While the All-Star break isn't quite the halfway point of the MLB regular season (a few weeks past more specifically), it's always a good time to step back and assess production & value. The report below analyzes our current Best-Value Lineup using our True Value Statistic, as well as our Team Financial Power Rankings through mid-July.
Values calculated through 7/15/18
Related: View Spotrac's MLB Value Tracker
Generally these lineups are riddled with pre-arbitration players who are breaking out on near-minimum salaries, and for the most part we see those players here as well. However, Mike Trout isn't just the highest-paid position player in all of baseball, he's also the best-value centerfielder. A testament to just how much he's producing (18 2Bs, 25 HRs, 50 RBI, .310/454/1.06) for his 4th place Angels.
In similar fashion, J.D. Martinez was the splashy free agent this past winter, and the Red Sox waited out his eventual signing to keep him at a fair $22M AAV. He's responded with an MVP-like start to 2018, including 23 doubles, 29 homers, 80 RBIs, and a .328 average. His past 2 1/2 seasons are as close to "Trout-like" as we've seen in MLB, so Boston's getting him at a discount of around $10M to date.
From there we see plenty of youth, some of which we've seen before here (Ramirez, Lindor, Betts), & a few newcomers (Muncy, Aguilar). Not only are none of these players slated for free agency after 2018, but only 3 (Betts, Realmuto, Treinen) will become eligible after the 2019 season. There's plenty of long-term value to be seen here.
In total this 11-person lineup accounts for just $77.8M in 2018 salary, an average of $7M per player, heavily jaded by Trout's $33.25M, which represents 42%.
For the most part, the teams atop this list were expected to be there from the onset of the 2018 season. The Athletics, for example, haven't been in contention this late in the year in quite some time. While the Braves & Phillies weren't projected to be this good quite yet. Toss in a Pirates team that traded away much of its core, yet still sits around .500, and a Reds team that sits in the basement, but has been the best team in baseball for a month, and we see quite a variety of value on this list.
|Rank||Team||Best Value (Rating)||Team Payroll||Avg. TVS|
So how do we get to these rankings? We've developed a simple formula that tracks a player's production (using both standard and & advanced stats) throughout the year. Each day we run calculations to update a player's score. We then compare that player's score to all other players in his grouping (batters, starting pitchers, relief pitchers), to generate a z-score list, the list you see on our Valuation tracker every day. For teams, we take a compilation of scores for all players who qualify, and average them to generate a team score. We then compare score to payroll, and factor in Wins, to rank the teams as you see here: https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/valuation/team/