Monday, January 24, 2011

Rox Talk - WARing Rox

World According to WAR
WAR is all the rage and I'm sure something else will take its place but for now the baseball world is WAR. So now that FanGraphs (fWAR) and BaseballReference (rWAR) both have their dueling data, I thought I would look at the Rox over the years. First plot is fWAR versus rWAR. This includes all Rox batters from 1993 - 2010 who had at least 60 plate appearances (342 players).
Pretty consistent as you would expect as the really only basic difference between the two WAR is the fielding.

Fielding (!) what difference can that make well look at the second graph. This one plots the fielding component of fWAR with fWAR. And what about those two outliers way out to the left? That would be the stellar fielding seasons of Brad Hawpe (2008) and Dante Bichette (1999). It should be noted that all starting pitchers have a fielding component of 0 and by the way only three pitchers have a positive batting WAR (Hampton (2) and Jennings (1)).
So what about some other basic things about WAR. Well for one thing there is pretty good correlation between scoring runs and having a good WAR. No brainer there but it I think it shows that ultimately what wins ball games is scoring runs and those that score mean more to a team. Highest runs scorer of all time? That would be 1997's Larry Walker with 143 runs, followed by 1996 Ellis Burks (142) and Todd Helton rounds out the next 3 spots with his 2000, 2003, and 2001 season campaigns (138, 135, 132). And what about those outliers...that would be Neifi Perez in 1999 who scored 108 runs but had a fWAR of -0.9 and of course Dante again with his 104 runs and whooping -1.8 fWAR.

OK so high fWAR trends fairly well with runs scored. Guess what, another no brainer, would suggest the more plate appearances lead to more runs (!) Possibly a "Duh" but think about it...the underlying key of helping your team is getting to the could be that easy! Of course if you look at the Rox top ten list in plate appearances of all time and you find one Neifi Perez who has 3 of the top 5 spots and his combined WAR those years was -0.5 so maybe there is something more than just getting to the plate ; ) Of course the other seven have an average WAR of 6.1. Average fWAR for 600 plate appearances or more is 3.4 with a standard deviation of 2.7. Of course this is fairly rare as only 50 players have achieved this many plate appearances in a season. And by the way, Rox most successful season? - 2007 they had 5 players with 600 plate appearances...also probably shows how injuries can kill a season and steal plate appearances...

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