For instance, in the aftermath of Texas Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre’s hamstring injury, which has landed him on the disabled list, Richard Durrett writes for ESPN.com:
Perhaps the best measurement of Beltre’s worth is Wins Above Replacement or WAR. Basically, it looks at the wins a player adds above what a “replacement level” player would do. ESPN Stats & Information (shout out Joshua Kritz) tells me that Beltre had a value of 3.6 entering Friday’s game, the second-highest on the club behind Ian Kinsler (4.5 entering Friday). To put that in a little perspective, the Rangers are three games up on the Angels. So three-plus wins certainly matters.
No knock against Beltre and Kinsler, both quite valuable players, but is “WAR” short-changing a particular Ranger?
Let’s repeat what Durrett writes about “WAR:”
“Basically, it looks at the wins a player adds above what a ‘replacement level’ player would do.”
Some very simple numbers tell us that the Rangers have a 41-21 record with outfielder Josh Hamilton in the lineup this season and a 16-22 record with him out of the lineup—most of the missed games when he was recovering from a broken bone in his upper right arm.
Maybe I’m not understanding what “Wins Above Replacement” means, but it must not matter much that Texas is playing .661 winning baseball with Hamilton and .421 without him.