With just one day until the MLB trade deadline, ScoreBig continues to identify the most underpaid MLB players. We utilized a variation of FanGraphs’ formula for the 25 Most Overpaid Players, but flipped the logic on its head. We looked at $5.4 million as the payout-per-game-won for a MLB player (an approximation), multiplied by that player’s 2014 WAR (so far), and subtracting that total from their current salary. That leaves us with his current market value and a ranking of the 25 most underpaid MLB players in 2014.
And don’t forget to check back tomorrow to see players 9-5.
14. Matt Carpenter – St. Louis Cardinals – Third Baseman/Second Baseman/First Baseman
Salary: $1.3 million
Current Market Value: $12.8 million
Leading the league last year in runs, hits, and doubles, St. Louis Cardinals’ utility infielder Matt Carpenter proved his worth all over the field. And he got bank for that: a six-year extension worth $52 million. Although his Cardinals struggled mightily to start off the 2014 season, they’ve found themselves just a half-game out of first in the NL Central, breathing down the necks of the Milwaukee Brewers. And Carpenter, a recent All-Star, has been a key to this resurgence. He’ll be ever more valuable as the season wears on, too. That’s bargain-bin territory, no doubt about it.
13. Seth Smith – San Diego Padres – Right Fielder
Salary: $4.5 million
Current Market Value: $13.9 million
The San Diego Padres have a long way to go before they’re a contender (they’re in second place in their division … but 11+ games out). But offseason moves like the addition of outfielder Seth Smith, who’s currently sporting a 3+ WAR, should help with that endeavor. The front office must’ve noticed as well, because Smith got a two-year, $13 million extension through 2016 at the beginning of July. If the Pads make a late move, Smith will likely be at the center of the onslaught.
12. Troy Tulowitzki – Colorado Rockies – Shortstop
Salary: $16 million
Current Market Value: N/A
The Colorado Rockies are basement-dwellers of the worst kind this season, but shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and his outlandish WAR seem not to notice. That 5.6 WAR is a pretty troubling stat, when you think about it. Anywhere else, and Tulo would be putting a team in contention. That’s why his current market value is N/A. The team’s practically locked him up for eternity, nabbing him until 2020 for nearly $160 million; and it’s sad, because his talent is being squandered. (Note: He’s just recently been added to the 15-day DL, so the Rocks can say goodbye to that magical WAR total, too.)
11. Brian Dozier – Minnesota Twins – Second Baseman
Current Market Value: $14.6 million
Brian Dozier, a three-year veteran of the Minnesota Twins, has quietly put together a stellar year (his 72 runs leads the AL) at a position that’s tough to find a plethora of talent at: second base. Add some pop — he’s already eclipsed last year’s tater total (19) — and some decent speed (he’s swiped 16 bags on the year), and you’ve got an equation for a nice, big contract extension. His current salary will look like the bargain of the century soon enough.
10. Yasiel Puig – Los Angeles Dodgers – Right Fielder
Salary: $3.7 million
Current Market Value: $14.6 million
So what if Yasiel “Wild Horse” Puig is only playing his second full season? He’s already been compared to one-time AL dominator, Bo Jackson; and has been tearing it up at the plate and on the field for the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite some analysts thinking he’s immature. We couldn’t disagree more; his bruiser mentality is exactly what baseball needs right now. Although he’s been banged up quite a bit in 2014, because of his on-field selflessness, per our ScoreBig-bucks qualifier, he’s playing for well under market value. (As a Cuban defector, he signed with the Dodgers for $42 million over seven years.) Every time he swings the bat, the Dodgers organization hears a cha-ching.
We’ll be counting down the most overpaid and underpaid players in the MLB all week on the ScoreBlog. Check back tomorrow to see players 9-5.
By Will Levith for the ScoreBlog
Sources: Salary data: Yahoo Sports; WAR data: Baseball Reference; Formula: FanGraphs.com
Feature Image Credit: Ron Reiring