Photo Credit: blog.kansas.com
The film Moneyball describes how a small market Major League Baseball club was able to build a contending team on a minimal budget. With the help of advanced statistics designed to reveal the true value of each player’s contributions to winning, the Oakland A’s and their GM Billy Beane were able to select players who might be overlooked in traditional scouting. This controversial approach inspired radical changes to professional baseball, turning scouting into less of an art and more of a science, as management learned that wins could be had much more cheaply if money were spent on the most productive types of players.
Over the course of a season, Thuuz rates each Major League Baseball player’s Excitement Quotient (EQ) based on how much he contributes to game excitement. Contributions can include big hits, spectacular steals, and masterful pitching – but just as important is the clutch factor. Does the “filthy pitch” strike out the side with the bases loaded? Does the big hit come at a critical moment, turning a likely loss into a sudden victory?
Inspired by the release of Moneyball, we thought it would be interesting to see which players earn their keep by providing the most excitement for the fewest dollars. The formula is simple – each player is rated from 0 to 100 on the EQ scale, measuring their game-by-game excitement contribution over the season, with the average player scoring a 50. We then look at the above-average players and divide their 2011 salary by any EQ points above 50. This provides a metric revealing the cost per point of excess excitement contributed.
The top player in baseball in terms of this excitement metric is Cy Young candidate pitcher Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, with an “Excitement Cost” of $59,240. Other young pitchers hold down the next dozen or so spots, before we reach the top position players: Mike Stanton, outfielder for the Florida Marlins, and Alex Avila, catcher for the Detroit Tigers, at $110,722 and $115,791 respectively.
Below are the National and American League “All-Excitement” 25-man rosters, based on Excitement Cost data collected through September 12th, 2011. To ensure that all positions are represented, the teams require five outfielders, two catchers, at least one infielder at each position and the highest scoring remaining players. The National league requires 12 pitchers and the American League 11, of which at least 5 must be starting pitchers. The teams are formed by selecting the most economical players in terms of Excitement Cost to fill each of these roster spots.
The cost for each of these teams comes in below 19 million dollars – about half of the lowest payroll in the league, and less than 1/10th of the highest.
Photo Credit: SportsAgentBlog.com