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Friday, March 27, 2020

JAWS and the 2020 bWAR Update, Part 3

No pitcher took it in the JAWS quite as hard as position players Ernie Lombardi and Josh Donaldson did via Baseball-Reference’s latest update to its version of WAR, which I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks unpacking — at least when I wasn’t stocking my freezer and my pantry while reading the grim COVID-19 news. B-Ref’s latest influx of data resulted in alterations to five different areas of the metric that affected players as far back as 1904 and as recently as last season. Lombardi, a Hall of Fame catcher, lost a whopping 7.3 WAR due to the introduction of detailed play-by-play baserunning and caught stealing data from the 1930s and ’40s, while Donaldson lost 3.8 WAR due to a change in the way Defensive Runs Saved is calculated. By comparison, the largest swing for a pitcher, either positive or negative, was the 2.2 WAR gained by Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson.

B-Ref’s version of WAR is different from that of FanGraphs, particularly when it comes to pitching; it’s based on actual runs allowed, with adjustments for the qualify of the offenses faced and the defenses behind it, where the FanGraphs version is driven by the Fielding Independent Pitching categories as well as infield flies. As bWAR is the currency for JAWS, it’s of particular interest to me, even at a time when the Hall itself is closed due to the pandemic. I’ve grazed by the pitchers in my two recent updates, mentioning a few tidbits here and there while trying to avoid a typical Jaffe-length 3,000 word epic, but in this installment I’ll take a closer look at the those most affected. To review, here are the five areas where B-Ref’s WAR update has incorporated new (or recently unearthed) data, ordered for chronological effect:

New Retrosheet Game Logs (1904-07)
Caught Stealing Totals from Game Logs (1926-40)
Baserunning and Double Plays from play-by-play data (1931-47)
Defensive Runs Saved changes (2013-19)
Park factor changes (2018)

Jaffe’s tour through the changes that have taken place concerning bWAR now stops for some thoughts on its meaning concerning pitching statistics.


QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jaws, jay jaffe, war

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