Baseball bat performance is literally worth millions of dollars to some people on this earth. As I look at the figures in some of the baseball contracts being signed recently, I have to wonder what could have been for some of these guys...
Instead of going down the rabbit hole of the myriad of variables driving contract decisions, let's look at what wins games. Winning games drives revenue for the organization, and when a player makes money for the organization, one would hope to see the organization choose to pay the player a portion of the marginal revenue to keep them around.
Again, the particulars can make that conversation muddy, but let's look at the impact of getting into the right bat.
If you start pulling player spray charts and looking at the balls that land on the warning track, depending on the player, there may be a dozen balls that are caught on the track. How much more is that player worth to the ball club if those dozen balls land in the front row, as opposed to being caught on the track? If you start digging into the numbers that drive that conversation, you'll be blown away.
If you want to have some fun, start looking at spray charts and count the number of flyouts to the warning track. Then, consider that our bat fitting system has routinely added exit velocity to hitters' output by getting them into a bat that helps them achieve greater EV without having to make changes to their actual swing. If a guy adds 1.5-2.0 miles-per-hour of EV to those flyouts, there is a good chance some of them land in the front row.
What are those home runs worth? Each situation is different, but it is tough to argue that every player who has ever flied out to the track wouldn't have rather seen a fan in the front row catch it.
Fun facts to help your investigation:
* Historically, home runs contribute 0.09 wins; so a home run instead of an out increases the odds of winning by at least 9%.
* Right now the estimates are at about $8 million in revenue for a win.
* The organizations can also count on additional revenue, over that of the contribution toward a win, for each home run. Adjusting for today's dollars, that figure is likely over $400,000 per home run.
* Spray charts can be found by using fangraphs.com.