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Thread: Overvaluing WAR

  1. #1
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    Overvaluing WAR

    I question the validity of WAR sometimes. Dexter Fowler this season has a better OPS than last year (with only 50 less at bats). Yet his current WAR value is less than half of what it was last year. Has his defense been so poor that his overall value deserves to be cut in half?

    Also I noticed Jason Heyward has the higher WAR this season. Somehow I don't think the Cardinals would rather have, for 2018 only, Heyward over Fowler. I think most of you guys would feel the same way.

    Feel free to let me know if I'm wrong. I'd gladly deal Heyward, a few lottery ticket prospects and five million per season in salary relief for Fowler.

  2. #2
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    Yeah his defense has been really bad this year. He needs to move to LF but it may be another season or two before that happens since he was promised CF when he signed.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tkais9009 View Post
    Yeah his defense has been really bad this year. He needs to move to LF but it may be another season or two before that happens since he was promised CF when he signed.
    Those types of things piss me off. Who cares what he was promised? They should just move him or not make promises like that..

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    Quote Originally Posted by lakerfan85 View Post
    Those types of things piss me off. Who cares what he was promised? They should just move him or not make promises like that..
    Oh i agree. I'd love to move Folwer to LF.

  5. #5
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    Would the Cardinals be the type of organization that would deal a player, rather than risking him being a malcontent in the clubhouse? Also whats been the issue with Fowler's defense that would necessitate a move to Left Field? He rated slightly above average as a fielder last season.

  6. #6
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    I would bet the cards will go to Fowler in the offseason and ask if there are teams he'd be willing to be dealt to. If he has none, they keep him and move on. If he's willing to go to NYM or LAA or another team like that, i can see them seeing if a deal can happen. If not, he stays and it is what it is.

    I would think he'll probably start in CF again next years but if he's still here in 2019, he'll shift to LF for the final 3 years.

    He's been a below average defender his entire career. 2016 was one of the few years he has had positive value and it happened to be his contract year haha

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prior22 View Post
    I question the validity of WAR sometimes. Dexter Fowler this season has a better OPS than last year (with only 50 less at bats). Yet his current WAR value is less than half of what it was last year. Has his defense been so poor that his overall value deserves to be cut in half?

    Also I noticed Jason Heyward has the higher WAR this season. Somehow I don't think the Cardinals would rather have, for 2018 only, Heyward over Fowler. I think most of you guys would feel the same way.

    Feel free to let me know if I'm wrong. I'd gladly deal Heyward, a few lottery ticket prospects and five million per season in salary relief for Fowler.
    A run created on offense has the same value as a run given away on defense.

    Not cutting off a double into the gap is like hitting a double as a hitter. Do that 20 times, and suddenly Jason Heyward is more valuable than Dexter Fowler.


    Heyward saved 18 runs defensively
    Fowler lost 18 runs defensively

    If we valued each run as a double, look what happens to their slash line

    Fowler goes from 22 doubles down to 4
    Slash goes from .264/.363/.488
    to .221/.326/.402

    Heyward goes from 15 doubles to 33
    Slash goes from .259/.326/.389
    to .301/.363/472

    That's a significant difference. They are 36 runs separated defensively. That's not a small difference on a team. that's 1 run every 4 games for their team.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffy25 View Post
    A run created on offense has the same value as a run given away on defense.

    Not cutting off a double into the gap is like hitting a double as a hitter. Do that 20 times, and suddenly Jason Heyward is more valuable than Dexter Fowler.


    Heyward saved 18 runs defensively
    Fowler lost 18 runs defensively

    If we valued each run as a double, look what happens to their slash line

    Fowler goes from 22 doubles down to 4
    Slash goes from .264/.363/.488
    to .221/.326/.402

    Heyward goes from 15 doubles to 33
    Slash goes from .259/.326/.389
    to .301/.363/472

    That's a significant difference. They are 36 runs separated defensively. That's not a small difference on a team. that's 1 run every 4 games for their team.
    Very interesting. Thanks for that info. I never really thought too much about it
    Quote Originally Posted by heimdog8 View Post
    I didn't want to throw this information out here. I was a 3 year varsity starter at QB in high school. I played quarterback in junior college as well. I was considering playing division 1 football as well but chose to pursue my career in business instead. However, currently I am helping train with Derek Carr from Fresno State get ready for his pro day and the draft. I am also working with Cody Kessler, the USC quarterback.

  9. #9
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    Can you let me know how you figured that out? I'm actually extremely curious
    Quote Originally Posted by heimdog8 View Post
    I didn't want to throw this information out here. I was a 3 year varsity starter at QB in high school. I played quarterback in junior college as well. I was considering playing division 1 football as well but chose to pursue my career in business instead. However, currently I am helping train with Derek Carr from Fresno State get ready for his pro day and the draft. I am also working with Cody Kessler, the USC quarterback.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapjuicer06 View Post
    Can you let me know how you figured that out? I'm actually extremely curious
    Referring to defensive runs saved?

    You can find DRS under Fangraphs, Advanced Fielding.

    And then I just calculated the slash lines.

    Of course, not every run they are saving on defense is worth two bases...some are singles, some could be home runs that barely get out, etc. Stat cast will be providing us better information before long through Fangraphs and BR.

    But that gives you a pretty good snap shot of what we are looking at.

  11. #11
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    WAR is dumb because so many fan boys and tv dolts hang off of its nuts. Is it uselesss, no. But if you have 20 guys with a 5 war, I bet you still dont win 100 games. A lot more goes into a roster than WAR, A LOT more.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farty Farts View Post
    WAR is dumb because so many fan boys and tv dolts hang off of its nuts. Is it uselesss, no. But if you have 20 guys with a 5 war, I bet you still dont win 100 games. A lot more goes into a roster than WAR, A LOT more.
    Well having a fundamental understanding of how WAR works would be a good start before dismissing it.

    If you have 20 guys with 5 WAR, and the rest of the team is replacement level, then you should expect to have a run differential of a team that would win 148 games. That would be a team with 9 Marcel Ozuna's offensively, and 11 Carlos Carrassco's pitching 200 innings (there aren't 2200 innings to be pitched in a season).

    Of course, no team has ever been anywhere close to that great, and obviously your example was as extreme as your argument.


    A replacement level team in baseball has 48 wins. That's the base line.

    Then, however many WAR you are above that as a team as a whole, should give you a run differential expectation. It's reasonable to expect it to be within a few games of that total.


    Offensively, the team produced 23.7 rWAR
    Pitching, the team produced 12.5 rWAR
    That's 34.2 rWAR (add 48) or 82.2 wins.
    The Cardinals won 83 games.
    Last edited by Jeffy25; 10-27-2017 at 04:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    Just to have some fun, and continue with this example.


    1. No team has ever had 100 rWAR. Ever. That example was so far extreme it's not even comical.

    Astros won 101 games
    Offensively - 39.8 rWAR
    Pitching - 13.4 rWAR
    Total - 53.2 rWAR
    =48 = 101.2 Wins
    They won 101 games with a pyth of 101-61

    I believe the 27 Yankees are the greatest WAR team ever
    They went 110-44

    Offensive - 48.0 rWAR
    Pitching - 19.0 rWAR
    = 67.0+48
    116 wins (before teams played 162 games in a season)

    No team has ever come anywhere close to 100 rWAR.

    If there was, they would have 100 wins before August was over, maybe before July is over.

    That team would need guys like Bonds, Mantle, Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, and Hank Aaron on it at the same time to reach 100 WAR.

    2. the most 5 rWAR offensive players on a single team ever are 5
    The 76 Yankees (won 97), the 72 A's (won 93), and the 39 Yankees (won 106). So the idea that a team could pull in 20 of those guys is laughable. And of course, there are other guys on these teams.
    Last edited by Jeffy25; 10-27-2017 at 10:31 PM.

  14. #14
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    On top of that... to have 5 wins above replacement, you have to have playing time.


    WAR is an excellent indicator or individual's overall performance. It certainly isn't perfect, but it is a good stat.


    That said... I think it over values certain defensive positions (like RF). Like any stat though, you have to look at it as a small part of the big picture. Consistently high WARs are a great indicator of a great player. Like any stat, you can have a single season anomaly.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Obabikon View Post
    On top of that... to have 5 wins above replacement, you have to have playing time.


    WAR is an excellent indicator or individual's overall performance. It certainly isn't perfect, but it is a good stat.


    That said... I think it over values certain defensive positions (like RF). Like any stat though, you have to look at it as a small part of the big picture. Consistently high WARs are a great indicator of a great player. Like any stat, you can have a single season anomaly.
    I find the stat to be imperfect, I completely agree. It shouldn't be used as the be-all, end-all, end of argument. Some people use it that way. It's a value driven metric, it works for what it is.

    I completely agree on the positional adjustments. I think they need to be adjusted. I value good defense at second base over right field. Even if a right fielder can save you extra base hits, but it's not so much more valuable than a left fielder just because of the throws.

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