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Saturday, December 28, 2013

HHS: Autin: Pennant Impact of Big WAR Years

10-WAR Seasons

Finally, at the 10-WAR level, 31% were for Series teams (23 of 74), with an 11-12 record for those players, 10-12 for those teams. Only the 1927 and ’29 Yankees had two 10-WAR players (guess who); the ’27 squad went 110-44 and then swept the Series.

Of the teams with any 10-WAR player(s), 31% reached the Series (22 of 72), going 10-12. For the Yankees, 9/14, 5-4; all others, 13/58 reached the Series, 5-8.

Pre-playoffs, 19 of 59 teams with any 10-WAR players reached the Series, going 9-10. Since 1969, there were only 12 ten-WAR years, those teams going 1-2 in the Series. Since 1962, only Joe Morgan (’75) has won the World Series in a 10-WAR year.

No World Series ever had opposing 10-WAR players.

Most 10-WAR seasons in this pool:

  10 — Babe Ruth, 3-2 in WS
  8 — Rogers Hornsby, 0-1 in WS
  6 — Willie Mays, 1-1 in WS
  5 — Ted Williams, 0-1 in WS
  5 — Ty Cobb, 0-1 in WS
  4 — Mickey Mantle, 2-2 in WS
  3 — Lou Gehrig, 1-0 in WS
  3 — Barry Bonds, 0-1 in WS

Again, the pinstripe breakdown: Ruth, Mantle & Gehrig combined, 17 seasons, 6-4 in WS. The five others listed above, 27 seasons, 1-5 in WS.

Besides those three Yankees, just five others won the World Series in a 10-WAR year: Eddie Collins (1910), Tris Speaker (1912), Lou Boudreau (1948), Willie Mays (1954) and Joe Morgan (1975).

With all this, I can’t draw any conclusions. This anecdotal overview leaves me still not blown away by the pennant impact of big-WAR seasons — particularly outside of Yankeeland, and within the wild-card era — but maybe I just lack a good frame of reference.

Thanks to Chino.

Repoz Posted: December 28, 2013 at 12:23 PM | 2 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. KT's Pot Arb Posted: December 28, 2013 at 07:18 PM (#4625327)
What about 11 WAR seasons?

Or 9 WAR seasons?

Arbitrary cutoff lines need to be placed carefully to draw meaningless correlations.

Apologies; After RTFA author does try different cutoffs, rest of my comment still stands.
   2. Jay Z Posted: December 28, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4625402)
As far as dominant players go, it's better to have a player be particularly dominant over his peers in a particular season than a player be dominant overall. There are going to be a varying number of 10 WAR seasons or whatever cutoff in particular seasons. You are better off if you have a 10 WAR player and no one else has more than 7 WAR, than with an 11 WAR player and another 10 WAR player as a direct rival.

Example: There were five really outstanding WAR outcomes for starting pitchers in 1971:
Fergie Jenkins, 12.0
Tom Seaver, 10.9
Wilbur Wood, 10.9
Mickey Lolich, 8.7
Vida Blue, 8.6

All of these pitchers had a better WAR than any position player in 1971.

Now the WARs are not equally distributed across all divisions. None of the top 5 are from the NL West. The top one overall, Jenkins, actually has the smallest lead over #2:

NLE Jenkins 12.0 over Seaver 10.9 = 1.1
NLW Dave Roberts 7.7 over Don Wilson 6.1 = 1.6
ALE Lolich 8.7 over Sonny Siebert 6.7 = 2.0
ALW Wood 10.9 over Blue 8.6 = 2.3

Then you have other players factoring in. Neither Jenkins nor Seaver's teams won their division. The Pirates did, helped by the fact that they had 2 of the top 3 position players in the NL. Lolich didn't win either. Unbelievably, none of the Orioles 4 20 game winners made the top ten in pitching WAR for the American League in 1971. But that's still 4 good starters, plus the Orioles had a solid top to bottom lineup. So Lolich doesn't win. Likewise with Wilbur Wood. Vida Blue had Reggie Jackson and Sal Bando on his side, who were better than the White Sox' best position player, Bill Melton. So only #5 out of the top 5 in pitcher WAR for that season makes the playoffs.

Distributional effects mean that the impact of outstanding seasons on chances of making the playoffs are likely going to be no more than linear. A win is a win, whether a superstar or someone closer to average helps your team get the win.

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