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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

WAR: offense, fielding. Some slicing and dicing.

Wins Above Replacement (WAR).  As stated previously, I don't like it for two reasons:
1. it's a total
2. I don't trust the fielding.

Using data from baseball-reference.com for the 2014 season I found 147 batters who qualified for ranking in the average, as opposed to the totals, stats.  Ranks of some players:

Mike Trout11884
Andrew McCutchen921112
Giancarlo Stanton79645
Miguel Cabrera301611110
Victor Martinez20101312
Jason Heyward1168375
Derek Jeter13111788141

133 of 147 had positive WAR bottomed by Shin-Soo Choo (.1) at #133 and Derek Jeter (.2) tied at #131.  Here are the negatives in WAR:

The first four columns: WAR, oWAR, dWAR (fielding), OPS+

Notice Billy Butler who played 37 games at first base and 108 at DH for Kansas City.  And it's my understanding that despite what our intuition might suggest, oWAR + dWAR do not add up to WAR.

Here are the top 11 sorted by WAR:

Jason Heyward is included because he was just traded to St. Louis and one of the experts on MLB Network said that 40% of his WAR was taken by his fielding.  His o and d WAR look like they have the same value to me but do not, of course, add up to his total, so go ask the smart guys who invent this stuff.

I included OPS+ to have some idea about the player's batting.  Heyward was 8% above average.

Sorted by oWAR, which includes base running:

Heyward dropped to #68.  Victor Martinez is included because he is the posterboy for good batting in 2014.

Eight batters were negative in oWAR:

The first our columns: WAR, oWAR, dWAR (fielding), OPS+

Bottom man Allen Craig:
Looks like a bad trade for the Red Sox.

OPS+: 102 of 147 >= 100, which is average.  Tops:

Victor Martinez moves up to a tie for #2.  Heyward drops even further to #75.  Craig moves up from #147 to #145.  Here are the bottom 10 in OPS+:

The first our columns: WAR, oWAR, dWAR (fielding), OPS+

Note Derek Jeter, 8th from the bottom.

Now for fielding or dWAR.  60 of 147 had a positive number.  46 of 147 dWAR <= -1 starting at #111 with Andrew McCutchen, Miguel Cabrera, Adam LaRoche and Daniel Murphy.  I had thought McCutchen and LaRoche were good fielders.

dWAR >= 2:

For all the drooling over fielding metrics the best do not seem to impact the game nearly as much as the best batters.  Here are the worst, dWAR <= 1.8:

The first our columns: WAR, oWAR, dWAR (fielding), OPS+

Torii Hunter tied for third worst in fielding?  Derek Jeter: #92 -.5.  Victor Martinez" #131 -1.6.

Sun-tzu.jpgSun Tzu; Sun Zi; Sunzi c. 544 – 496 BC was a Chinese author of The Art of War , an immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. He is also one of the earliest realists in international relations theory.

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