Contributed by: Swishnev23
The reason for this exercise is to analyze the International Free Agent (IFA) market and the amount of money that owners are spending to sign these players. I’m new to this game, and not very good at it, so I’m analyzing all kinds of data to try to find out what the best strategies are to win consistently. This season I thoroughly enjoyed the blog posts regarding the IFA’s but was a bit distressed over the initial analysis of the players in comparison to the amount of money owners, including myself, were spending. Therefore, I set out to find out if spending in the IFA market is worth it. I’m not a statistician/mathematician so some of the verbage and calculations could be off. I do have the rough data available so please send me a TC message if you’d like to analyze it yourself
I only analyzed the information from Season 1-10 because once I got around Season 9 the players were still so young that they weren’t providing much tangible information to the exercise. I also only analyzed the IFA signings for $5,000,000 or greater for reasons I will detail below. Any awards won during Season 15 were not included, either. Onto the numbers….
Financials: From Season 1 to Season 10 there were 158 IFA’s signed in our world for a total of $1,593,100,000. Yes, that’s 1.5 billion. That’s an average of $10,082,911 per player. To give a little bit of perspective, at the same time there were nine first round #1 draft picks signed for a total of $43,540,000, which is an average of $4,832,777 per player. I used the $5,000,000 cut-off during analysis because I figured that would be a legitimate amount to pay the first pick in the amateur draft. As you can see, the average IFA signing is for double that amount. There are some statistical outliers are there have been seven (7) players signed in the IFA market for more than $20,000,000 but I don’t feel that the quantity is large enough to greatly skew the data. Financially speaking, on average, we are paying double what we’d pay for the #1 pick in the amateur draft.
Player Performance: In grading player performance I used only awards that players could earn as a guide to how successful they were. I used the following awards as my guides: Rookie of the Year (ROY), All-Star Game appearances (ASG), Gold Glove Awards (GG), Silver Slugger Awards (SS), Most Valuable Player Awards (MVP), World Series Rings (WS), Cy Young Awards (CY) and Fireman of the Year Awards (FOY). My assumption was that if we were paying double what we’d normally pay for the #1 pick in the amateur draft then we’d want franchise changing players that would/could accrue multiple major awards. This analysis also does not take into account team needs/wants for each individual team which at times can outweigh the financial risk teams are willing to take on the open market.
From the 158 IFA’s in the study here is how it broke down:
ROY - 2 players
ASG - 81 appearances between 33 players
GG - 27 awards between 15 players
SS - 27 awards between 11 players
MVP - 4 awards between 3 players
WS - 32 rings between 25 players
CY - 1 award
FOY - 1 award
These statistics are what caught my attention because if we are spending these amounts of money on IFA’s then the return should be greater. We see that while 21% of the players in the study have made an All-Star Game appearance and nearly 16% of them have a World Series ring but only 1% have won an MVP award and less than 1% have won a Cy Young or Fireman of the Year Award. There was not an IFA for less than $15 million that garnered the MVP or Cy Young Award. The FOY Award winner signed for $8,200,000. Based on the data/bonus information, the IFA’s signed for $10,000,000+ were the recepients of these awards. Very few players that signed for $7,000,000 or less earned awards and none did so more than once.
I’ll leave you to make your own conclusion as to whether or not the budget you set aside for IFA’s is worth it because each team has its own needs that it needs to fill.