Wait, Marco Scutaro earned $15 last year? How is that possible? There must be something wrong with your formula. That's definitely it. There's no way Scoot earned $15 last year.If you're not a pricer, I can see why your intuition would make you believe that there's no way in hell Marco Scutaro earned $15 last year. His 7 HR, 54 RBI, 4 SB, 59 R, .299 BA in 395 AB doesn't even seem like it should be good for double-digit earnings.
But Scutaro was worth $15 last year.
Average A.L. Auctioned Hitter 2011: 12 HR, 48 RBI, 7 SB, 49 R, .268 BA, $12.5
Marco Scutaro 2011: HR $2, RBI $4, SB $1, Runs $4, BA $4. Total = $15.
Scutaro wasn't worth more than the average hitter in two categories (HR and SB) but better than the average hitter in three others (R, RBI, BA). The weights for each category aren't linear, but Scutaro was $2.5 better than the average auctioned A.L. hitter last year.
For those N.L.-only players who might think that the A.L. hitter pool is weak, that's not it at all; Scutaro would have earned $16 in the N.L. last year with the same stats.
Some of the confusion derives from the fact that the top players seem to get cheated at times.
Ian Kinsler 2011: 32 HR ($8), 77 RBI ($6), 30 SB ($9), 121 R ($9), .255 BA (-$1), $30
On the surface, you might think that Kinsler should be worth more than twice as much as Scutaro. He hit over four times as many home runs and stole over seven times as many bases. So why isn't Kinsler worth more?
Total A.L. Auction Hitter Value, 5x5, 2011
HR $503, RBI $618, SB $360, Runs $620. Total $2,101.
The formula isn't linear. Giving equal weight to all four quantitative offensive categories would create a scarcity model and artificially pump up the value of Coco Crisp and Brett Gardner. They might actually be worth $50 apiece - since all five categories are equal - but the formula attempts to adjust for the fact that you can't win a Rotisserie League with 250 steals and little else.
The paradox of earnings versus bids is that while Scutaro was worth $15 last year, you probably should pay him a little less. Those runs and RBI are certainly valuable, but if Scoot's BA falls off the shelf, he's an $11 player...assuming that his RBI and runs don't drop.
Knowing that Scoot earned $15 last year is useful. However, there are many more factors tied into what you should pay Scoot at auction this year.