The tweets that inspired this article:
Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara is the NL Cy Young award winner and one of the most valuable players in the game. He’s going to be a key player for the The Fish, if we’re going to make the playoffs in 2023. Sandy’s value is remarkable but is it higher than two of the other best players in the game? Is he more valuable than Atlanta Braves RF Ronald Acuna Jr. and San Diego Padres RF Juan Soto? I think that he is and I can prove it…
Sandy Alcantara is more valuable than Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto.
“Value” is not the same as being “better”, though it includes that assessment in it as well. The question of who is more valuable comes down to some key factors:
1. Position. Some positions are harder to fill than others, giving some players extra value.
2. Contract. The more team control the player has, the more valuable he is to teams.
3. Performance. Obviously being better is important too. WAR is the best way to measure that.
4. Injury. The more injuries the player has, the less value he has.
Let’s start with #1: position. Starting pitchers who are aces and can pitch for over 200 innings are a rarity in the game. Corner OF’s who can hit very well are not. Sandy Alcantara wins this one pretty easily.
How about #2: contract? Sandy is locked up at bargain prices until 2026. Acuna is locked up through 2028 under bargain prices as well. Soto is a free agent after the 2024 season. Acuna wins this one, but Sandy comes in second.
What about #3: performance? Sandy Alcantara had an almost unbelievable 8.0 WAR in 2022. Ronald Acuna Jr. had a 2.8 WAR, and Juan Soto had 5.6 WAR. Sandy wins again. Performance can always change, but neither ever had a higher single season WAR than Sandy.
How about #4: injury? Acuna has had injury problems the last two seasons, while Sandy and Soto have stayed relatively healthy.
Sandy Alcantara is more valuable than both Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto. He plays a more valuable position, isn’t injury-prone, has a better contract than Soto and has performed better than both of them this season. It’s not impossible to see a scenario where Acuna or Soto has a higher WAR than Sandy in 2023, and don’t take this as a definite. At the moment, Sandy is just more valuable.