I am fascinated with MLB player salaries (all sports salaries for that matter), and I wanted to know if it was worth anything to the player to be selected to an All-Star team. I know players typically have incentives built into their contract for achievements such as this, but they usually fall under the category of a one time bonus. What about their actual salary? Is it affected if the player makes an All-Star team?

The Logic

To bring this question to light, I first compiled a list of every player that has been selected to an All-Star team from 2002 – 2013. I chose to use this time frame to keep the salaries at a somewhat comparable level to today’s. Go back too far in history and player salaries are significantly lower. Once I had my list of players, I found the average player salary for each of those years as well as an average for all years combined. I then gathered those same players’ salaries for the year after they were an All-Star. A quick subtraction formula gave me the difference for each players’ salary before and after they were an All-Star. I calculated the mean of those values to understand if player salaries increase or decrease the year after an All-Star team selection and by how much.

The Numbers

The total average salary of pre-All-Star players from 2002-2013 was $6,811,333. The total average salary of those same players for the year after they were an All-Star was $8,436,326. That’s a difference of +1,624,993. The average difference was calculated to be $1,517,550. Below is a bar chart breaking down the difference in player salaries from year to year.

All_star_salary

 

It seems that an All-Star selection can increase a player’s salary significantly; on average by $1,517,550. What does this mean for MLB players and teams? For players, it means do everything you can to get on the All-Star team. This includes those goofy campaign videos players use to gain publicity and in turn get votes.

Here’s Jonathan Lucroy’s campaign video: http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/8879232/v33770085

For teams, a player achieving All-Star status seems to be a catch 22. Or is it? Of course the team wants all of their players to play like All-Stars, but it will cost them in elevated salaries if they actually make the team. I don’t think this bothers clubs though. For one, I am guessing (since I do not have the hard data) that teams gain some cheap branding from a player’s involvement in the All-Star game and two, the increase in the players production on the field elevates his market value which would most likely demand an increase in salary.

For my next post I will look deeper into the average increase (or decrease) in WAR or RC by a player who makes the All-Star game compared to their increase in salary. This will help teams realize whether an increase in a players salary in truly warranted. It would also help teams determine how much to increase a players salary if it was found to be a worth while investment.

Stephen writes about Major League Baseball at BP Bronx and Banished To The Pen. He also informs readers about college baseball at the blog Underground Baseball. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @steve21shaw

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2 Responses to “You’re an All-Star. Get. Paid.”

  1. Kosmo

    I assume you’re using the mean and not the median? I’m curious what the median would be, since it’d be less affected by outliers. One guy signing a massive deal could move the mean quite a bit, but not the median.

    Reply

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