Yesterday I posted this tweet:
WAR is an important statistic for Miami Marlins fans.
Why does WAR matter? What does it mean? Well it can affect the NL Cy Young race for Sandy Alcantara. Many of you may already know what it means and its importance in today‘s game, but many of you may not understand it. Wins Above Replacement or WAR is an extremely useful stat that all fans should be aware of. Baseball-Reference explains it very well:
"The idea behind the WAR framework is that we want to know how much better a player is than a player that would typically be available to replace that player. We start by comparing the player to average in a variety of venues, then compare our theoretical replacement player to the average player and add the two results together.WAR for position players has six components:Batting RunsBaserunning RunsRuns added or lost due to Grounding into Double Plays in DP situationsFielding RunsPositional Adjustment RunsReplacement level Runs (based on playing time)The first five measurements are all compared against league average, so a value of zero will equate to a league average player. Less than zero means worse than average, and greater than zero means better than average.At its most basic level, our pitching WAR calculation requires only overall Runs Allowed (both earned and unearned) and Innings Pitched. Since we are trying to measure the value of the pitcher’s performance to his team, we start with his runs allowed and then adjust that number to put the runs into a more accurate context."
In other words, if a player has 0.0 WAR, he’s average. If he has lower than that he is below average and if he has higher he is above average. It’s considered that above 3.0 the player is very good, and 4.0 and above means that it’s a great player. All of this is relative however and WAR for bench players and relief pitchers is typically not expected to be above 1.0.
Different sources also use different ways to calculate WAR. Baseball Reference (bWAR) and Fangraphs (fWAR) are considered to be the leading ones. Personally, I use bWAR as it’s more accurate as to what WAR is supposed to be. WAR is supposed to represent the player’s actual production, while fWAR is more representative of the player’s ability and not actual production.
Case in point is that bWAR uses ERA for pitchers (their actual results), and fWAR uses FIP (what their results should be without luck and with an average defense supporting them).
WAR is a very useful stat and just for the record, Sandy Alcantara has a 6.2 WAR. I hope that this artivle helped put WAR into perspective for those of you who don’t understand the stat.