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Value Survey: Hitters

Tim Anderson prevails — by a wide margin — as White Sox surplus value champion for 2018

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins - Game One
Top Dog: By one WAR measure, Tim Anderson was the only valuable player on the White Sox in 2018.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With fewer than 20 games left in the season, I somewhat confidently predicted that Tim Anderson was the clear surplus value (SV) winner for the Chicago White Sox in 2018. And, thanks to the switch to the three-WAR averaging and a cut in WAR value of more than half (to $3,785,979.18), TA did end up winning going away.

But it almost wasn’t so easy. Had we stuck with using FanGraphs as the source for WAR and $/WAR, Anderson would have been overtaken with a strong push from ... Omar Narváez. In fact, per FanGraphs, both Narváez and Yoán Moncada finished better than Anderson in overall SV, at $16 million-plus and $15 million-plus, respectively (Anderson finished at $14.9 million).

But that’s not how we’re rolling any longer, and thanks for team-high bWAR and WARP, Anderson was the SV champ, by almost twice as much as Narváez.

Other observations:

  • Look how much WARP hates the White Sox: Only Anderson, at 3.0 WARP, had a WARP of more than 1.0.
  • Narváez was killed by WARP, presumably for his horrible framing work. Kevan Smith, though hardly a better defender overall due to his inability to stop the running game, fared OK, doubling Narváez’s WARP, at 0.8.
  • Just four White Sox — Anderson, Narváez, Moncada and Yolmer Sánchez — averaged more than 1.0 WAR in 2018.
  • Not many White Sox on the positive side of the WAR ledger were seen kindly by WARP, yet Adam Engel, Smith and Daniel Palka all earned their highest marks with WARP.
  • The spreads for several players are just nuts, including Narváez (from 2.1 fWAR to 0.4 WARP), Moncada (2.0 fWAR and bWAR to 0.3 WARP) and Matt Davidson (1.2 bWAR to 0.0 WARP).
  • Just two players drastically outvalued their minimum-level salaries: Narváez ($4,992,769 SV) and Moncada ($4,871,570 SV).

Some thoughts among the negative-SV White Sox:

  • Overall offensive SV of $9,534,717 might not seem too impressive, but when you see how the White Sox pitching fared, you’ll be wowed.
  • With an eye toward recent discussion of Welington Castillo, he did not make his value back this season, falling almost $1.8 million short of even his suspension-reduced salary. WARP didn’t seem enamored of his framing abilities, docking him at -0.2 WARP vs. 0.7 bWAR and 0.7 fWAR.
  • Again, some crazy WAR discrepancies, highlighted by Avisaíl García (0.0 fWAR to 1.1 WARP).
  • José Abreu, as a rare White Sox with an actual salary, is tabbed as the worst value on the team more by virtue of his fat paycheck than WAR production.
Totals are for the entire hitting roster, both plus and minus SV.

Strap it down for the pitching edition on Saturday, because this survey is going to seem like a comparative skip through the flowers. You have been warned.