The Overlord Humphrey and I were discussing the rosters of the 2014 playoff teams a bit on Monday, mostly regarding the amount of homegrown farm talent on each roster compared to the amount acquired by other means. While the opportunity to buy a roster of stars on the open market and steamroll into a spot in the playoffs still exists, it's become an incredibly expensive way to compete in the age of $150 million dollar contracts and $30 million dollar yearly salaries. Just keeping your own homegrown superstars has become incredibly expensive, but is still far cheaper and, generally, for a bigger return on investment as those dollars are earmarked to far younger players either before or in the midst of their prime seasons.
So how do the National League playoff teams stack up against each other in terms of the value of their developed talent and their acquired talent in 2014? I took a look at Fangraphs and put together a table to compare the five playoff teams to each other.
- In order to qualify as "developed talent" the player had to spend at least 2 seasons in the minor league system of and must have made his major league debut for the team with which he is currently playing. So Adam Wainwright, not drafted by the Cardinals, would qualify as developed talent, while Travis Snider would qualify as an acquisition by Pittsburgh.
- fWAR was the metric used to determine these figures
- fWAR for all players contributing during the season was accounted for, not just the players on the 25 man roster for the playoffs or even the current 40 man roster.
- The Dodgers acquired the majority of their wins via trades (mostly one big one) and smart signings (Juan Uribe, FTW!)...
- ...but having Matt Kemp stink on defense and A.J. Ellis turn in a below replacement season certainly didn't help.
- The Giants have a nice mix of players both developed and acquired, with Pence and Tim Hudson as excellent additions to a core of Posey, Bumgarner, and Sandoval. Tim Lincecum's awful season and Matt Cain's injury certainly damaged their homegrown fWAR total, however.
- Which begs the question: if I had told you at the beginning of the season that the Giants would lose half a win combined between Lincecum and Cain, would you have them anywhere near the playoffs? Yeah, me neither.
- I was a bit surprised there wasn't a larger difference between the Pittsburgh totals, but I also didn't realize that Russell Martin was a 5.2 fWAR player this year.
- Read that again: Russell Martin was a 5.2 fWAR player this year.