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Why does WAR overrate Chase Utley and Evan Longoria so much?

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  • Why does WAR overrate Chase Utley and Evan Longoria so much?

    Not trying to put down the stat, but some results are just bizarre. Chase Utley has accumulated 53.3 WAR for his career, which is already borderline HOF territory..but the thing is, he got off to a late start, and has also not had close to a full year since 2009. As a result, he only has played 1192 games in his career.

    53.3 WAR in 1193 games. This is an astounding total, and one you would expect from the all time greats..not a guy with a late start, a few good, but not all time great, or even MVP level type seasons, then a few injury years. Roberto Alomar did not surpass that WAR total until over 1800 games played. Sandberg and Biggio needed about 1700. Morgan needed about 1400. Is Utley really a much better player than these guys? Even being injured and subpar the last three years, he still has managed 12.3 WAR..in less than 2 seasons worth of games. Longoria is another enigma..averaging more WAR per game so far than Mike Schmidt did for his career. What gives? These guys are solid all star type players, but not all time greats, or even great HOF candidates.not all time great

  • #2
    The traditional great players tend to play positions like 1B and corner outfield spots. In WAR those spots receive a negative positional adjustment while playing second base gives Utley a slight bonus each year.

    For instance in 12 seasons Albert Pujols has negative 108 positional runs while in 10 season Chase has 20 runs. So almost 11 wins are taken off of Albert's total while Chase gets 2 wins added.

    The second issue is that WAR likes Utley's defense while, again, the traditional greats tended to be great because they were great hitters and not because they were good hitters and good fielders.

    As for other second basemen it comes down Chase having a very good OBP with very good power and with very good defense since the get go while the other players you mentioned generally lacked in one of those areas.

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    • #3
      I'll add that second basemen actually get less of a positional boost (+4 runs) than the average second baseman produces below an average hitter primarily I think because they want SSs to get a significanlty higher boost so they seem to have kind of split the difference.

      Chase is also an incredible rate base stealer (121 and 14!) and a VERY low GIDP guy and according to RDERS he is one of the greatest defensive second basemen ever, at +20 runs per full season at second.

      Here are some WAA from different categories:
      Position: +2 (not a lot but not negative)
      Defense: +13.8 (huge)
      Baserunning and double plays +5.2 (very plus)

      If he were an average major league hitter he would be over 36 war.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
        The traditional great players tend to play positions like 1B and corner outfield spots. In WAR those spots receive a negative positional adjustment while playing second base gives Utley a slight bonus each year.

        For instance in 12 seasons Albert Pujols has negative 108 positional runs while in 10 season Chase has 20 runs. So almost 11 wins are taken off of Albert's total while Chase gets 2 wins added.

        The second issue is that WAR likes Utley's defense while, again, the traditional greats tended to be great because they were great hitters and not because they were good hitters and good fielders.

        As for other second basemen it comes down Chase having a very good OBP with very good power and with very good defense since the get go while the other players you mentioned generally lacked in one of those areas.
        So you agree that, at least on a performance basis, that utley is one of the top 3 second basemen of all time?

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        • #5
          Utley has 53.3 war through 1192 games and he had 38.6 through his peak 5 consecutive years.

          Hornsby had 73.2 WAR over a span of 1134games and 49.4 through his peak 5 consecutive.
          Collins had 67.7 over 1201 and 43.2 for 5 consecutive
          Morgan had 61.1 over 1199 and 47.1 for 5 consecutive
          Lajoie had 64 over 1150 and 40.2 over 5 consecutive which doesn't even include his '01 season on either account
          Robinson had 55.7 over 1231 which edges Utley's rate and 40.5 over 5 consecutive

          All 5 had better runs, on both accounts and lasted longer than he has.

          And Gehringer is virtually even for his peak with 51.6 over 1179 and 37.3 over 5 consecutive with 5% shorter seasons which would put him at 39.2 in a 162 game season.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by brett View Post
            Utley has 53.3 war through 1192 games and he had 38.6 through his peak 5 consecutive years.

            Hornsby had 73.2 WAR over a span of 1134games and 49.4 through his peak 5 consecutive.
            Collins had 67.7 over 1201 and 43.2 for 5 consecutive
            Morgan had 61.1 over 1199 and 47.1 for 5 consecutive
            Lajoie had 64 over 1150 and 40.2 over 5 consecutive which doesn't even include his '01 season on either account
            Robinson had 55.7 over 1231 which edges Utley's rate and 40.5 over 5 consecutive

            All 5 had better runs, on both accounts and lasted longer than he has.

            And Gehringer is virtually even for his peak with 51.6 over 1179 and 37.3 over 5 consecutive with 5% shorter seasons which would put him at 39.2 in a 162 game season.
            So it appears that Utley would fall somewhere between number 5-7 all time, if we are only going by WAR. He should pass Robinson next year

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            • #7
              Originally posted by willshad View Post
              So it appears that Utley would fall somewhere between number 5-7 all time, if we are only going by WAR. He should pass Robinson next year
              His PEAK will never pass Robinson unless he performs better than his career rate next year. His 5 year peak will not pass Robinson's, and his approx 1200 game stretch may just about match him next year, but he will still need 200 more games at his level of the last 2 years to catch Robinson's career.

              And that sounds about right.
              Robinson went .311/.409/.474 with 947 runs, 734 RBI 197 steals in 1382 games
              Utley is at .288/.376/.500 with 779 runs, 739 RBI and 121 steals at a much better rate through 1192

              In terms of "value".

              But I'd put Robinson higher because he did it between the ages of 28-37. Utley would need to have his career revitalized to match Gehringer given his longevity.

              53.3 war through 1192 games is great but its basically all prime at this point.
              Last edited by brett; 10-06-2012, 07:40 PM.

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              • #8
                IMO, in no way shape or form will I ever believe that one stat will be a holy grail for player evaluation. Since Bill James and sabermetrics have been on the scene, too many folks have been in pursuit of such. Time will tell this tale. Over time, the flaws in the stat will be evident, and only in light of those flaws would I place any real weight on WAR. If the flaws are still minor, and I like the results, then I will pay attention. For the time being, WAR is a fad.

                It is a bit like marriage..... if you love your spouse then it is love, warts and all. I cannot marry myself to a stat at the expense of what I have done for player evaluation all along. This thread will serve as part of that enlightenment, for this baseball fan.

                BTW, Evan Longoria is my favorite player at the present moment, in spite of the fact that he is apparently made of glass.
                Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

                A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

                Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

                Comment


                • #9
                  IMO, in no way shape or form will I ever believe that one stat will be a holy grail for player evaluation. Since Bill James and sabermetrics have been on the scene, too many folks have been in pursuit of such. Time will tell this tale. Over time, the flaws in the stat will be evident, and only in light of those flaws would I place any real weight on WAR. If the flaws are still minor, and I like the results, then I will pay attention. For the time being, WAR is a fad.

                  It is a bit like marriage..... if you love your spouse then it is love, warts and all. I cannot marry myself to a stat at the expense of what I have done for player evaluation all along. This thread will serve as part of that enlightenment, for this baseball fan.

                  BTW, Evan Longoria is my favorite player at the present moment, in spite of the fact that he is apparently made of glass.
                  Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

                  A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

                  Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As for Longoria being "overrated", he has averaged 41 doubles, 33 home runs, 116 RBI per 162 games and a .516 slugging percentage and War puts him with the likes of Nettles and Bell as a fielder, but both those guys were merely average in the field by age 33 or 34.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by willshad View Post
                      Not trying to put down the stat, but some results are just bizarre.
                      Let me point out again to you that you seem to me to find players to be overrated primarily who get a lot of WAR from defense. That's all. I have not seen an issue about WAR. Its not positional adjustments (which are fairly small) but that the variations in defense between good players and poor ones can be extreme. Either you think WAR weighs defense too high or that it is defensively evaluating those players improperly.

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                      • #12
                        I did some "analysis" (well it doesn't deserve the name analysis) on the topic
                        http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...AR-by-position

                        Using the top15 by position I could not confirm that 3B and 2B are overrated. of course talent is not distributed equally so the value of my analysis is limited but there is no huge gap between 2B and 3B and 1B/OF considering the all time top 15. catching seems very underrated though.

                        I'm not sure how accurate the defense metrics are but I don't think that a great fielder is overrated if he gets 2 wins for defense. 20 runs saved equal about 2 wins (depending on run environment) and that is certainly reasonable. if you put up 1.5 dWAR for 15 years you have 22 dWAR. this is great but some players have done it. how accurate those measurements are is another question...
                        Last edited by dominik; 10-12-2012, 05:17 AM.
                        I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Most people who have a problem with WAR have a problem with particular players who get a lot of defensive war (sometimes compared to others who lose a lot).

                          Is it too much of a boost, or just that certain unexpected guys show up on defense?

                          As far as the amount of boost, WAR gives Ozzie Smith 239 runs above average for a shortstop. Does that make sense? Well he made 5.12 total plays per 9 innings and his league averaged 4.6 at shortstop. That means that he made an extra play every half of a game. An extra play at shortstop most commonly means taking a single and turning it into an out. A single is worth very close to half a run, and an out very close to .2 runs. If he indeed made just over 80 extra plays per full season, he would have saved in line with 56 runs. (in fact he gets about 15 per season) so I don't see how WAR is overrating good defense.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by willshad View Post
                            Longoria is another enigma..averaging more WAR per game so far than Mike Schmidt did for his career. What gives?
                            You have to be careful when doing WAR/G comparisons. It is very different from WAR. Longoria is in his prime right now and not yet begun to decline due to aging, while you are including Schmidt's later years which are dragging his rate down. Schmidt was much better than Longoria in his prime, and WAR/G will reflect that.

                            Same goes for Utley, because of his late start and recent injuries, you are mostly calculating his peak years.
                            UI2
                            BTB

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JDanger View Post
                              You have to be careful when doing WAR/G comparisons. It is very different from WAR. Longoria is in his prime right now and not yet begun to decline due to aging, while you are including Schmidt's later years which are dragging his rate down. Schmidt was much better than Longoria in his prime, and WAR/G will reflect that.

                              Same goes for Utley, because of his late start and recent injuries, you are mostly calculating his peak years.
                              I don't know what 'later years' you are talking about for Schmidt. At age 37 he had a great season, better than anything Longoria has done so far..and that was probably only his 11th or 12 th best season. he then had about a season's worth of subpar games. How much with that bring down his rate stats?

                              Longoria is not in the same stratosphere as Schmidt.

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