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Alex Gordon Providing Biggest Value To Kansas City Royals

It certainly would be wise for the Kansas City Royals to work out a contract extension for Alex Gordon as his 2011 play has clearly exceeded his current contract.

In recent weeks I've mentioned websites such as Fangraphs, which is a place devoted to the in-depth look at many statistics you generally wouldn't find in the newspaper or in most publications. However with the sabermetrics movement among many fans of the game of baseball, terms such a UZR (ultimate zone rating) have become common nomenclature in modern baseball as fans continually want to invest themselves more into the inner workings of the sport. For those of you who are introducing yourselves to the world of sabermetrics for the first time, Wikipedia has a great resource that defines many of the terms used.

One thing about Fangraphs I really enjoy is how the site is about the put a dollar value on each individual player. Taking into account their production they are able to take any given players' WAR and turn it into a monetary figure of what that player could potentially be earning on the free agent market. 

According to ESPN, Kansas City's payroll for 2011 is $35.7 million, which is the lowest in baseball by quite a long stretch. The Tampa Bay Rays, with their $41.9 payroll, are the next organization listed above the Royals.

In terms of contract amounts, here is what the current Royals players are earning. Note, with rookies it can often be hard to pinpoint what they are making, but generally it is well under $1 million annually. That is why many of the rookies on the youthful Royals are not listed among the payroll on most websites.

Joakim Soria - $4 million

Billy Butler - $3.5 million

Jeff Francoeur - $2.5 million

Jeff Francis - $2 million

Bruce Chen - $2 million

Luke Hochevar - $1.76 million

Aaron Crow - $1.4 million

Alex Gordon - $1.4 million

Melky Cabrera - $1.25 million

Felipe Paulino - $790,000

Brayan Pena - $660,000

Mitch Maier - $459,000

Chris Getz - $443,000

Alcides Escobar - $428,000

Tim Collins - $414,400

Nathan Adcock - $414,000

Now if you convert their 2011 seasons to monetary values per fangraphs, the player values are as follows (I've included all players not originally listed in the ESPN data). 

Gordon - $22.4 million (career high)

Cabrera - $15.5 million (career high)

Francoeur - $10.9 million

Francis - $10.6 million

Butler - $9.5 million

Paulino - $8.1 million (career high)

Hochevar - $7 million

Greg Holland - $6.4 million

Escobar - $6.2 (career high)

Chen - $3.1 million

Pena - $3.1 million (Career high)

Chris Getz - $2.6 million (career high)

Soria - $2.5 million

Louis Coleman - $1.9 million

Crow - $1.9 million

Danny Duffy - $1.9 million

Maier - $1.9 million (career high)

Blake Wood - $1.5 million (career high)

Adcock - $600,000

Collins - $600,000

Salvador Perez - $600,000

Eric Hosmer - $200,000

Johnny Giavotella - $0

Mike Moustakas - $0

Obviously it is an imperfect system as no major league team out there values Chris Getz as a player worthy of a contract 13 times higher than Eric Hosmer's, but as a player plays more games in their professional career and develops more WAR to their name, the statistics become more true. The same is true with Mike Moustakas who just two months into his professional career has a 0 WAR, which attributes to have a $0 worth.

One person who does stick out greatly is Royals rookie reliever Greg Holland. While it was nice to see Aaron Crow make the All-Star team and do so well early in the season, Holland has been excellent this year posting a 1.85 ERA in 48.2 innings pitched. He has struck out 58 while walking 15. His $6.2 value only trails three Kansas City starting pitchers and by far leads the bullpen.