With a little more than 20% of the season in the books, it’s time to kick out a second edition of our value survey for 2021.
Last year, GM Rick Hahn basically didn’t help the White Sox, nor hurt them, with his moves. These value surveys, which should come every 18-19 days this season, attempt to identify where Hahn is getting bargains this season — as well as where he may not have spent wisely.
Through Sunday, almost 23% of the season has been played. The White Sox have 16 players providing positive surplus value (SV), 20 with negative value (including Jace Fry, Jimmy Cordero, Eloy Jiménez and Adam Engel, who have yet to play this season).
[Based on a league payroll of $3,889,710,330, 1.0 WAR is valued at $3,889,710.33. By prorating salary, we can subtract salary paid from each player’s dollar war value to generate SV. I had these numbers incorrect in the first value survey, which skewed the actual numbers, but generally not the general snapshot of the team. This is why you don’t hire a journalism-English major to do your math.]
This time around, the continued excellence of Carlos Rodón has vaulted him past Yermín Mercedes as the White Sox SV leader, as Hard Karl is already north of $4.5 million SV. Mercedes and Dylan Cease are duking it out for second place on the club, mere thousands separating them at around $4.1 SV.
On the flip side, Dallas Keuchel and Yasmani Grandal have had poor starts, and given their high salaries, have been bad SV players, both on the south side of $3 million in the hole through a fifth of the season.
- Dylan Cease’s identical 1.1 WAR totals per bWAR and fWAR both include 0.2 WAR as a hitter, for his 3-for-3 performance in Cincinnati. That offensive WAR places him ahead of seven hitters who have played at least a game on the active roster this season.
- Yoán Moncada made a massive value jump due to adding about 1.0 WAR in value in just the 20 or so games played since the last survey.
- Kudos to Danny Mendick, who in spot time has made himself one of the most valuable players on the team so far per WAR, and the fourth-best value among active White Sox hitters.
- If we are to apply some super-dumb math here, the White Sox are on track to have three 5.0 WAR-level (i.e. All-Star) players this season: Yermín Mercedes, Moncada and Tim Anderson.
- WAR seems to value Matt Foster more than Evan Marshall so far this season.
- Dylan Cease, Carlos Rodón, Lance Lynn and perhaps even Michael Kopech are on track to be All-Star level WAR performers this season.
- Last man to make the team, José Ruiz, is currently the best straight relief value on the club and the fifth-best pitcher overall by pure WAR.
White Sox vs. average team breakdown
To offer perspective on how the White Sox are doing relative to the league, we compare Chicago to a generic “average” MLB team (average payroll, average WAR production). The White Sox are doing a little better than than that club when it comes to overall value this season:
The average MLB team has 7.1 WAR, which is $27,435,142 in value. Subtracting average team salary of $29,595,622, average team SV is -$2,160,480.
The White Sox have 10.6 WAR, which is $41,230,929 in value. Subtracting White Sox salary of $29,621,299, White Sox SV is $11,609,631.
So, the White Sox are 3.5 WAR better than an average team, which is $13,795,788 more in value. Despite spending $25,677 so far than an average team, the White Sox are getting $13,770,111 more in SV than an average team.
Another way to look at it, on a per-game basis the White Sox are getting $327,859.79 most SV from its roster than the average major league team. So every three games, the White Sox have an SV of a million dollars more than the average team.
Top Hitter SV: Yermín Mercedes, $4,148,459
Top Pitcher SV: Carlos Rodón, $4,566,326
Lowest Hitter SV: Yasmani Grandal, -$3,193,333
Lowest Pitcher SV: Dallas Keuchel, -$3,136,268