Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1985 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records



Next in my continuing series of looking at individual seasons through the prism of Player won-lost records is the 1985 season.

The Best of 1985

I calculate Player won-lost records two ways: pWins, which tie to team wins and eWins, which control for context and the ability of one's teammates. For players with more pWins than eWins, their Player wins contributed to more team wins than one might expect; for players with more eWins than pWins, just the opposite is true: their Player wins translated into fewer team wins than expected. Or more briefly: a player with more pWins than eWins was better in context, a player with more eWins than pWins was worse in context.

The top 10 players in pWins above Positional Average and Replacement Level were as follows.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Dwight Gooden21.311.06.1
7.6
1Dwight Gooden21.311.06.1
7.6
2Bret Saberhagen15.98.53.9
5.3
2Bret Saberhagen15.98.53.9
5.3
3Pedro Guerrero23.314.83.7
5.2
3Pedro Guerrero23.314.83.7
5.2
4John Tudor16.310.63.6
4.9
4Jesse Barfield23.616.03.5
4.9
5Jesse Barfield23.616.03.5
4.9
5John Tudor16.310.63.6
4.9
6George Brett22.115.33.4
4.8
6George Brett22.115.33.4
4.8
7Rickey Henderson23.015.93.3
4.7
7Tom Herr25.619.13.1
4.8
8Tom Herr25.619.13.1
4.8
8Rickey Henderson23.015.93.3
4.7
9Gary Carter19.914.13.0
4.3
9Willie McGee25.018.42.8
4.4
10Ozzie Smith22.518.12.8
4.3
10Ozzie Smith22.518.12.8
4.3


The top 10 players in eWins above Positional Average and Replacement Level were as follows.

eWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          eWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL           Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1Dwight Gooden17.911.34.2
5.5
1Dwight Gooden17.911.34.2
5.5
2Rickey Henderson22.815.43.5
4.9
2Rickey Henderson22.815.43.5
4.9
3John Tudor15.510.73.1
4.4
3John Tudor15.510.73.1
4.4
4Pedro Guerrero21.715.02.9
4.2
4Wade Boggs23.718.32.8
4.3
5Wade Boggs23.718.32.8
4.3
5Pedro Guerrero21.715.02.9
4.2
6Bret Saberhagen14.79.82.7
4.0
6George Brett22.517.52.5
4.0
7George Brett22.517.52.5
4.0
7Bert Blyleven17.513.32.4
4.0
8Rick Reuschel12.08.02.5
3.5
8Bret Saberhagen14.79.82.7
4.0
9Bert Blyleven17.513.32.4
4.0
9Cal Ripken23.020.32.3
4.0
10Cal Ripken23.020.32.3
4.0
10Dale Murphy25.319.72.3
3.9


The 1985 season was the breakthrough season for 20-year-old Dwight Gooden who almost certainly had the best season by a 20-year-old in major-league history and one of the best seasons, period. Among players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records, Gooden ranks top 5 in pWins over positional average (pWOPA) and replacement level (pWORL). His rankings are somewhat lower in eWOPA and eWORL (top 30 in each), but still, this was an outstanding season. Rather than write more about Gooden here, I decided to give him his own article.

I will, however, take a somewhat closer look at two of the top non-pitchers in all four tables above: Rickey Henderson and Pedro Guerrero.

Rickey Henderson
The 1985 AL MVP Award was given to Don Mattingly on the strength of his major-league leading 145 RBIs, the most in the American League in 35 years.

The player who Mattingly drove in more than any other (56 times) was Rickey Henderson, who scored a major-league leading 146 runs, the most runs scored in the major leagues in 48 years.

MVP voters obviously were more impressed by Mattingly for driving in all those runs. Player won-lost records (and most other sabermetric measures) are more impressed by the guy who got on base and ran the bases well enough to score all of those runs.

The next table breaks down the (context-neutral) performance of Henderson and Mattingly in 1985 to show how Henderson ends up more valuable.

Decomposition of eWORL
Wins over Average
Batting Baserunning Fielding Position Replacement eWORL
Rickey Henderson2.21.1
0.2
-0.2
1.7
4.9
Don Mattingly2.30.1
0.1
-0.7
1.5
3.2


Pedro Guerrero
Based on Player won-lost records, the best non-pitcher in the National League in 1985 was probably Pedro Guerrero.

Pedro Guerrero was what you might call a hitting savant. He could fall out of bed and rip line drives. At his peak, he was as reliable a guy to give you a .300/.370/.500 line with 30 home runs as anybody in baseball.

The top 10 players in Player batting wins over non-pitcher average for the 1980s are shown in the next table.

Top 10 Players in Batting Wins over Non-Pitcher Average
(1980 - 1989)
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mike Schmidt132.289.519.3
Dwight Evans134.0103.115.5
Dale Murphy141.8107.514.8
Jack Clark111.178.714.6
Eddie Murray137.1107.514.6
Pedro Guerrero111.479.914.0
George Brett118.190.513.8
Rickey Henderson124.997.913.5
Wade Boggs111.786.612.5
Darryl Strawberry89.963.012.0


Unfortunately, he gave about half of that value back with below-average baserunning and fielding.

His teams (the Dodgers and Cardinals) tried him all over the field - he saw most of his time at first base, third base, right field, and left field, but also saw time (somewhat surprisingly) in center field and at second base. He was something of a born DH who had the misfortune to play his entire career in a non-DH league. Even more unfortunate than his fielding record, however, Guerrero has had more than his fair share of misfortune in his life outside of baseball.

But the man could hit well enough that he was one of the best players in baseball for a few years. The last table in this section presents Pedro Guerrero's career Player won-lost record.

Pedro Guerrero
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1978LAN22
5
0.10.10.6220.0
0.0
0.40.20.7050.10.1
1979LAN23
25
1.41.50.482-0.1
0.0
1.51.90.447-0.2-0.1
1980LAN24
71
5.85.80.502-0.0
0.4
6.65.40.5510.51.0
1981LAN25
98
13.610.20.5701.3
2.2
12.111.10.5220.11.1
1982LAN26
150
24.318.70.5652.2
3.8
23.717.70.5722.44.0
1983LAN27
160
21.916.90.5642.0
3.4
21.716.40.5692.13.5
1984LAN28
144
18.817.00.5250.4
1.8
19.116.20.5421.02.4
1985LAN29
137
23.314.80.6123.7
5.2
21.715.00.5922.94.2
1986LAN30
30
1.12.00.348-0.5
-0.4
2.01.60.5460.10.3
1987LAN31
152
18.817.10.5240.1
1.5
20.417.20.5420.82.3
32
103
11.210.60.514-0.0
0.8
10.49.90.512-0.10.7
1989SLN33
162
20.416.30.5560.8
2.1
18.515.50.5440.41.6
1990SLN34
136
12.514.30.467-1.6
-0.7
13.013.20.496-0.80.1
1991SLN35
115
12.813.80.482-1.1
-0.1
12.412.90.490-0.80.2
1992SLN36
43
3.04.20.411-0.8
-0.5
3.14.50.404-0.9-0.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,531
188.9163.10.5376.3
19.6
186.6158.80.5407.520.6


1985 Postseason

The 1985 postseason saw one team make the first postseason appearance in its history, two teams who had been to the World Series earlier in the 1980s and would return again in two of the next three years.

And a team who capped off a ten-season, seven playoff appearance, run with the only World Series win in its franchise history.

1985 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Danny JacksonKCA1.80.90.6
Tito LandrumSLN1.81.00.5
George BrettKCA2.11.40.5
Bret SaberhagenKCA1.61.10.4
Ozzie SmithSLN1.81.30.4
Jack ClarkSLN1.91.20.4


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1985 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Terry PendletonSLN1.30.70.4
Bret SaberhagenKCA0.90.50.3
Danny JacksonKCA0.90.60.2
Lonnie SmithKCA1.10.80.2
Tito LandrumSLN1.10.80.2
Buddy BiancalanaKCA0.70.40.2
John TudorSLN1.61.80.2
Dane IorgKCA0.30.10.2

1985 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Ozzie SmithSLN1.40.60.5
Tom HerrSLN1.10.40.4
George BrettKCA1.30.70.4
Jack ClarkSLN1.20.50.3
Danny JacksonKCA0.80.30.3
Tito LandrumSLN0.70.20.3


Best of 1985 by Factor and Position

Next, let's look at the top players in (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over Positional Average in various aspects of the game.
Best by Factor: Batting, Baserunning, Pitching, Fielding
There are four basic factors for which players earn Player won-lost records: Batting, Baserunning, Pitching, and Fielding. The top players in 1985 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pedro Guerrero15.19.12.8
George Brett15.810.32.7
Dale Murphy17.111.62.5

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rickey Henderson3.51.31.1

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Dwight Gooden14.19.34.8
John Tudor12.78.54.2


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Charlie Leibrandt1.00.30.6


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tony Pena Sr.2.92.20.7


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Pete M. O'Brien3.02.50.5


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ron Oester6.55.70.8


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Terry Pendleton5.74.71.0
Tim Wallach6.15.21.0


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ozzie Smith7.96.71.2


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Vince Coleman5.74.90.8


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Gary Pettis5.84.61.1


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jesse Barfield6.75.01.7


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1985 Major-League leaders in eWOPA by position. The figures shown here only include Player decisions earned while playing this particular position, and include no contextual adjustments (expected or actual).



Catcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carlton Fisk14.011.31.7


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Don Mattingly21.015.91.8


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tom Herr21.818.21.7


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Wade Boggs23.518.72.5


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Cal Ripken22.920.52.2


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pedro Guerrero12.87.52.3


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rickey Henderson22.215.43.2


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jesse Barfield20.116.51.5
Darryl Strawberry13.610.01.5


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dwight Gooden14.59.62.7


The next table shows the top 12 seasons in starting pitcher eWOPA for which I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Top 12 Single-Season Starting Pitching Seasons
(eWins over Positional Average)
Player Season eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pedro J. Martinez200013.36.63.5
Roger Clemens199715.59.13.5
Greg Maddux199512.06.03.2
Pedro J. Martinez199912.66.63.2
Greg Maddux199614.38.93.0
Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson200414.18.92.9
Jake Arrieta201513.28.12.9
Dean Chance196414.49.12.9
J. Kevin Brown199814.79.42.9
Robin Roberts195319.514.22.9
Juan Marichal196916.711.52.8
Sandy Koufax196518.513.42.8


John Tudor had a truly exceptional 1985 season, arguably one of the top 10 seasons by a starting pitcher in the last 60 years. Unfortunately, Tudor had the great misfortune of doing so the same year that Dwight Gooden was having an historic season.

Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rich Gossage4.42.50.8


For relief pitchers, context-neutral records may not be the best measure of how good they are, as context can matter a great deal, depending on how a pitcher is used. Here are the top relief pitchers of 1985 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1985, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Lee Smith10.26.00.6291.82.9
Bob James9.34.90.6531.92.8
Rich Gossage7.33.10.7002.02.6
Dan Quisenberry10.67.00.6001.42.6
Jeff Reardon8.14.80.6291.52.3


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gorman Thomas12.310.21.0


Finally, here are the best at three oft-forgotten positions that can nevertheless matter: pitcher offense, pinch hitting, and pinch running.

Pitcher Offense
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dwight Gooden1.92.10.5


That kid really could do it all. He was even above-average as a fielder (0.525 eWin percentage).

Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Thad Bosley1.81.20.4


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
(Rogers) Bobby Brown0.50.20.2


Noteworthy Players of 1985
End of an Era
It seems somewhat unbelievable as I write this in 2013, but when I first became a baseball fan, one of the elite franchises in the major leagues was the Kansas City Royals. From 1976 through 1985, the Royals won the AL West 6-1/2 times (they won the AL West in the "second half" of 1981) in 10 seasons, a run which culminated in their only World Championship in 1985.

The next table shows the players who appeared on the first and last Royals teams to make the playoffs. Not surprisingly, at the top of the list is the best player in Kansas City Royals' history, first-ballot Hall-of-Famer George Brett.

Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Players for 1976 and 1985 Kansas City Royals
(Sorted by 1976 pWORL)
1976 Royals 1985 Royals
Player pWins pLosses pWORL eWins eLosses eWORL pWins pLosses pWORL eWins eLosses eWORL
22.417.2
4.0
21.917.3
3.7
22.115.3
4.8
22.517.54.0
17.913.1
3.9
16.112.8
3.0
9.67.0
2.3
8.07.51.2
13.412.4
1.8
13.613.9
1.2
0.00.0
0.0
0.10.00.0
13.713.3
1.6
13.414.5
0.9
18.718.6
1.5
18.719.01.4
1.81.2
0.5
2.82.2
0.5
0.20.5
-0.1
0.20.4-0.1
0.81.1
-0.0
1.11.2
0.1
3.03.6
0.0
3.64.10.2
0.20.3
-0.0
0.30.3
0.0
18.018.2
1.0
17.318.90.3
2.33.2
-0.2
2.43.2
-0.1
1.31.6
-0.0
1.21.6-0.0


Goodbye to a Couple of Great Ones
Finally, 1985 was the final season for two Hall-of-Famers: Rod Carew and Rollie Fingers. Their career records, as measured via Player won-lost records, are presented in the final table here.

Rod Carew Rollie Fingers
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
196713716.416.70.4960.1
1.5
196812714.914.50.5070.5
1.7
10.00.10.240-0.0-0.0
196912316.812.80.5682.3
3.6
606.88.00.460-0.60.3
1970516.96.20.5240.6
1.2
458.88.60.5050.31.2
197114618.517.70.5120.7
2.1
487.17.00.5040.10.9
197214118.816.00.5401.7
3.2
657.95.00.6121.32.1
197314920.318.60.5231.2
2.8
628.15.90.5760.81.7
197415322.418.80.5452.4
4.0
768.65.70.6041.22.1
197514318.816.10.5391.6
3.0
769.15.60.6221.62.5
197615620.714.90.5822.3
3.7
709.28.30.5270.21.3
197715519.713.60.5912.5
3.9
789.27.70.5440.51.6
197815216.914.80.5320.6
1.8
679.36.50.5911.42.3
197911011.411.30.501-0.3
0.6
545.17.80.394-1.4-0.7
198014415.613.90.5290.5
1.8
667.66.50.5360.51.3
19819310.310.10.506-0.1
0.8
477.13.70.6601.52.2
198213814.312.90.5240.3
1.4
507.94.00.6661.72.4
198312911.611.20.508-0.1
0.9
1984938.88.30.5130.0
0.7
335.02.50.6681.11.5
198512712.111.40.514-0.1
0.8
474.34.50.486-0.30.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,467295.1259.80.53216.9
39.2
945121.197.30.5559.823.0




All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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