We have moved to our new permanent home at HighHeatStats.com!

All existing content will remain, but all new content is posted at our new location.

Do-over: The most valuable pitchers of 2011

Posted by Andy
(Thanks very much to Sky Kalkman who provided extremely useful feedback to improve my approach to this analysis.)

Yesterday, I took a stab at rating the value of each pitcher in 2011 by looking at how their WAR compared to their salary. I have revised the approach, which I think gives much more sensible results.

I started with Baseball-Reference's player value list for pitchers. This is where I got salary data as well as WAR data. There are 397 pitchers on that list for whom a salary is given (note that signing bonuses are not considered) and these are the set that were used for this study.

I added up the WAR for all 397 pitchers. That total is 443. The salary total is $1,160,012,836. That works out to about $2.62 million per win above replacement.

I used this conversion factor---$2.62M per WAR--to figure out what any given player's WAR should have been based solely on their salary. For example, a player with a $2.62 salary should have, on average, 1 WAR.

I then subtracted this expected WAR from the player's actual WAR to come up with "$WAR", a measure of how many more wins the player earned than expected.

Here are the top 20 finishers in $WAR among pitchers in 2011:

Rank  Player              WAR      Salary     $WAR
1     Clayton Kershaw     7        $500,000   6.8 
2     Doug Fister         5.7      $436,500   5.5 
3     Ricky Romero        5.9    $1,000,000   5.5 
4     Ian Kennedy         5.5      $423,000   5.3 
5     Gio Gonzalez        5        $420,000   4.8 
6     James Shields       6.1    $4,250,000   4.5 
7     Jhoulys Chacin      4.3      $419,000   4.1 
8     Jeremy Hellickson   4.2      $418,400   4   
9     Justin Masterson    4.1      $468,400   3.9 
10    R.A. Dickey         4.9    $2,750,000   3.8 
11    Matt Harrison       4        $428,830   3.8 
12    Jered Weaver        6.6    $7,365,000   3.8 
13    Justin Verlander    8.6   $12,850,000   3.7 
14    David Robertson     3.9      $460,450   3.7 
15    Jonny Venters       3.7      $429,500   3.5 
16    Ivan Nova           3.6      $432,900   3.4 
17    Eric O'Flaherty     3.7      $895,000   3.4 
18    Alexi Ogando        3.5      $430,150   3.3 
19    Trevor Cahill       3.5      $440,000   3.3 
20    Brandon McCarthy    3.7    $1,000,000   3.3 

This is a lot of the same players from my original list, except that some higher-salaried players such as Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander make it.

Now here are the top 20 pitchers by salary along with their $WAR values:

Rank  Player              WAR   Salary        $WAR
1     CC Sabathia         6.9   $24,285,714   -2.4
2     Roy Halladay        7.4   $20,000,000   -0.2
3     Carlos Zambrano     0.7   $18,875,000   -6.5
4     Barry Zito         -0.6   $18,500,000   -7.7
5     Josh Beckett        6.2   $17,000,000   -0.3
6     A.J. Burnett        1.1   $16,500,000   -5.2
7     Roy Oswalt          1.7   $16,000,000   -4.4
8     Jake Peavy          1.2   $16,000,000   -4.9  
9     John Lackey        -1.2   $15,950,000   -7.3
10    Derek Lowe         -0.3   $15,000,000   -6
11    Mariano Rivera      3.5   $14,911,700   -2.2 
12    Chris Carpenter     3.7   $14,259,403   -1.7
13    Tim Lincecum        4.4   $14,000,000   -0.9
14    Mark Buehrle        3.7   $14,000,000   -1.6
15    Zack Greinke        1.7   $13,500,000   -3.5
16    Ryan Dempster       0.9   $13,500,000   -4.3
17    Justin  Verlander   8.6   $12,850,000    3.7 
18    Dan Haren           4     $12,750,000   -0.9
19    Kyle Lohse          2.6   $12,187,500   -2.1
20    Francisco Rodriguez 2.4   $12,166,666   -2.2

That's right--19 out of the top 20 pitchers by salary generated less WAR than they should have by their  salaries. Only Verlander was positive. There are some pretty scary numbers there for guys like Lackey and Zito whose large contracts and poor performance mean that they underpreformed by more than 7 WAR. Notice that even Mariano Rivera underperformed relative to his salary by 2.1 WAR.

The conclusion here is the same as yesterday--that most veteran stars are overpaid.

And now here are the 20 worst performers:

Rank  Player              WAR   Salary        $WAR
1     Barry Zito         -0.6   $18,500,000   -7.7
2     John Lackey        -1.2   $15,950,000   -7.3
3     Carlos Zambrano     0.7   $18,875,000   -6.5
4     Derek Lowe         -0.3   $15,000,000   -6  
5     A.J. Burnett        1.1   $16,500,000   -5.2
6     Scott Kazmir       -0.4   $12,000,000   -5  
7     Jake Peavy          1.2   $16,000,000   -4.9
8     Joel Pineiro       -1.6    $8,000,000   -4.7
9     Roy Oswalt          1.7   $16,000,000   -4.4
10    Joe Nathan          0     $11,250,000   -4.3
11    Ryan Dempster       0.9   $13,500,000   -4.3
12    Daisuke Matsuzaka  -0.1   $10,333,333   -4  
13    Joe Blanton         0     $10,500,000   -4  
14    Fausto Carmona     -1.4    $6,287,500   -3.8
15    Brandon Lyon       -1.7    $5,250,000   -3.7
16    Brad Lidge          0.9   $12,000,000   -3.7
17    Aaron Cook          0.2    $9,875,000   -3.6
18    Zack Greinke        1.7   $13,500,000   -3.5
19    Bronson Arroyo     -0.5    $7,666,666   -3.4
20    Jonathan Broxton   -0.6    $7,000,000   -3.3

There aren't a lot of surprising names on here..

Veteran closers stick out as overpaid. In addition to Rivera (-2.0), those with a negative $WAR include Heath Bell (-1.2), Francisco Cordero (-2.3), and Jonathan Papelbon (-2.6).

By the way, there are only 4 other pitchers with a salary of at least $9 million and a positive $WAR: Felix Hernandez (0.2), Cliff Lee (2.7), Cole Hamels (1.8), and Tim Hudson (0.3).

Batters will be posted in a couple of hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment