Revisiting ’03: Marlins player win/loss records
By Michael Jong
Recently, Tom Tango posted a methodology that allows you convert player performance via WPA or WAR into player win/loss records. When he encouraged us to go ahead and do this for our own favorite teams, I immediately thought of the 2003 Marlins, so I figured I’d go ahead and make this part of Revisiting ’03.
Essentially, this methodology is a way to break down player contributions in terms of wins and losses. Using WPA ensures that you get the entire team total to add up to the team’s win-loss record, but then you cannot adjust for things like position and defense, which of course hold value. We can use WAR (used here from FanGraphs for ease) to adjust for those things, but then we lose the ability for the entire thing to add up to seasonal win-loss records.
Without further ado, here are your results:
|Rest of Team||1||15|
|Rest of Team||10||10|
All numbers listed here are rounded to the nearest whole value. As a whole, the Marlins were only two wins better than average according to WPA, but they made up the remaining 18 games with pitching/defense. Looking at the pitching/defense table, you can see that much of those wins came from the starting rotation and the pair of relievers who pitched the high leverage innings for the Fish. The starters, along with Ugeth Urbina and Braden Looper, combined for a 39-21 record, with Dontrelle Willis of course being the most impressive. On the hitter’s side, Juan Pierre and Derrek Lee came out with the most wins, with Lee taking only two losses as well. This generally fits with the idea that Lee was the best hitter on the Marlins by a good margin, but it also gives Pierre a lot of credit.
I’ve yet to figure out how to do pitchers in this method, but when I do I will update this post. Compare the tables of offensive players. The biggest gainers were Ivan Rodriguez and Alex Gonzalez, which should come as no surprise given that his method takes into account position (catcher and shortstop respectively) and defense (Gonzalez was +6 runs according to UZR). The biggest loser was Juan Encarnacion, who sucked that year on defense (in general, really, but at the time I didn’t necessarily think so). The other players actually came out about the same.
If you ever wanted to look at players in this fashion, there’s a quick way to do it. Go ahead and read through Tango’s instructions on the methodology and take a look at a Marlins team yourself. I’m personally interested in using the WPA method for the 1998 Marlins as well, just to see how bad they were.