It is rare that you can actually prove that a player is worth what you pay him. Some quick examples are Dontrelle Willis with the Marlins in 2003 and LeBron James in his rookie contract with the Cavaliers.
Even if Stephen Strasburg is done for the season, it appears like he’ll come close to earning back the money the Washington Nationals agreed to pay him -– and that’s just off seven starts at home. At $15.1 million over four years, Strasburg’s average annual take is $3.78 million. Here's our estimates on what’s he has made for the Nationals.
In games where Strasburg didn’t pitch, the Nationals have averaged 22,761 fans per game. For Strasburg’s seven starts at home, the team averaged 33,446 fans per game. So Strasburg adds 10,685 fans per game.
At an average of $30.63 a ticket, that’s $327,282 in additional ticket revenue per game. That’s $2,290,974 in additional ticket revenue. But we’re not done. In order to get tickets to Strasburg’s debut in June, we estimate that 500 fans bought four-game ticket packages, which likely generated about $135,000. That brings the Strasburg ticket revenue total up to $2,425,974.
Then there are concessions. At $7.50 a person for the people that showed up only for Strasburg games, that’s $560,963. And then the parking, which is a really conservative estimate since so many people would take the Metro to the game. I’m saying 1,500 additional people parked in Nationals lots for each Strasburg game, which -– at $15 apiece –- is $157,500.
After the Nationals pay 10 percent back to the city in taxes, that leaves us with Strasburg’s revenue at $2,829,994.
Was he worth it? He struck out 92 of the 274 batters he faced and, according to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, only two pitchers (Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson) have whiffed that ratio of batters over the course of their careers.
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