Professional athletes are without a doubt highly valued in the U.S. Superstar athletes make millions of dollars every year and bring the teams they play for huge sums of money. With baseball season right around the corner, Forbes calculated the value of pitchers in Major League Baseball to determine which players deliver the biggest bang for the buck.
There are 30 professional baseball teams in the MLB and they pay over $1 billion annually to their pitchers. In 2010, some players earned their salaries, while others underperformed. Forbes' researchers used the metric Value Over Replacement Player – VORP – to compile its list; the VORP equals the number of runs opponents were prevented from scoring over and above what a minimum-salaried replacement would have allowed. Here are the top 5 pitchers:
1. Ubaldo Jimizez
Team: Colorado Rockies
The National League's dominant pitcher in the first half of 2010 was undoubtedly Jiminez. His actual VORP was 61 and the Rockies have him contracted for $12.8 million over the next three years.
2. Clay Buchholz
Team: Boston Red Sox
With an actual VORP of 51.3, Buchholz finished second in the American League in earned run average at 2.33; he also won 17 games and will be arbitration-eligible after the 2011 season. With a $433,00 salary, Buchholz is a steal.
3. David Price
Team: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Price had an actual VORP of 54.9 and was the top overall pick out of Vanderbilt University in 2007. Last year, he allowed just 170 hits in 208 innings with a 2.72 ERA. He earned $1.8 million in 2010.
4. Clayton Kershaw
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
With a $443,000 salary in 2010, Kershaw logged a 46.9 VORP and whiffed 212 batters in 204 innings; he also allowed the fourth-fewest hits per nine innings at 7.1.
5. Gio Gonzalez
Team: Oakland Athletics
Gonzalez had a VORP of 46 in 2010 and ranked in the top 10 for wins in the AL.