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Saturday, May 03, 2014

Baseball Reference: Season Finders now with Wins Above Average (WAA)

This is great for analyzing career performance and sustained greatness vs compiling.

For example:

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, Played 1000 games at SS, sorted by greatest WAA Position Players

 

                                                           
Rk             Player WAA/pos WAR/pos oWAR dWAR         Pos
1         Honus Wagner    82.2   113.8 106.6 21.2 *63/9574H81
2       Alex Rodriguez    77.4   116.0 113.0 11.4       65D/H
3          Cal Ripken    53.1    95.5 77.2 34.6      *65/DH
4         Arky Vaughan    47.3    72.9 70.9 12.0    *65/H74
5         Barry Larkin    42.2    70.2 67.5 13.8      *6H/4D
6         Lou Boudreau    42.2    63.0 50.3 23.3    *6/5H324
7          Ozzie Smith    41.6    76.5 47.8 43.4       *6/H
8         Luke Appling    41.5    74.5 70.6 19.0    *6/5H43
9       Alan Trammell    40.2    70.4 62.4 22.0   *6/HD5478
10         Robin Yount    37.0    77.0 82.2 5.8    *68D/7H3
11          Joe Cronin    35.9    66.4 63.6 14.2    *6H/5347
12         Derek Jeter    32.0    71.5 94.2 -9.3       *6/DH
13       Pee Wee Reese    31.7    66.3 55.6 25.6       *65/H
14          Joe Tinker    30.5    53.2 32.5 34.3    *6/54H9
15       Bobby Wallace    28.6    55.2 43.2 24.5    *6/54H91
16         Ernie Banks    28.5    67.5 61.9 4.9      36/H57
17       Art Fletcher    27.6    47.0 30.1 28.3      *6/54H
18         Jim Fregosi    24.5    48.7 50.1 7.8   *635H/D74
19   Nomar Garciaparra    24.2    44.2 42.6 6.0    *63/5HD4
20       Vern Stephens    24.2    45.4 45.5 9.1    *65/H79

http://www.sports-reference.com/blog/2014/05/season-finders-now-with-wins-above-average-waa/

bobm Posted: May 03, 2014 at 01:10 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball reference

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   1. Moeball Posted: May 03, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4699655)
IT'S ABOUT FRIGGIN' TIME!!!

I have been waiting YEARS for Sean to do this.

Thank you!
   2. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 03, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4699669)
Awesome!

Odds Jeter finishes above Tinker?
   3. Matt Welch Posted: May 03, 2014 at 04:50 PM (#4699696)
For those who have looked closely at this -- you value WAA over WAR in all HoF discussions, whether career or seasonal?
   4. Walt Davis Posted: May 03, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4699722)
I'll say no.

Seasonal WAA tells you nothing more than seasonal WAR in general -- if the two players being compared have roughly equal playing time in a season, the WAR difference and the WAA difference are the same. (Technically some adjustment for different league quality) And there's rarely much point in comparing two players in-season with vastly different levels of playing time. And from a "technical" standpoint, doing a season search on WAA will turn up a lot of guys with .1 WAA in 100 PA as ranking higher than the 0 WAA guy with 600 PA which is usually just a nuisance.

Also theoretically, the idea of "replacement-level player" makes more sense in-season. If Starlin Castro gets hurt tomorrow, the Cubs will have little choice but to use a replacement-level SS. OK, they might just call up Baez but you get my point. But if Starlin Castro's career ended tomorrow, our default assumption should be that the Cubs will have an average SS over the next 10 years. So over a career, it really should be about WAA.

Still its main use for career comps is to help weight peak vs career. Just like seasons, for careers of similar length, WAR and WAA are essentially the same. In the "SS" list, Vaughan and Boudreau are right in there with the much longer careers of Larkin, Ozzie and Appling. Whether that's the appropriate weighting of peak vs. career is up to the user of course (average years certainly have value and if those years were actually at SS they certainly speak to skill level/greatness).

And on my pet peeve again ... at SS, Banks had 35 WAA; Yount had 29. Not bobm's fault, P-I doesn't yet let you do things like totals only for seasons meeting a certain criterion.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: May 03, 2014 at 05:54 PM (#4699725)
Forgot to mention, we had some fun in some random thread and discovered that, indeed, Cub SS for the last 50 years actually amassed only a little over 50 WAR or about -1 WAA per year. So the assumption that they'll ever have an average SS for a long period of time is clearly faulty! Yet nobody talks about the curse of Ernie.

I think we determined their CF were a tiny bit worse.
   6. DavidFoss Posted: May 03, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4699753)
Also theoretically, the idea of "replacement-level player" makes more sense in-season.

True. But sometimes mid-season durability is an issue. Its rare that it comes into play for end-of-year awards but there have been a few cases like Mantle-62 and Brett-80. They are discussing Williams-54 at the HOM right now.

And it does become an issue for some careers, too. Some players would miss significant time in many seasons. Look at Stargell, Roush or Larkin. The backups for these players saw significant time, so WAA would overrate them.

I suppose a better metric would be something like sum(max(WAR-2.0, 0)). I think I've seen that collected and listed as WA2 somewhere. WAA vs WA2 is probably not a big effect, but often player vs player debates end up being very close.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 04, 2014 at 12:47 AM (#4699870)
WAA is far superior for HOF, it's a measure of dominance, WAR is a better measure to make roster decisions, but using it for career value has all the flaws of any counting stat. You can't accumulate WAA without being a superior player, which makes it a better HOF stat than WAR or JAWs.

A good example is Jeter, over the last 5 years he's added 4 WAR to his career totals despite being a below average player every one of those years. Why should you improve your HOF case as a below average or even barely above replacement level player?

That said, it's not Jeters fault he been kept as a starter by the Yankees those years. I think WAA could be improved as a HOF measure by ignoring negative WAA seasons after say age 35. The idea being that the player is responsible for his production during prime years, but shouldn't get penalized for years he's hanging on.
   8. bobm Posted: May 04, 2014 at 01:31 AM (#4699878)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, From Age 36 to 99, sorted by greatest WAA Position Players

                                                                                          
Rk             Player WAA/pos From   To   Age    G   PA   AB    H  HR   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1         Barry Bonds    40.9 2001 2007 36-42  843 3465 2391  778 268 .325 .531 .731 1.262
2           Babe Ruth    21.8 1931 1935 36-40  568 2391 1887  611 149 .324 .466 .620 1.086
3        Ted Williams    21.1 1955 1960 36-41  711 2704 2133  717 155 .336 .470 .623 1.093
4        Honus Wagner    21.0 1910 1917 36-43 1043 4275 3780 1120  31 .296 .363 .413  .776
5        Luke Appling    18.0 1943 1950 36-43  792 3336 2844  881  18 .310 .407 .389  .796
6         Willie Mays    15.9 1967 1973 36-42  835 3227 2735  743 118 .272 .374 .458  .831
7       Eddie Collins    13.4 1923 1930 36-43  663 2637 2129  739  16 .347 .450 .446  .896
8             Ty Cobb    13.2 1923 1928 36-41  728 3107 2672  925  32 .346 .424 .485  .910
9          Hank Aaron    12.0 1970 1976 36-42  872 3414 2928  815 201 .278 .373 .527  .899
10       Tris Speaker    11.0 1924 1928 36-40  608 2562 2168  720  33 .332 .417 .492  .909
11      Chipper Jones     9.8 2008 2012 36-40  604 2471 2086  609  82 .292 .393 .473  .867
12        Bob Johnson     9.4 1942 1945 36-39  553 2358 2042  594  49 .291 .385 .453  .838
13     Edgar Martinez     9.0 1999 2004 36-41  810 3413 2839  858 135 .302 .409 .509  .918
14   Roberto Clemente     8.8 1971 1972 36-37  234  966  900  296  23 .329 .364 .492  .856
15        Ozzie Smith     8.0 1991 1996 36-41  647 2710 2377  662   9 .279 .350 .348  .699
16        Stan Musial     7.6 1957 1963 36-42  882 3223 2788  849 123 .305 .388 .503  .890
17         Joe Morgan     7.2 1980 1984 36-40  604 2436 2001  502  55 .251 .374 .391  .764
18       Mike Schmidt     7.1 1986 1989 36-39  457 1893 1612  440  90 .273 .368 .497  .865
19         Zack Wheat     6.8 1924 1927 36-39  490 2015 1840  632  34 .343 .391 .495  .885
20     Gabby Hartnett     6.7 1937 1941 36-40  396 1347 1175  355  40 .302 .383 .476  .858
21      Brian Downing     6.2 1987 1992 36-41  758 3152 2652  717 109 .270 .378 .449  .827
22       Larry Walker     5.7 2003 2005 36-38  325 1247 1027  297  48 .289 .411 .512  .924
23         Wade Boggs     5.7 1994 1999 36-41  672 2773 2407  743  31 .309 .389 .412  .802
24        Cy Williams     5.5 1924 1930 36-42  679 2378 2020  626 102 .310 .405 .526  .931
25        Fred Clarke     5.4 1909 1915 36-42  397 1653 1388  400  10 .288 .377 .404  .781


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/4/2014.
   9. bobm Posted: May 04, 2014 at 01:34 AM (#4699881)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, From Age 36 to 99, Hall Of Fame Members (as mlb players), sorted by greatest WAA Pitchers

                                                                    
Rk             Player WAA/pitch From   To   Age   W     IP   SO ERA+
1         Phil Niekro      30.7 1975 1987 36-48 188 3188.0 1975  109
2            Cy Young      27.4 1903 1911 36-44 160 2556.1 1245  125
3         Lefty Grove      25.1 1936 1941 36-41  77 1157.1  579  151
4         Dazzy Vance      22.6 1927 1935 36-44 102 1665.0 1073  130
5        Hoyt Wilhelm      18.9 1959 1972 36-49  96 1456.2 1104  156
6      Pete Alexander      14.3 1923 1930 36-43 107 1576.0  361  127
7          Nolan Ryan      12.6 1983 1993 36-46 119 2061.2 2220  111
8           Ted Lyons      12.4 1937 1946 36-45  74 1133.1  359  135
9         Eddie Plank      11.3 1912 1917 36-41 101 1322.2  632  124
10      Gaylord Perry      11.1 1975 1983 36-44 116 2046.2 1240  108
11        Tom Glavine       8.9 2002 2008 36-42  81 1293.1  680  109
12          Red Faber       7.9 1925 1933 36-44  80 1514.0  441  109
13         Tom Seaver       7.1 1981 1986 36-41  66 1160.1  652  108
14       Warren Spahn       7.1 1957 1965 36-44 160 2283.2 1061  109
15     Walter Johnson       6.8 1924 1927 36-39  63  875.0  439  120
16         Early Wynn       6.5 1956 1963 36-43  99 1606.2 1042  107
17        Greg Maddux       6.4 2002 2008 36-42  98 1457.1  848  109
18         Bob Gibson       5.5 1972 1975 36-39  45  822.0  539  110
19         Don Sutton       4.3 1981 1988 36-43  94 1553.1  922  102
20       Jesse Haines       4.3 1930 1937 36-43  57  875.1  237  112
21      Steve Carlton       4.1 1981 1988 36-43  80 1428.1 1167  102
22     Mordecai Brown       3.4 1913 1916 36-39  44  690.2  270  107
23      Robin Roberts       2.8 1963 1966 36-39  42  758.0  384  106
24         Eppa Rixey       2.7 1927 1933 36-42  65 1208.2  220  109
25        Whitey Ford       2.5 1965 1967 36-38  20  361.1  226  116
Rk             Player WAA/pitch From   To   Age   W     IP   SO ERA+
26       Carl Hubbell       2.5 1939 1943 36-40  48  755.2  315  103
27         Waite Hoyt       2.5 1936 1938 36-38  15  328.0  105  125
28     Fergie Jenkins       1.8 1979 1983 36-40  53  947.2  586   99
29   Dennis Eckersley       1.4 1991 1998 36-43  28  470.1  463  115
30         Jim Palmer       1.3 1982 1984 36-38  20  321.1  141  108
31      Bert Blyleven       1.0 1987 1992 36-41  58  982.1  611   96
32        Jimmie Foxx       0.8 1945 1945 37-37   1   22.2   10  243
33       Rich Gossage       0.5 1988 1994 36-42  18  275.0  183  107
34     Rollie Fingers       0.4 1984 1985 37-38   2  101.1   64  111
35         Dizzy Dean       0.2 1947 1947 37-37   0    4.0         0
36        Red Ruffing       0.1 1941 1947 36-42  44  580.2  194  108
37     Stan Coveleski       0.1 1926 1928 36-38  21  317.2   58  108
38            Ty Cobb       0.1 1925 1925 38-38   0    1.0         0
39         Wade Boggs       0.0 1997 1999 39-41   0    2.1    2  157
40          Babe Ruth      -0.1 1933 1933 38-38   1    9.0    0   81
41       Chief Bender      -0.1 1925 1925 41-41   0    1.0    0   31
42           Ed Walsh      -0.3 1917 1917 36-36   0   18.0    4   75
43      Rube Marquard      -0.5 1923 1925 36-38  14  347.0  107   97
44         Bob Feller      -0.7 1955 1956 36-37   4  141.0   43  100
45    Burleigh Grimes      -0.9 1930 1934 36-40  46  691.1  207  100
46        Kid Nichols      -1.0 1906 1906 36-36   0   11.0    1   28
47      Juan Marichal      -1.1 1974 1975 36-37   5   63.1   22   68
48      Joe McGinnity      -1.1 1907 1908 36-37  29  496.1  175   86
49          Bob Lemon      -1.5 1957 1958 36-37   6  142.2   53   79
50       Herb Pennock      -2.6 1930 1934 36-40  40  619.1  203   95
Rk             Player WAA/pitch From   To   Age   W     IP   SO ERA+
51        Jim Bunning      -5.4 1968 1971 36-39  32  701.1  457   85


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/4/2014.
   10. Swedish Chef Posted: May 04, 2014 at 05:35 AM (#4699889)
Also theoretically, the idea of "replacement-level player" makes more sense in-season. If Starlin Castro gets hurt tomorrow, the Cubs will have little choice but to use a replacement-level SS.

But say that you're the Yankees and want to win at least 95 games. What you do (even if you use other measures) is to translate everything to WAT, Wins Above Target, and a mere average player will be a drag that have to be compensated for elsewhere. WAR is a measure for hippie teams who want to think that everybody is a contributor.
   11. chisoxcollector Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4699932)
Shouldn't Roger Clemens be #4 on the list of greatest WAA by pitchers age 36-99 in post #10? According to BR he had 23.1 WAA from age 36 on.

Edit: Never mind, just saw the HOF criteria.
   12. chisoxcollector Posted: May 04, 2014 at 10:47 AM (#4699933)
Wow, Dennis Martinez had negative WAA through age 35, and 15.2 WAA from age 36 on.

Jose Fernandez is on pace to pass Jack Morris in career WAA by the end of this season.

Mark Buehrle has more career WAR and WAA than C.C. Sabathia.
   13. GregD Posted: May 04, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4699950)
I think WAA could be improved as a HOF measure by ignoring negative WAA seasons after say age 35. The idea being that the player is responsible for his production during prime years, but shouldn't get penalized for years he's hanging on.
That makes sense to me.

If the goal of using WAA is to reward peak, then basing claims of greatness on career WAA has the absurd effect of having higher-peak guys fall below worse players who got hurt and retired early. If the goal is to reward longevity, not peak, then you should use WAR anyway. But a WAA based on positive years (with negative years zeroed out) is an interesting way to get to peak.

WAA is obviously not that useful for judging non-great players since average has real value in MLB.
   14. bobm Posted: May 04, 2014 at 12:57 PM (#4699963)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, For players in the saved report : (H > 3000 or HR > 500 or both), From Age 36 to 99, sorted by smallest WAA Position Players

                                                      
Rk             Player WAA/pos From   To   Age    H  HR
1           Pete Rose   -11.0 1977 1986 36-45 1494  26
2        Craig Biggio    -6.8 2002 2007 36-41  911 111
3      Reggie Jackson    -6.8 1982 1987 36-41  631 138
4           Lou Brock    -6.4 1975 1979 36-40  635  14
5         Ken Griffey    -6.3 2006 2010 36-40  477  94
6        Eddie Murray    -6.2 1992 1997 36-41  753 106
7          Sammy Sosa    -4.0 2005 2007 36-38  188  35
8        George Brett    -3.8 1989 1993 36-40  755  62
9         Ernie Banks    -3.4 1967 1971 36-40  509  93
10     Willie McCovey    -3.2 1974 1980 36-42  562 108
11        Derek Jeter    -3.0 2010 2014 36-40  592  32
12   Harmon Killebrew    -2.4 1972 1975 36-39  296  58
13      Dave Winfield    -2.1 1988 1995 36-43  869 133
14         Cal Ripken    -1.9 1997 2001 36-40  635  78
15   Rickey Henderson    -0.9 1995 2003 36-44  839  71
16        Jimmie Foxx    -0.5 1944 1945 36-37   61   7
17        Robin Yount    -0.4 1992 1993 36-37  264  16
18     Gary Sheffield    -0.1 2005 2009 36-40  514  94
19      Eddie Mathews     0.0 1968 1968 36-36   11   3
20     Alex Rodriguez     0.2 2012 2013 36-37  164  25
21         Paul Waner     0.4 1939 1945 36-42  504   8
22   Carl Yastrzemski     0.7 1976 1983 36-43 1006 135
23      Mickey Mantle     0.7 1968 1968 36-36  103  18
24          Al Kaline     0.9 1971 1974 36-39  431  48
25            Mel Ott     1.5 1945 1947 36-38  144  22
Rk             Player WAA/pos From   To   Age    H  HR
26          Rod Carew     1.8 1982 1985 36-39  548  10
27       Frank Thomas     2.0 2004 2008 36-40  420 103
28    Rafael Palmeiro     2.8 2001 2005 36-40  699 169
29       Paul Molitor     3.3 1993 1998 36-41 1038  74
30         Tony Gwynn     3.7 1996 2001 36-41  740  48
31          Jim Thome     4.0 2007 2012 36-41  522 140
32      Manny Ramirez     4.0 2008 2011 36-39  365  65
33     Frank Robinson     4.8 1972 1976 36-40  388  83
34         Wade Boggs     5.7 1994 1999 36-41  743  31
35       Mike Schmidt     7.1 1986 1989 36-39  440  90
36        Stan Musial     7.6 1957 1963 36-42  849 123
37   Roberto Clemente     8.8 1971 1972 36-37  296  23
38       Tris Speaker    11.0 1924 1928 36-40  720  33
39         Hank Aaron    12.0 1970 1976 36-42  815 201
40            Ty Cobb    13.2 1923 1928 36-41  925  32
41        Willie Mays    15.9 1967 1973 36-42  743 118
42       Ted Williams    21.1 1955 1960 36-41  717 155
43          Babe Ruth    21.8 1931 1935 36-40  611 149
44        Barry Bonds    40.9 2001 2007 36-42  778 268


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/4/2014.
   15. bobm Posted: May 04, 2014 at 01:03 PM (#4699964)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, For players in the saved report : (W > 300 or K > 3000), From Age 36 to 99, sorted by smallest WAA Pitchers

                                                      
Rk           Player WAA/pitch From   To   Age   W   SO
1    Pedro Martinez      -0.9 2008 2009 36-37  10  124
2     Bert Blyleven       1.0 1987 1992 36-41  58  611
3    Fergie Jenkins       1.8 1979 1983 36-40  53  586
4     Steve Carlton       4.1 1981 1988 36-43  80 1167
5        Don Sutton       4.3 1981 1988 36-43  94  922
6        Bob Gibson       5.5 1972 1975 36-39  45  539
7       Greg Maddux       6.4 2002 2008 36-42  98  848
8        Early Wynn       6.5 1956 1963 36-43  99 1042
9    Walter Johnson       6.8 1924 1927 36-39  63  439
10       Tom Seaver       7.1 1981 1986 36-41  66  652
11     Warren Spahn       7.1 1957 1965 36-44 160 1061
12      Tom Glavine       8.9 2002 2008 36-42  81  680
13    Gaylord Perry      11.1 1975 1983 36-44 116 1240
14      Eddie Plank      11.3 1912 1917 36-41 101  632
15       Nolan Ryan      12.6 1983 1993 36-46 119 2220
16      John Smoltz      12.9 2003 2009 36-42  50  844
17   Pete Alexander      14.3 1923 1930 36-43 107  361
18   Curt Schilling      16.0 2003 2007 36-40  61  768
19    Roger Clemens      23.1 1999 2007 36-44 121 1519
20      Lefty Grove      25.1 1936 1941 36-41  77  579
21      Phil Niekro      30.7 1975 1987 36-48 188 1975
22    Randy Johnson      36.0 2000 2009 36-45 143 2182


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/4/2014.
   16. cardsfanboy Posted: May 04, 2014 at 03:16 PM (#4700010)
WAA is far superior for HOF, it's a measure of dominance, WAR is a better measure to make roster decisions, but using it for career value has all the flaws of any counting stat. You can't accumulate WAA without being a superior player, which makes it a better HOF stat than WAR or JAWs.


It's a tool in the arsenal, but I still think career War is still the better tool to begin the discussion. As pointed out though, there aren't many people who have a hof career WAR that doesn't also have a hof career WAA argument.

Guys like McCovey or Murray arguably have better arguments than Dick Allen or Todd Helton. You can argue either way of course based upon preferences, but I have both McCovey(30.4/64.4) and Murray(27.0/68.3) as in, and Allen(32.9/58.7) and Helton(33.1/68.4) on the out in pretty much any hof concept I can come up with. (I know others have maybe all four in, not sure how many people would put Allen and Helton in, and leave Murray/McCovey out though)
   17. BDC Posted: May 04, 2014 at 05:11 PM (#4700051)

Another perspective: here are the top 15 position players in WAR who have at least twice as much WAR as WAA:

Player            WAR/pos    G WAA/pos    PA         Pos
Pete Rose            79.1 3562    28.6 15890    37549H
/8
Robin Yount          77.0 2856    37.0 12249    
*68D/7H3
Paul Molitor         75.4 2683    37.1 12167  D543
/68H79
Sam Crawford         75.1 2517    34.9 10593     
*9837/H
Reggie Jackson       73.8 2820    35.2 11418     
*9D8H/7
Derek Jeter          71.6 2625    32.1 12071       
*6/DH
Rafael Palmeiro      71.6 2831    30.1 12046    
*3D7/H98
Bobby Wallace        70.2 2383    34.6  9612 
*65/149H873
Ivan Rodriguez       68.4 2543    33.1 10270     
*2H/D34
Eddie Murray         68.3 3026    27.0 12817     
*3D/H57
Graig Nettles        68.0 2700    32.8 10228  
*5H/739D68
Ernie Banks          67.5 2528    28.5 10394      36
/H57
Dwight Evans         66.9 2606    32.8 10569    
*9D3H/78
Roberto Alomar       66.8 2379    32.3 10400      
*4/HD6
Pee Wee Reese        66.3 2166    31.7  9470       
*65/


Five of the 15 were MVPs; because this is the top of the list, nine are HOFers and several others would be if eligible or barring certain problems. All are HOM but Jeter and little Pudge, who will be, unless I'm forgetting something. Still it's interesting to see closely matched pairs like Jeter and Palmeiro, or Evans and Alomar. In each case you have a pretty easy HOFer paired with someone who struggled to get votes (I think Palmeiro would have struggled even without the steroid pinch). One factor there is that both Jeter and Alomar were big stars young. By the time Palmeiro or Evans reached stardom, they'd been typecast as lesser players.

A guy I'm a little surprised to see on the list is Sam Crawford. I always had the impression of him as a consistently great player. He was a star both young and old. But there are indeed years in the middle of his career where WAA sees him as pretty ordinary. In 1910, at age 30, for instance, he led the AL in triples and RBI but had 0.6 WAA. It was a good year but in context nothing to write home about, if players had been writing letters home about advanced metrics in the year 1910.
   18. BDC Posted: May 04, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4700057)
Afterthought: the highest WAR total on that list not in the HOM or HOF is actually #16, whom I should have included: Buddy Bell. I don't know if Bell has his HOM partisans. He's really not an accumulator, though he played forever and was never an MVP candidate. Till he got to Texas he was kind of an ordinary player, and after he left he was below average most of the time. But in his Texas years (ages 27-32) WAA and all its components love the guy. He's a peak candidate for any Hall, but not an overwhelming one by any means.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: May 04, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4700060)
But if you want a pure peak/prime measure (that's fairly easily available), just use WAR7 -- easier than WAA ignoring negatives and such. In their best 7 seasons, players will have roughly equal playing time, so WAR7 and WAA7 will tell you pretty much the same thing. Or create WAR10 or WAR23-32 or whatever. And if some player does have less playing time over their 10 year prime then it seems right to ding him.

Anyway to zero out negative numbers, be they WAR or WAA, is just saying that you think HoF or other "greatness" comps should be based purely on peak. That's fine but don't dress it up as some sort of methodological correctness.

#10 ... the Yanks lost their starting SS early in 2013 and replaced him with Nunez and Ryan. They combined for -1.3 WAR, not all at SS. Ryan's above replacement level but the Yanks didn't pick him up until Sept.

No matter what team you are, how much money you have, etc. -- in April/May you can't pick up anybody who's a good bet to be above replacement. Sometime around July 1 you might find something on the trade market.
   20. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:06 PM (#4700105)
But if you want a pure peak/prime measure (that's fairly easily available), just use WAR7 -- easier than WAA ignoring negatives and such. In their best 7 seasons, players will have roughly equal playing time, so WAR7 and WAA7 will tell you pretty much the same thing. Or create WAR10 or WAR23-32 or whatever. And if some player does have less playing time over their 10 year prime then it seems right to ding him.


WAR7 is flawed as a dominance measure because playing time doesn't always even out. Player is halfway through a 10 WAR season that would rank among best ever, and ends up hurt with only 5 WAR for year. He rehabs and finally returns midway thru following season and puts up another 5 WAR in a half season. Instead of seeing that as one of histories most dominant 160 game stretches, WAR7 counts it twice as merely good years. If that player had eight 5 WAR seasons should his WAR7 really be 35, not 40?
   21. cardsfanboy Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4700107)
WAR7 is flawed as a dominance measure because playing time doesn't always even out. Player is halfway through a 10 WAR season that would rank among best ever, and ends up hurt with only 5 WAR for year. He rehabs and finally returns midway thru following season and puts up another 5 WAR in a half season. Instead of seeing that as one of histories most dominant 160 game stretches, WAR7 counts it twice as merely good years. If that player had eight 5 WAR seasons should his WAR7 really be 35, not 40?


I don't see anything wrong with that. Health is a skill for a ballplayer. Rate is nice and all, but if the guy is going to miss 1/3rd of the season on a semi regular basis, then a good measure would account for that.

You could have a guy like Ryan Howard who kills right handers, and is owned by left handers, and his team rightly benches him for roughly 25% of the season they face lefties... his rate stats might look very good, but his cumulative stats are going to take a beating and again, rightly so. It doesn't matter why they aren't in the lineup,(catchers excluded..to an extent) the fact is that they are missing playing time, and forcing the team to put out a replacement player in their stead.
   22. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:21 PM (#4700111)
Anyway to zero out negative numbers, be they WAR or WAA, is just saying that you think HoF or other "greatness" comps should be based purely on peak. That's fine but don't dress it up as some sort of methodological correctness.


Not saying anything of the sort. I'm saying don't punish or reward players for playing deep into their decline. The Yankees kept Jeter at a high salary because they believe he would help the team and he has, more than a AAA shortstop, not as much as a league average shortstop. His HOF case shouldn't be improved putting up 1 WAR a year for his last half decade.

WAA is a way better measurement, but again the HOF case for Jeter shouldn't become stronger just because he retired at 36 instead of 40.
   23. valuearbitrageur Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:29 PM (#4700112)
I don't see anything wrong with that. Health is a skill for a ballplayer. Rate is nice and all, but if the guy is going to miss 1/3rd of the season on a semi regular basis, then a good measure would account for that.


They all do, he loses the opportunity to accumulate more WAA for a third of a season. Treating a 4 WAR full season the same as a 4 WAR in 2/3 of a season in a dominance measurement doesn't make sense.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:51 PM (#4700118)
They all do, he loses the opportunity to accumulate more WAA for a third of a season. Treating a 4 WAR full season the same as a 4 WAR in 2/3 of a season in a dominance measurement doesn't make sense.


Not sure that the hof is really about dominance over value. But even if it is, why not? Obviously we are dealing with theoreticals and not real, so it's hard to make a real world example to illustrate the point. I don't see how a guy who puts up 3.00 WAA over 90 games(4.0 war) is more valuable to the team than the guy who puts up a 5.0 war and 2.5 waa(that is probably about the largest split you'll fine)

Of course we are talking about accepting that the decimals in the war/waa actually mean something. (which obviously they don't, or at least don't have any real level of confidence)
   25. DavidFoss Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4700119)
They all do, he loses the opportunity to accumulate more WAA for a third of a season. Treating a 4 WAR full season the same as a 4 WAR in 2/3 of a season in a dominance measurement doesn't make sense.


It makes complete sense. His injury left his team in the lurch for 54 games. Its not the offseason, and the hope is that the injured player is going to return. So you can't assume an average player will fill in. They're left with a replacement player filling in until he returns.

If we're talking 10 seasons vs 15 seasons, then yes a team will run out and find and average player after the player is done. But I don't think that happens for 108 games vs 162 games.
   26. cardsfanboy Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4700121)
Not saying anything of the sort. I'm saying don't punish or reward players for playing deep into their decline. The Yankees kept Jeter at a high salary because they believe he would help the team and he has, more than a AAA shortstop, not as much as a league average shortstop. His HOF case shouldn't be improved putting up 1 WAR a year for his last half decade.

WAA is a way better measurement, but again the HOF case for Jeter shouldn't become stronger just because he retired at 36 instead of 40.


Agree with most of that, although I have no problem with a career player who is playing at 1 war per season while accumulating counting stats. That 1 war is still better than replacement, and in theory there is probably an elder statesman value that the player is bringing to the team.
   27. DL from MN Posted: May 04, 2014 at 08:54 PM (#4700123)
I think WAA could be improved as a HOF measure by ignoring negative WAA seasons after say age 35.


That's pretty much how I vote for HoM. It's essentially WAA+WAR and zero out the negative years. It helps players like Tommy Bridges who never had the endurance to pitch as much as his contemporaries but was a higher quality pitcher during the innings he completed.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:27 AM (#4700185)
WAR7 is flawed as a dominance measure because playing time doesn't always even out. Player is halfway through a 10 WAR season that would rank among best ever, and ends up hurt with only 5 WAR for year. He rehabs and finally returns midway thru following season and puts up another 5 WAR in a half season. Instead of seeing that as one of histories most dominant 160 game stretches, WAR7 counts it twice as merely good years. If that player had eight 5 WAR seasons should his WAR7 really be 35, not 40?

But WAA doesn't get you around that, it just shows them as two 4 WAA seasons.

The rest you're just debating whether it should be WAR7, WAR10, WARbest4000PAcomprisedoffullandhalfseasons

If the guy can't stay on the field such that his best X seasons consist of only (X-1) season's worth of PA then I have absolutely no problem counting that against his peak production.

And does it really matter? Do you see a big difference between the guy with a peak of 40 per 7 rather than 35 per 7? And how many HoF candidates have 5-WAR half-seasons as part of their WAR7?
   29. bobm Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:42 AM (#4700186)
[17] Another perspective: here are the top 15 position players in WAR who have at least twice as much WAR as WAA:

Top 20 and Bottom 20 by WAA/WAR among top 1,000 retired position players

           Player WAA/WAR WAR/pos WAA/pos From   To   Age
        Babe Ruth   77.2%   163.0   125.8 1914 1935 19-40
   Rogers Hornsby   76.8%   127.0    97.5 1915 1937 19-41
     Ted Williams   76.4%   123.1    94.1 1939 1960 20-41
      Barry Bonds   76.0%   162.4   123.5 1986 2007 21-42
     Honus Wagner   72.2%   113.8    82.2 1901 1917 27-43
    Mickey Mantle   71.8%   109.7    78.8 1951 1968 19-36
      Willie Mays   70.5%   156.2   110.1 1951 1973 20-42
       Lou Gehrig   69.8%   112.4    78.5 1923 1939 20-36
     Joe DiMaggio   69.8%    78.2    54.6 1936 1951 21-36
     Mike Schmidt   68.8%   106.5    73.3 1972 1989 22-39
      Benny Kauff   67.9%    29.0    19.7 1912 1920 22-30
     Ed Delahanty   67.8%    14.6     9.9 1901 1903 33-35
   Charlie Keller   67.6%    42.9    29.0 1939 1952 22-35
          Ty Cobb   67.4%   151.0   101.8 1905 1928 18-41
     Lou Boudreau   67.0%    63.0    42.2 1938 1952 20-34
     Larry Walker   66.4%    72.6    48.2 1989 2005 22-38
     Tris Speaker   66.0%   133.7    88.3 1907 1928 19-40
          Mel Ott   65.5%   107.8    70.6 1926 1947 17-38
      Jimmie Foxx   65.2%    96.4    62.9 1925 1945 17-37
     Jeff Bagwell   65.1%    79.6    51.8 1991 2005 23-37

[...]

    Royce Clayton  -32.3%    19.5    -6.3 1991 2007 21-37
     Bucky Harris  -34.4%    15.1    -5.2 1919 1931 22-34
      Brad Ausmus  -34.8%    16.4    -5.7 1993 2010 24-41
       Gee Walker  -37.5%    17.6    -6.6 1931 1945 23-37
      Tommy Davis  -38.2%    20.4    -7.8 1959 1976 20-37
     Dave Kingman  -38.7%    17.3    -6.7 1971 1986 22-37
   Whitey Lockman  -39.0%    17.7    -6.9 1945 1960 18-33
       Todd Zeile  -39.9%    19.3    -7.7 1989 2004 23-38
     Frank Thomas  -42.7%    18.5    -7.9 1951 1966 22-37
      Matt Stairs  -43.4%    14.3    -6.2 1992 2011 24-43
       Jorge Orta  -45.0%    14.9    -6.7 1972 1987 21-36
      Jack Graney  -49.3%    14.4    -7.1 1908 1922 22-36
      Juan Pierre  -50.0%    16.6    -8.3 2000 2013 22-35
    Everett Scott  -52.8%    16.1    -8.5 1914 1926 21-33
    Larry Parrish  -54.8%    15.5    -8.5 1974 1988 20-34
       Joe Carter  -57.0%    19.3   -11.0 1983 1998 23-38
Aurelio Rodriguez  -62.5%    15.2    -9.5 1967 1983 19-35
         Gus Bell  -73.2%    15.3   -11.2 1950 1964 21-35
     Ruben Sierra  -78.3%    16.6   -13.0 1986 2006 20-40
     Bill Buckner -117.6%    14.8   -17.4 1969 1990 19-40
   30. Walt Davis Posted: May 05, 2014 at 12:58 AM (#4700189)
His HOF case shouldn't be improved putting up 1 WAR a year for his last half decade.

WAA is a way better measurement, but again the HOF case for Jeter shouldn't become stronger just because he retired at 36 instead of 40.


But the entire basis for saying that WAA is a better measurement and the extra dollop of saying you ignore the bad years is to "punish" the player who doesn't retire at 36 but continues to be an average or slightly above player.

To claim that "WAA is a way better measurement" is wrong. WAA is arguably a much better "peak" measure. But it is only a better measurement if one decides that "peak" is a substantially more important criterion than career.

WAR is a career value measure, WAA is primarily a peak-value measure. You're not interested in career WAA as much as peak WAA, that's fine and makes some sense but WAR7 (or any other length) gives you the same information as a peak WAA does.

But to decide on career WAA while ignoring bad WAA years just really makes no sense. The issue isn't about comparing Jeter to a Jeter who retired at 36; it's about comparing Jeter to a not-quite-Jeter who continued to be average or a bit better from 36-40. It's about Palmeiro (30 WAA, 33-34 zeroed out WAA, 72 WAR) or Murray (27 WAA, about 34 zeroed-out WAA, 68 WAR) to Allen (33 WAA, 36 zeroed-out, 59 WAR but only 7300 PA).

It's fine to prefer Allen out of those 3 but that's an argument for peak over career not an argument for the superiority of WAA. You have to make the argument why the extra 3000 or so PA of average production that Palmeiro and Murray provided doesn't outweigh Allen's peak.

And you'll notice WAA, zeroed out or not, doesn't really do you any good for dominance here. WAR7 on the other hand has Allen at 46, Murray and Palmeiro at 39. Presumably WAA7 would put that at about 32 to 25. The zeroing out does achieve a bit of what you want to achieve -- i.e. ignoring Murray's late-career blech moves him back equal to Palmeiro in career zeroed-out WAA.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:08 AM (#4700192)
I'm just curious as to who is the hof person who is a WAA hofer but not a War hofer?
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:19 AM (#4700193)
But to decide on career WAA while ignoring bad WAA years just really makes no sense.


I have no problem with that in theory. I ignore negative WAR years also in any hom/hof type of discussion, if you are looking at rating a peak candidate, then ignore negative WAA years.

To me it seems(feel) that historically high rate players (and let's be honest, WAA is high rate players) are and have always been somewhat penalized in the hof type of vote, and even in career respect, and I have zero problem with that. Ultimately though the hof has been about a combo career/peak player. Literally, outside of Dick Allen, has there ever been a purely high rate player that hasn't made the hof?
   33. Baldrick Posted: May 05, 2014 at 04:53 AM (#4700195)
I'm just curious as to who is the hof person who is a WAA hofer but not a War hofer?

Lots of people seem to doubt Larry Walker as a HOFer - you included IIRC. But by WAA Walker isn't just an easy HOFer, he's WAY past the line. He's closer to being inner circle than to being outside if you look exclusively at WAA.
   34. DL from MN Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4700233)
Dave Stieb, Tommy Bridges and Bret Saberhagen all look pretty good by WAA. Bob Johnson is another favorite of mine. Several 3B do well by WAA - Heinie Groh, Darrell Evans, Stan Hack. Charlie Keller is very good by WAA, not so much by WAR. Edgar Martinez, Minnie Minoso and Keith Hernandez do better by WAA.
   35. bobm Posted: May 05, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4700258)
IMO interesting high and low WAA as % of WAR:

       Player WAA/WAR WAR/pos WAA/pos From   To   Age
  Scott Rolen   62.7%    70.0    43.9 1996 2012 21-37
  Bobby Grich   61.2%    70.9    43.4 1970 1986 21-37
 Andruw Jones   57.3%    62.8    36.0 1996 2012 19-35
Alan Trammell   57.1%    70.4    40.2 1977 1996 19-38
 Lou Whitaker   56.7%    74.9    42.5 1977 1995 20-38
   Dick Allen   56.0%    58.7    32.9 1963 1977 21-35

  Dale Murphy   34.8%    46.2    16.1 1976 1993 20-37
 Johnny Damon   34.1%    56.0    19.1 1995 2012 21-38
 Julio Franco   27.9%    43.4    12.1 1982 2007 23-48
    Lou Brock   18.1%    45.2     8.2 1961 1979 22-40
  Rusty Staub   16.2%    45.8     7.4 1963 1985 19-41
 Omar Vizquel   11.0%    45.3     5.0 1989 2012 22-45

   36. DL from MN Posted: May 05, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4700297)
Never thought of Scott Rolen and Bobby Grich matching so well but it makes sense.
   37. Swedish Chef Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4700500)
But to decide on career WAA while ignoring bad WAA years just really makes no sense.

Of course it does, it measures how much he stood out above the average players of his time when he was great while ignoring what he did after he fell back into the sea of mediocrity, what he did then being uninteresting in making his case for or against his greatness.
   38. Moeball Posted: May 05, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4700638)
I don't necessarily use WAA as the be-all, end-all, but I do find it very useful in HOF analysis, particularly in comparing peak vs. career. I can see some situations where a player's peak may not seem that high but the career value is clearly there; I guess I'm thinking an Eddie Murray type player in that situation.

But I also can think of players where the career numbers don't necessarily wow you in terms of WAR or traditional stats but the WAA may jump out at you as much better than you thought so maybe the player was really good at peak. I'm thinking Jackie Robinson here. 61 career WAR isn't bad; that alone probably at least puts a player in the discussion for making a HOF case but it isn't overwhelming, either. But 39 WAA in such a short career as Jackie's is very impressive to my way of thinking. That's averaging about 4 WAA per season for a decade. There really aren't very many players in history who have been able to do that. That's greatness.

On the flip side of that argument is the case of the long term average player. In this situation you would expect to see a lot of WAR but hardly any WAA. In a typical season, 2 WAR is roughly around the average player value, so 2 WAR is approximately 0 WAA. If an average player could maintain that league average level of performance for 20 years you would have a player with 40 WAR but 0 WAA. Nobody is going to make any kind of case for the HOF for a player with 0 WAA, or maybe I should say nobody should make a case for this player. Hmm, I just thought of a semi-similar player to this level. Jack Morris had almost 44 WAR in 18 seasons pitching, a little over 2 WAR per season on average. His WAA was a tick under 10. You know how many pitchers in history have had a better WAR than Jack Morris? A little over 100. That alone kind of stretches the credibility of his case but you have the postseason heroics and most wins in the 1980s that at least adds a little something to his case. You know how many pitchers have had a better career WAA? Almost 300. If you can find 280 pitchers with a reasonable argument for being better than Jack Morris it makes it virtually impossible to make a logical argument for his candicacy. In reality, if any star members of the 1984 Tigers should have been one and done on the ballot, it should have been Morris, not Lou Whitaker.

   39. BDC Posted: May 05, 2014 at 06:00 PM (#4700667)
Moeball's #38 got me thinking about players lower on the WAR list with an even higher WAR/WAA ratio: the Johnny Damon set. Here are the top 15 WAR totals that are 2½ times or more greater than the player's WAA:

Player            WAR/pos WAA/pos    PA       Pos
Johnny Damon         56.0    19.1 10917  
*87D9H/3
Vada Pinson          54.1    16.4 10402  
*897H/3D
Tony Perez           53.9    17.9 10861   
*35H/D4
Harry Hooper         53.1    15.3 10248   
*9/78H1
Sam Rice             52.8    15.6 10251   
*98H/71
Fred McGriff         52.4    19.6 10174     
*3D/H
Luis Gonzalez        51.5    19.7 10531 
*7H/D9835
Orlando Cepeda       50.2    18.2  8698  
*37D/H95
Ted Simmons          50.1    18.8  9685 
*2DH3/759
Torii Hunter         49.6    19.1  8637   
*89/DH7
Jimmy Sheckard       49.6    19.8  9118 
*79/85643
Bernie Williams      49.4    18.6  9053   
*8D/9H7
Nellie Fox           49.0    18.3 10351    
*4/H53
Larry Gardner        48.0    18.2  7692    
*54/H6
Bobby Veach          47.7    19.0  7574   
*7/H981 


A few HOFers, some HOMers, interesting candidacies all, but for a lot of us I'll bet that's a solid swath of the HOVG. I thought of Damon as the proverbial guy who was high on several career offensive leaderboards without ever being a particularly great hitter. His WAR/WAA ratio is one way of expressing that disparity.
   40. DL from MN Posted: May 05, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4700793)
Yeah - the list in 39 is Ted Simmons (who was a catcher during some of those above average years) and a bunch of guys not in my personal HoM.
   41. Moeball Posted: May 06, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4701452)
One other fun thing that intrigues me with WAA that I don't really get a feel for from WAR - with WAA you can identify what I think of as "perfect" seasons.

Here's what I mean - in the current 162 game schedules, an average team by definition goes 81-81. A player who has a season of +9 WAA - and there are very few players in history that have ever attained such a level - singlehandedly can change an 81-81 team to one that goes 90-72. One player can represent the team being 18 games over .500.

Now, just imagine that your whole lineup played at that level - 8 position players and a great pitcher. 9 players in a lineup all representing 9 WAA or 18 games above .500 would mean that your team would finish 162 games above .500. That means a seasonal record of 162-0. Perfection!

So which players have put up these kind of historical seasons? Here is a list of the players that have done this since 1900 (minimum 100 games played in a season and the B-Ref play index doesn't seem to like pre-1900 searches):

1)Babe Ruth, of course, is at the top of the list. Since he played in the days before the 162 game schedule, I have pro-rated his seasonal values to "per 162 games". Babe in his days as an outfielder put up a "perfect" season a whopping 7 times! His best was 1923, of course, with a 12.3 WAA per 162, and this is the best season ever for WAA post-1900. The years Babe achieved this level of perfection as a player were 1919-1921, 1923-1924 and 1926-1927. He also barely missed this list in 1930-1931.

2)Ted Williams made the list of perfect seasons 4 times in his career, with a high of 9.8 WAA/162 in 1957. Yes, I was surprised to see 1957 show up as his best season on a rate basis! 1941, 1942 and 1946 were his other "perfect seasons" at a level just a tick below 1957.

3)Barry Bonds makes the list 4 times as well, with it being no big surprise that the years in question are 2001-2004. His 1990, 1992 and 1993 seasons fall just a bit short of perfection.

4)Rogers Hornsby also makes the list 4 times. Reaching this level in 1921, 1924 and 1925 isn't too surprising, but I was surprised to see his 1917 season also make the list.

5)Rounding out the top 5 is Mickey Mantle, who played at this level of "perfection" 3 times - in 1956, 1957 and 1961.

6)Ty Cobb also shows up on the list 3 times for his 1910, 1911 and 1917 seasons.

Next come two players from the expansion era who were each able to achieve perfection twice in their careers:

7)Joe Morgan - no surprise that it's his back-to-back MVP seasons of 1975 and 1976 that make the list.

8)Rickey Henderson - his two best seasons in 1985 and 1990 also make the list. Peak Rickey was pure perfection!

Finally, here's the list of players who reached "perfection" one shining season in their career - note that some of these are in shortened seasons so you can speculate as to whether they would have been able to maintain such a level of performance over an entire 162 game season (all are based on WAA/162 games):

Jeff Bagwell(1994), Lou Boudreau(1948), George Brett(1980), Lou Gehrig(1927 - Gehrig and Ruth in 1927 remain the only teammates in history to both achieve perfection in the same season), Willie Mays(1965), Cal Ripken(1991), Mike Schmidt(1981), Mike Trout(2012), Honus Wagner(1908) and Carl Yastrzemski(1967). Of this group of players Yaz has the highest raw WAA in a season but Brett has the highest "per 162" WAA.

There have been a total of 39 player seasons since 1900 where perfection has been achieved by a player, and only 18 players have ever reached this level of performance in a season. You can tell by looking at the list above that it predominantly consists of inner-circle HOFers.

Of course, some of these seasons are ones where a player missed a substantial amount of playing time and if a player can't be in the lineup then he obviously can't help a team play to perfection. It is also unfortunate that we don't have enough of a statistical record available to rate players such as Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, etc. It is quite possible that we might be able to add more players to the list.

That's all for now - I just thought it would be a fun exercise to look at this. I guess the next thing to look at will be pitchers but I probably won't get to that today.



   42. DL from MN Posted: May 06, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4701485)
Measures like #41 are where it is critical to adjust for standard deviations in run scoring. Yaz might be more impressive than Ruth if you adjust for context.

I also noticed there are no pitchers on the list. Rickey lost the 1985 MMP to Gooden so I'm sure there are pitchers that qualify.
   43. Moeball Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:35 AM (#4702085)
I also noticed there are no pitchers on the list. Rickey lost the 1985 MMP to Gooden so I'm sure there are pitchers that qualify.


DL – Yes, Gooden is on the short list of pitchers who have achieved “perfection”. Far fewer pitchers have done this than position players – not really sure why that is. It is also more difficult to make the adjustment to full season performance for pitchers. For a position player who has 8 WAA in 144 games played it is easy to prorate to 162 games played and see that he would have had 9 WAA. For pitchers, though, they can’t play 162 games so I’m not really sure how to prorate their numbers. In today’s game I would guess maybe I would prorate to 34 starts or something like that, since that’s about the most starts you can have in a 5-man rotation?

At any rate – here are the pitchers who show up on the Play Index sort post-1900:

1)Walter Johnson – only pitcher to appear twice on the list for his incredible back-to-back 1912 and 1913 seasons, with a high WAA of 11.5 in 1913. He is also the only pitcher on the list to have seasons with double digit WAAs. Just as an aside, I looked into the game logs for Washington in 1913 and was able to determine that Johnson’s 36-7 record did not get much of a boost from great batting support. He had 18 decisions of his W-L record that involved games where he was given 2 runs or less of support. Most pitchers under those circumstances would go something like 6-12. Johnson had an incredible 13-5 record in those games. Take out the 4 times Washington was shut out and he went an amazing 13-1 in games where he was given only 1 or 2 runs to work with! Talk about “There’s your run, now hold them!” Walter really could do that!

2)Gooden’s 1985 season at 9.8 WAA is the next on the list after Johnson. As mentioned when talking about the position players, the only ones to show up on this list were all truly great players, no flukes at all (Ruth, Williams, Bonds, Hornsby, Mantle, Cobb, Morgan, Henderson, Bagwell, Boudreau, Brett, Gehrig, Mays, Ripken, Schmidt, Trout, Wagner, Yaz). You just don’t find HOVG players having this level of dominance in a season. Until you get to Gooden. Even in his case, as great as his career started out, I can’t help but think he should have been one of the all time great pitchers. He just…lost it. Mentally, physically, everything.

3)The remaining list of pitchers to have achieved perfection is a list of the usual suspects and you can probably guess the seasons involved as well – great pitchers at their absolute peaks: Pedro Martinez(2000), Roger Clemens(1997), Steve Carlton(1972), followed by a couple of old timers in Pete Alexander(1920) and Cy Young(1901). Young was the first pitcher to do this post-1900 and I suppose that is appropriate.

Some other famous seasons that come close to perfection but that just fall a little short: Bob Gibson(1968), Randy Johnson(2002). Hal Newhouser had an 8.9 WAA in 1945, but that was with the war depletion, so I’m not sure that should really count. Lefty Grove topped out at 8.7 in 1936.
   44. DL from MN Posted: May 07, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4702115)
Don't count your chickens on Trout until he's played 10 seasons

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NewsblogThe Yankees’ plan in case A-Rod can’t play at all
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NewsblogTrading Justin Upton means the Braves are in full rebuilding mode | Mark Bradley blog
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NewsblogOT - College Football Bowl Spectacular (December 2014 - January 2015)
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Hall of Merit2015 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
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NewsblogRuben Amaro Jr. says it would be best if Phillies move on from Ryan Howard
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