Posted tagged ‘WAR’

Players WAR values that are being plagued by poor hitting.

July 29, 2010

A couple of days ago I wrote about players WAR values that are being plagued by poor defense. Today, we will see players that are at the opposite end of the spectrum. These players are like outstanding or good defensively but below average or worse offensively. Again, to get an accurate reading on their defensive abilities, we will take the last three years of fielding runs, as well as batting runs and WAR data.

Franklin Gutierrez: Past three seasons, -3.4 batting RAA, 56.9 fielding RAA, 10.3 WAR
Gutierrez has been one of the best, if not the best, defensive player in baseball over the past three seasons. Remember that he is playing most of his innings in CF which makes it that much more impressive. As evidenced by last season, when Gutierrez is above average on the offensive end he can put together a 6.1 WAR season. His increase in offensive value equaled about 1 extra win due to the increase in replacement and batting runs. Gutierrez walk rates have improved this season but he still has below average power for an OF’er. His lack of power is ultimately hurting his wOBA which is adjusted for park to create batting runs above average. On the bright side, Gutierrez is just 27 years old so he could develop some power in the near future to help his overall value.

Kevin Kouzmanoff: Past three seasons, -6.3 batting RAA, 17.9 fielding RAA, 7.2 WAR
Adjusting for park and using batting runs above average is especially important in this case because he has spent his whole career in PETCO and in the old Oakland Coliseum. That doesn’t change the fact that hes been a below average offensive player. He walks only 4.6% of the time for his career. His slugging and ISO are in line with the league average so his failure to walk is hurting his overall value. Kouzmanoff’s non-walk wOBA over the last three seasons (this does not include IBB’s and HBP’s) is .324 and the league average non-walk wOBA is around .318. So once Kouzmanoff gets the bat on the ball and in play, his production is above average. If Kouzmanoff walked at the league average rate of 8.6%, his wOBA over the last three seasons would be roughly .370! He could legitimately be a 3-4 WAR player consistently if he only showed more patience at the plate.

Michael Bourne: Past three seasons, -18.7 batting RAA, 19.3 fielding RAA, 6 WAR
I think that Bourne is becoming one of the leagues most under-appreciated players. If you look at the WAR leaderboard you won’t see his name, but remember that wOBA and batting runs DO NOT CONSIDER STOLEN BASES! He is extremely efficient on the bases with a CS% of 18%. So that’s why he doesn’t appear any even remotely close to the top. He also showed that he could put up a 4+ WAR season in 2009 when he is playing above average offensively by putting up a .342 wOBA in 2009. He has been great defensively over the past three years in CF but he is not a great hitter and thus has given almost all of his value back in WAR. However, Bourne’s walk rate is above league average and he could use his speed to his advantage by legging out XBH to increase his wOBA and batting value. Just by being league average in the hitting department, he could probably net an extra win in value this year.

Carlos Gomez: Past three seasons, -37 batting RAA, 26.1 fielding RAA, 3.4 WAR
Gomez is probably the most extreme case that we have looked at. It doesn’t even really matter that hes a good fielder because he gives all of his value back AND more due to his atrocious hitting. He only has a positive WAR over the past three seasons due to replacement runs and the positional adjustment. Gomez is still just 24 years old so he might he a guy who could eventually be a league average hitter during his prime years. However, at the moment he isn’t even close to being league average and you wouldn’t be incorrect in saying that he doesn’t even deserve a starting job due to his horrible offensive numbers.

Overall, I noticed that these guys that are being plagued by poor offense are the speedy, young, and low caliber power, CF guys (except for Kouzmanoff). This makes sense because poor power numbers are not going to equate to a high wOBA. However, guys like Gutierrez and Gomez have room to grow offensively. The only question is, will their defense still be in top form once/if they become more polished offensively? Again, im sure that I could have dug deeper so please feel free to add or talk about any more examples.

Players WAR Values that are being plagued by poor defense.

July 23, 2010

This idea came to me when I thought about how much Adam Dunn used to minimize his value by playing absolutely awful defense in the OF. Dunn is a player who has great on-base skills and is a solid offensive player, but his defensive value negates most of his total WAR value. However, since switching to first base this season, Dunn has been a whole lot more valuable to the Nationals. He is playing about average defense at first base this season and his 2.9 WAR so far this year is already his highest since 2007 (3.1 WAR). It makes you wonder, if Dunn had been a 1B his whole career, would we be looking at Dunn a whole lot differently? I am going to look at some players whose value is being plagued by poor defense. I am going to use their past three seasons (including 2010) of fielding RAA, batting RAA, and WAR data since one season isn’t always reliable for fielding.

Ryan Braun: Past three seasons, 87 batting RAA, -21.8 fielding RAA, 10.7 WAR
It is kind of sad that Braun has only posted 10.7 WAR since 2008 considering how good of a hitter he is. However, he lost about 2 wins worth of value because he is such a poor defender in the OF. In the past three years, he has posted .400+ wOBA seasons twice yet he has not managed a 5+ WAR season. Here is how the Brewers should maximize Brauns value (all of this is dependent on Fielder’s departure). Eventually Braun should be moved to first base. If the Brewers were willing to downgrade him from third to the OF, they should be willing to downgrade him to first, especially if Prince Fielder leaves in the near future. If Braun happened to play AVERAGE defense at 1B instead of LF last season, he would have roughly a 5.7-5.8 WAR. Maybe the Brewers aught to consider moving Braun to first if Fielder departs.

Andre Ethier: Past three seasons, 72.5 batting RAA, -34.7 fielding RAA, 7.6 WAR
Ethier is a solid hitter as you can see, but he gives back almost half of his batting value due to poor corner OF defense. He is being plagued by poor defense more than his OF counterpart Matt Kemp. Ethier is another guy that can be moved to 1B if Loney ever happens to get traded. Just for speculation purposes, if Ethier were moved to 1B last season and played average defense (assuming Loney was traded), he would end up with roughly a WAR of 3.6 instead of his 2009 WAR of 2.8.

Bobby Abreu: Last three seasons, 49.1 batting RAA, -36.1 fielding RAA, 5.2 WAR
Abreu is probably a guy that you want to start DH’ing. He is going downhill defensively and he is 36 years old. If the Angels insist on keeping him, they need to move him to DH because hes been horrendous in the field and its taking away from about three-fourths of his offensive value. If the Texas Rangers lead becomes even larger before the trade deadline, the Angels might want to look into trading Abreu to an AL contender while they still can and get some young prospects in return.

Brad Hawpe: Last three seasons, 39 batting RAA, -58.6 fielding RAA, 1 WAR
You must be thinking, how does Hawpe have a positive WAR over the last three seasons if his fielding RAA exceeds his batting RAA. Well, its because the replacement runs are keeping him afloat. Hawpe is a solid offensive player, but he does not belong in the outfield and should probably be traded to an AL team. Plus, the Rockies should be able to replace him with ease because their OF is pretty crowded at the moment. However, if Hawpe were to move to an AL team and DH, his 2009 WAR would fall approximately around 2.6, which is a significant improvement over his 2009 WAR of 1.5.

Again, these are only four easy examples. Yes, im sure I could have dug deeper, but im sure you get the point. These four players have a couple things in common, they are all OF’ers and they should probably change positions in order to maximize their value. Look at the boost that Dunn has given the Nationals so far this year. Dunn could be a hot commodity on the trade market and it could net the Nats some big time value. Other GM’s and front offices need to take note of this.


October 8, 2009

Hello there. Remember awhile back when we looked at WAR correlated to W% and pytgag W%? Well, Dave Cameron of FG essentially did the same. His data and results were a little bit different, but the conclusion is the same. WAR correlates well to W% and pythag W%.

Read our original piece here.

Pointless picture/caption

Pointless picture/caption

Graphing is Phun; 08/28/09 Predictive Nature of WAR

August 28, 2009

Winning% V Pythag %

The baseball Pythagren Therom (located below) is one of the first formula or statistical measures that any bright eyed, new SABR’ist is bound to found their way too. ¬†As almost any one reading this blog would know the formula predicts team winning percentage based on the runs allowed and runs scored by a given team. By studying the things the team as a whole can control, runs scored and allowed it allows almost any analyst with a calculator to quickly decide which teams have been lucky and unlucky in a simplistic sense based on their predicted winning percentage and their actual winning percentage.

(Runs Scored)^2 / [(Runs Scored)^2 + (Runs Allowed)^2] = Predicted Win %

The graph above compares those two things (Wins %/Predicted Win%) in a basic scatter chart of every team over the course of the last 7 full seasons (2002-2008). As expected the square of the correlation coefficent .8778 provides us with assurance that the pythagreon formula of baseball is in fact a useful and well formed predictive tool for team success.

At the present time WAR is considered the most telling statistic of individual performance available to the general public. However it seems as SABR guided baseball fans we typically only use WAR to discuss individual performance, compare one player to another, debate post season awards, argue who was greater Clemente or Robinson, etc. etc. Yet WAR in its truest sense is a measure of wins above a replacement player and wins as we know are a team accomplishment. So it would seem plausible that by studying the total WAR of every team over the course a season we whould be able to accurately predict the Win/Loss record and the Run Differential of said team. The following graphs are an attempt at doing just that. As was the case above the final Winning percentage of all 30 teams over the course of 7 seasons (2002-2008) will be plotted against the corresponding total team WAR in that season for that team, also we will look at total team WAR against the predicted winning percentage through the baseball pythagreon formula.



As you will notice when studying the first chart the square of the correlation coefficent does not come in at the same level as on the Winning percentage V Predicted Winning percentage plot, however the square of the correlation coefficent coming out to .77 still gives satisfactory assurances of the predictive nature of WAR in terms of team winning percentage. The second chart produces an R^2 of .8325 an even better indicator that team WAR can predict run differential of a team over the course of a season.

What exactly does comparing the sum of all individual achievements in comparison to overall team success actually tell us? To be honest, I do not know exactly. However, it seems to reassure those baseball analysts that adhere to the fact that baseball is an individual sport parading itself as a team sport. As the statistical noise (especially in the defensive metrics) is refined and hopefully someday removed this type of analysis should continue to grow in strength.

Like I said in here, the results aren’t great but with the RD way of looking at a teams success being a pretty widely accepted way of doing things and the WAR V winning % having a pretty close R^2 over 7 years worth of data, I think its safe to say that teams with the guys doing to most individually are going to succeed more often then not then over those teams that play as a “team”. So to sum it up in a few words. Screw comradery, give me talent and production in baseball. In the end this might seem like a very basic concept, that good individual performance ends in good team results. But is it really? Further work needs to be done on this subject, weighting pitching andposition player WAR, figuring out which plays a larger role in overall team success could be incredibly useful in deducing what teams are bound to florish or fail going forward.