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Baseball Sabermetrics: Can someone thoroughly explain to me what WAR means?

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  • Baseball Sabermetrics: Can someone thoroughly explain to me what WAR means?

    I know what the acronym stands for, (Wins Above Replacement) yet what does it mean exactly?

  • #2
    What don't you understand? Is it the formula, definition or concept of replacement player? Or all of the above?
    My blog -


    • #3
      I'm not a huge fan of WAR, but I'll have a go....

      After compiling a significant amount of data (a players offensive and defensive accomplishments) a numerical product is created by a complex formula, which attempts to measure how many WINS said player (and him alone) would generate for his team when compared to an AVERAGE replacement player - were the replacement player in the batters box for every plate appearance, playing d on every fielding chance, etc.

      In other words, if Yadier Molina has a WAR of 6 for 2011 (no idea what his real number is... Just go with it) then he cumulatively collected enought hits, RBI, on base %, stolen bases, etc etc etc to generate all by himself - 6 wins MORE for the Cardinals than they would have achieved were Molina NOT on the team and a Catcher that is average in every way in his place all 162 games.

      There are caveats however. Defensive WAR is very tricky and most WAR advocates don't agree on which method to use. Some feel that WAR, although certainly useful to some extent in identifying good players, is a bit of a "dreamworld" metric, as replacing a player for every single appearance with a player who is average in evey way is "fantasyland" and there is no chance the teammates would play exactly the same of course.

      Admittedly, there are others who can do a better job explaining all this...
      "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."


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