Here at Ron Roenicke Stole My Baseball we use Baseball-Reference.com a ton, for everything from looking up stats about Yuni Betancourt, to looking up stats about sacrifices, to looking up stats about attempted sacrifices, to scowling at Scooter Gennett’s page. Since we make such great use of this incredible free service we decide to give back a little every year by sponsoring a page. This year we got this guy.
Anyway, every player on B-Ref has a price for sponsorship. I’m fairly sure the price is based solely on the web traffic a player sees, and so it’s not really predictive of much besides popularity, but I thought I’d take a look at the 40-man rosters of everyone in the NL Central to see how much it would cost to sponsor the whole lot of them. One caveat – if a player is already sponsored I can’t tell how much he cost, I will instead note how many players are taken for each team, and you can adjust how you see fit.
First, here are the NL Central rankings by B-Ref money:
Cardinals – $4425, 7 sponsorships taken
Pirates – $3290, 2 sponsorships taken
Reds – $2470, 2 sponsorships taken
Cubs – $2055, 2 sponsorships taken
Brewers – 1900, 0 sponsorships taken
The Cardinals are far and away the most expensive B-Ref team in the division, and those 7 guys would probably push them well above $6000 and possibly even $7000 if they were available. I was surprised to find the Pirates 2nd just because of market size, but Andrew McCutchen is enough of a star to draw national attention and provides a solid $680 base. I was likewise surprised that the Cubs fared so poorly. Sure they’re bad, but they’re in the biggest market in the division, they have a pitcher who played football at Notre Dame, and I figured people would be visiting Starlin Castro’s page just to examine the high-profile train wreck. The Brewers are just sad. In theory Braun should provide a McCutchen-like base but (I suspect) due to his suspension and subsequent inactivity last year he fell out of consciousness a bit. Taking a closer look:
Taken players: Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, Pete Kozma, Shane Robinson, Allen Craig.
- Jhonny Peralta – $650
- Yadi Molina – $535
- Matt Holliday – $505
- Matt Carpenter – $425
- Peter Bourjos – $390
- Matt Adams – $275
- Shelby Miller – $240
- Lance Lynn – $200
- Kolten Wong – $190
- Mark Ellis – $175
The best team in the division is not shockingly filled with high-profile talent, bolstered by the additions of Peralta and Bourjos. If not for Andrew McCutchen, Jhonny would be the most expensive player in the division.
Worst bargain – Probably Jon Jay at $170.
Best bargain – Jaime Garcia at $60.
Grinder watch – Pete Kozma is sponsored because of course he is.
Taken players: Jeff Locke, Jordy Mercer?
- Andrew McCutchen – $680
- Francisco Liriano – $310
- Pedro Alvarez – $255
- Russell Martin – $235
- Gerrit Cole – $230
- Edinson Volquez – $155
- Starling Marte – $140
- Neil Walker – $115
- Mark Melancon – $100
- Charlie Morton – $90
A solid group of 3-digit players, but you can see the stark drop-off from the Cardinals. I suspect Martin gets a boost from his stints with big-market teams.
Worst bargain – Clint Barmes at $80. Yeesh. You can get Grilli for 5 bucks more.
Best bargain – Wandy at $70. People notice Wandy. His name is Wandy. Wandy.
Best names – Andrew Lambo, Stolmy Pimentel
Worst name, possibly ever – Brandon Cumpton
Taken Players: Billy Hamilton, Skip Schumaker. It is worth noting that Skip’s sponsorship was paid for by the same org that sponsors Pete Kozma, and is therefore a grinder-appreciating bunch of Cards fans.
- Joey Votto – $475
- Brandon Phillips – $355
- Aroldis Chapman – $185
- Jay Bruce – $175
- Homer Bailey – $130
- Mat Latos – $120
- Brayan Pena – $110
- Johnny Cueto – $100
- Ryan Ludwick – $95
- Todd Frazier – $85
I actually feel like this is a microcosm of the actual Reds. The perceived gap between the super-valuable Votto and the hugely overrated Phillips should be much greater. Aroldis is probably overrated compared to the starters and position players beneath him, Bruce looks too low, Brayan Pena is a career .258/.292/.359 hitting catcher so what the hell is he even doing here, and Ludwick is pretty high for missing most of last year. Like the Pirates they have a very solid group of triple-digit talent anchored by the uber-talented Votto, but nothing compared to the Cards.
Worst bargain – Phillips and Ludwick are a close second/third to Brayan Pena. C’mon. Manny Parra and Jonathan Broxton both will cost you $40, which I found interesting. I figured Broxton’s name would have him higher.
Best bargain – Probably Votto, a relatively cheap superstar. Bruce is also reasonable, but the biggest bargain is probably Tony Cingrani at $75.
Taken Players: Travis Wood, Hector Rondon…Ooooooookay.
- Jeff Samardzija – $230
- Starlin Castro – $210
- Anthony Rizzo – $190
- Junior Lake – $135
- Edwin Jackson – $120
- Nate Schierholtz – $110
- Jake Arrieta – $105
- Donnie Murphy – $95
- Jose Veras – $90
- Darwin Barney – $85
The Cubs lack star power more than anyone else in the division. Castro and Rizzo haven’t developed as hoped (yet) and former Brewer Jose Veras is gracing their top 10. That said, lurking on the 40-man there are a few guys not yet eligible for sponsorships (Jorge Soler, Mike Olt, Brett Jackson, Arismendy Alcantara) who could shoot up the charts with even a little success. I was pleased to see Darwin Barney not only not sponsored but also not terribly expensive. It’s scary to think what this would look like had Samardzija not played football at ND.
Worst bargain – Edwin Jackson at $120. Boooooring. You’re boring. Stop being boring. Why do you have to be so boring?
Best bargain – Getting in on the ground floor of their minor leaguers is probably the way to go. There aren’t any huge bargains really. Maybe Castro if he can turn it around, maybe Junior Lake if you believe in him more than I do.
Former Brewers: Jose Veras at $90, George Kottaras at $75, and Carlos Villanueva at $35.
Taken: None. That’s right, not a single player on the Brewer 40-man roster is sponsored by anyone.
- Carlos Gomez – $255
- Ryan Braun – $230
- Aramis Ramirez – $150
- Jean Segura – $135
- Kyle Lohse – $125
- Khris Davis – $110
- Scooter Gennett – $95
- Rickie Weeks – $80
- Yovani Gallardo – $75
- Juan Francisco – $65
Well that’s just stupid. First of all, the biggest bargain should be readily apparent. Brayan Pena costs $110 bucks and Jonathan Lucroy can be had for a mere $60? Sign me up. It’s safe to say that if you have two 2nd basemen in your top ten, or Juan Francisco in your top ten, or some late-season SSS heroes in Davis and Gennett in your top ten, that maybe you have some trouble. And even the Cubs had 7 triple digit players. Braun will probably climb higher as he sees more time, so at least the star will (probably) be there, but man, Juan Francisco…
Worst bargain – Obviously it’s Juan Francisco, which is good because it saves me from having to mention Rickie. Hell, our searches are probably the reason he’s at 80.
Best Bargain – Braun is criminally underpriced for his talent and uhm, search-ability, but there’s a good reason for it. Lucroy though, I mean:
NL Central Catchers:
Yadi – $535
Pena – $110
Martin – $235
Wellington Castillo – $65
George Kottaras – $75
Lucroy – $60
Bargain Shopping – Some guys aren’t available for sponsorship if they haven’t played a big league game yet, but for those who have, the Brewers have the most players who cost under $25 in the division by a good margin. They have 16. The Reds are the next highest with 10. So if you have a spare 25 bucks lying around (or in many cases less) you can sponsor anyone of the following: Jimmy Nelson, Jose de La Torre, Jim Henderson (closer!), Caleb Gindl, Will Smith (name recognition!), Sean Halton, Logan Schafer, Elian Herrera, Donovan Hand, Rob Wooten, Mike Fiers (bounceback potential!), Brandon Kintzler (closer potential!), Alfredo Figaro, Jeff Bianchi, Martin Maldonado, and for only 10 bucks you can have Hiram Burgos.
Finally, I will leave you with the horrifying fact that Yuniesky Betancourt, at $60, costs the same as Jonathan Lucroy.
And now what you all came to see, LEN and Savage Garden!