(Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons)
by Ducan Wallis
This is the third installment of a multi-article series about the true value of the best MLB players.
For a brief introduction or a quick refresher on the basis of this discussion, check out the intro from our first Club-Friendly Contracts article.
Today, we’re looking at the American League West. Welcome to part three:
American League West
Jose Altuve, $3.7M, 7.5 WAR= 0.493 M/WAR
Charlie Morton, $7M, 3.3 WAR= 2.121 M/WAR
Marwin Gonzalez, $4.425M, 4.1 WAR= 1.079 M/WAR
Astros’ 2017 MVP: Jose Altuve- 0.493 M/WAR
With any previous baseball knowledge, you probably could have guessed this. Jose Altuve was the actual, voted MVP of the American League this year and is on an incredibly low contract extension of just 3.7 million dollars a year. The Astros have a plethora of young talent but Altuve is one of the only ones on an actual contract so far, and he tops them all.
Los Angeles Angels
Andrelton Simmons, $8.825M, 4.9 WAR= 1.691 M/WAR
Mike Trout, $24.083M, 6.9 WAR= 3.490 M/WAR
Kole Calhoun, $8.666M, 2.2 WAR= 3.939 M/WAR
Angels’ 2017 MVP: Andrelton Simmons- 1.691 M/WAR
Andrelton Simmons had a career year at the plate where he slashed .278/.331/.421, a significant uptick in his slugging percentage, especially. He was an integral part of an Angels lineup that was without Mike Trout for a large part of the summer. Additionally, Simmons played an otherworldly shortstop per usual to make him the Angels MVP.
Nelson Cruz, $14.25M, 3.8 WAR= 3.75 M/WAR
Jean Segura, $14M, 2.9 WAR= 4.828 M/WAR
Dee Gordon, $10M, 3.3 WAR= 3.030 M/WAR
Mariners’ 2017 MVP: Nelson Cruz- 3.75 M/WAR
Nelson Cruz is not on a super club-friendly contract, but his value in 3.8 WAR was enough to give him the honor of the Mariner’s true MVP. Newly acquired Dee Gordon actually would’ve won this honor with a 3.030 M/WAR, but he played for the Marlins in 2017. If he can keep up his production in Seattle, as their center fielder, he will likely give Cruz a run for his money in the 2018 season.
Jed Lowrie, $7M, 3.5 WAR= 2 M/WAR
Matthew Joyce, $5.5M, 2.4 WAR= 2.292 M/WAR
Yusmeiro Petit, $5M, 2.2 WAR= 2.273 M/WAR
Athletics’ 2017 MVP: Jed Lowrie- 2 M/WAR
Jed Lowrie, the longtime utility player, has proved his worth with the Athletics. Despite some inconsistency over his career, he gave the Athletics 3.5 WAR on a club-friendly contract to be their true MVP. He may not be around long enough for the Athletics’ return to relevance, but he is certainly the MVP of this struggling team.
The World Champion Houston Astros have the best player on their roster on the most club-friendly contract we have seen thus far. With an M/WAR of 0.493, Jose Altuve is the MVP of the entire American League by a long shot. It would appear that the actual, reigning MVP is also the true Most Valuable Player in the league. If Aaron Judge were on a real contract, however, I’m sure that debate would spark, once again. It will be interesting to see Altuve’s future contracts as the massive star in the MLB missed his payday the first time around.
Altuve played at an MVP-caliber level this season, no question. For the second year in a row, he led the AL in batting average at .346. For the fourth season in a row, he led the AL in hits with 204. For sabermetrics fanatics like us, he impresses in the more advanced categories, too. OPS+ is a player’s On-Base Percentage + Slugging Percentage, multiplied by 100, and adjusted to ballpark differences. Altuve had an OPS of 164, a massive number that is the best of his career. Furthermore, his Offensive Winning Percentage (winning percentage for a team composed of nine of these players batting, assuming average pitching and defense against them), is .739. That winning clip would’ve surpassed the winningest team in baseball, the Dodgers, by 97 points in 2017. It also would actually be the most wins by a single team in MLB history with 119.7 wins- 3.7 better than the record-setting 2001 Mariners and 1906 Cubs. Altuve is in the conversation for the best player of his generation and is the actual as well as the true AL Most Valuable Player.