In lieu of a full Purple Row Academy article, due to the time constraints of being a college senior taking 21 credits, I have a fun chart and a little commentary for you.
As you may remember, last year I broke down the Rockies' Opening Day Payroll distribution by position. This year, I'm doing it with my own data and methodology (counting signing bonuses as fully paid the moment they are signed as opposed to pro-rating them and paying option buyouts the year the option is declined). Unfortunately, I don't have the time to calculate the values for the other 29 teams, so I won't be comparing the Rockies' payroll distribution to other teams in MLB--at least, not today.
|Position||Salary||% of ODP||Per Player|
|Corner IF||$ 20,056,000||24.03%||$ 5,014,000|
|Middle IF||$ 6,725,000||8.06%||$ 3,362,500|
|Infielders||$ 26,781,000||32.08%||$ 4,463,500|
|Outfielders||$ 10,019,000||12.00%||$ 2,003,800|
|Catchers||$ 4,000,000||4.79%||$ 2,000,000|
|Starters||$ 34,043,000||40.78%||$ 4,255,375|
|Reserves||$ 6,757,000||8.09%||$ 1,351,400|
|Position Players||$ 40,800,000||48.88%||$ 3,138,462|
|Starting Pitchers||$ 18,156,000||21.75%||$ 3,631,200|
|Relief Pitchers||$ 9,236,000||11.06%||$ 1,319,429|
|Total Pitchers||$ 27,392,000||32.81%||$ 2,282,667|
|25 Man Total||$ 68,192,000||81.69%||$ 2,727,680|
|Disabled List||$ 14,533,000||17.41%||$ 3,633,250|
|Buyouts||$ 750,000||0.90%||$ 375,000|
|Grand Total||$ 83,475,000||100.00%||$ 2,852,586|
What this tells us is that the Rockies are about even in payroll paid to pitchers and hitters--that is, once you take into account that all four DL players are pitchers, two of them highly paid. With the DL pitchers included, the Rockies are paying 50.22% of their payroll to the pitching staff. This is further proof that the Rockies are committed to a balanced approach when it comes to roster-building. In addition, the Rockies have a great distribution of payroll between starting pitchers and relievers ($3.63 million per player vs. $1.32 million) admirably reflected each positional groups' relative value to the team.
As you can see, the Rockies pay their starting position players at a much higher rate per player than they do their reserves ($4.26 million vs. $1.35 million), which again is in line with common sense. The corner infield positions (I counted Melvin Mora and Jason Giambi among them) are heavily weighted in terms of payroll distribution due to the presence of Todd Helton, while the outfield's salary total mostly comes from Brad Hawpe. When compared to the $3.27 million average MLB salary as cited by USA Today, Colorado's $2.85 million mean salary seems like a bargain.
Perhaps the most exciting piece of this roster equation is the fact that most of the best players are locked up for a few years at a reasonable rate. The Rockies are on average a team in their prime (28.1 years old) and possess four starting position players that are 25 or younger. That is the formula for a sustained run of excellence.
Finally, I leave you with a question for discussion since I've been unable to write a full-blown opus. It's a topic that I find to be quite interesting and one that fosters quite a bit of debate.
Here's the question: Where would you prefer the pitcher to bat in the lineup, 8th or 9th, and why?
I've included a poll at the bottom to gauge your responses.