Comments on: B-R.com’s WAR Replacement Level is .320 (52-110) http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6 By: David in Toledo http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49438 Wed, 15 Sep 2010 16:06:53 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49438 Thanks to you both for helping with my understanding of 1954 Indians WAR. It would appear that the expected record of that team, based on the cumulative WAR of all its individual players, would be 100-54 or 101-53. The actual record was 111-43, or about 10% higher. Is a 10% deviation at the extreme of what one would find when summing individual WAR and comparing the total to an actual team record? Have you run a program to find out what the typical difference is between these team WAR sums and actual records?

I figure putting Minnie Minoso in Cleveland's outfield for 1954 instead of Dave Philley would have given the 1954 Cleveland Hypotheticals -- using WAR -- a WAR record of about 109-45. Still not 111-43, but with no possible doubt that the Yankees could somehow have grabbed yet another pennant.

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By: Johnny Twisto http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49421 Wed, 15 Sep 2010 15:40:21 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49421 I think WAR ... penalizes McClain for playing on such a great one.

It's not really penalizing him. It is saying that, as best we can extract the individual performance from that of his team, his individual performance was not quite as great as it appears because the support of his team was also great. He had a strong defense, which affects his runs allowed. He had a strong offense, which affects his win total.

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By: Johnny Twisto http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49418 Wed, 15 Sep 2010 15:34:26 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49418 David, the "batting WAR" you cited is actually position-player WAR, which does already include the fielding.

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By: Sean Forman http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49286 Wed, 15 Sep 2010 04:10:05 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49286 David,

I would expect it to be closer to the Pythag record than the actual record, though they all should be in the same ballpark.

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By: David in Toledo http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49242 Wed, 15 Sep 2010 00:04:48 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49242 Sean, I really appreciate your taking up this subject.

Does this mean that a replacement-level team pre-expansion (154 games) would theoretically have a record of 49-105?

I'm taking the 1954 Indians as an example. Adding 27.5 team batting WAR and 23.6 team pitching WAR would raise that theoretical record to 100-54, correct? (Actually, to near 101-53, since 32% of 154 is 49.3.) Then fielding. . . I assume team WAR for fielding isn't available. But it appears all the Cleveland regulars were above average in their defensive numbers for 1954 except Al Rosen. So that nudges the record upward, into the range (none of this can be expected to equal the exact playing record) of 104-50.

And if that isn't 111-43, well, neither is Cleveland's 1954 pythagorean (it's 104-50, same as the Yankees'). The Indians would appear to have had better luck than the Yankees, and it certainly helped them to win 1-run games that they had the pitching staff and particularly the bullpen that they did.

Am I correct that the use of historical WAR would predict the 1954 Indians to finish in the range of slightly/somewhat better than 101-53, but not actually as high as the 111-43 on the record books?

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By: Tangotiger http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49227 Tue, 14 Sep 2010 23:03:36 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49227 Indis W/L

I also have a process to convert WAR into Individualized W/L records. Link above is for 1968. Bob Gibson was the clear leader of that class of players.

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By: Lawrence Azrin http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49188 Tue, 14 Sep 2010 20:49:48 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49188 #26/ "Michael E Sullivan Says:
You could argue that, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. The fact is that McLain's 1968 season, while excellent, was not dramatically or unusually excellent compared to other top pitchers that year in any metric except number of wins. You could argue that McLain's 336 IP gives him a leg up on the guys who finished right around him in ERA, but Tiant managed a 1.60 that year, on 258 innings. Looking over in the NL, Bob Gibson managed a 1.12 ERA that year in 300+ IP. That's what a dominant season looks like, and his 258 ERA+ shows it."

You could also argue that Tiant's 1968 was just as good or better than McLain, but he didn't have the same offense behind him. You could also argue that both Tiant and Bob Gibson (who had roughly the same W/L records) might have also won close to 30 games, if they had the same run support as McLain. As Micheal says, McLain was great in '68, but not historically great like Gibson was.

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By: Michael E Sullivan http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49164 Tue, 14 Sep 2010 19:41:36 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49164 "then you could argue that Denny's WAR number is low due to possible over-adjustment for the 1968 pitchers (which corresponds to McLains great season)."

You could argue that, but it doesn't make a lot of sense. The fact is that McLain's 1968 season, while excellent, was not dramatically or unusually excellent compared to other top pitchers that year in any metric except number of wins. McLain's 1.96 ERA looks spectacular to 2010 or 1930 eyes, but he was only fourth best in the AL in 1968, and none of the guys in front of him had fewer than 250 IP. Tommy John was right behind him with 1.98, and another guy had a 2.05, and none of these guys were relievers, or playing short seasons. You could argue that McLain's 336 IP gives him a leg up on the guys who finished right around him in ERA, but Tiant managed a 1.60 that year, on 258 innings. Looking over in the NL, Bob Gibson managed a 1.12 ERA that year in 300+ IP. That's what a dominant season looks like, and his 258 ERA+ shows it. McLain was fifth in MLB ERA+ that year, with an excellent, but hardly earth-shattering 154, the kind of mark that will get you on the leaderboard most seasons, but rarely claim the top spot.

So having a sub 2.00 ERA in 1968, while still a mark of excellent pitching, was not the kind of really dramatic outperformance even of other top pitchers that you see with, for instance, Pedro's 1.74ERA in 2000. Look at the leaderboard. The next closest pitcher in the major leagues was Kevin Brown's 2.58 in the NL. There were a total of 5 guys in the majors that year with 3.00 or less, and everybody but Pedro was in the NL, where the avg ERA was .28 runs lower. The next best AL pitcher was Roger Clemens at coming in at 3.70, more than *double* Pedro's ERA with fewer IP. He was followed by Mussina at 3.77 and two other guys below 4. Only 5 AL pitchers had ERA qualifying seasons under 4.00, and Pedro came up with 1.74. *That* is dominance. It's also one of the best pitching seasons in baseball history, and the guy only won 18 games that year.

McLain's 1.96 was a great year, for sure, but it is memorable primarily because he played so many innings on such a potent offensive team with enough luck to crack the arbitrary 30 win barrier, not because his pitching was so much better than other pitchers at the top of the heap.

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By: barkfart http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49158 Tue, 14 Sep 2010 19:12:22 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49158 Kds- thanks so much for the explanation. I really appreciate it. I guess old-school gut-level guys like me are gonna have a hard time coming over to the WAR side.

To say that the guy could've pitched substantially better than he did is hard to take.

Ask the people that played with him and they'll tell you it was one of the greatest season's ever. WAR says it doesn't even crack the top 500.

I think WAR overcompensates Steve Carlton for his 27 win season (and a GREAT season it was!) because he played on a bad team, and then penalizes McClain for playing on such a great one.

thanks again

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By: kds http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8225/comment-page-1#comment-49151 Tue, 14 Sep 2010 19:03:14 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8225#comment-49151 Barkfart, let me show you how McLain's WAR was calculated.

He allowed 86 runs. (This is the actual total, including unearned runs). Because 1968 was such an extreme pitchers year, the replacement level for a pitcher was very low, just under 4 runs/9 innings. For Denny's 336 innings this gives us a replacement level of 147 runs, in Tiger Stadium. The Tiger's were a fine defensive team that year, 13 runs better tan average over 336 innings. This puts replacement level for a Tiger's pitcher that year at 134 runs. Denny was 48 runs better than that. (48 RAR.) Because run scoring that year was so low it took fewer runs than the historic norm to add a win, closer to 8 than the more normal 10. (In the present high scoring era, it is a bit above 10). Thus 48 RAR becomes 5.9 WAR.

Compare with Gibson that year. He allowed 49! runs, his replacement level was also 134 runs. So he was 75 RAR. I guess the NL was even lower scoring than the AL because this converts to 11.9 WAR.

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