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South Side Sox Value Survey: Mid-June

Carlos Rodón extends his team lead, while a quietly-dominant hitter slides into second place

Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers Duane Burleson/Getty Images

With a little more than 40% of the season in the books, it’s time to kick out a third edition of our value survey for 2021. (Yes, I completely blew the third edition of the survey, so you’re going to see bigger swings than usual here in this report.)

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 (heh), attempt to identify where Hahn is getting bargains this season — as well as where he may not have spent wisely.

Through Monday, 40% of the season has been played. The White Sox are now up to 20 players providing positive surplus value (SV), with another 20 posting negative value (including some very brief appearances, in addition to Jace Fry, Jimmy Cordero, and Eloy Jiménez, 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 allowed him to pad his team lead, while early leader Yermín Mercedes has taken a tumble. Hard Karl is already approaching $8.5 million SV. Meanwhile, Yoán Moncada (almost $7 million SV) has snuck into first place among position players. It’s early, but no position player or pitcher is terribly close at the moment to our team leaders.

Dallas Keuchel (who will no doubt be helped by a fabulous start on Tuesday, which didn’t count here) is the lone holdout providing truly bad SV on the club, passing $6 million in negative value as of this report.

  • With his low salary, there is almost no way for Mercedes to fall into negative value — unless he becomes a negative-WAR player. It seems Tony La Russa will bench him before he reaches that point, though.
  • Think fans harp too much on Adam Eaton? Well, for all the hand-wringing over Yermín’s fall, Eaton’s value tumble was nearly as big over this last fifth of the season, at more than $2 million (just $13,000 less a fall than Mercedes).
  • With Nick Madrigal out for the season, we can pretty accurately estimate his end-of-year SV at about $4.75 million, extremely impressive.
  • For both Moncada and Tim Anderson to continue providing positive value, even as their yearly salaries move upward, is also very impressive. TERRIFIC gambles on the part of White Sox management in extending them.
  • Brian Goodwin has been with the team half a week — and provided a half-million SV!
  • Dylan Cease’s 0.2 WAR as a hitter, for a sole, 3-for-3 performance in Cincinnati, still places him ahead of four hitters who have played at least a game on the active roster this season.
  • If we are to apply some super-dumb math here, the White Sox are on track to have three near-5.0 WAR-level (i.e. All-Star) players this season: Moncada, Rodón and Lance Lynn.
  • The fact that the White Sox have only two negative-WAR regulars at this juncture (Matt Foster and Evan Marshall) is extraordinary.
  • Four-fifths of the starting rotation — Rodón, Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Cease — added $11.5 million SV in this second fifth of the season. That is positively nuts.

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 12.6 WAR, which is $48,991,324 in value. Subtracting average team salary of $52,849,325, average team SV is -$3,858,001.

The White Sox have 22.7 WAR, which is $88,296,424 in value. Subtracting White Sox salary of $53,230,261, White Sox SV is $35,066,164.

So, the White Sox are 10.1 WAR better than an average team, which is $39,305,100 more in value. Despite spending just $380,936 more so far than an average team, the White Sox are getting $38,924,164 more in SV than an average team.

That is, simply, BRILLIANT.

Another way to look at it, on a per-game basis the White Sox are getting $518,988.86 more SV from its roster than the average major league team. So every two games, the White Sox have an SV of a million dollars more than the average team. That’s insane.

Quick Peeks

Top Hitter SV Yoán Moncada, $6,952,537
Top Pitcher SV Carlos Rodón, $8,306,964
Lowest Hitter SV José Abreu, -$2,922,541
Lowest Pitcher SV Dallas Keuchel, -$6,170,043
Biggest Hitter SV Gain Yoán Moncada, $4,420,515
Biggest Pitcher SV Gain Carlos Rodón, $3,740,638
Biggest Hitter SV Fall Yermín Mercedes, -$2,047,174
Biggest Pitcher SV Fall Dallas Keuchel, -$3,033,775