Dave Cameron at FanGraphs just concluded a series of posts ranking the top 50 baseball players in terms of value above their contract. Not the fifty best players. The fifty players who have the most long-term value relative to their contract. Players like Joey Votto, Giancarlo Stanton and Miguel Cabrera don’t make it because of the size of their contract. The fifty players are listed in today’s final installment. Twenty six players also appeared on an honorable mention list.
A few highlights:
• The top 11 are position players: Trout, Correa, Bryant, Seager, Lindor, Rizzo, Betts, Arenado, Goldschmidt, Harper and Machado
• Boston, Houston, St. Louis and Pittsburgh have the most players, with five each; Cleveland has four
• Cubs: Kris Bryant (3B/OF, #3), Anthony Rizzo (1B, #6), Addison Russell (SS, #31), Willson Contreras (C/OF, HM)
• Cardinals: Alex Reyes (P/#46), Carlos Martinez (P, #50), Aledmys Diaz (SS, HM), Stephen Piscotty (OF, HM), Matt Carpenter (2B/3B, HM)
• Pirates: Gregory Polanco (OF, #24), Starling Marte (OF, #29), Gerrit Cole (P, #35), Austin Meadows (OF, HM), Tyler Glasnow (P, HM)
• Reds: /HTTP 404 – file not found/
• Only four organizations (Yankees, Mariners, A’s and Reds) have no players on the Top 50 list or Honorable Mention
What to make of Cameron’s analysis from a Reds perspective?
Competition in the NL Central will be difficult for years to come. The Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates have had modern, effective front offices for several years and it shows in their large group of players on this list. The Brewers may be on the way.
Rationalization: You could excuse the absence of Reds players on the list by noting it comes at a unique time of transition for the organization. The established players have at-value or expiring contracts and the younger players haven’t quite arrived yet. In two years, the Reds could have several players on this list. (… please, let this be right … )
At best, that rationalization indicts the management of the roster over the past few years. Short-term neglect allowed a gap to take place. Blame may fall on the owner for not allowing change or the general manager for doing a poor job, or more likely a combination. Well managed teams don’t have gaps like this.
At worst, the list reflects a disastrous, organization-wide failure over the past seven years or so. This sobering interpretation includes catastrophic breakdowns in talent evaluation, talent acquisition, talent retention and overall philosophy.
In either case, the poor fans had none.