This past weekend, I had the honor and pleasure to present a paper at the 2012 Saber Seminar, a charity baseball conference in Boston that raises money to benefit the Jimmy Fund. I’ve cut down that paper a good deal and made some modifications to it based on the feedback I received at the conference. Essentially, I converted the paper into a form that would work well as an article at The Hardball Times.
...WAR has been gaining acceptance, but some of the internet’s best sabermetric minds are distancing themselves from the statistic more than ever, especially as a single-season metric.
The goal of my paper for the Saber Seminar was to evaluate the ability of WAR to describe performance in a given season, as well as to predict future performances in a subsequent season.
...Single-season WAR does a phenomenal job at doing what it says it does. Single-season WAR should not be used to predict win totals or even WAR in a subsequent season. Single-season WAR also is not supposed to reflect the true talent level of a player, which I think is far and away the largest flaw in the way people interpret the statistic. If WAR did reflect true talent, every player would have the same WAR that perfectly encompassed how much value his talent should bring to his team every single year.
Even in the various definitions of WAR, the words “true talent level” never pop up:
The consensus seems to be that WAR is how much value (WINS!!) a player contributes to his team over the baseline of a player who could replace him. WAR does not reflect the true talent level of a player, but instead it describes how many wins an individual player contributes on the actual field, and in that aspect it works spectacularly well.
Posted: August 08, 2012 at 08:16 AM | 80 comment(s)
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