Astros: Value Top 10

Heading into the 2022 season, one could put together a list of the Top 10 Astros and it might include many of the usual subjects like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman Michael Brantley, Yuli Gurriel, Justin Verlander and Lance McCullers Jr.

But for fun, today we will look at the Top 10 based on value to the club vs. their salaries. Sure, there are some guys who would be on both lists, but it is still a fun exercise.

Here is a little chart based on the players’ WAR last year and taking that times $7 million for their estimated value vs. their 2021 salary. ($7 million / unit of WAR is one of those numbers tossed out by the nerds and I am certainly one of those).

Name 2021 WAR WAR X $7 MM 2021 Salary Difference
Kyle Tucker 5.7 $39.9 MM $560 K $39.3 MM
Yordan Alvarez 3 $21 MM $560 K $20.4 MM
Yuli Gurriel 3.7 $25.9 MM $6.5 MM $19.4 MM
Lance McCullers Jr./td> 3.5 $24.5 MM $6.5 MM $18 MM
Luis Garcia 2.6 $18.2 MM $560 K $17.6 MM
Framber Valdez 2.5 $17.5 MM $560 K $16.9 MM
Chas McCormick 2.3 $16.1 MM $560 K $15.5 MM
Jose Urquidy 2.1 $14.7 MM $560 K $14.1 MM
Cristian Javier 1.4 $9.8 MM $560 K $9.2 MM
Aledmys Diaz 1.6 $11.2 MM $3 MM $8.2 MM

Of interest, three of their better-paid everyday players ended up with “differences” that were positive but not in the neighborhood of the Top 10 – Jose Altuve ($1.8 MM), Michael Brantley ($1.5 MM) and Alex Bregman ($1.7 MM). The only players with significant playing time that were in the negative zone were Jake Odorizzi (-$4.1 MM) and Zack Greinke (-$26.6 MM), who could not produce commensurate with their salaries. 

Obviously, not everyone agrees on WAR as a great comparison stat or that $7 million times that is a good factor for calculating values. But in general, this does show the value that the guys who outperform their salaries bring to any team.

  1. Kyle Tucker – Tucker is still on the “rookie” salary until he becomes arb-eligible going into 2023 (or if the new labor agreement changes his status). At a similar point, the Astros upped Carlos Correa from the minimum salary to $1 million. Tucker put up 5.7 WAR in 2021. He led the team easily in WAR, while playing at a bargain-basement rate.
  2. Yordan Alvarez – Yordan is Tucker without the glove value. Still, he had the 5th highest WAR on the team while playing at that minimum salary. When you look at what he did in 2019, when he produced 3.8 WAR in only 87 games, he has been amazingly productive at the league minimum.
  3. Yuli Gurriel – At number three, Yuli demonstrates you don’t have to be at a minimum salary to bring high value to your club. He probably is also the poster boy for a team signing a player after an uncharacteristically poor season as a bargain. He looked washed up and instead was great in 2021 in winning the AL batting title and putting up his career-best OBP number, and he is lined up to do the same in 2022.
  4. Lance McCullers – In his last season before his 5 year/ $85 MM extension kicks in, LMJ put up almost the same WAR as Yuli, while making the same very reasonable salary. Will he be able to stay healthy enough to outperform his salary in the years to come? Ah, there may be the rub.
  5. Luis Garcia – Back to the young guy bargain bin as the Astros best rookie turned his cha-cha three-step into a kick-butt season. As Garcia and a number of the other youngsters on the pitching staff show, getting an effective starter at minimum rates brings tremendous value to any team.
  6. Framber Valdez – Except for his broken finger that delayed his debut by a couple months, Framber could well have been #2 on this list as he probably missed out on more than 1 WAR and $7 MM of additional value. And Framber has one more season before arbitration kicks in to bring extra value to the team.
  7. Chas McCormick – For someone who was mostly a fourth OF before the Myles Straw trade and only played in 108 games, Chas brought terrific value to the 2021 Astros. Those 47 runs scored and 50 RBIs brought value along with playing well in the field in centerfield.
  8. Jose Urquidy – Considering he missed a couple weeks in May and all of July and August, Jose left some value on the table just like Framber. He has another season before arbitration sets in (under existing rules) and three seasons control after that.
  9. Cristian Javier – What would Javier have earned if he had stayed in the rotation rather than moved to the bullpen? We don’t know, but perhaps we will find out at some time if he earns a spot back in the rotation. Either way, he is the type of arm that brings value however he is used.
  10. Aledmys Diaz – Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list and a bit of a forgotten man on the team. But remember he had 8 homers and 45 RBIs in only half of the season. If he can ever stay healthy and play a bigger chunk of the season, he surely could put up even bigger and better numbers.

So, there you have it Dan P’s Top 10 value menu for the Astros.

Do you agree? Disagree? Have others you’d like to add or subtract from the list?

39 comments on “Astros: Value Top 10

    • Kotsay was one of my favorite college players to watch of all time. He played CF and came in to close out games on the mound. From everything I’ve heard the A’s made a great choice promoting him. I don’t think he’ll have the players necessary to be successful though.

      Like

      • Yeah Devin – the A’s have been very good at staying competitive without busting the bank. If they dump everyone that has been listed because of salary it will be tough on Kotsay. They do have a way of picking up some bargains and developing some youngsters, but they may have a couple tougher years coming.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You’ve got to be impressed and amazed at what Yuli did this year for us. Was it a one time occurrence or will he repeat in ’22. What a bargain he has been for the Astros. As for Tucker he’s becoming everything that we had hoped he’d become. Next year is his first year of arbitration. I’d love for the team to try to get him a long term deal with “the bigger bucks” coming after 2024 since Altuve and Bregman’s large amounts will be off the books. Same for Yordan if he continues his hitting repertoire. I’m sure there will be others that we’ll have to look at but those are the most important right now as I see it. Hopefully the future will be so bright that we’ll all “have to wear shades.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure the front office is looking ahead at when they can extend these guys – though the agreement between the union and baseball will have a big impact on it, especially any changes to the luxury tax rules and levels.
      I’m betting they will at least go to arbitration once before they set up an extension for Tucker and/or Alvarez. And they may be looking at locking up a pitcher or two. Garcia? Valdez? Again after they get to arbitration I believe.
      And of course the other side has to have interest too.

      Oh and I should have pointed out that Carlos Correa and his 7.2 WAR and $11.7 MM salary in 2021 would have had a difference of a positive $38.7 MM on my chart…..right behind Tucker.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s just plain interesting about Correa. I’d like to say it’s a foregone conclusion that he won’t be here next year but you never know. At this time I can’t see anybody giving him 10 @ 350MM but stranger things have happened. Just because the Mets and Rangers were crazy enough to offer “stupid” money doesn’t mean that another team will do the same. I just think Correa wants to head for the bright lights and to say “I got more $ than any other SS.” It becomes more of an ego thing than anything else. Would I like to have him for 6 more years? Of course, but I don’t think he’s worth 35MM a year. We shall wait and see.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The two other guys I’d suggest belong in the discussion are Maton and Pressley. The former pitched really well, excepting about 4 games, last season after coming over and being used heavily. The latter was great in the setup role in the past and handled closing really well for us last year. Neither guy is breaking the bank. If we’re going on WAR it doesn’t fit in your chart with Maton pulling down a 0.0 and Pressley a 1.9 for 2021, but let’s be honest here…the games that skewed those stats largely were over and they weren’t blowing holds/saves. Also, they combined to give up 2 runs over the entire 2021 postseason.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. While we are playing with numbers, per Baseball Reference, the team hitters amassed a WAR of 35.7. The Pitchers another total WAR of 14.9. That multiplies out to $354 Million. So the Astros got $354 Million in value out of a $194 Million payroll. Therefore they screwed a bunch of players except maybe JV, Baez, and a few others that got paid while injured.

    Like

  4. I continue to be impressed by what we got from Jake and Chas. A 3.5 combined WAR from those two guys, mostly in center. Some of us thought that was our biggest problem area going into 2021. I don’t know what we get from these guys in 2022, which might explain why we’ve heard talk of Click looking for outfield help. Chas had a .341 BAbip, Jake a .352. Chas posted a .830 OPS against lefties, but Jake had an .899 OPS against them, so a straight platoon would not be so simple. On the other hand, Jake went 1/20 BB/K against lefties, so maybe that .899 OPS was due to small sample. And Chas had his SLG drop from .514 to .382 in the second half. Either way, as it stands now, we’ve got two frisky young defenders out there alongside our aging leftfielder. I hope Chas and Jake both hit going forward. But I also would not be surprised to see a new guy in right and Tucker in the middle.

    Like

  5. On a sad note – the Detroit Tigers 1st base coach Kimera Bartee, 49, collapsed and died at his family’s house. No cause of death released at this time.

    Like

  6. I like the thought of this post. I never put huge stock in the monetary value of a player’s game, because of the huge discrepancies between younger players pay and megastar pay. I mean, if Jeremy Pena should become the Astros starting SS and delivers just 2.0 in WAR next season at a rookie salary, he becomes a huge value without delivering a huge year. Whereas a guy could deliver a huge year and not deliver a huge monetary value because he is being paid a ton of money.
    Jose Altuve delivered 4.4 WAR last year but isn’t on your Top 10 Value list because of his salary. And yet, without Altuve’s 4.4 WAR, the Astros probably don’t fend off the Mariners or the White Sox or the Red Sox.
    I believe that taking WAR and translating it into monetary value is something that agents have done to get their stars more money, not to prove their actual worth to the team.
    Altuve had a horrible 2020, and yet led his team to the ALCS anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is an interesting thing to contemplate OP – I mean maybe the best thing to do with someone like Altuve is to factor in all the extra $$ he was worth earlier in his career. Still they paid him a boat load of money based on the thought that he would give them a boatload of value and he did. The key is to have as many positive players as you can on your roster – but WAR in itself does not tell you who is going to come up and hit that key home run in a playoff game.
      Maybe we need a measurement like HEART – Hitting Earned Average Runs Translated or some such goop.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good take OP, exactly why low payroll teams always seem to get more “value” – when they lowball and play young players and veterans who have to play with diminished salaries due to inconsistent or declining performance of course their 2.0 WAR looks better than Altuve’s – but who do we actually want? Easy answer.

      Like

  7. Dodgers WAR 55.2 X $7 Million = $386 Million for $271 Million Payroll.
    Astros WAR 50.6 X $ 7 million = $ 354 Million Value for $194 Million Payroll.
    Yankees WAR 41 X 7 Million = $ 287 Million for $205 Million Payroll.
    Rangers WAR 15.6X$7 Million = $109Million Value for $95 Million Payroll.
    Cleveland WAR 31.6 X $7 Million = $ 221 Million for $50 Million Payroll.
    Orioles WAR 8.9 X $7 Million = $62.3 Million Value for $42 Million Payroll.

    I don’t think that any MLB team would admit they are the New York Wrens (or Generals or whoever lost to the Globetrotters) but it appears that several teams for several years don’t spend the money to actually win a World Series. I don’t think some even try. That was my earlier post about Oakland. They would LOVE to win but either don’t have or won’t spend the money to be competitive every year. Oakland is just one of them.

    Like

    • Yeah 45, good point. After decades and decades of Astro owners that never never fully committed to the concept of winning, we got a guy with a lot of money who had been a competitive baseball player himself. We hit the jackpot. Jim Crane wants to win every year, but at the same time, he’s disciplined about it. I hope he stays in it as long as I’m in it.

      Like

  8. The Oakland A’s are an interesting team to look at and ponder. Are they successful or not? The last 10 seasons, they have had 7 winning seasons and made the playoffs 6 times. Taking a quick glance I don’t believe they won a playoff series in that time. They have consistently been in the bottom 20-30% in payroll in the league.
    They went to a Moneyball approach to maximize their resources – they looked at players statistically differently than everyone else and this got better results than the league, until….other teams with bigger payrolls started doing the same thing.
    If the A’s stay in Oakland, they will likely keep walking this fine line of being competitive but not transcendent. Now, if they get a bigger revenue stream (new stadium in Oakland, transfer to Las Vegas) maybe things will change. And face it – the key is to get in the playoffs and anything can happen (except the A’s winning a series or the Twins winning a game????).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, one of the big problems the A’s could face is something I read about recently. With the building restrictions and controls in Oakland it could take as long as eight years to build the stadium where Oakland wants it. Can the A’s wait that long? Can they afford to not have fans attend their games for another eight years? Will Oakland’s government stifle any growth that the A’s could participate in to develop a bigger fanbase or earn more money?
      Will MLB want the A’s to wait 8 more years and still be smothered by the Oakland economy and government?
      The environmental impact study produced by the Oakland city council committee was 3500 pages long and will voted on by the city council sometime next month. When it’s all said and done, will the A’s be better off when a new stadium is completed many years from now. How will the A’s feel when they sign on the dotted line with Oakland and then Las Vegas has an MLB expansion team with a new stadium and a waiting fanbase four years before the A’s Oakland stadium is finished?

      Liked by 1 person

      • The A’s have always wanted public funding to pay for the majority of their proposed stadiums. I don’t think it will go anywhere. That’s a city of less than 500,000. They’re competing against the Giants for corporate sponsorship and fans in the media market. Manfred wants to expand, but I’m not sure that’s possible while Tampa (761k), Miami (640k), and Oakland (701k) aren’t putting fans in the seats.

        If you look at MiLB, attendance is down there again, but a few cities have strong showings like Nashville (436k), Las Vegas (428k), El Paso (403k), Columbus (397k), and Charlotte (343k). Nashville is the Brewers AAA club and Las Vegas is the … Oakland A’s. Clearly 2021 isn’t easily compared to prior seasons as most clubs had reduced capacity allowed. This was the first year the Charlotte Knights operated at a loss, excepting 2020 where there was no revenue at all.

        Like

    • Lot’s of betting on the Yankees there. I, as I’m sure others, all know lots of Yankees fans. All that I have talked to would love to have Correa as their SS. Funny how soon they discount “It” if he were to become a Pin-stripper.

      Like

  9. I went out on a limb and picked the short term high AAV deal for under 200 million. He can save face, get a player option on the end of it, but most importantly, if he puts up 3,4,5 solid years, he can still sign another big deal. He’s young enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As long as he doesn’t sign for a lot of money with the Astros, I’m good with wherever he goes. My least favorite destination for him other than Houston is the Angels.

      Like

      • Maybe not the best written article out there, but it highlights that more teams have figured out that if you sign a veteran player for $8M a year and he only marginally performs better than a platoon of league minimum guys you have lost money. Revenue will be tied more towards wins and losses than name recognition of bench players. For what it’s worth, I don’t like the owners in any sport, but think this is an area where the Max Scherzers and Aaron Rodgers have really hurt their teammates. We’ve heard them go out and campaign for keeping veterans that don’t produce, but when it comes down to it both guys happily signed contracts that were going to severely limit how many players would get paid on their teams. As always, I think both sides are greedy. I say open the books, drop the salaries at the top, raise the salaries at the bottom, make the middle earn their spot through quality play, and above all else reduce the cost for the fans to go see the games.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/mlbs-revenue-sharing-formula/

    While we are talking value per dollar, let’s assume there is a conspiracy here. (Just play along, please). Now if you are a major movie studio you want to win an Oscar. But is that the number one goal? Again, let’s assume it is to make money FIRST. With that in mind, what is the purpose of a large percent of MLB owners? My guess is to make money. Winning a World Series is a nice trophy, but that is not their main goal. So even with Revenue Sharing, and TV Revenue Sharing, a small market team can’t complete with LA or New York or Chicago – year after year. So they have a scheme of paying enough to stay in the league, and get their share but with no intent to win this year’s World Series. Be competitive and HOPE for a Playoff Team?

    Also there was another guy on the Grassy Knoll.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s