Hot Stove Economics: Understanding Baseball’s Second Season

Hot Stove Economics

The final out of the World Series marks the beginning of baseball’s second season, when teams court free agents and orchestrate trades with the hope of building a championship contender. The real and anticipated transactions generate excitement among fans who discuss the merit of moves in the arena informally known as the “hot stove league.” In Hot Stove Economics: Understanding Baseball’s Second Season, the follow-up to his ESPN sports bestseller The Baseball Economist, J.C. Bradbury answers the hot stove league’s most important question: what are baseball players worth? With in-depth analysis, Bradbury identifies the game’s best and worst contracts—revealing the bargains, duds, and players who are worth every penny they receive. From minor-league prospects to major-league MVPs, Bradbury examines how factors such as revenue growth, labor rules, and aging—even down to the month in which players are born—shape players’ worth and evaluates how well franchises manage their rosters.

Advance Praise

“J.C. Bradbury is the preeminent analyst of baseball economics in the world.”
Tyler Cowen, Holbert C. Harris Professor of Economics at George Mason University and author of Discover Your Inner Economist and

“There’s no more complaining that you can’t understand the economics of the game after this book.”
Will Carroll, former Senior Writer at Baseball Prospectus and author of The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball’s Drug Problems

“a guide to decision-making that will not only help the fan understand what their favorite team is doing, but also probably help more than a few teams do more to please their fans.”
David Berri, Associate Professor of Economics at Southern Utah University and author of The Wages of Wins

Table of Contents


1 Why Johnny Estrada Is Worth Kevin Millwood: Valuing Players As Assets
Hot Stove Myth: Every Trade has a Winner and a Loser

2 Down With The Triple-Crown: Evaluating On-Field Performance
Hot Stove Myth: Some Players are Clutch

3 A Career Guide From Little League To Retirement: Age And Success In Baseball
Hot Stove Myth: Players Peak at 27

4 Putting A Dollar Sign On The Muscle: Valuing Players
Hot Stove Myth: Replacement Players are Cheap and Abundant

5 Deals, Duds, And Caveats: What Do The Estimates Reveal?
Hot Stove Myth: The Size of the Free-Agent Pool Affects Player Salaries

6 Winning On A Dime: The Best- And Worst-Managed Franchises Of The Decade
Hot Stove Myth: General Managers can Buy Low and Sell High

7 Is C.C. Sabathia Worth $161 Million? Valuing Long-Run Contracts
Hot Stove Myth: Player Salaries Raise Prices at the Gate

8 You Don’t Need A Name To Be Traded: Valuing Minor-League Prospects
Hot Stove Myth: College Players are Better Draft Bets than High School Players

9 Epiliogue


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To interview J.C. Bradbury or request a review copy of Hot Stove Economics: Understanding Baseball’s Second Season, please contact:

Jeff Rutherford
Jeff Rutherford Media Relations