If you hadn’t noticed, David Pinto has started writing a weekly column for Sporting News. Congrats to David on his new gig, and I’m happy that he continues to write at Baseball Musings, one of my favorite blogs.
In this week’s installment, he estimates the market values of the three top center fielder free agents: Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, and Aaron Rowand. Using a weighted-average of VORP over the past three years, he expects the following per year salaries.
Player Salary Rowand $12.9 million Hunter $12.7 million Jones $11.5 million
I wanted to see how my system compares. These projected values are based simply on the weighted and unweighted three-year averages of previous performance. The defensive adjustment I am using is rough and does not reward them for differences in defensive ability. I’m not too concerned about this considering they are all considered to be good defenders.
Player Weighted Unweighted Jones $14.13 $15.18 Hunter $13.10 $12.31 Rowand $12.82 $11.83
My estimates for Hunter and Rowand are similar to David’s, but I have Jones a bit higher. Even with the weighted average values, Jones comes out as the most valuable of the three. Furthermore, I don’t think there is any strong reason that Jones’s most recent season should be weighted that much more than the other two. I make no attempt to adjust for aging or contract length—both of which will affect the expected annual salary. I will examine that when the contract terms are out.
I think Jones is the best of the three. He has the highest career OPS+ of the group—113 compared to 106 for Rowand and 104 for Hunter—and Plus/Minus rates him as the best center fielder in baseball over the past three seasons. But, we will just have to wait and see what the market tells us.