weaver: +\$13.8 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• OF Yasmany Tomas: -\$15.5 million
• SP Zack Greinke: -\$8.1 million
• RP Yoshihisa Hirano: -\$3 million
• RP Greg Holland: -\$2.5 million
• RP T.J. McFarland: -\$1.4 million

Notes

• International flop Yasmany Tomas has been removed from the 40-man roster, but his \$15.5 million salary still counts against the MLB payroll. The 28-year-old spent the entire 2018 season in Triple-A, hitting .262/.280/.465 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI. He'll earn \$17 million in 2020—the final year of his contract.
• The projection system is high on Wilmer Flores (+\$15.5 million), who will have a chance to win the everyday second-base job in Arizona after bouncing around the field with the Mets the past few seasons. At the least, he's a valuable platoon bat who rakes against lefties.
• Veteran ace Zack Greinke (-\$8.1 million) is still a really good pitcher. He's just not \$34.5 million worth of good. His salary will jump up to \$35 million in 2020 and 2021 to close out a six-year, \$206.5 million pact.

19. Chicago Cubs (2018 Rank: 10)

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Kris BryantNick Wass/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$140.8 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Kris Bryant: +\$32.7 million
• 1B Anthony Rizzo: +\$23.9 million
• LF Kyle Schwarber: +\$22.2 million
• SS Javier Baez: +\$22 million
• C Willson Contreras: +\$21.8 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Tyler Chatwood: -\$12.5 million
• SP Jon Lester: -\$11.5 million
• RP Steve Cishek: -\$5.7 million
• RP Brandon Kintzler: -\$5 million
• RF Jason Heyward: -\$4.9 million

Notes

• The Cubs no longer have the luxury of a roster loaded with pre-arbitration contracts. Willson Contreras (+\$21.8 million), Ian Happ (+\$11.4 million), Albert Almora Jr. (+\$9.8 million), Victor Caratini (+\$5.8 million) and David Bote (+\$1.8 million) are the only players projected to eclipse 50 plate appearances or 20 innings pitched who will be playing for the league minimum.
• Kyle Hendricks (+\$13.4 million) and Jose Quintana (+\$10.3 million) are the only pitchers who check in among the team's 10 best projected values.
• Tyler Chatwood (-\$12.5 million), Jon Lester (-\$11.5 million), Jason Heyward (-\$4.9 million), Cole Hamels (-\$0.8 million) and Yu Darvish (+\$0.8 million) account for \$102.5 million in payroll. That a big chunk of change, even for a large-market team.

18. Los Angeles Angels (2018 Rank: 18)

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Mike TroutJae C. Hong/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$143.7 million

5 Best Projected Values

• CF Mike Trout: +\$40.3 million
• DH Shohei Ohtani: +\$21.8 million
• SS Andrelton Simmons: +\$20.6 million
• SP Andrew Heaney: +\$16.6 million
• IF David Fletcher: +\$14.6 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• 1B Albert Pujols: -\$27.2 million
• RP Cody Allen: -\$3.7 million
• SP Matt Harvey: -\$3 million
• RP Hansel Robles: -\$2.2 million
• RP Dan Jennings: -\$1 million

Notes

• How good is Mike Trout? He's the fourth-highest paid player in baseball with a \$34.1 million salary, yet he's still projected to produce +\$40.3 million in excess value. That trails only Jose Ramirez (+\$43.1 million), Alex Bregman (+\$42.6 million) and Corey Seager (+\$40.8 million) among all players.
• Even taking the year off from pitching as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery, Shohei Ohtani (+\$21.8 million) is a major positive as the team's primary designated hitter.
• The Angels biggest offseason additions have been Matt Harvey (-\$3 million), Trevor Cahill (+\$1.4 million) and Cody Allen (-\$3.7 million). That trio will need to exceed projections if the Angels are going to make a run at a playoff spot.

17. Cincinnati Reds (2018 Rank: 22)

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Eugenio SuarezJamie Sabau/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$151.1 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Eugenio Suarez: +\$20.7 million
• SP Luis Castillo: +\$20.2 million
• IF/OF Nick Senzel: +\$18.6 million
• RF Yasiel Puig: +\$16.7 million
• LF Jesse Winker: +\$15.4 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• OF Matt Kemp: -\$11.3 million
• RP Zach Duke: -\$2 million
• RP Michael Lorenzen: -\$2 million
• C Curt Casali: -\$1 million
• RP Wandy Peralta: -\$0.6 million

Notes

• Nick Senzel (+\$18.6 million) ranks third in projected WAR among rookies (2.4), and if he proves himself capable of handling center field defensively, he could be in the majors by May for a Reds team looking to contend.
• The additions of Sonny Gray (+\$12.5 million), Alex Wood (+\$5.6 million) and Tanner Roark (+\$1.2 million) to a starting rotation that ranked 25th in the majors with a 5.02 ERA should help this team take a major step forward.
• Outfielder Matt Kemp is finally entering the final year of an eight-year, \$160 million deal, during which he's been traded four times. The Dodgers are still on the hook for \$7 million of his \$21.5 million salary.

16. Milwaukee Brewers (2018 Rank: 8)

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Christian YelichMorry Gash/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$152.1 million

5 Best Projected Values

• LF Christian Yelich: +\$31.1 million
• CF Lorenzo Cain: +\$16.4 million
• 3B Travis Shaw: +\$15.3 million
• RP Josh Hader: +\$13.8 million
• 2B Mike Moustakas: +\$13.2 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RF Ryan Braun: -\$4.6 million
• RP Matt Albers: -\$1.7 million
• IF Tyler Saladino: -\$0.9 million
• C Manny Pina: -\$0.8 million
• RP Taylor Williams: -\$0.6 million

Notes

• Christian Yelich was an absolute steal last season, earning just \$7 million on his way to National League MVP honors. His salary remains a team-friendly \$9.75 million in 2019, so it's no surprise to see him atop the team's best projected values.
• Lefty Josh Hader (+\$13.8 million) has the second-highest projected net value of any reliever. The 24-year-old finished seventh in NL Cy Young voting last season, racking up 143 strikeouts in 81.1 innings while recording six wins, 12 saves and 21 holds. His 46.7 percent strikeout rate led the majors.
• The only "bad" contract on the books for the Brewers belongs to Ryan Braun. The 35-year-old will earn \$19 million in 2019 and \$17 million in 2020 to wrap up a five-year, \$105 million contract.

15. Philadelphia Phillies (2018 Rank: 16)

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Aaron NolaRich Schultz/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$162.2 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SP Aaron Nola: +\$28.3 million
• 1B Rhys Hoskins: +\$28.2 million
• C J.T. Realmuto: +\$26.1 million
• SP Nick Pivetta: +\$19.4 million
• 3B Maikel Franco: +\$14 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Juan Nicasio: -\$8.5 million
• RP Pat Neshek: -\$7 million
• SP Jake Arrieta: -\$6.6 million
• RP Tommy Hunter: -\$5.8 million
• RP Jose Alvarez: -\$1.1 million

Notes

• Aaron Nola had the highest net value of any player last seasona massive +\$79.427 million. While the four-year, \$45 million extension he signed earlier this month will bump up his 2019 base salary to \$4 million, he still projects to be one of the best values among pitchers.
• A return to first base should greatly benefit Rhys Hoskins (+\$28.2 million). His brutal defensive metrics in left field (-24 DRS, -13.7 UZR/150) took a significant bite out of his overall value last season.
• Starters Nick Pivetta (+\$19.4 million) and Zach Eflin (+\$9 million) should both provide huge value on league-minimum salaries. The same goes for late-inning reliever Seranthony Dominguez (+\$6.6 million), though the addition of David Robertson bumps him from the closer's role.

14. Atlanta Braves (2018 Rank: 9)

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Ozzie AlbiesKamil Krzaczynski/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$162.8 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 2B Ozzie Albies: +\$27.4 million
• LF Ronald Acuna Jr.: +\$25 million
• SP Mike Foltynewicz: +\$16.1 million
• 1B Freddie Freeman: +\$13 million
• SP Sean Newcomb: +\$13 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• SP Julio Teheran: -\$6.4 million
• RP Darren O'Day: -\$4.2 million
• UT Charlie Culberson: -\$2.2 million
• RP Arodys Vizcaino: -\$1.6 million
• RP Sam Freeman: -\$1.6 million

Notes

• It's surprising to see Ozzie Albies (3.5) projected for a higher WAR than Ronald Acuna Jr. (3.2). Both young players have bright futures, but most would agree that Acuna has a higher ceiling for 2019 and beyond.
• Mike Soroka (+\$5.8 million) and Touki Toussaint (+\$2.6 million) are the two rookie pitchers projected to make the biggest impact. The team has a wealth of talented young arms, though, and any number of guys could emerge to round out the rotation.
• Third baseman Josh Donaldson (+\$9.8 million) is projected for 4.1 WAR on his \$23 million salary. The Braves would no doubt be thrilled with that level of production from a guy who comes with some obvious injury concerns.

13. St. Louis Cardinals (2018 Rank: 20)

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Paul DeJongJon Durr/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$169.7 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SS Paul DeJong: +\$24.7 million
• SP Jack Flaherty: +\$21.8 million
• 1B Paul Goldschmidt: +\$19.7 million
• LF Marcell Ozuna: +\$17.4 million
• CF Harrison Bader: +\$17 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RF Dexter Fowler: -\$9.3 million
• RP Brett Cecil: -\$8.6 million
• RP Luke Gregerson: -\$3.4 million
• 3B Jedd Gyorko: -\$1.6 million
• RP Dominic Leone: -\$1.3 million

Notes

• Rookie Jack Flaherty (+\$21.8 million) and international returnee Miles Mikolas (+\$13.9 million) unexpectedly led the Cardinals staff last season. There's a good chance they'll do it again in 2019.
• With Harrison Bader (+\$17 million) expected to take over as the everyday center fielder and young slugger Tyler O'Neill (+\$2.6 million) ready for an extended look, Dexter Fowler (-\$9.3 million) could soon turn into a \$16.5 million fourth outfielder.
• The Cardinals gave up Luke Weaver (+\$13.8 million) and Carson Kelly (+\$5.8 million) to acquire Paul Goldschmidt (+\$19.7 million). Obviously, there are more factors at play than just net value, but it makes for an interesting comparison.

12. New York Mets (2018 Rank: 19)

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Jacob deGromJim McIsaac/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$173.6 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SP Jacob deGrom: +\$30.2 million
• SP Noah Syndergaard: +\$22.8 million
• OF Michael Conforto: +\$22.4 million
• OF Brandon Nimmo: +\$19.4 million
• SS Amed Rosario/RP Edwin Diaz: +\$16.2 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• LF Yoenis Cespedes: -\$25.8 million
• CF Juan Lagares: -\$3.4 million
• RP Justin Wilson: -\$2.6 million
• IF Adeiny Hechavarria: -\$2.2 million
• 1B Todd Frazier: -\$1.8 million

Notes

• Newcomers Robinson Cano (+\$8.2 million) and Edwin Diaz (+\$16.2 million) both look like solid investments for the Mets. In fact, Diaz has the highest projected net value of any reliever, thanks to his league-minimum salary.
• Expect first baseman Peter Alonso (+\$11.4 million) to be up early, even if he doesn't steal the Opening Day first base job away from Todd Frazier (-\$1.8 million). The 24-year-old demolished Double-A and Triple-A pitching last season, posting a .975 OPS with 31 doubles, 36 home runs and 119 RBI.
• Starting pitchers Jacob deGrom (+\$30.2 million), Noah Syndergaard (+\$22.8 million), Zack Wheeler (+\$15.6 million) and Steven Matz (+\$12.6 million) are capable of vaulting the Mets into the top 10 in these rankings if they can stay healthy.

11. San Diego Padres (2018 Rank: 26)

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Joey LucchesiDenis Poroy/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$177.6 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SP Joey Lucchesi: +\$18.6 million
• CF Manuel Margot: +\$13.8 million
• SS/3B Manny Machado: +\$13.2 million
• OF Franmil Reyes: +\$13 million
• SP Robbie Erlin: +\$13 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• 1B Eric Hosmer: -\$7.4 million
• SP Garrett Richards: -\$7 million
• RP Kazuhisa Makita: -\$1.9 million
• RP Miguel Diaz: -\$0.6 million
• RP Phil Maton: -\$0.6 million

Notes

• The full details of the Manny Machado (+\$13.2 million) signing will be announced on Thursday or Friday, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. Until then, we're assuming his \$300 million payday is spread evenly over the 10 years, giving him a \$30 million salary for 2019.
• The projection system likes Manuel Margot (+\$13.8 million) and Franmil Reyes (+\$13 million) to emerge from an outfield logjam that also includes Hunter Renfroe (+\$5.8 million), Franchy Cordero (+\$4.2 million) and Travis Jankowski (+\$0.4 million).
• Right-hander Chris Paddack (+\$12.2 million) has the second-highest projected WAR (1.6) among all rookie pitchers, trailing only Houston Astros flame-thrower Josh James (2.0).

10. Boston Red Sox (2018 Rank: 6)

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Mookie BettsMichael Dwyer/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$178.4 million

5 Best Projected Values

• RF Mookie Betts: +\$38.4 million
• SP Chris Sale: +\$37.8 million
• LF Andrew Benintendi: +\$28.2 million
• SS Xander Bogaerts: +\$22.4 million
• 3B Rafael Devers: +\$21 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• SP David Price: -\$6.2 million
• RP Tyler Thornburg: -\$2.6 million
• IF Eduardo Nunez: -\$1.8 million
• RP Bobby Poyner: -\$1.4 million
• RP Brandon Workman: -\$1.1 million

Notes

• Mookie Betts had the highest net value of any position player last season at +\$76.7 million. His salary will nearly double this year from \$10.5 million to \$20 million, but that doesn't stop him from boasting the highest projected value on the roster.
• Meanwhile, ace Chris Sale (+\$37.8 million) has the highest projected value of any pitcher for the 2019 season. The 29-year-old is entering the final season of the team-friendly seven-year, \$59 million deal he signed while he was still with the White Sox. A massive raise will be coming his way next winter.
• Unless an outside addition is made, it will be up to Matt Barnes (+\$8 million) and Ryan Brasier (+\$3.4 million) to replace Craig Kimbrel at the back of the bullpen.

9. Oakland Athletics (2018 Rank: 1)

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Matt ChapmanPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$180.1 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Matt Chapman: +\$36.2 million
• 1B Matt Olson: +\$25.8 million
• CF Ramon Laureano: +\$21 million
• 2B Jurickson Profar: +\$19.6 million
• SS Marcus Semien: +\$13.3 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Yusmeiro Petit: -\$5.5 million
• RP Fernando Rodney: -\$5.3 million
• SP Marco Estrada: -\$2.4 million
• SP Sean Manaea: -\$1.6 million
• RP Jerry Blevins: -\$1.5 million

Notes

• The A's are banking on Mike Fiers (+\$3.6 million), Brett Anderson (+\$4.1 million) and Marco Estrada (-\$2.4 million) holding down the fort until top prospect Jesus Luzardo (+\$8.2 million) and A.J. Puk (+\$3.4 million) are ready to lend a hand in the rotation.
• Center fielder Ramon Laureano (+\$21 million) was acquired in an under-the-radar trade with the Houston Astros prior to the 2018 season in exchange for right-hander Brandon Bailey. After lighting up Triple-A pitching, he hit .288/.358/.474 with 18 extra-base hits in 176 plate appearances as a rookie, and the projection system expects more of the same.
• Corner infielders Matt Chapman (+\$36.2 million) and Matt Olson (+\$25.8 million) are both homegrown players making a significant impact at the MLB level while earning the league minimum. That's the very core of what we're talking about here.

8. Minnesota Twins (2018 Rank: 17)

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Jose BerriosBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$181.4 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SP Jose Berrios: +\$21 million
• LF Eddie Rosario: +\$17.4 million
• 3B Miguel Sano: +\$17.4 million
• CF Byron Buxton: +\$16.7 million
• SS Jorge Polanco: +\$16.4 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Addison Reed: -\$9.3 million
• RP Matt Magill: -\$0.6 million
• RP Tyler Duffey: -\$0.6 million
• RP Andrew Vasquez: -\$0.6 million
• SP Jake Odorizzi: +\$0.1 million

Notes

• While the Twins came to terms on extensions for Jorge Polanco (+\$16.4 million) and Max Kepler (\$16.4 million), both players still project to provide significant value in 2019.
• Ace Jose Berrios (+\$21 million) could be next in line for a long-term deal. The 24-year-old will be arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter, with team control through the 2022 season.
• The projection system remains optimistic that both Miguel Sano (+\$17.4 million) and Byron Buxton (+\$16.7 million) will rebound from disappointing seasons. If they do, the Twins could be legitimate contenders for a wild-card spot.

7. Los Angeles Dodgers (2018 Rank: 7)

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Corey SeagerRick Scuteri/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$195.4 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SS Corey Seager: +\$40.8 million
• 1B/OF Cody Bellinger: +\$29 million
• SP Walker Buehler: +\$25.8 million
• 3B Justin Turner: +\$20.2 million
• CF A.J. Pollock: +\$17.6 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Kenley Jansen: -\$8.9 million
• SP Clayton Kershaw: -\$4.6 million
• RP Tony Cingrani: -\$2.7 million
• RP Josh Fields: -\$2.1 million
• SP Hyun-Jin Ryu: -\$1.9 million

Notes

• After playing just 26 games last season, Corey Seager (+\$40.8 million) is projected to return with a vengeance. The projection system has him pegged for a .284/.359/.478 line with 35 doubles, 23 home runs, 75 RBI and 92 runs scored, good for 5.6 WAR.
• While Kenley Jansen (-\$8.9 million) and Clayton Kershaw (-\$4.6 million) project to be the two worst values on the roster thanks to their bloated salaries, shelling out the money was a no-brainer for the Dodgers in both cases.
• Walker Buehler (+\$25.8 million) is just scratching the surface of his superstar potential. Don't be surprised if he winds up producing the highest net value of any pitcher in 2019 while emerging as a legitimate NL Cy Young contender.

6. Washington Nationals (2018 Rank: 15)

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Juan SotoKiyoshi Ota/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$200.3 million

5 Best Projected Values

• LF Juan Soto: +\$35.4 million
• SS Trea Turner: +\$32.3 million
• 3B Anthony Rendon: +\$24.4 million
• SP Stephen Strasburg: +\$20.6 million
• CF Victor Robles: +\$17.8 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• 1B Ryan Zimmerman: -\$6.8 million
• RP Kyle Barraclough: -\$0.9 million
• RP Sammy Solis: -\$0.9 million
• RP Wander Suero: -\$0.6 million
• OF Andrew Stevenson: -\$0.6 million

Notes

• Even without Bryce Harper, an outfield of Juan Soto (+\$35.4 million), Victor Robles (+\$17.8 million) and Adam Eaton (+\$11.6 million) still looks awfully good.
• First baseman Ryan Zimmerman (-\$6.8 million) is entering the final season of a six-year, \$100 million contract that will pay him \$18 million in 2019. He also has an \$18 million club option for 2020 that carries a \$2 million buyout.
• Stephen Strasburg actually has a \$35 million salary for 2019. However, a whopping \$30 million of it is deferred, which is why he somewhat deceivingly makes an appearance among the team's best values.

5. Pittsburgh Pirates (2018 Rank: 11)

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Jameson TaillonKirk Irwin/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$209.1 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SP Jameson Taillon: +\$25.8 million
• SP Chris Archer: +\$22.7 million
• SP Joe Musgrove: +\$18.6 million
• CF Starling Marte: +\$16.9 million
• IF/OF Adam Frazier: +\$15.4 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Francisco Liriano: -\$1 million
• RP Tom Koehler: -\$0.9 million
• RP Luis Escobar: -\$0.6 million
• RP Nick Burdi: -\$0.6 million
• RP Dovydas Neverauskas: -\$0.6 million

Notes

• After unloading Ivan Nova on the White Sox, the Pirates have one of the most valuable starting rotations in baseball. Jameson Taillon (+\$25.8 million), Chris Archer (+\$22.7 million), Joe Musgrove (+\$18.6 million) and Trevor Williams (+\$8.2 million) will fill the first four spots, with Nick Kingham (+\$5.8 million) and top prospect Mitch Keller (+\$5 million) in the mix to round out the staff.
• It speaks volumes to how careful the Pirates are not to be bogged down with bad contracts that Francisco Liriano (-\$1 million) is the worst projected value on the roster, and he's not even guaranteed a spot. The veteran lefty signed a minor league deal that will pay him \$1.8 million if he breaks camp with the MLB club.
• After hitting on Corey Dickerson (+\$7.5 million) last offseason, the Pirates are hoping for similar results from buy-low free-agent signing Lonnie Chisenhall (+\$3.7 million) who will fill in while Gregory Polanco continues to recover from left shoulder surgery.

4. New York Yankees (2018 Rank: 5)

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Aaron JudgeJim McIsaac/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$209.3 million

5 Best Projected Values

• RF Aaron Judge: +\$37.8 million
• SP Luis Severino: +\$32.3 million
• C Gary Sanchez: +\$28.2 million
• SP James Paxton: +\$23.4 million
• CF Aaron Hicks: +\$22 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• OF Jacoby Ellsbury: -\$21.1 million
• RP Zack Britton: -\$5.8 million
• RP Adam Ottavino: -\$3.4 million
• RP Aroldis Chapman: -\$1.2 million
• SP Masahiro Tanaka: -\$1.2 million

Notes

• Even with his \$26 million salary, slugger Giancarlo Stanton (+\$8.4 million) still checks in with a positive net value.
• The Yankees are counting on James Paxton (+\$23.4 million) and J.A. Happ (+\$5.4 million) staying healthy to help solidify the starting rotation. Otherwise, they'll again be left relying on some unproven youngsters.
• Can Gary Sanchez bounce back from a dreadful 2018 campaign? The projection system thinks so, as his +\$28.2 million net value is tops at the catcher position.

3. Houston Astros (2018 Rank: 3)

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Alex BregmanPaul Sancya/Associated Press

Total Projected Net Value: +\$233.3 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Alex Bregman: +\$42.6 million
• SS Carlos Correa: +\$33.4 million
• 2B Jose Altuve: +\$26.5 million
• SP Gerrit Cole: +\$23.3 million
• SP Justin Verlander: +\$20.8 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Joe Smith: -\$7.2 million
• SP Lance McCullers Jr.: -\$4.1 million
• RF Josh Reddick: -\$2.6 million
• 1B Yuli Gurriel: -\$2.4 million
• RP Chris Devenski: -\$0.7 million

Notes

• Third baseman Alex Bregman (+\$42.6 million) has the highest net value of any player still making the league minimum, and he trails only Jose Ramirez (+\$43.1 million) among all players.
• The Astros will be counting on some combination of Josh James (+\$15.4 million), Framber Valdez (+\$3.4 million) and Forrest Whitley (+\$1.8 million) to fill the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation. They'll also likely be careful not to stretch Wade Miley (+\$1.9 million) too thin as the No. 4 guy.
• Assuming super-utility man Marwin Gonzalez signs elsewhere, the Astros could explore using Yuli Gurriel (-\$2.4 million) in a similar role, with Tyler White (+\$11.4 million) slotting in as the everyday first baseman. That would open up the DH spot to serve as a rotating day off of sorts.

2. Cleveland Indians (2018 Rank: 4)

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Jose RamirezDylan Buell/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$239.6 million

5 Best Projected Values

• 3B Jose Ramirez: +\$43.1 million
• SS Francisco Lindor: +\$39.1 million
• SP Carlos Carrasco: +\$26.3 million
• SP Corey Kluber: +\$21.2 million
• SP Mike Clevinger: +\$20.2 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Oliver Perez: -\$1.7 million
• DH Carlos Santana: -\$1.5 million
• OF Oscar Mercado: -\$1.4 million
• RP Nick Goody: -\$0.7 million
• RP Jon Edwards: -\$0.6 million

Notes

• It should come as no surprise that Jose Ramirez (+\$43.1 million) and Francisco Lindor (+\$39.1 million) are the most valuable set of teammates in baseball. The duo will earn a combined \$14.7 million in 2019, and they finished third and sixth in AL MVP voting last year, respectively.
• The Indians became the first team to have four different pitchers reach 200 strikeouts last season—Carlos Carrasco (+\$26.3 million), Corey Kluber (+\$21.2 million), Mike Clevinger (+\$20.2 million) and Trevor Bauer (+\$19 million).
• As good as that group is atop the staff, don't sleep on Shane Bieber (+\$18.6 million) in the No. 5 starter slot. He posted excellent peripherals behind a modest rookie season, and big things could be coming.

1. Tampa Bay Rays (2018 Rank: 2)

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Blake SnellJason Miller/Getty Images

Total Projected Net Value: +\$242.0 million

5 Best Projected Values

• SP Blake Snell: +\$31.4 million
• LF Tommy Pham: +\$20.7 million
• SS Willy Adames: +\$16.2 million
• CF Kevin Kiermaier: +\$14.2 million
• SP Tyler Glasnow: +\$13.8 million

5 Worst Projected Values

• RP Ian Gibaut: -\$0.6 million
• RP Austin Pruitt: -\$0.6 million
• RP Cole Sulser: -\$0.6 million
• RP Hunter Wood: -\$0.6 million
• OF Avisail Garcia: -\$0.3 million

Notes

• Free-agent signing Charlie Morton (+\$7.4 million) is the highest-paid player on the team with a \$15 million salary, and his net value is still well into the green.
• Tyler Glasnow (+\$13.8 million) and Austin Meadows (+\$11.4 million) came to Tampa Bay in the Chris Archer trade, and they have a clear path to regular roles after struggling to find opportunities during their time in Pittsburgh.
• The only player making more than the league minimum who is projected for a negative net value is Avisail Garcia (-\$0.3 million), who was signed to a one-year, \$3.5 million deal after being non-tendered by the White Sox. It was a risk worth taking for a team in need of power.

Top Projected Values (Position Players)

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Matt Marton/Associated Press

Catchers

• Gary Sanchez, NYY: +\$28.2 million
• J.T. Realmuto, PHI: +\$26.1 million
• Willson Contreras, CHC: +\$21.8 million
• Danny Jansen, TOR: +\$21 million
• Tucker Barnhart, CIN: +\$13.1 million

First Basemen

• Cody Bellinger, LAD: +\$29 million
• Rhys Hoskins, PHI: +\$28.2 million
• Matt Olson, OAK: +\$25.8 million
• Anthony Rizzo, CHC: +\$23.9 million
• Paul Goldschmidt, STL: +\$19.7 million

Second Basemen

• Ozzie Albies, ATL: +\$27.4 million
• Jose Altuve, HOU: +\$26.5 million
• Whit Merrifield, KC: +\$20.6 million
• Jurickson Profar, OAK: +\$19.6 million
• Gleyber Torres, NYY: +\$18.6 million

Shortstops

• Corey Seager, LAD: +\$40.8 million
• Francisco Lindor, CLE: +\$39.1 million
• Carlos Correa, HOU: +\$33.4 million
• Trea Turner, WAS: +\$32.3 million
• Paul DeJong, STL: +\$24.7 million

Third Basemen

• Jose Ramirez, CLE: +\$43.1 million
• Alex Bregman, HOU: +\$42.6 million
• Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR: +\$40.2 million
• Matt Chapman, OAK: +\$36.2 million
• Kris Bryant, CHC: +\$32.7 million

Left Fielders

• Juan Soto, WAS: +\$35.4 million
• Christian Yelich, MIL: +\$31.1 million
• Andrew Benintendi, BOS: +\$28.2 million
• Joey Gallo, TEX: +\$28.2 million
• Eloy Jimenez, CWS: +\$25.8 million

Center Fielders

• Mike Trout, LAA: +\$40.3 million
• Ketel Marte, ARI: +\$22.8 million
• Aaron Hicks, NYY: +\$22 million
• Ramon Laureano, OAK: +\$21 million
• George Springer, HOU: +\$20 million

Right Fielders

• Mookie Betts, BOS: +\$38.4 million
• Aaron Judge, NYY: +\$37.8 million
• Mitch Haniger, SEA: +\$22.6 million
• Michael Conforto, NYM: +\$22.4 million
• Yasiel Puig, CIN: +\$16.7 million

Designated Hitters

• Shohei Ohtani, LAA: +\$21.8 million
• Nelson Cruz, MIN: +\$11.6 million
• Tyler White, HOU: +\$11.4 million
• Christin Stewart, DET: +\$10.6 million
• J.D. Martinez, BOS: +\$9.1 million

Top Projected Values (Pitchers)

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Chris SalePatrick Semansky/Associated Press

Starting Pitchers

• Chris Sale, BOS: +\$37.8 million
• Luis Severino, NYY: +\$32.3 million
• Blake Snell, TB: +\$31.4 million
• German Marquez, COL: +\$30.6 million
• Jacob deGrom, NYM: +\$30.2 million
• Aaron Nola, PHI: +\$28.3 million
• Carlos Carrasco, CLE: +\$26.2 million
• Jameson Taillon, PIT: +\$25.8 million
• Walker Buehler, LAD: +\$25.8 million
• James Paxton, NYY: +\$23.4 million
• Gerrit Cole, HOU: +\$23.3 million
• Noah Syndergaard, NYM: +\$22.8 million
• Chris Archer, PIT: +\$22.7 million
• Jack Flaherty, STL: +\$21.8 million
• Corey Kluber, CLE: +\$21.2 million
• Jose Berrios, MIN: +\$21 million
• Justin Verlander, HOU: +\$20.8 million
• Stephen Strasburg, WAS: +\$20.6 million
• Luis Castillo, CIN: +\$20.2 million
• Mike Clevinger, CLE: +\$20.2 million

Relief Pitchers

• Edwin Diaz, NYM: +\$16.2 million
• Josh Hader, MIL: +\$13.8 million
• Diego Castillo, TB: +\$9.8 million
• Felipe Vazquez, PIT: +\$8.3 million
• Jose Leclerc, TEX: +\$8.2 million
• Keone Kela, PIT: +\$8 million
• Matt Barnes, BOS: +\$8 million
• A.J. Minter, ATL: +\$7.4 million
• Kirby Yates, SD: +\$7.3 million
• Corey Knebel, MIL: +\$6.9 million
• Seranthony Dominguez, PHI: +\$6.6 million
• Matt Strahm, SD: +\$6.6 million
• Will Smith, SF: +\$6.2 million
• Archie Bradley, ARI: +\$6.2 million
• Ryan Pressly, HOU: +\$5.9 million

All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. Contract information comes via Spotrac.