Well, pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training and most of the position players have also arrived. It’s that time of year again!
And I think I’ll start this year’s thread off by pointing out exactly how flawed of a statistic WAR really is. To wit:
The Angels had a collective team WAR of 37.9, which was tops in the majors. But they finished third in their division. The pennant-winning team from the AL (Detroit) finished 23rd in the majors with a collective WAR of 13.7 and Baltimore, another postseason team, finished dead last in the majors with a collective WAR of 11.4.
To be fair, in the NL the team WARs were much more in line with where they actually finished. For instance, the team with the highest WAR in the NL was the World Champion San Francisco Giants, with a WAR of 28.9. Still, that is significantly lower than the major league-leading Angels, even though Anaheim was clearly not operating on a level anywhere near the Giants when all was said and done.
However, the Giants also had one of the top pitching staffs in baseball by any statistical measure. Except for WAR of course. Their staff’s collective WAR was a mere 5.5, good for 22nd in the majors and well behind Detroit’s 23.3. And we saw how much better SF’s pitching staff was when squaring up against Detroit in the Series, especially when considering which staff was facing the better lineup on paper in that Series. Furthermore, Colorado had the 4th-best WAR in the NL at 14.5 yet had one of the worst staffs in the entire majors and had the league’s highest ERA (5.22). Nobody who actually watched the Rockies’ staff throughout the year would argue that they were anything but one of the worst collections of pitching talent in the majors. Yet they were ranked much, much higher than the vaunted SF staff in terms of WAR.
So I don’t see how anyone could argue in favor of WARs alleged veracity in light of these conclusions. It’s a flawed statistic at best and has little place in any sort of advanced statistical analysis of the game of baseball. There are certain advanced metrics that have some use, but WAR is simply not one of them.