Posted by Andy on July 12, 2010
Corey Hart is leading the league in RBI, has a 145 OPS+ (compared to a career mark of under 110 before this season) and needs only 4 homers in the second half to set his own career best.
He's got to be having the best year of his career, right? Maybe yes, maybe no.
Let's take a look at Hart's career Player Value table.
The first number to focus on is WAR. In 2007, easily his best previous season, he finished with a WAR of 4.9, which is quite good. That was 27th among batters that season, and 3rd among right fielders. (If you're curious, Magglio Ordonez and Vladimir Guerrero were ahead of him.)
So far in 2010, Hart has posted a WAR of 2.5, quite good for half a season. That number is tied for 33rd best above all batters and is 4th among right fielders, behind Shin-Soo Choo, David DeJesus, and Nick Swisher.
Hart has played in 81 out of the Brewers' 89 games so far this year. If he keeps that pace and earns WAR at the same rate, he'd finish the season with about a 4.6 WAR, a shade below his 2007 value. That's hard to believe, given how well he has played this year plus the fact that he didn't even reach 600 plate appearances in 2007.
So why is Hart's WAR not blowing way past his 2007 number, given that the rest of his numbers are?
The answers like in the rest of the table above. His Runs from Batting in 2010 are already the same as they were in all of 2007. So that makes sense--he's already contributed as much with the stick this year as the entire 2007 season. He gets hurt in the other categories:
- Runs from Baserunning are way down. This number considers stolen bases, caught stealing, and other base advances on plays such as wild pitches and passed balls. Hart isn't running nearly as much this year as he has in past year (no doubt, in part, because he's hitting more extra-based hits. Fewer times on first base leads to fewer stolen bases, for sure.) In 2007 he got +5 Runs from Baserunner but so far this year he's at -1.
- Run from Reaching on Errors are also way down. In 2007, Hart had a fluke year in this area. He was 3rd in all of MLB with +5 Rroe. The only other players above him were Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones at +6. This year, Hart is at 0. (Side note: I don't know how Rroe is determined, but I notice it's possible to get a negative value--anybody understand how that is possible?)
- Runs from Double Plays - Hart has already grounded into as many double plays this season (6) as he did in all of 2007. So he loses a couple of Runs there as well.
- Runs from Defense - he loses 5 more runs here, as he was at +7 in 2007 and is only +2 s far this year.
So, one could argue that while Hart's performance with the bat has picked up significantly, every other aspect of his game has declined. If I had to guess, I'd bet that Hart's second half is similar with the bat but a little better in some of these other WAR categories, and that he'll finish the year closer to 5.0 WAR than 4.6