Wednesday Rockpile: Minimum Salary Players Beat Up On The 1%

Wilin Rosario led a bunch of young cheap players to victory over the much higher paid Dodgers.

Perhaps lost in the festivities of last night's glorious win over the Dodgers was the fact that with Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler getting the day off, the entire lineup that produced 14 hits and 8 runs was comprised of minimum (or very close to minimum) salary players. As the Post pointed out, that was a $4.5 million lineup beating a $74.2 million squad. Or if you want to believe the team site, $72.2 million for the Dodgers.

Either (or Ethier) way, that's still a sight you'll only see in baseball -- and a very rare sight to see before rosters expand in September. In fact, until $4 million man Rafael Betancourt came in to get the final outs, the highest paid player in the game was Mr. Moneybags himself, Jonathan Herrera (himself a defensive substitution who didn't bat) at $482,000.

This game is a pretty strong argument for developing good young players, especially since the economics of MLB are tilted severely against young players. It should be said that I don't think that too many of the players for Colorado last night fit that good young category outside of Wilin Rosario and Josh Rutledge, but the point is that you can win games in MLB with a very cheap lineup. To do so consistently is another matter, especially with Colorado's current lineup (though they've been doing just fine in August).

Speaking of Rosario, he's hitting homers at a prodigious rate, smacking his team leading 22nd last night. He has 22 homers this year in just 310 plate appearances, which places him 3rd in franchise history for rookie homers. The two men ahead of him on the list, Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki, had 595 and 682 plate appearances respectively in their rookie seasons. So basically, Rosario is hitting homers at twice the rate of those two.

Among MLB players with at least 300 plate appearances, Rosario is 7th in ISO (which is a measure of RAW UNADULTERATED POWER). I'm very much looking forward to seeing what he does with even more playing time next year.

Off-Topic.

Los Links!

My favorite baseball writer, Joe Posnanski, is back with a new website. One of his first articles on the new site is a comparison of where teams are in actual record when compared with the record that rWAR says they should have. Per rWAR (and before last night's game), the Rockies should be a 57-70 team (so 5 wins better than actual) -- and that's factoring in a worst in the league by far defensive rating for the team.

Yesterday ESPN signed a $5.6 billion deal to not carry Rockies games (that's a 100% increase over the current deal), but Colorado will still get a healthy chunk of money from the deal. As Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports writes, each MLB team will get a windfall of about $13 million annually on top of what they get from TV contracts already. It must be nice to be a MLB owner.

Two injured players are looking to get back on the field -- Troy Tulowitzki's return is in a holding pattern, though it's very likely he'll be up by this time next week. Meanwhile, Jorge De La Rosa (remember him?) is pushing for a September cameo as well. In both cases, it should be beneficial to get some game action in to give them confidence heading into the off-season.

Finally, there's two good articles about the Rockies' rotation experiment, one from SB Denver's Dan Lucero and another from Grantland's Michael Bertin (which is worth it for the embedded rant on the Mets).

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