WAR isn’t a perfect MLB stat, but don’t disregard it entirely

The image for the WAR article isn't perfect, but don't ignore it entirely

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Advanced analytics is a sensitive subject in the world of baseball. Some people like the way the game has been broken down into a series of numbers that allow even casual fans to get a better understanding of the game. Others don’t share the same feeling.

The most used analytic today is WAR, or wins over replacement. WAR strives to be an all-encompassing baseball statistic that determines a player’s worth to his or her team over a given period of time.

Obviously, the statistics are heavily based on opinion, and not rooted in any statistical measurement. B.but it has always been quite accurate. The best players always come close to the top of the leaderboard. The worst players always land near the bottom. but tThis hasn’t stopped baseball writer Jon Heyman from offering opposing thoughts on the subject.

Heyman is right. WAR isn’t perfect, but it’s still a good fit. Respected baseball writer Tom Verducci has an even stronger opinion. Verducci called the WAR a “junk data“because some legends are ranked lower than otherss many would consider it just above average. For example, as I stated in some of mine pieces before, Bobby Abreu ranks higher in career WAR than Vlad Guerrero and Ichiro Suzuki, despite both Guerrero and Suzuki being far better players during their heyday. Well, Abreu is not only taller than those two, he is also taller than the likes of Yogi Berra, Mike Piazza, Joe Torre, Larry Doby and many other Hall of Famers. Like this, if Abreu, someone who has only been named All-Star twice during his MLB career, ranks higher than these legends, CLEARLY wins over the replacement is a broken stat.


Career WAR is a cumulative stat, just like a thrower’s hits, home runs, or wins and losses. So why are those stats that depend on a player’s longevity viewed with so much consideration when compared to WAR? Nobody complains that Frank Robinson has more career home runs than Mark McGwire despite McGwire playing five fewer seasons.. Omar Vizquel has never been a big hitter during his career. He had an OPS of over .800 once (1999), but people love to point out his over 2800 career achievements as Hall-from-Renowned credentials … so what makes WAR different?

If you play long enough, you’re bound to rack up some solid base stats, but what? Since WAR isn’t rooted in any of those physical stats, is it useless? Get out of here.

by Heyman tweet specifically mentions that Yogi Berra should have been higher on this all-time catcher listknows because of how imperfect WAR is as a yardstick. However, Heyman apparently fails to realize that Berra is the fifth all-time catcher WAR, ahead of Mike Piazza, who was ranked higher than Berra in the article Heyman refers to. This somehow breaks his argument that WAR is what kept Berra down.

The four highest-ranked players of Berra in WAR catcher of all time – Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Iván Rodríguez and Carlton Fisk – have had more career appearances than Berra, and guess what? This is how WAR is supposed to work. Berra hasn’t played as long (as far as the appearance of the pot is concerned) like hers counterparties so he didn’t have much time for its WAR. That doesn’t necessarily mean Berra is worse than Fisk or Abreu, it just means the other guys have managed to stay on the pitch longer which adds value to their careers.

If we applaud players for hitting certain benchmarks like 500 home runs, 3,000 successes, or even something miniscule like most games played on the shortstop (again, one of the most common arguments Omar Vizquel is in the Hall of Fame for), why can’t WAR be viewed the same way? Having a 60 career WAR is remarkable. It proves that a player has been able to play at a high level for a long time. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a player over 60 WAR is better than anyone with less, but it’s just another meter that people can use. God knows I don’t think Willie Davis (60.7 WAR in career) is best overall than Andrew McCutchen (46.0 WAR in career).

While you still think it’s ridiculous, there are other great sandblasting parameters that use WAR as a baseline to consider a player’s first, if that’s more your style. To take JAWS, a stat created by Jay Jaffe that compares a player’s WAR career to the best seven-year trait of his career and uses both figures to determine the final value provided by a player. Essentially, if a great player has played fewer years than someone else and had a lower career WAR because of it, JAWS presumably brings that first player’s peak into the equation and provides a clearer picture of who the player was. most valuable player. When this is taken into the equation, Berra actually falls below Mike Piazza on the all-time catcher list.

I’m not saying WAR is a perfect stat. Not even JAWS, I might add, but it totally invalidates a person’s opinion because it used a statistic that has been more or less accurate over the years it has been used, is mean and elitist.

Yes, it is easy to play “narrative ball” with some advanced analysis.

But that doesn’t mean these analyzes are useless. They can be excellent figures for reasoning in defense of a given player, even if they are not tied to any tangible statistics.


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