Earlier this week, I took a look at how many Wins Above Replacement Curtis Granderson may be worth if he plays in center field and if he plays in left field. Today, I’m going to put a dollar amount to that figure, as well as Nick Johnson’s.
As a center fielder, Granderson projects to be worth 3.0539 WAR in left field. The value of a marginal win fluctuates from year to year, but a good estimate is about $5.5MM. So, to find the value of Granderson’s WAR, we multiply the two numbers together. When we do that, we get $16.79645MM. Let’s make life simple and round that up to $17MM.
A quick run to Cot’s shows us that Granderson is making $5.5MM this season. So, while he be payed like a one win player, Granderson’s likely to play like a three win player. All told, if Granderson hits his projection, the Yankees will be getting a value of $11.5MM in Curtis. Of course, he could always out play it and bring back more value to the team, or underplay it and not be as much of a “money saver.”
Now, let’s run this sucker for Nick Johnson. Johnson’s CAIRO projected wOBA is .373. Let’s run through the run conversions again:
.373-.336 (2009 AL avg. wOBA) = 0.037
0.037/1.15 = 0.032, now we’ll multiply that by his baseline PA projection of 441
0.032 X 441 = 14.112, there’s no defensive projection since he’ll be a DH, but he does take a 12.5 run hit for being a DH, so we end up with:
14.112-12.5 = 1.162, divide that by 10.5 for the wins above average and we get 0.154, adding two wins for the adjustment, we get 2.154 WAR. Multiplying by $5.5MM we get $11.847MM. Johnson makes a base salary of $5.5MM, but if he hit 441 plate appearances, he gets a $50,000 escalator. Even with that, Johnson clearly represents value for the Yankees.
441 PAs out of Johnson doesn’t seem like much, which is likely justified because of how often he’s been injured in the past. However, as the DH, he obviously avoids the field and could see more time at the plate. Last year, he got 574 PAs, so let’s assume he gets that many again. This also comes with an escalator $0.125MM, or $125,000. If we re-run the simulation for 574 PAs, we get 2.6 WAR, and a projected value of $14.3MM. If Johnson can avoid the disabled list and get a number of plate appearances in the high five-hundreds, his contract will be an absolutely great value for the Yankees. It is also worth noting that the projections systems are being very bearish on Nick Johnson’s power because it dropped so much in 2009. However, there are signs that it could bounce back. First off on the anecdotal side, there’s the fact that he’s a lefty bat moving into a very lefty-friendly stadium. Second, his HR/FB rate was very low, perhaps so low that it is unsustainable. Nick the Stick could easily outplay his projected wOBA.
Based on these projections–remember, they’re just projections, they’re not 100% accurate–the Yankees will likely be saving a great deal of money on their two lineup additions this year. Granderson and his three wins represents a huge upgrade over what the Yankees had in CF last season and Nick Johnson’s projected WAR is also right around what the Yankees got from Hideki Matsui last year. As Steve noted earlier, the Yankees seem to be in good position going into 2010.
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