clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Seattle Mariners v Chicago White Sox
Everything is falling into place for Luis Robert Jr., who’s ascended as the White Sox MVP in every way.
Ron Vesely/Getty Images

Filed under:

2023 South Side Sox Value Survey: Our lone All-Star, Luis Robert Jr., is running away from the field

La Pantera has had one of the best surplus value half-seasons ever seen, with more than four times anyone else’s SV so far

Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to brettballantini@yahoo.com

Call me busy, call me lazy, hey, just call me, South Side Sox readers. Yeah, the 2023 Value Survey is unveiled late this year, with just about 53% of the season in the rear-view mirror. And let’s face it, there’s no mystery hovering over whether the Rick Hahn is getting good value out of this tire fire of a roster he’s assembled. But there are still highlights. Let’s get started.

As bad as last year was, 2023 is so much worse. In fact, this is the worst value the White Sox have gotten out of a roster in the dozen or so seasons I’ve been doing these, and it’s not particularly close. It’s a near-record payroll for the White Sox ... paying for the sixth-worst team in all the land, on pace for 69 wins! Not nice.

The White Sox have the 12th-largest payroll in baseball, and not a single one of the 11 teams who are spending more have a worst winning percentage than our .425. Sure, teams like the Mets are somehow finding a way to get less value per dollar than the White Sox, but those teams are few and far between.

That’s what we call surplus value (SV) here at South Side Sox, attaching a dollar value to one win above replacement and running that against salary paid. If a player is outperforming salary, that’s a positive SV.

Overall, the White Sox have 16 players providing positive surplus value, while 33 players are in the red (four of those are injured or released, and thus haven’t/won’t play for the White Sox this year).

  • For the second straight season, and dating back to his return from a hip injury in 2021, Luis Robert Jr. is the premier value among White Sox hitters — and this year, he’ll almost assuredly finish as the top value on the team, batter or pitcher. At the bargain salary of $6 million this year, Robert cannot possibly finish in the red for the team in 2023. He has almost tripled the SV of the next-best hitter and doubled that of the top pitcher.
  • Tim Anderson, on the other hand, has always provided positive SV, and this year has taken an amazing tumble, to the bottom of our board. At this point, just to break even on SV, TA will need a 4.0 WAR second half of the season. That’s not happening.
  • It’s not just Anderson, but the three highest-paid hitters on the team (TA, Yasmani Grandal, Yoán Moncada) who have failed the club, miserably. Yaz and Yoyo barely are registering WAR this year. Eloy Jiménez, with a disappointing season of his own, is basically breaking even in terms of SV.
  • A new column I’ve added this year is the Value Percentage, which quantifies by what factor player is paying off for the White Sox. Due to his higher salary, Robert brings the highest SV but a raw value of “only” six times that of his salary. Several lower-salaried players top that, led by miracle man of June, Zach Remillard, whose raw value is running 11 times more than his pay.
  • It’s a given that, at his salary/performance, Grandal would be the player SV trailer, but can you believe that AJ Pollock is within shouting distance of taking over the basement?
  • For the second straight season — and this is no indictment of our backup catcher, but c’mon — Seby Zavala holds the second-best SV among players!
  • Dylan Cease, while not the best WAR pitcher for the White Sox this season, still is the best value, by virtue of his relatively modest salary. Last year, he ran away with the SV title for the White Sox. That’s not out of the realm of possibility in 2023, but with Robert going gangbusters, seems remote.
  • Still, Cease is providing the White Sox more than twice his salary in raw value. Cap-tip to Gregory Santos and Nicholas Padilla for their off-the-charts value to the White Sox.
  • Unlike his fellow high-earning hurlers, Lucas Giolito is cutting against the grain and is the only seven-figure earner on the team (pitcher or hitter) to be providing positive SV. He’s been the best pitcher on the White Sox, and is a sneeze away from being the best value among all hurlers, no small feat at his salary.

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 16.3 WAR, which is $78,821,781 in value. Subtracting average team salary of $85,028,890, average team SV is -$6,207,109.

The White Sox have 12.5 WAR, which is $59,307,650 in value. Subtracting White Sox salary of $102,102,065, White Sox SV is a jaw-dropping -$42,794,415.

So, the White Sox are 3.8 WAR worse than an average team, which is $19,514,130 less in value. Spending $17,073,176 more than an average team, the White Sox are getting back $36,587,306 less in SV.

Yes, the White Sox are running at a SV rate of about 10% worse than the club was a year ago.

Another way to look at it: Every game, the White Sox lose $373,339.86 more in value from its roster than an average major league team.


Quick Peeks

Top Hitter SV Luis Robert, $15,962,401
Top Pitcher SV Dylan Cease, $4,985,152
Lowest Hitter SV Tim Anderson, -$10,943,318
Lowest Pitcher SV Lance Lynn, -$10,473,528

[Based on a league payroll of $4,841,440,856, 1.0 WAR is valued at $4,841,440.86. By subtracting salary paid from each player’s WAR value in dollars, we can generate SV. FanGraphs uses player values that are based on open-market, free-agency WAR value, which inflates WAR value by roughly double our “real-life” SV. While FG’s measure suits a need to measure open-market value for free agents, our lower number is grounded in the real world of baseball.]


White Sox Gamethreads

Gamethread: White Sox at Angels

Today in White Sox History

Today in White Sox History: March 3

White Sox Game Recaps

Rangers get two touchdowns to win over White Sox, 14-3