Show Me the DVORP! (Phillies Style)

Eric Polsky at Baseball Daily Digest has done some great work with DVORP, which is VORP from Baseball Prospectus with a capital D in front of it. That D stands for “dollar” — Dollar Value Over Replacement Player. His latest work with DVORP can be found by clicking here, it’s a great read laced with some funny movie quotes. I thought I’d put a Phillies spin on it for my audience here.

It’s actually really easy to calculate this stuff. First, you take your players and you put them into an Excel spreadsheet along with their VORP, which is easy enough. I just copy and pasted the data from here, removing the pitchers from the hitters table. Then you multiply their VORP by the Major League minimum salary, $400,000. In another column, you punch in the players’ salaries which can be found here. Finally, you subtract their salary from their DVORP to find their actual value.

Now we can take a look at how much value last year’s group of Phillies brought to the table. Let’s begin with the starting eight.

Player Position VORP DVORP Salary Actual Value
Carlos Ruiz C 15.6 $6,240,000 $      475,000 $5,765,000
Ryan Howard 1B 47.7 $19,080,000 $  15,000,000 $4,080,000
Chase Utley 2B 61.7 $24,680,000 $  11,000,000 $13,680,000
Pedro Feliz 3B 3.5 $1,400,000 $   5,000,000 -$3,600,000
Jimmy Rollins SS 19.3 $7,720,000 $   7,500,000 $220,000
Raul Ibanez LF 38.4 $15,360,000 $   6,500,000 $8,860,000
Shane Victorino CF 37.7 $15,080,000 $   3,125,000 $11,955,000
Jayson Werth RF 42.8 $17,120,000 $   2,000,000 $15,120,000
Average 33.3 $ 13,335,000 $ 6,325,000 $ 7,010,000

The Phillies got more than twice as much value out of their starting eight position players as they paid for them. On average, the Phillies got $7 million of value, which is nearly 2 Wins Above Replacement in the free agent market. Unsurprisingly, Jayson Werth was the best value among position players, providing the Phillies over $15 million in value, nearly eight times what they paid him. His price tag will go up in 2010 to $7 million and definitely more after the season when he is eligible to become a free agent.

Moving on to the bench…

Player Position VORP DVORP Salary Actual Value
Andy Tracy BN 1B 1.7 $680,000 $      400,000 $280,000
Miguel Cairo BN 2B 0.5 $200,000 $      500,000 -$300,000
Greg Dobbs BN 3B -0.8 -$320,000 $   1,150,000 -$1,470,000
Chris Coste BN C 2.3 $920,000 $      460,000 $460,000
Paul Hoover BN C 1.8 $720,000 $      400,000 $320,000
Lou Marson BN C -0.1 -$40,000 $      400,000 -$440,000
Paul Bako BN C -1.7 -$680,000 $      725,000 -$1,405,000
Ben Francisco BN LF 3.4 $1,360,000 $      421,400 $938,600
John Mayberry BN LF -0.2 -$80,000 $      400,000 -$480,000
Matt Stairs BN RF 1.3 $520,000 $   1,625,000 -$1,105,000
Eric Bruntlett BN SS -9.3 -$3,720,000 $      800,000 -$4,520,000
Average -0.1 -$40,000 $661,945 -$701,945

*Note: Players are listed at the position at which they played the most defensively.

The Phillies bench last year was pretty bad and now you see why. The Phillies had four bench players cost them over $1 million, including Eric Bruntlett who cost them over $4.5 million. The good news is that the bench players were paid relatively little so their poor performances were barely felt. Fortunately, most of the offenders are gone, including Coste, Cairo, Marson, Stairs, Bako, and Bruntlett.

Player Position VORP DVORP Salary Actual Value
J.A. Happ SP 46.7 $18,680,000 $      405,000 $18,275,000
Joe Blanton SP 30.8 $12,320,000 $   5,475,000 $6,845,000
Cole Hamels SP 24.4 $9,760,000 $   4,350,000 $5,410,000
Cliff Lee* SP 14.1 $5,640,000 $      233,334 $5,406,666
Pedro Martinez SP 9.6 $3,840,000 $   1,000,000 $2,840,000
Steven Register SP 0.2 $80,000 $      401,000 -$321,000
Andrew Carpenter SP -3.5 -$1,400,000 $      400,000 -$1,800,000
Antonio Bastardo SP -4.1 -$1,640,000 $      400,000 -$2,040,000
Rodrigo Lopez SP -5.4 -$2,160,000 $      650,000 -$2,810,000
Jamie Moyer SP 8.7 $3,480,000 $   6,500,000 -$3,020,000
Brett Myers SP 5.7 $2,280,000 $  12,083,333 -$9,803,333
Average 11.6 $4,625,455 $2,899,788 $1,725,667

*Note: Cliff Lee’s salary is prorated for his time spent in Cleveland and Philadelphia.

The Phillies starting pitchers provided less than $2 million in value on average but it had more to do with heavy contracts than with actual poor performances. Only three pitchers compiled a negative VORP and they pitched a combined 59 and one-third innings, about 4% of the total innings pitched by members of the Phillies staff.

Brett Myers and Jamie Moyer were paid a combined $18.6 million last year, but combined for a DVORP of $5.76. That meant the Phillies got about $13 million less in value than they invested. On the other hand, J.A. Happ was the big winner for the Phillies, earning the Major League minimum but providing over $18 million in value. As you have no doubt heard by now, you should not expect Happ to repeat this performance no matter what the pinheads at Bleacher Report tell you.

Finally, let’s take a look at the bullpen.

Player Position VORP DVORP Salary Actual Value
Ryan Madson RP 17.7 $7,080,000 $   2,000,000 $5,080,000
Scott Eyre RP 12.1 $4,840,000 $   2,000,000 $2,840,000
Tyler Walker RP 9.3 $3,720,000 $      750,000 $2,970,000
Clay Condrey RP 8.3 $3,320,000 $      650,000 $2,670,000
Chan Ho Park RP 7.8 $3,120,000 $   2,500,000 $620,000
Kyle Kendrick RP 5.0 $2,000,000 $      475,000 $1,525,000
J.C. Romero RP 4.0 $1,600,000 $   4,250,000 -$2,650,000
Chad Durbin RP 3.9 $1,560,000 $   1,635,000 -$75,000
Sergio Escalona RP 1.2 $480,000 $      400,000 $80,000
Jack Taschner RP -0.3 -$120,000 $      835,000 -$955,000
Brad Lidge RP -15.6 -$6,240,000 $  11,500,000 -$17,740,000
Average 4.9 $1,941,818 $2,454,091 -$512,273

If you’re anything like me, your eyes darted right to that -$17,740,000 belonging to Brad Lidge. His nightmare of a 2009 season cost the Phillies nearly $18 million. Just for fun, I removed Lidge from the equation and the average actual value of the Phillies bullpen goes from negative $500,000 to positive $1.2 million, a net gain of $1.7 million. Excluding Lidge, the bullpen was actually slightly above-average.

Know any Ryan Madson skeptics? Show them this table. Madson has been the unsung hero of the bullpen over the past three seasons. He is a free agent after the 2011 season, which is when Lidge can become a free agent as well if the Phillies decide against his $12.5 million club option. Is Madson the closer of the future? I would not be surprised to see the Phillies aggressively try to retain Madson if he continues to keep up the outstanding work.

Additionally, the above table shows just how overrated relief pitchers can be. The top three highest-paid relievers last year (Lidge, Romero, Park) cost the Phillies a combined $20 million and provided -3.5 VORP. Ed Wade, take heed.

All told, the 2009 Phillies spent under $117 million but got $178.5 million in value, a most excellent figure.