With the All-Star Break now upon us, we'll take a moment to look back at the unofficial first half of the 2016 MLB season and calculate which players from each position are worthy of the "Best Value" tag.
As always our valuations are determined by utilizing linear mathematics (z-scores, standard deviations), to calculate how a player's statistics stack up against players of the same position, versus that player's compensation in comparison to players of that position. The result is a "True Value Score", allowing us to rank each player at any given time throughout the year. The below report shows the Top 3 Best values at each position through July 10th.
Spotrac's MLB Valuation Tracker
Did you know we track these valuations on a daily basis in or sortable, filterable MLB Valuation Tracker? Click here to see it in action.
Still confused? Learn more or ask questions @spotrac.
The Indians currently carry the 25th biggest payroll into the break. Add that into 52 wins and they're easily the best value team in the league. The Cubs and Nationals are both winning with young players (for now).
Despite a nagging bone spur and a recent fatigured arm, Syndergaard was nearly unhittable for most of the first half. Bumgarner's $7M salary doesn't hold him back from consideration as a "best value", with 10 wins, a sub 2 ERA, and nearly 150 strikeouts. The Tigers acquired Fulmer from the Mets in the Yoenis Cespedes deadline deal last summer. He's made an immediate impact on their rotation this season.
|Madison Bumgarner||SF||$7,000,000||Signed thru 2019||98.84|
|Noah Syndergaard||NYM||$535,375||Controlled thru 2021||98.62|
|Michael Fulmer||DET||$507,500||Controlled thru 2021||97.97|
|Jose Fernandez||MIA||$2,800,000||Controlled thru 2018||97.59|
|Steven Wright||BOS||$514,500||Controlled thru 2020||97.33|
Colome has posted 39 Ks and 11 BBs across 32 innings for Tampa, accounting for 19 saves while holding a steady 1.69 ERA. Gomez has allowed 12 ER over 41 IPs, but has found a way to 24 first half saves in Philly. While Jeremy Jeffress carries an impressive 28 K/9 BB line over 38 innings, accounting for 23 saves in Milwaukee.
|Alex Colome||TB||$521,700||Controlled thru 2020||99.45|
|Jeanmar Gomez||PHI||$1,400,000||Controlled thru 2017||99.18|
|Jeremy Jeffress||MIL||$519,100||Controlled thru 2019||99.06|
The Brewers have gotten all they've asked for from Lucroy over the past few seasons, and he appears ready to head off to a contender. While Wilson Ramos is contending with teammate Daniel Murphy for th NL batting title in Washington. Realmuto's breakout season (.317, 90 H, 17 2B) is a big reason for the Marlins being right in contention in the National League thus far.
|Jonathan Lucroy||MIL||$2,200,000||Signed thru 2017||92.43|
|Wilson Ramos||WAS||$5,350,000||Pending UFA||90.71|
|J.T. Realmuto||MIA||$532,500||Controlled thru 2020||84.82|
The Will Myers project appears to finally be coming to fruition, as the now 25 year old appears to have found a home in San Diego (.286, 19 HR, 60 RBIs). Former Padre Anthony Rizzo is now a mainstay at the middle of a strong Cubs lineup (.295, 21 HR, 63 RBIs), and Paul Goldschmidt is just doing what he always does (.297, 15 HR, 58 RBIs).
|Wil Myers||SD||$523,900||Controlled thru 2019||98.48|
|Anthony Rizzo||CHC||$5,857,143||Signed thru 2021||96.64|
|Paul Goldschmidt||ARI||$6,400,000||Signed thru 2019||94.96|
No surprise here. Altuve is on pace for 225 hits, 25 HRs, 50 SBs, and 100 RBIs. He continues to be one of the most impactful players in the game. Odor is having a breakout season in Texas, and is a major reason for their early success (.275, 16 HR, 46 RBIs). While Jonathan Schoop has quietly made himself into a top 2B in the league (.304, 14 HR, 52 RBIs).
|Jose Altuve||HOU||$3,125,000||Signed thru 2019||99.45|
|Rougned Odor||TEX||$522,700||Controlled thru 2020||96.91|
|Jonathan Schoop||BAL||$522,500||Controlled thru 2019||93.59|
Bogaerts is one of many Red Sox players who are greatly outperforming their team controlled pay in 2016 (.329, 117 hits, 56 RBIs). Trevor was the Story for much of the first two months of the season (.260, 21 HR, 57 RBIs). While more than a few teams have incquired about Villar's availability in Milwaukee (.298, 21 2Bs, 31 SBs).
|Xander Bogaerts||BOS||$650,500||Controlled thru 2019||95.56|
|Trevor Story||COL||$507,500||Controlled thru 2021||95.02|
|Jonathan Villar||MIL||$512,900||Controlled thru 2020||91.29|
It didn't take long for Kris Bryant to show he was worth the hype. He's on track to be very good, and very well-paid for quite some time (.286, 21 2Bs, 25 HR, 65 RBI). Lamb has been a nice surprise for the DBacks, posting 20 HRs, 20 2Bs, 61 RBIs while batting just over .290 over the first half. While Nolan Arenado is quickly becoming one of the Top 5 defensive AND offensive players in all of baseball (.284, 24 2B, 23 HR, 70 RBI).
|Kris Bryant||CHC||$652,000||Controlled thru 2021||98.94|
|Jake Lamb||ARI||$520,300||Controlled thru 2020||94.28|
|Nolan Arenado||COL||$5,000,000||Controlled thru 2019||88.21|
It's good to be young and in Boston right now, as Mookie Betts currently holds the Best Overall Value in MLB (.304, 23 2B, 18 HR, 59 RBI, 15 SB). He and teammate Jackie Bradley Jr. appear to be feeding off each other's 2016 success (.296, 22 2B, 14 HR, 55 RBI). The Astros slow start has been combatted by the explosive rise of Springer, who should be a player to watch down the stretch (.262, 19 HR, 51 RBI). Bryce Harper cooled a bit after tearing up the first two months of the season, but with Daniel Murphy in front of him, should continue to get pitches to hit (.256, 19 HR, 52 RBI, 15 SB).
|Mookie Betts||BOS||$566,000||Controlled thru 2020||99.65|
|Jackie Bradley||BOS||$546,500||Controlled thru 2020||97.52|
|George Springer||HOU||$522,400||Controlled thru 2020||96.96|
|Bryce Harper||WAS||$3,750,000||Controlled thru 2018||94.93|
|Stephen Piscotty||STL||$512,500||Controlled thru 2021||94.56|
|Carlos Santana||CLE||$4,200,380||Signed thru 2017||92.68|
|Edwin Encarnacion||TOR||$9,666,667||Pending UFA||91.65|
|David Ortiz||BOS||$16,000,000||Pending Retirement||87.04|