Imaged credit: EricEnfermero

The Most Underpaid Players in the MLB for 2014: 9-5

We’re nearing the end of our count down, but ScoreBig continues to identify the most underpaid MLB players. We’ve already counted players 25-2019-15 and 14-10.  Today, we’re talking about numbers 9-5.

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 subtracted 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 the top five most underpaid players in the MLB this year.

9. Anthony Rizzo – Chicago Cubs – First Baseman

Salary: $1.5 million

WAR: 3.0

Current Market Value: $14.7 million

The 2014 season has not been kind to the Chicago Cubs. But first-baseman Anthony Rizzo hasn’t seemed to notice, putting together a stat line that includes an NL-leading 25 homers, 67 runs, 55 RBIs, and commanding a WAR of 3.0. Last year, the ball club wrapped up the slugger for seven years at $41 million — a decent sum, but with Rizzo’s power, a steal. Now, if only the Cubbies could win a few more games.

8. Devin Mesoraco – Cincinnati Reds – Catcher

Salary: $525,000

WAR: 3.0

Current Market Value: $15.7 million

What do you know? Another catcher. Sometimes, it’s catchers that end up running baseball teams (see: the New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi). And while Devin Mesoraco’s only playing his third full season of baseball, his upside seems on the high side (check out that 3.0 WAR). The Cincinnati Reds are still in the hunt — and largely due to their quartet of All-Stars this year (including future MVP candidate Todd Frazier). When the season’s up, regardless of where the Reds stand, this backstop is contract-extension bound.

7. Jose Altuve – Houston Astros – Second Baseman

Salary: $1.4 million

WAR: 3.5

Current Market Value: $17.5 million

The league-switching Houston Astros may have found their franchise player in the most surprising of places: 5’ 6” second baseman Jose Altuve, who came out swinging in his first season to the shock of many analysts — and has continued his onslaught through 2014: The recent All-Star leads the AL in stolen bases (41) and batting average (.338) and all of baseball in hits (138). The Astros gave the infielder a 4-year extension worth just $12.5 million, bargain-basement territory for a guy who’s putting up numbers like that.

6. Andrew McCutchen – Pittsburgh Pirates – Center Fielder

Salary: $7.4 million

WAR: 4.8
Current Market Value: $18.5 million

The definition of a “franchise player,” the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen is the embodiment of five-tool talent: He can hit for average and power; steals bases; and fields and throws from his position in center field with deadly precision. Having signed a six-year, $51.5 million contract back in 2012, McCutcheon is all but locked up. Not to mention the fact that the Pirates are still in the hunt, largely due to young talent like Starling Marte (who made our future MVPs list) and recent call-ups like Gregory Polanco, who set a team record for longest hit streak to begin his career. Cutch is the glue that holds it all together. He’s grossly underpaid, too, if you ask us.

5. Giancarlo Stanton – Miami Marlins – Right Fielder

Salary: $6.5 million

WAR: 4.7

Current Market Value: $18.9 million

Unlike Big Pun, the Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton is a player, and he crushes a whole heck of a lot. He already has hit a staggering 23 home runs and 66 RBIs (best in NL) in the 2014 season so far. Not to mention that ridiculously high WAR of 4.7, higher than the previous three guys on this list. The only problem is that he’s on a losing ball club. Unlike Mike Trout, he hasn’t been offered a big contract extension yet; and may, if the deal is right for the Marlins’ front office, find himself on either an AL or NL contender before the season’s done. Then that tasty WAR will actually mean something.

By Will Levith for the ScoreBlog

Sources: Salary data: Yahoo Sports; WAR data: Baseball Reference; Formula: FanGraphs.com

Feature Image Credit: EricEnfermero

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Will Levith

Will Levith is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist, whose work has recently been published in print and online by Men's Health, Men's Fitness, AskMen, Made Man, Beckett, and the Food Network. Follow him on Twitter @Mediawill.