Back in December, the Braves' front office certainly wasn't a pleasant topic on message boards across the internet. They had just traded their ace from 2009 for Melky Cabrera and two talented, yet young prospects. At the time, most believed they had failed to bring in the "big bat" that the offense had desperately been missing since Mark Teixeria was traded to the Angels. Two months of the offseason had passed by and the Braves still hadn't made any moves to significantly improve their offense.
Then, on January 5th, the Braves signed Troy Glaus to a 1 year deal. At the time, most fans liked the move, but they felt Glaus was simply just another bridge player to get to Freddie Freeman. Would Glaus contribute for the Braves in 2010? Probably. Was he the "big bat" that everyone expected the Braves to land that would get them back to October baseball? 99% of fans would respond with a resounding "NO." Most figured Glaus would help, but Frank Wren would have to sign or trade for a big-time power hitting outfielder.
Oh, how we were all so wrong.
Coming into Wednesday, here is a look at Glaus' current stat line:
|2010 - Troy Glaus||66||231||35||66||9||0||13||51||36||61||0||0||.286||.380||.494|
That's impressive. Really impressive. To be honest, 85% of the teams in baseball would rather have that production from their 1st baseman than the production they're receiving from their player.
And in case you had forgotten, Troy signed for $1.75MM as a base salary, with up to $2.25MM in incentives. The Braves are getting more production from their 1B than most teams in the league, and they're paying him no more than 4 million dollars. That's pretty neat.
After the jump, a comparison between Glaus and some of the National League's best 1st basemen...
If someone asked you who the best five 1st basemen are in the NL, there are few obvious answers: Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Howard. Besides those three, a strong case could be made Prince Fielder and Joey Votto to round out the top 5. You could also make a case for Adam Dunn and Derek Lee (based on previous season's performance), so let's include those two as well.
First, let's compare their stat lines for the season as of Wednesday, June 16th:
|2010 - Troy Glaus||65||227||35||65||9||0||13||49||36||59||0||0||.286||.382||.498|
|2010 - Albert Pujols||64||236||38||73||14||0||15||49||48||34||6||1||.309||.425||.559|
|2010 - Adrian Gonzalez||64||234||36||69||11||0||15||44||40||48||0||0||.295||.397||.534|
|2010 - Ryan Howard||61||245||36||70||11||1||10||43||20||65||0||0||.286||.342||.461|
|2010 - Prince Fielder||64||237||40||62||8||0||12||24||43||59||1||0||.262||.394||.447|
|2010 - Joey Votto||58||216||40||66||10||2||13||41||35||49||7||4||.306||.409||.551|
|2010 - Adam Dunn||63||225||37||65||19||2||14||35||32||71||0||0||.289||.383||.578|
|2010 - Derrek Lee||61||227||30||52||9||0||7||26||37||57||1||2||.229||.338||.361|
This obviously isn't an exact science, but let's compare these seven players using a few basic offensive stats: Batting Average, OBP, SLG %, HRs, RBI and BB/K ratio.
This is how the scoring will work: If you have the highest batting average, you get 8 points. If you have the second highest batting average, you get 6 points. If you're third you get 5. And so on. Now to the scoring:
Pujols (8), Votto (7), Gonzalez (6), Dunn (5), Glaus (4), Howard (4), Fielder (3), Lee (2)
Pujols (8), Votto (7), Fielder (6), Gonzalez (5), Glaus (4), Dunn (3), Howard (2), Lee (1)
Dunn (8), Pujols (7), Votto (6), Gonzalez (5), Glaus (4), Fielder (3), Howard (2), Lee (1)
Gonzalez (8), Pujols (8), Dunn (7), Fielder (6), Glaus (6), Votto (6), Howard (5), Lee (4)
Glaus (8), Pujols (8), Gonzalez (7), Howard (6), Votto (5), Dunn (4), Fielder (3), Lee (2)
Pujols (8), Gonzalez (7), Fielder (6), Votto (5), Lee (4), Glaus (3), Dunn (2), Howard (1)
If you add it all up (maximum 48 points):
1. Pujols - 47
2. Gonzalez - 38
3. Votto - 36
T-4. Glaus - 29
T-4. Dunn - 29
5. Fielder - 27
6. Howard - 20
7. Lee - 14
So accoring to my "scientific" method, Troy Glaus has been the 4th most valuable 1B in the league. Think about that for a second. Even with the awful April that Troy had, he's been the 4th best 1B in the National League. Better than Prince Fielder. Better than Ryan Howard. Better than Adam LaRoche, Pablo Sandoval and Derek Lee. Better than every first baseman in the league besides Pujols, Gonzalez, Votto and Adam Dunn. That's awesome.
Now, let's take a look at the their salaries for the 2010 season*:
Glaus - $1.75MM
Pujols - $16MM
Gonzalez - $4.85MM
Howard - $19MM
Fielder - $11MM
Votto - $550,000 (pre-arb)
Lee - $13MM
Dunn - $12MM
*Note: These are just the base salaries. Glaus has up to $2.25MM in incentives in his deal for PAs in 2010. Most of these guys also have similar performance-based incentives in their contract for All Star Game appearances, MVPs, PAs, etc.
With the exception of Joey Votto who's still at the league minimum, Glaus is nearly $10MM cheaper than any of the other top 1B in the league. It's one thing if you have good numbers. It's another thing if you have good numbers and you're playing for "cheap". $4MM isn't anything to laugh at, but when you see Glaus totally out-performing Ryan Howard and his $19MM paycheck, it's extra special.
To conclude, we've seen it all from Troy in 2010. We saw him wrongfully booed off the field in April. We saw him win MLB's MVP for the month of May. We've seen him chug around the base paths and wonder if there's truly a man slower than Garett Anderson and we've seen him drive in 28 runners with 2 outs.
Though despite the inconsistencies, I think it's safe to say Braves Nation can safely say this: Troy Glaus has been the man in 2010. Without him, I'm not sure where the Braves would be.
Way to go Troy. And way to go Frank Wren for signing the NL's Comeback Player of the Year.