Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1990 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 1990 season.

The Best of 1990

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
1Roger Clemens16.78.74.2
5.5
1Rickey Henderson23.814.54.2
5.6
2Rickey Henderson23.814.54.2
5.6
2Roger Clemens16.78.74.2
5.5
3Doug Drabek16.110.73.6
4.7
3Doug Drabek16.110.73.6
4.7
4Jose Canseco19.612.73.2
4.6
4Jose Canseco19.612.73.2
4.6
5Ramon J. Martinez16.011.23.1
4.3
5Barry Bonds24.116.53.0
4.5
6Barry Bonds24.116.53.0
4.5
6Ramon J. Martinez16.011.23.1
4.3
7Barry Larkin22.818.62.6
4.1
7Barry Larkin22.818.62.6
4.1
8Chuck Finley15.510.92.6
3.9
8Chuck Finley15.510.92.6
3.9
9Dave Stieb14.09.42.5
3.7
9Dave Stieb14.09.42.5
3.7
10Dwight Gooden15.412.12.5
3.7
10Dwight Gooden15.412.12.5
3.7


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
1Rickey Henderson22.014.53.3
4.7
1Rickey Henderson22.014.53.3
4.7
2Roger Clemens14.68.53.3
4.4
2Roger Clemens14.68.53.3
4.4
3Ryne Sandberg23.517.92.8
4.3
3Ryne Sandberg23.517.92.8
4.3
4Barry Bonds22.816.32.5
3.9
4Barry Bonds22.816.32.5
3.9
5Doug Drabek14.511.62.3
3.4
5Lenny Dykstra23.218.02.0
3.5
6Ed Whitson15.012.12.2
3.4
6Alan Trammell20.017.22.1
3.5
7Alan Trammell20.017.22.1
3.5
7Doug Drabek14.511.62.3
3.4
8Lenny Dykstra23.218.02.0
3.5
8Ed Whitson15.012.12.2
3.4
9Cecil Fielder18.813.62.0
3.2
9Cal Ripken19.917.42.0
3.3
10Cal Ripken19.917.42.0
3.3
10Kelly Gruber20.216.71.9
3.2


Top AL Position Player: Rickey Henderson
The top position player in all four of the above tables, and the top player, even including pitchers, in three of the four, was Rickey Henderson. Henderson was rewarded for his outstanding season by being elected American League MVP. The 1990 season was the best of Henderson's career, as measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level. By (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over either positional average or replacement level, however, Henderson was slightly better in 1985.

I recently wrote an article about Rickey Henderson. Henderson's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Rickey Henderson
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1979OAK20
89
12.312.30.500-0.2
0.8
11.512.30.483-0.60.3
1980OAK21
158
26.620.40.5662.4
4.2
24.518.80.5662.23.9
1981OAK22
108
17.713.70.5641.6
2.9
19.214.60.5681.93.2
1982OAK23
149
22.119.00.5391.2
2.7
22.718.20.5551.83.4
1983OAK24
145
20.517.40.5411.2
2.6
22.217.00.5672.23.6
1984OAK25
142
22.517.30.5662.1
3.6
21.916.70.5682.13.6
1985NYA26
142
23.015.90.5913.3
4.7
22.815.40.5973.54.9
1986NYA27
153
20.818.50.5301.0
2.4
21.418.20.5401.42.9
1987NYA28
95
13.410.80.5541.1
2.2
13.010.20.5601.22.2
1988NYA29
139
22.516.70.5742.6
4.0
22.917.90.5612.23.7
30
150
22.617.30.5662.1
3.5
22.717.90.5591.83.3
1990OAK31
136
23.814.50.6214.2
5.6
22.014.50.6033.34.7
1991OAK32
133
19.215.40.5551.7
3.1
18.814.90.5581.83.1
1992OAK33
115
17.912.10.5962.7
3.8
16.412.00.5772.03.1
34
134
19.116.50.5371.0
2.5
20.015.30.5672.13.5
1994OAK35
87
11.38.90.5581.0
1.9
10.18.00.5570.91.7
1995OAK36
112
14.912.20.5491.1
2.2
14.211.50.5521.12.2
1996SDN37
146
16.014.10.5320.4
1.6
16.615.10.5230.11.4
38
120
11.812.20.494-0.4
0.7
13.513.00.509-0.01.1
1998OAK39
152
18.118.40.496-0.3
1.1
19.818.20.5210.72.1
1999NYN40
121
14.714.00.512-0.1
1.0
14.513.30.5220.21.3
41
120
13.914.30.492-0.6
0.6
13.514.80.476-1.10.1
2001SDN42
122
13.212.50.514-0.1
1.0
13.112.80.506-0.30.8
2002BOS43
61
6.66.70.499-0.2
0.4
6.36.40.497-0.20.3
2003LAN44
30
1.92.10.474-0.2
-0.0
2.01.80.5200.00.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
3,059
426.7353.30.54728.7
59.4
425.6349.00.54930.360.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
60
8.06.70.544 1.08.76.80.563 1.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
3,119
434.8360.00.547
60.4
434.3355.80.549 62.2


Top AL Pitcher: Roger Clemens
The top pitcher in all four of the above tables, and the top player in pWins over positional average, is a familiar face atop these tables, Roger Clemens.

The 1990 season was the best season of Roger Clemens career to that point, as measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level. Overall, it was the second-best season of Clemens's career in pWOPA and pWORL, behind only 1997.

Clemens's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented next.

Roger Clemens
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1984BOS21
21
7.35.80.5570.9
1.4
8.36.70.5530.91.6
1985BOS22
15
5.94.60.5610.7
1.3
5.84.30.5770.91.4
1986BOS23
33
17.39.90.6373.9
5.2
16.310.60.6063.14.4
1987BOS24
36
18.311.70.6093.6
5.1
18.011.90.6033.44.9
1988BOS25
35
18.011.90.6033.3
4.7
16.510.30.6153.34.6
1989BOS26
35
14.812.70.5371.2
2.6
15.412.10.5591.93.2
1990BOS27
31
16.78.70.6574.2
5.5
14.68.50.6333.34.4
1991BOS28
35
16.811.10.6023.0
4.5
16.110.70.6012.94.3
1992BOS29
32
15.510.20.6032.9
4.3
15.810.20.6073.04.4
1993BOS30
29
12.712.60.5020.2
1.4
12.09.90.5471.12.2
1994BOS31
24
10.68.00.5701.4
2.5
10.77.70.5831.62.7
1995BOS32
23
8.86.70.5691.3
2.1
8.68.10.5160.51.4
1996BOS33
34
13.411.00.5491.5
2.9
16.011.40.5852.74.2
1997TOR34
34
18.69.80.6554.7
6.4
17.98.60.6774.96.5
1998TOR35
33
15.79.30.6283.5
4.8
15.410.10.6032.94.3
1999NYA36
30
13.212.30.5160.6
2.0
11.810.90.5200.61.8
2000NYA37
32
14.012.00.5381.2
2.6
12.711.30.5290.92.2
2001NYA38
33
13.98.80.6112.8
4.1
13.211.00.5461.42.8
2002NYA39
29
11.59.10.5591.4
2.5
11.29.60.5401.02.2
2003NYA40
33
13.411.00.5481.4
2.8
13.011.30.5361.12.5
2004HOU41
33
14.810.80.5782.8
4.1
13.911.00.5572.23.5
2005HOU42
32
14.19.80.5902.8
3.9
14.59.00.6163.34.4
2006HOU43
19
7.24.80.5981.5
2.1
7.35.10.5871.42.0
2007NYA44
18
5.95.50.5190.3
1.0
5.75.30.5200.31.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
709
318.2228.20.58251.1
79.6
310.8225.50.58048.776.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
35
12.611.20.530 2.312.610.40.549 2.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
744
330.7239.30.582
81.9
323.5235.90.580 79.3


Top NL Position Player: Barry Bonds
The best player in the National League in 1990, as measured by pWins over replacement level, was a 25-year-old left fielder making his first appearance on one of these tables. It would not be his last. In fact, from 1991 through 2004, Barry Bonds had only one season in which he earned fewer eWins over positional average than he did in 1990, the 1999 season when injuries limited him to only 102 games.

Barry Bonds's amazing career, as measured by Player won lost records, is presented next.

Barry Bonds
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1986PIT21
112
15.515.10.507-0.2
1.0
16.113.00.5531.22.2
1987PIT22
150
18.817.00.5250.3
1.7
19.416.20.5451.02.4
1988PIT23
144
21.415.90.5742.1
3.6
20.916.30.5621.73.1
1989PIT24
159
21.119.10.5260.3
1.7
22.719.80.5340.62.2
1990PIT25
151
24.116.50.5933.0
4.5
22.816.30.5842.53.9
1991PIT26
153
24.315.80.6063.7
5.2
22.216.10.5802.54.0
1992PIT27
140
22.214.70.6023.2
4.6
23.015.30.6013.34.7
1993SFN28
159
26.915.60.6334.9
6.6
25.815.40.6264.56.1
1994SFN29
112
18.613.20.5852.2
3.6
18.512.30.6012.73.9
1995SFN30
144
24.717.10.5903.1
4.8
23.416.30.5892.94.5
1996SFN31
158
25.617.70.5923.1
4.9
25.616.60.6063.65.3
1997SFN32
159
24.817.40.5883.3
5.0
24.917.40.5883.35.0
1998SFN33
156
24.616.80.5953.4
5.0
23.616.70.5852.94.5
1999SFN34
102
15.611.00.5881.9
3.0
14.110.10.5831.62.6
2000SFN35
142
23.815.30.6093.5
5.1
21.814.80.5952.84.3
2001SFN36
153
28.015.50.6435.3
7.2
29.415.70.6515.97.9
2002SFN37
143
25.413.20.6575.3
6.8
24.612.80.6575.16.6
2003SFN38
130
21.011.60.6454.0
5.3
21.312.00.6403.95.3
2004SFN39
147
23.211.60.6685.1
6.5
23.712.10.6635.16.5
2005SFN40
14
1.71.40.5590.1
0.2
1.81.10.6140.30.4
2006SFN41
130
15.311.80.5641.3
2.3
15.511.80.5681.42.4
2007SFN42
126
15.412.00.5611.3
2.3
15.712.00.5681.52.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,984
462.1315.10.59560.3
90.8
456.8310.20.59660.390.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
48
6.46.30.505 0.36.95.30.568 1.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
3,032
468.5321.40.595
91.1
463.7315.40.596 91.4


Top NL Pitcher: Doug Drabek
The best pitcher in the National League in 1990 in all four of the above tables, and, in fact, the best player in the National League, as measured by pWins over positional average, was, like his Pirates teammate, making his first appearance on one of these tables. Unlike Bonds, however, this was Drabek's career year, although he had a few more solid seasons and even made a token appearance in the top 10 in eWOPA in 1994. But Drabek's 1990 season was legitimately great.

Doug Drabek's career, as measured by Player won lost records, is presented in the next table.

Doug Drabek
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1986NYA23
27
7.66.80.5290.5
1.2
7.46.80.5230.41.1
1987PIT24
30
10.311.50.4720.0
1.0
11.010.50.5100.81.8
1988PIT25
33
12.312.10.5030.6
1.7
13.413.70.4940.51.6
1989PIT26
38
15.014.50.5081.0
2.2
14.315.50.4800.11.4
1990PIT27
33
16.110.70.6023.6
4.7
14.511.60.5552.33.4
1991PIT28
35
13.414.50.4810.1
1.4
13.815.00.4800.11.4
1992PIT29
35
16.313.60.5442.2
3.6
16.513.90.5442.23.7
1993HOU30
34
13.615.60.466-0.4
0.9
13.313.40.4970.51.6
1994HOU31
24
11.18.20.5762.0
2.9
10.67.80.5761.92.8
1995HOU32
32
10.811.10.4910.4
1.5
11.912.20.4940.61.8
1996HOU33
30
9.913.40.424-1.1
0.1
10.913.60.446-0.70.6
1997CHA34
32
11.312.80.469-0.5
0.9
9.811.20.466-0.50.7
1998BAL35
23
5.88.60.403-1.3
-0.5
6.08.10.428-0.9-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
406
153.4153.40.5007.2
21.8
153.5153.30.5007.421.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
7
3.03.10.487 0.42.92.60.528 0.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
413
156.4156.50.500
22.2
156.5155.90.500 22.5


1990 Postseason

The 1990 postseason was something of a throwback to the 1970s. The four 1990 playoff teams - the Boston Red Sox, Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Cincinnati Reds - won a combined 10 pennants and 7 World Championships in the 1970s. The 1990 postseason ended with the Cincinnati Reds winning their first (and, so far, only) World Series since the days of the Big Red Machine.

The best players of the 1990 postseason, as measured by Player won-lost records, are shown next.

1990 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Billy HatcherCIN1.60.50.5
Eric DavisCIN2.01.10.5
Chris SaboCIN1.80.90.5
Paul O'NeillCIN1.70.80.5
Barry LarkinCIN1.50.80.5
Jose RijoCIN1.71.30.4
Randy MyersCIN0.80.20.4
Doug DrabekPIT1.10.70.3
Rick HoneycuttOAK0.50.10.3


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1990 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Chris SaboCIN1.10.20.5
Jose RijoCIN1.10.50.4
Eric DavisCIN1.00.30.4

1990 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Jose CansecoOAK0.80.20.3
Dave StewartOAK0.90.50.3
Randy MyersCIN0.80.20.3
Paul O'NeillCIN1.00.40.3
Doug DrabekPIT1.10.70.3
Danny JacksonCIN0.80.50.2
Willie RandolphOAK0.60.20.2
Rick HoneycuttOAK0.40.00.2
Billy HatcherCIN0.70.30.2
Barry LarkinCIN0.90.60.2
Mike GallegoOAK0.60.30.2
Carney LansfordOAK0.60.20.2
Eric DavisCIN1.10.80.2
Mike MooreOAK0.40.20.2
Bob WelchOAK0.40.10.2
Terry SteinbachOAK0.50.20.2


Best of 1990 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 1990 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rickey Henderson14.38.92.7
Cecil Fielder16.110.72.7

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rickey Henderson2.51.50.5
Barry Larkin2.11.10.4
Andres Galarraga1.70.90.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



So far, for seasons at which I have looked, three players have led the major leagues in both batting and baserunning wins over non-pitcher average: Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, and Carl Yastrzemski. Rickey Henderson missed joining this list by -0.037 batting wins over non-pitcher average.

Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Roger Clemens12.88.34.5


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Paul Mirabella0.50.10.4


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Lance Parrish2.31.60.8


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mark McGwire2.51.80.7


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jose Lind5.75.10.6
Lou Whitaker4.43.80.6


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Gary Gaetti4.53.90.7


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ozzie Smith5.34.31.1


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mike Felder2.51.51.0


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Lenny Dykstra7.15.71.5


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tony Gwynn Sr.6.15.01.1


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1990 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 Fisk12.210.01.4


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Cecil Fielder17.512.61.9


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ryne Sandberg23.318.22.5


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Kelly Gruber19.716.11.9


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Alan Trammell19.617.12.0


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rickey Henderson20.313.62.9


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Lenny Dykstra23.018.21.8


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jose Canseco13.69.61.8


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Roger Clemens12.88.72.3


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dennis Eckersley4.02.00.9


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 1990 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1990, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Lee Smith8.74.20.6772.02.8
Rick Aguilera7.53.50.6841.82.5
Dennis Eckersley6.32.10.7521.92.4
Rob Dibble7.34.10.6411.42.1
John Franco7.03.70.6551.52.1


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Brian Downing8.57.00.7
Alvin Davis7.76.40.6
Harold Baines9.78.50.6


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
Fernando Valenzuela1.61.40.7


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tommy Gregg1.61.00.4


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tracy Jones0.20.00.1
Rick Parker0.10.00.1
John Moses0.10.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 1990

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 1990 seasons.

The 1990 season saw the debut of a first baseman who was just elected to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot, Frank Thomas. The 1990 season was also the final season for a first baseman who was elected to Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit, Keith Hernandez.

Other than playing the same position and having their careers overlap by one season (although their careers did not actually overlap at all: Hernandez played his final game on July 24th while Thomas made his major-league debut nine days later), it's hard to think of two star major-league players who were more different.

Frank Thomas was 6'5", 275 pounds (according to Google), became a full-time designated hitter by age 30 and probably should have been one several years earlier. For his career, Thomas hit 521 home runs and drove in 1,704 runs, both of which put him in the top 25 all-time.

Keith Hernandez was 5 inches shorter and perhaps as much as 100 pounds lighter than Thomas. He won 11 Gold Gloves - most ever by a first baseman - and is widely regarded as the finest defensive first baseman ever (watch the play at about the 2:10 mark of this video). He hit fewer than one-third as many home runs as Thomas (162) and drove in almost 700 fewer runs.
It's hard to look at the raw stat lines for two players like this and know exactly how to compare them. Player won-lost records, however, make it straightforward. The final table of this article compares the career records of Frank Thomas and Keith Hernandez, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Frank E. Thomas Keith Hernandez
Age Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
20
 
141.00.60.6170.20.2
21
 
644.94.70.513-0.10.3
22607.14.90.5920.9
1.3
12910.69.60.5240.00.8
2315818.312.10.6022.6
4.2
16118.114.20.5611.22.5
2416021.615.70.5802.3
3.8
15915.515.30.504-0.60.6
2515321.214.10.6012.9
4.3
16121.314.60.5942.53.9
2611315.29.30.6192.4
3.4
15917.916.10.5260.11.4
2714515.812.80.5520.9
2.3
10312.38.50.5931.62.4
2814116.413.50.5480.9
2.1
16018.714.20.5691.62.8
2914617.812.00.5992.2
3.6
15015.014.10.516-0.10.9
3016014.912.30.5470.7
2.4
15419.413.60.5882.13.4
3113513.711.30.5480.8
2.1
15818.914.20.5701.42.7
3215917.111.80.5922.1
3.9
14918.613.10.5872.03.2
33201.11.50.433-0.2
-0.0
15417.114.80.5370.01.3
3414812.011.80.506-0.1
1.4
9511.58.50.5741.01.7
3515317.112.40.5801.9
3.7
755.55.70.490-0.4-0.0
36747.44.60.6151.3
2.0
432.13.70.365-0.9-0.7
37342.92.10.5830.4
0.6
3813714.810.30.5891.8
3.3
3915513.711.90.5340.4
2.0
40716.06.40.483-0.4
0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,322254.2190.80.57123.7
46.7
2,088228.4185.40.55211.627.4




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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