Calculating the expected earnings of a major league pitcher
Originally published in Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 193-222, Spring 2009.
Steve Bechler, a pitcher in the Major Leagues, died as a result of ingesting a defective weight-loss product in spring training. His wife and daughter filed suit against the pharmaceutical company. Bechler had only pitched a few games in the Major Leagues, but was slotted as a starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles for the 2003 campaign. How do you calculate what Bechler would have earned in his Major League career? In this article, Professor Roger Abrams uses the techniques of baseball salary arbitration and publicly available salary and performance data to calculate the loss. He first constructs a group of minor league “comparables” who pitched in the Major Leagues in 2003, then determines what veteran pitchers had rookie performances like this group of comparables. Using these veteran comparables, Abrams can determines with “reasonable certainty” what Bechler was likely to earn.
Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 193-222, Spring 2009.