Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fun with WAR graphs

I have a serious baseball fetish.  I love playing around with WAR graphs on Fangraphs.  This first one is of a few of the great second basemen over the last 40 years:  Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker, Ryne Sandberg, and Roberto Alomar.  Interesting thing to note...Whitaker and Grich produced higher WAR totals for their career than Sandberg and Alomar.  Somehow, the former fell off of the Hall of Fame ballot after their first year of eligibility, while the latter are currently enshrined.  While I'm not saying Sandberg and Alomar shouldn't be the Hall of Fame (Alomar for sure and Sandberg maybe), but Grich and Whitaker certainly deserved a better fate.

Do you remember those debates 10-15 years ago about which shortstop was going to have the better career:  A-Rod, Nomar, Jeter, or Tejada?  Well, it turns out that debate was pretty silly right from the beginning.  A-Rod far out classed everyone in terms of performance, while Nomar was dead even with Jeter until injuries derailed his promising career.  As for Tejada?  Well, he was pulling up the rear for quite a while, but finally, he's caught up with the third place member of the pack (Nomar).  It only took him six years to do.

This last WAR graph includes Edgar Martinez, Tony Perez, Andre Dawson, and Jim Rice.  The latter three are Hall of Famers, while Edgar Martinez is on the outside looking in.  Martinez, unlike the three undeserving Hall of Fame inductees listed above, not only beat them in terms of career WAR, but did so while playing most of his career playing DH.  Every season, he he was at at least a one win disadvantage (the difference between the DH and a corner OF spot), and somehow he managed to beat them all.  How did he do it?  He actually was a great hitter, unlike the other three who were great hitters by reputation. 

That's all for now.  Next Saturday, I'll post some more fun WAR graphs, which hopefully will spur some discussion.

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