2BC, you do not understand how position WAR is calculated or how it fits in to the entire system of individual batting, fielding, baserunning and pitching. It has been explained to you repeatedly in different ways by different people who do understand it. But when you characterize it, you continually misrepresent it as a prior condition to play. It is not. It depends on the results during the season of all players at every position, thereby determining how many runs the average player and the replacement player at the position produce offensively. After all, we're interested in "above replacement," and if replacement level offense varies from position to position, we have to account for it.
The agile first baseman prevents runs with his agility. This is tallied in the defensive runs above average column. For example, projected over full seasons, Keith Hernandez in 1983 would have had an edge of about 30 runs, about 3 WAR, over Dave Kingman, just on defense alone. 3 WAR is the offensive and defensive output of an above average player. It's as if the Mets had an extra average player on the field when Hernandez replaced Kingman.
If you look at defensive runs above average, you will see that Hernandez outscores many shortstops, season by season and over a career. Of course a contributing factor is that average defense for a first baseman saves fewer runs than average defense for a shortstop. So in a sense Keith gets a leather bonus to compensate for his position ding.
In fact, it was the wide publication of WAR more than anything else that helped bring about the reevaluation of Hernandez and first base defense. If Hernandez ever goes into the hall of fame, it will be because of the modern measurement of defense, as captured in WAR totals.
The inappropriateness of your example, your notion that an agile fielder at first is a loser by the system, this shows that you don't understand WAR. Because you haven't studied it. You have placed a huge millstone between you and the subject in the form of an idee fixe. As Nate Silver would say, be less of a hedgehog and more of a fox.
Last edited by Jackaroo Dave; 01-22-2013 at 10:36 PM.
Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce