Thursday, October 07, 2010

Baseball's Best Playoff Players For The Buck


High-performing bargain players like Joey Votto and Johnny Gomes are the reason the Reds are in the postseason.

A winning baseball roster isn't put together by money alone. Cash helps, but for most ball clubs, it's limited. And that requires a front office that's savvy enough to find bargains.

This year's eight-team playoff field includes payrolls from all over the spectrum: High (Yankees, Phillies), middle-high (Giants, Twins), middle-low (Braves, Reds, Rays) and low (Rangers). All but the Yankees and Phillies have one common ingredient: at least one player on our list of top performers for the buck among this year's playoff participants.

The most cost-efficient player in the postseason, Reds' first baseman Joey Votto, is a strong favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player Award after hitting .324 with 113 RBI, while leading the league in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Votto's 2010 salary: $525,000.

To rate players' contributions on the field, we used a method popularized by Baseball Prospectus, Value Over Replacement Player (VORP), which calculates how many net runs a player is responsible for producing for his team relative to a hypothetical "replacement" player assumed to perform at an average rate for minimal cost. We then factored in salary to determine players' performance per dollar. Votto's VORP score of 78.2 was fourth-highest in the majors in 2010, and easily the best on a per-cost basis among postseason players.

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