My article from this week, discussed each team’s most valuable player, in terms of percentage of total WAR. One of the commenters, brought up an interesting question, and I’d like to supply the answer.
I’d love to see the same type of analysis done on each team’s highest paid player—who is contributing the least among the biggest paid players?
For those who missed the article, what the commenter meant by the “same type of analysis” is:
I used Baseball Prospectus’ Compensation tables to find the percentage of team payroll for each player with the highest WAR on his team. I then subtracted the payroll percentages from the production (WAR) percentages to create a chart that showed the surplus (or negative) value that each star has brought to his team thus far in 2012
I ran the numbers and this chart is the reflection of each team’s highest-paid player production, in comparison to their salary:
Every team, but one has received lower production than percentage of overall payroll from their best player. Interestingly enough, that team, the Miami Marlins’ highest-paid player at the start of the season was Hanley Ramirez, but after he was traded to the Dodgers, Josh Johnson became their highest-paid player. Johnson’s production is only 0.21 percent higher than the percentage that his salary takes up of Miami’s total payroll.
The team who has received the least production from their highest-paid player is the Houston Astros, with Carlos Lee. Lee, of course, is no longer with the Astros, but given the fact that Miami is paying less than $250k for his services, he still makes the most, by far, of anyone in Houston’s organization.
Only three teams’ highest-paid players currently lead their team in WAR. Matt Holliday, Felix Hernandez and surprisingly, Alfonso Soriano have been paid the most, while producing the most for their teams, this season.
This result leads me to believe that baseball’s front offices are overspending on their superstar players, give the fact that 29 of the 30 teams are receiving a lower percentage of production than their highest-paid player takes up of their payroll.