Taking A Look At WAR

So, a few weeks back I went through the OPS+ of every Yankee player.  At the time, I found it somewhat interesting but of course I admitted that OPS+ really only judges a player as a hitter.

Well, today I’d like to look at WAR – Wins Above Replacement – which is a stat that is more all-encompassing than OPS+.  It takes into consideration defense, positional value, etc, and is not a rate stat; that is, playing time counts.  So extensive time on the DL WILL hurt you.  For the complete rundown, you can visit the invaluable fangraphs.com.  Obviously, the usual caveats regarding defensive metrics apply.

Here are some numbers that stood out to me:

Robinson Cano – 5.6 WAR

Okay, so maybe not surprising, as Cano has clearly been the MVP, but Nick Swisher is 2nd offensively to Cano and his WAR is 3.4… so it’s not even close.  Also interesting to note that only Cano, Brett Gardner, and Curtis Granderson have positive values for defense.

CC Sabathia – 3.2 WAR

Not really surprising in and of itself, but, like Cano, it is surprising how much he is ahead of every other pitcher. Phil Hughes is 2nd with a 2.1.

Brett Gardner – 2.9 WAR

Tied for 3rd on the team despite a dreadful August, which shows just how valuable Gardner was before then.  Also shows us that it shouldn’t be all that surprising that Brett has come back down to earth a little.

Mark Teixeira – 2.8 WAR

One of the biggest surprises on the list.  Shows just how meaningless batting average is.  Tex, despite his horrendous slump to start the year, has always walked and hit the occasional home run and now that he’s back to swinging well again, his WAR is right there.  Remember that his WAR is hurt because he plays 1B.

Alex Rodriguez – 2.3 WAR

Also somewhat of a surprise, though clearly A-Rod is having an off year.  A-Rod has a bunch of RBIs – which everyone knows by now is not a very telling stat because it’s a product of the lineup more than the individual.  That said though, it has felt like A-Rod has had a lot of big hits this year, even if the reality is he has played pretty poorly.

Curtis Granderson – 1.6 WAR

I’m actually surprised this is so high, considering that Granderson missed time and has played poorly (which seemed to reach a tipping point with his strikeout against Jon Lester on Monday; I think fans have officially turned on him).  He does draw walks, hit the occasional homer, and play good defense though.  A strong 2nd half of August and September could put this number close to respectability.  His WAR is almost identical to that of Johnny Damon, for those clamoring that the Yankees should have given in to the demands of their former left-fielder this offseason.

Joba Chamberlain – 0.9  WAR

Joba ranks 5th amongst pitchers, behind Sabathia, Hughes, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera.  Could you have guessed that?  And 0.9 isn’t bad for a reliever (Mo is only at 1.3). Have faith; I know it’s frustrating, but every single stat points to Joba having an incredibly unlucky season thus far.  The strikeouts are still there. He’s not a lost cause by a long shot.

Francisco Cervelli – 0.5 WAR

Negative marks for defense is not good for a guy who can’t really hit. What exactly is Cervelli good at? I guess he’s pretty fast for a catcher.

Nick Johnson – 0.1 WAR

You thought I could write a post like this and NOT bring up OBP Jesus?  What’s the point you ask?  Well, guess who also has a 0.1 WAR despite playing all year?  Hideki Matsui.  So maybe we shouldn’t be so harsh on Cashman for letting him go.

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