Although baseball is a great game, many players will choose to play other sports because the players are not paid the big bucks instantly. However, baseball players are able to make the most money over the longest period of time if the player is good. Unlike other major sports, baseball players are able to reel in huge pay checks until they are in their forties. The best bargain in sports is a young superstar baseball prospect. Since some players are significantly underpaid, it enables fans to create fake teams for as cheap as possible. There is such a great contract disparity in baseball that a World Series championship team could be had for under $13.5 million.
THE CHEAP TEAM
Carlos Santana (27) and Jonathan Lucroy (27)
Cost: $1.3 million
Santana and Lucroy are two of the best bargain catchers in MLB. Both players are ranked in the top ten in WAR, HR, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS. Although both players are set for major pay raises, they are currently making less than $1.5 million combined for this season. Both players bat in the middle of the order and would be the starting catcher for more than 2/3 of the teams in MLB.
Paul Goldschmidt (25) and Freddie Freeman (23)
Cost: $1.06 million
Goldschmidt and Freeman were both All-Stars this season. Although they make under $750,000, they are some of the best first baseman in baseball. While Goldschmidt is an MVP candidate, Freddie Freeman is leading the NL East leading Atlanta Braves to a playoff position and a NL East division title. Goldschmidt and Freeman are ranked in the top six in R, RBI, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Although Paul Goldschmidt already signed a new contract that will start next season, Freddie Freeman should sign a long term contract like Paul Goldschmidt.
Jason Kipnis (26)
Jason Kipnis played in his first All-Star game this season. Jason Kipnis has experienced a break out season after a solid rookie season last year. Jason Kipnis is thought to be one of the best second baseman in the league because he is ranked in the top five in R, HR, RBI, SB, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Jason Kipnis is extremely under valued compared to the other second basemen in MLB. Jason Kipnis is part of the new brand of second basemen because he drives in runs and can hit the ball out of the ballpark
Jean Segura (23)
The 23 year old shortstop has broken out for the Milwaukee Brewers after being acquired last season in the Zach Greinke deal. Like many of the players on the cheap team, Segura played in his first All-Star game this year for the NL. Jean Segura is ranked top four in almost every statistical category among shortstops. Sgura is ranked top four in R, 3B, HR, SB, AVG, OBP, SLG, OPS, and WAR. Segura has the rare ability to run and hit for power, which is especially rare for a shortstop. Segura is already a star and should improve over the next few seasons.
Manny Machado (21)
Manny Machado has burst onto the scene as one of the best defensive and offensive baseball player in the league. Although Manny Machado was on pace to break the record for most doubles in a season, he has slowed down, but has still been one of the best players in the league. Although third base is the deepest position in MLB, he has been one of the best because he has so much talent. Machado is top ten in every statistical category among third baseman and third in WAR. Machado has led the Orioles to a possible playoff position.
Mike Trout (21), Starling Marte (24), Domonic Brown (25), Wil Myers (22), and Giancarlo Stanton (23)
Cost: $2.537 million
The outfield is probably the best part of the cheap team’s offensive attack. Mike Trout is the most underpaid player in MLB. He is the best all around player in the majors, but is only making $510,000. Compared to his peers, Trout should be paid 50 times his actual salary, based upon his play. The group also includes sluggers Domonic Brown and Giancarlo Stanton. When healthy, Brown and Stanton are two of the best power hitters in the game. Stanton probably has the most power of any player in the league, although he is only 23 and is paid less than $600,000. Starling Marte and Wil Myers are two of the brightest young players in the league. Over the last month, Myers has been on fire, 4 home runs and a .352 average. Although Marte could not sustain his early season success, he has been great for the MLB leading Pittsburgh Pirates. Marte has been a great defensive player and one of the fastest players in the league.
Matt Harvey (24), Jose Fernandez (20), Patrick Corbin (24), Mike Minor (25), and Shelby Miller (22)
Cost: $2.47775 million
The starting pitching for this team is easily the best part of this fantasy team. All five starters have an ERA under 3 while having salaries that combine to be less than $2.5 million. Among the five starters, Matt Harvey is the best pitcher. Matt Harvey has been great this season and has been the second best pitcher, behind Clayton Kershaw. Besides for having the most strikeouts among NL starters, Harvey has the second lowest WHIP and ERA in MLB while garnering the third highest WAR among starters. However, Harvey is not the only great young pitcher on this team. Jose Fernandez has pitched great for the Marlins during his rookie season. Fernandez and Shelby Miller have more strikeouts than innings while maintaining an ERA under 3 and a WHIP just above 1. Like Fernandez and Miller, Minor has an ERA under 3 and a WHIP just above 1, but does not have the strikeout totals like Fernandez. Another great pitcher on the team is Patrick Corbin. Although Corbin is not a strikeout pitcher like Minor, he is extremely effective, compiling an ERA below 2.3, WHIP under 1, and 12 wins. This team would lose very few games because of their pitching.
Craig Kimbrel (25), Mark Melancon (28), Rex Brothers (25), Tanner Scheppers (26), Aaron Loup (25), Luis Avilan (24), Greg Holland (27), and Drew Smyly (24)
Cost: $4.18355 million
Relief pitching is one of the most important parts of a team and this bullpen will be great. Besides for having some of the best relievers in the league, every relief pitcher will have an ERA under 2. Along with having great ERAs, most of these pitchers have great strikeout numbers. Craig Kimbrel has been the best closer over the last two years. Craig has the most saves among NL relief pitchers. Kimbrel has 22 more strikeouts than innings pitch, an ERA under 1.35, and a WHIP under 0.95. Mark Melancon has been one of the best relievers in the league, although he had to switch his relief positions. Mark has the lowest ERA, 0.88, among relievers, who has pitched over 38 games. Along with a great ERA, Mark does not allow batters to reach base, 0.86 WHIP. Rex Brothers and Luis Avilan are great relievers and each have an ERA under 1.25. Also, they are both left handed pitchers, which is important for any bullpen. Similar to Avilan and Brothers, Scheppers, Loup and Smyly have ERAs under 1.9 and WHIPs under 1.2. Similar to Craig Kimbrel, Greg Holland is a great reliever and has the ability to strikeout any hitter. Holland’s stats are great, 1.76 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 24 more strikeouts than innings pitched. Batters will have a lot of problems scoring against this great pitching staff.
Total Cost: $13.0547 million
The total cost of this great team is less than half the cost of Alex Rodriguez and about the same as a player like Edwin Jackson/Dan Haren/ Josh Johnson. The pitcher with the lowest ERA is Edwin Jackson with an ERA of 4.65.
MOST EXPENSIVE TEAM
Vernon Wells, Carl Crawford, and Alfonso Soriano
$24 million, $21 million, $19 million
Cliff Lee, Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, and Zach Greinke
$25 million, $24.644 million, $24.285 million, $22.25 million, $21 million
Total Cost: $301.304 million
This astronomical number is only for 15. Thus, the average for eah player is 20 million, which is more than the whole team that I highlighted above. It is crazy how fast players can earn money in the MLB if they are talented. This “magnificent” has had a great year so far.
Pics and Stats from ESPN.com