WAR…what is it good for?

I am sure that this title has been used time and time again by bloggers and baseball writers

12 days to P&C

when addressing the topic which I will discuss throughout the rest of this week and likely reference a bit during the duration of the Warning Track Power blog. The only difference here is WAR, as in Wins Above Replacement, is not good for absolutely nothing, as the Edwin Starr hit would suggest.

WAR, or Wins Above Replacement, is considered by many in the baseball world today to be the best measure of a players value. With that being said, no one stat can give the full picture of a player, but if you had to choose one, it should be this one. The simple explanation of WAR is as follows. There are 750 players in the majors at any give time (30 teams X 25 man roster) and the value of the “replacement player” is a calculated value assigned to that 751st player. For example, this metric measures how much value (or how many more wins) a team would gain from having a particular player on the field instead of the replacement level player. A team completely comprised of replacement level players would have a .320 winning percentage according to Baseball-Reference.com. The advantage of WAR is that it measures every players performance against the same constant which gives us the best idea of what any given players true value is.

Back in November, I developed a simple formula to project what a players WAR would be in the next season. I call this statistic estimated WAR or eWAR. The formula is as follows; eWAR = WAR2010(.6) + WAR2009(.3) + WAR2008(.1). Of course, the years can be shifted to project the WAR of any year but for the sake of the example I used the most recent seasons. With the limited time I had to study how accurate these projections would be I was able to look back at last offseason(2009 going into the 2010 season.) I used these projections to value all the free agents that signed a new contract or had an option picked up in the offseason between 2009 and 2010. The average eWAR for the 101 players in my sample was 1.33 wins above replacement. These players average actual WAR after the 2010 season concluded was 1.29. I will continue to work with this formula to see what other results I get delving farther into the past. Using the baseball-reference.com WAR numbers I used the eWAR formula to project the 2011 WAR for 50 of the top free agents this off season. I then multiplied each eWAR by $5,000,000 since that is what has been stated as the accepted dollar value per win this offseason. I will check back in later this week with comparisions of the eWAR projections and actual contracts signed by these big league players. Here are my 2011 eWAR free agent projections:

Player eWAR11 eVALUE11
Cliff Lee 4.81 24.05
Jayson Werth 4.61 23.05
Carl Crawford 4.43 22.15
Adrian Beltre 4.34 21.70
Paul Konerko 3.59 17.95
Aubrey Huff 3.42 17.10
Mariano Rivera 3.14 15.70
Victor Martinez 3.09 15.45
Derek Jeter 3.00 15.00
Carl Pavano 2.90 14.50
Johnny Damon 2.73 13.65
Adam Dunn 2.64 13.20
Jim Thome 2.62 13.10
Andy Pettitte 2.57 12.85
Derrek Lee 2.52 12.60
Lance Berkman 2.44 12.20
Orlando Hudson 2.43 12.15
Juan Uribe 2.24 11.20
Manny Rameriz 2.16 10.80
Rafeal Soriano 2.14 10.70
Hideki Matsui 2.06 10.30
John Buck 1.91 9.55
Javy Vazquez 1.87 9.35
Hiroki Kuroda 1.72 8.60
Scott Downs 1.68 8.40
Vlad Guerrero 1.58 7.90
Pat Burrell 1.56 7.80
Jorge De La Rosa 1.54 7.70
Ramon Hernandez 1.52 7.60
Magglio Ordonez 1.50 7.50
Carlos Pena 1.49 7.45
Matt Guerrier 1.47 7.35
Miguel Olivo 1.44 7.20
Joaquin Benoit 1.41 7.05
Jake Westbrook 1.26 6.30
Brian Fuentes 1.22 6.10
Jon Rauch 1.15 5.75
Koji Uehara 1.08 5.40
Grant Balfour 1.06 5.30
Jason Frasor 0.95 4.75
Frank Francisco 0.89 4.45
JJ Putz 0.88 4.40
Kerry Wood 0.84 4.20
Jesse Crain 0.81 4.05
Hisanori Takahashi 0.78 3.90
Nick Johnson 0.69 3.45
Brad Penny 0.59 2.95
Jhonny Peralta 0.58 2.92
Bill Hall 0.58 2.90
Justin Duscherer 0.57 2.85

About jacarfagno

Live, Breathe, and Bleed Baseball
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