In a few weeks baseball will hand out its two Most Valuable Player Awards. That got me wondering who is actually the best “Value” in baseball. I looked at leaders in both leagues and an answer instantly jumped out at me. And wouldn’t you know it, he happens to play for my San Diego Padres.
This season Adrian Gonzalez finished with 36 homeruns, 119 RBI, a .279 average, 172 hits, 103 runs and 32 doubles, while playing all 162 games. And his base salary was just $875,000.
Here are some notes about those numbers.
-Only eight players finished with more home runs than Gonzalez: Ryan Howard ($10 million), Adam Dunn ($13 million), Carlos Delgado ($16 million), Manny Ramirez ($20 million), Albert Pujols ($13.8 million), Ryan Ludwick ($411,000), Miguel Cabrera ($11.3 million) and Ryan Braun ($455,000, plus $2.3 million bonus).
-Seven players finished with more RBI than Gonzalez: Howard, Josh Hamilton ($396,830), Justin Morneau ($8.4 million), David Wright ($5.25 million) and Mark Teixeira ($12.5 million).
-Gonzalez was one of five players to play in 162 games this season: Ichiro ($17.1 million), Raul Ibanez ($5.5 million), Morneau and Howard were the others.
Gonzalez also plays Gold Glove-level defense, as he finished with a .996 fielding percentage. That number is equal to that of Albert Pujols who won the Gold Glove in 2006, and is .003 better than 2007 winner Derek Lee.
The only value that comes close to matching Gonzalez is the aforementioned Ryan Ludwick, whose cheap contract was certainly worth it. His numbers were spectacular (.299, 37 HR, 113 RBI) and he played 152 games. Ludwick had a phenomenal season, but to be fair, he didn’t have to play half his games at PetCo Park, where power hitters go to die. Throw in the fact that Ludwick had Albert Pujols (.357, 37, 116), Troy Glaus (.270, 27, 99) and Rick Ankiel (.264, 25, 71) in the lineup to help him out. Gonzalez had Kevin Kouzmanoff (.260, 23, 84), Brian Giles (.306, 12, 63) and Chase Headley (.269, 9, 38).
Plus, Gonzalez is just 26-years-old, while Ludwick is already 30.
So, there you go, it’s been scientifically proven that A-Gon is the best value in baseball. And if you disagree, screw you. Let me have this one. It’s been a really rough season for Padres fans, please just let us all have this one thing to cling to.