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10 Most Underpaid Baseball Players

10 Most Underpaid Baseball Players

Forbes goes around the diamond to the most underpaid player in Major League Baseball at each position in 2010.

Salaries are compared with each player’s Value Over Replacement Player (VORP) score, with results adjusted to reflect each player’s service time (i.e., a younger player in a lower paying service class isn’t expected to make as much for top production, making him less underpaid than a veteran with similar numbers).


Albert Pujols

First Base

St. Louis Cardinals

2010 Salary: $16 million
VORP: 81.8
Underpaid by: $28 million

That’s right, with the average veteran costing $534,000 per VORP point, Pujols’ huge numbers were enough to merit almost $44 million last season.

Rickie Weeks

Second Base

Milwaukee Brewers

2010 Salary: $2.75 million
VORP: 49.6
Underpaid by: $24 million

Weeks had a breakthrough year at a cheap price in 2010. He’ll cash in beginning in 2012, when a $10 million per year extension kicks in.

Rafael Furcal


Los Angeles Dodgers

2010 Salary: $8.5 million
VORP: 39
Underpaid by: $12.7 million

Missed some time with injuries last season, but still hit .300 with 22 steals.

David Wright

Third Base

New York Mets

2010 Salary: $10 million
VORP: 46.7
Underpaid by: $15.3 million

Over 100 RBI last season after a power drought in 2009. Wright ranks in the top 16 among active players in OPS+ (on-base plus slugging percentage adjusted for a player’s home ballpark), dead even with Joe Mauer and ahead of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkillis.

Jose Bautista


Toronto Blue Jays

2010 Salary: $2.4 million
VORP: 69.3
Underpaid by: $10.6 million

Came out of nowhere to take over as baseball’s top home run hitter last year. Off to a fantastic start this season too–even his bump in pay to $8 million in 2011 doesn’t do Bautista justice.

Matt Holiday


St. Louis Cardinals

2010 Salary: $17 million
VORP: 59.2
Underpaid by: $15 million

A major offensive force who proved he could hit at sea level after Colorado traded him in 2009.

Nick Swisher


New York Yankees

2010 Salary: $6.7 million
VORP: 37.6
Underpaid by: $13.7 million

A big year for Swisher, who hit 37 points higher than his career .251 average while slamming 29 homers, was a welcome bang for the buck for a Yankee club that’s accustomed to overpaying for stars.

Jim Thome

Designated Hitter

Minnesota Twins

2010 Salary: $1.5 million
VORP: 42
Underpaid by: $21.3 million

Signed by the Twins as a part-time DH thought to be past his prime, Thome averaged almost a homer every 10 at-bats last year at age 39. He’s back in 2011 at $3 million, closing in on 600 career home runs.

John Buck


Toronto Blue Jays

2010 Salary: $2 million
VORP: 25.8
Underpaid by: $12.1 million

Buck came through with his best season in 2010 at age 29, hitting .281 with 20 homers and a .802 OPS.

Tim Hudson


Atlanta Braves

2010 Salary: $9 million
VORP: 60.8
Underpaid by: $23.9 million

One of the great underappreciated aces of the past decade. Hudson enjoyed a better 2010 season than CC Sabathia, who makes almost three times as much.

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