Statistics That Defines The Most Productive Player: “WAR”


Over the past five years, in order to highlight the value of a player and write their articles, journalists rely on a new baseball statistic called “WAR”. In fact, the system helps Hall of Fame voters to make a better assessment on each of the nominated candidates. There is no doubt that “WAR” has revolutionized the world of Major League Baseball, even agents use this system to find the true value of their clients. The genius who was given the task of elaborating it chose an acronym whose literary meaning is “War”, but refers to “Win Above Replacement”.

WAR goes beyond conventional statistics, such as: average of batting “AVG”, “SLUG” slugging, percentage per based “OBP” and others with relating to the batsmen. For pitcher effectiveness “ERA”, and walks plus hits per inning pitched “WHIP”.  For the defensive fielding percentage; errors in certain amount of “chances”, “throwing” to bases, “double plays”, among others. All these elements composed the statistics of “WAR” (Win Above Average). This system defines more accurately the numerical contribution of a baseball player towards the team during the season.

You might ask yourself: is it easy to calculate?

Well, it doesn’t take a degree in advanced Stadium programming and knowledge if they want to get the number. Is it easy to understand?  Yes, it is. The victories are something that everyone can understand. If we compare it with batting average, we all know that a .326 is better than a. 279.

The objective of the WAR is to collect everything that a baseball player performance with the complicating factors: stadiums, different times, positions play in the field and other factors to determine the value of the player. In order to understand, here is the example of two stars from the big show, although from different eras but not very distant. Carl Yastrzemski in 1968 with a .301 batting average, .426 OBP and .495 slugging, with Larry Walker in 1997 with. 366, .452 and .720. What do we compare? 10 runs produced in Fenway Park in 1968 had more value than 10 produced at Coors Field in 1997. Yastrzemski played very well left field and Walker did well on the right too. Both seasons look similar, but Yastrzemski won a WAR of 10.0 and Walker with 9.6. Although WAR is not perfect, but it is the closest to perfection and it defines the absolute value of the player, either by position or a pitcher.

One of the comparisons that has been done the most to determine who deserves to be in the Cooperstown Hall of Fame, is between David Concepcion and Alan Trammell. Both played their entire career with the same team; Concepcion played 19 years with the Cincinnati Reds, and Trammell 20 with the Detroit Tigers, and the two were excellent winners, shortstops who won the Gold Gloves award.

Conception: 2.488-games, 8.723-at bat, 993-runs, 2.326-Hits, 390-doubles, 48-Triples, 101-HR, 950 RBI, 321- SB .267-Avg and a WAR of 33.6.  Trammell: 2,293 games, 8.288- at bat, 1.231-runs, 2,365-Hits, 412-doubles, 55-triples, 185-HR, 1,003-RBI, 236-SB, .285-Avg and a WAR of 66.9. In this case, it is evident that Trammel outperforms Conception.

Others that are compared are Derek Jeter vs. Chipper Jones, for being infielders, but differ in that comparison since Jones was third base while Jeter a shortstop. It is true that both played their entire career with one team. Jeter with the Yankees and Jones with the Braves. However, the WAR of their lifetime accomplishments was well level considering that they played different positions: 81.3 Jones and Jeter 67.9.

A constellation of the best players stand out in this WAR statistics, which is applied more to players now a days. In this modern age one must also consider the amount of games, the three stages of the postseason, more night games, playing in turf, stadiums with a roof, with more travel flights, games played. In itself, it is a very different way of playing compared with 50, 75 or more years ago.

Here is a list of players with the highest WAR in a season, starting from 2010, which led to the era of the “steroids”. In other words, we will take into account only the last five years where MLB has taken more stringent measures to combat and discourage those who cheat in baseball. Thus, taking  in consideration this aspect, which we consider the era LEGAL and the most accurate statistics, we have the most distinguish or the most valuable player of the 2014 American League Season, Mike Trout, Angels, which recorded a 10.8 WAR in 2012 (192-runs, 182-H, 30-Hr, 49-SB,.326 Avg). Carlos Gómez, Brewers, 8.9 in 2013. Mike Trout, Angels, 8.9 in 2013. Josh Hamilton, Rangers, 8.7 in 2010. Ben Zobrist, Rays, 8.7 in 2011. Robinson Cano, Yankees, 8.4 in 2012, Jose Bautista, Blue Jays, 8.1 in 2011.

In the golden age (1947-1971), highlights Cal Yastrzemski, the Red Sox, with 12.4. Mickey Mantle, Yankees, 11.3 in 1957; and 11.2 in 1956. Willie Mays, Giants, 11.2 11.1 in 1964 and 1965. Stan Musial, Cardinals, 11.1 in 1948. In the era before “Racial integration” (1900-1946), the one leading was always Babe Ruth, Yankees, winning WAR of battles, 14.1 in 1923, registering 12.9 in 1921, 12.4 in 1927, these being the best of all time. Obviously, it was a different baseball, where the quality of black players or Latinos were not taking into account. It was until 1947 when these players had the chance to show their potential due to the “unjust racial barrier” that existed before. That is why we say – without fear of being wrong, that it was the starting point of Major League Baseball since it started to integrate players of all races,  now it is considered to be the best baseball in the world.