Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1992 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records

From 1903 - 1952, Major-League Baseball was played by the same 16 teams, in the same 10 cities (counting Brooklyn as part of New York), for 50 consecutive seasons. In the 60 seasons since then (1953 - 2012), Major-League Baseball has added 14 new teams and has expanded into 18 or 19 cities (depending on whether one views Anaheim as a different city than Los Angeles), with two teams having moved twice, one city having been home to three different teams and one city having gained then lost its team during these years.

But for 26 seasons in the middle of this period of rapid relocation and expansion (which saw 25 team expansion/relocations in 60 years), Major-League Baseball experienced the second-longest stretch of franchise stability in its history, from 1977 through 1992. I have already written an article about the first of these seasons.

For my next installment in my periodic series on major-league seasons, I look at the last season in this era of stability: 1992.

The Best of 1992

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
1Greg Maddux17.712.43.5
5.0
1Greg Maddux17.712.43.5
5.0
2Carlos Baerga23.617.53.2
4.8
2J. Kevin Brown17.812.03.2
4.8
3J. Kevin Brown17.812.03.2
4.8
3Carlos Baerga23.617.53.2
4.8
4Barry Bonds22.214.73.2
4.6
4Gary Sheffield24.917.83.1
4.7
5Gary Sheffield24.917.83.1
4.7
5Barry Bonds22.214.73.2
4.6
6Barry Larkin21.316.13.0
4.4
6Ryne Sandberg24.818.82.8
4.5
7Roger Clemens15.510.22.9
4.3
7Barry Larkin21.316.13.0
4.4
8Roberto Alomar23.017.72.9
4.4
8Roberto Alomar23.017.72.9
4.4
9Ryne Sandberg24.818.82.8
4.5
9Terry Pendleton25.319.02.7
4.4
10Tom Glavine15.611.82.8
4.0
10Roger Clemens15.510.22.9
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
1Greg Maddux17.812.53.6
5.0
1Ryne Sandberg26.019.03.3
5.0
2Ryne Sandberg26.019.03.3
5.0
2Greg Maddux17.812.53.6
5.0
3Barry Bonds23.015.33.3
4.7
3Barry Bonds23.015.33.3
4.7
4J. Kevin Brown16.711.13.1
4.6
4J. Kevin Brown16.711.13.1
4.6
5Darren Daulton17.111.53.1
4.2
5Roger Clemens15.810.23.0
4.4
6Roger Clemens15.810.23.0
4.4
6Charles Nagy16.010.63.0
4.4
7Charles Nagy16.010.63.0
4.4
7Darren Daulton17.111.53.1
4.2
8Melido Perez15.611.22.5
3.9
8Melido Perez15.611.22.5
3.9
9Mark McGwire17.712.02.3
3.4
9Frank E. Thomas20.915.02.3
3.7
10Frank E. Thomas20.915.02.3
3.7
10Doug Drabek16.513.92.2
3.7


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.

Great Players Coming and Going in Chicago
The 1992 Chicago Cubs were one in a long line of mostly forgettable Cubs teams, finishing with a record of 76-86.

There were two members of the Cubs, however, for whom the 1992 season was notable.

Breakthrough to Greatness: Greg Maddux
In 1992, Greg Maddux led the National League in pitcher wins for the first of three times in his career, led the league in ERA+ for the first of five times in his career, and won the first of his four Cy Young awards. Likewise, 1992 was the first season in Greg Maddux's career where his Player won-lost record rose from pretty good to among the best in the league. The next table presents Greg Maddux's career Player won-lost record by season.

Greg Maddux
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1986CHN20
6
1.62.30.418-0.2
-0.1
1.92.30.446-0.10.1
1987CHN21
31
9.913.50.423-1.3
-0.2
9.111.70.437-0.90.1
1988CHN22
34
17.412.50.5823.2
4.5
15.913.90.5341.83.0
1989CHN23
35
16.114.10.5331.8
3.1
14.813.40.5251.42.6
1990CHN24
35
15.614.80.5141.3
2.6
15.313.00.5391.93.1
1991CHN25
39
15.813.70.5351.8
3.1
16.615.20.5221.53.0
1992CHN26
35
17.712.40.5873.5
5.0
17.812.50.5873.65.0
1993ATL27
36
18.113.50.5723.0
4.3
17.012.80.5692.74.0
1994ATL28
25
14.48.10.6403.7
4.8
13.87.50.6483.64.7
1995ATL29
28
16.57.50.6895.3
6.5
14.67.10.6714.45.5
1996ATL30
35
16.211.70.5813.1
4.5
16.910.40.6214.15.5
1997ATL31
33
14.29.20.6083.2
4.4
15.29.50.6173.64.9
1998ATL32
34
17.112.00.5883.4
4.8
15.910.30.6083.64.8
1999ATL33
33
15.912.90.5522.2
3.6
14.612.20.5451.93.2
2000ATL34
35
17.112.20.5833.2
4.6
15.511.70.5702.74.0
2001ATL35
35
16.111.70.5803.0
4.4
15.811.80.5732.84.2
2002ATL36
35
13.110.20.5622.0
3.2
12.410.30.5461.62.7
2003ATL37
37
13.513.90.4930.5
1.9
13.012.20.5151.02.4
2004CHN38
34
14.713.10.5291.7
3.1
14.813.20.5281.73.1
2005CHN39
35
12.514.70.458-0.4
0.8
14.214.50.4950.72.0
40
34
13.312.40.5181.2
2.5
12.711.50.5251.32.5
2007SDN41
34
11.611.30.5070.7
1.9
12.011.90.5030.71.9
42
33
10.113.80.422-1.2
-0.0
11.413.10.465-0.21.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
751
328.5271.40.54844.8
73.5
321.0261.90.55145.373.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
37
12.612.50.502 2.013.110.80.547 3.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
788
341.1283.90.548
75.5
334.1272.70.551 76.2


Last Great Season: Ryne Sandberg
While 1992 was the first truly great season in Greg Maddux's career (and, sadly, his only one in a Cubs uniform), it was the last great season for Maddux's teammate, second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

Maddux and Sandberg were actually teammates for six seasons, starting in 1986. But 1992 was really the only one where they were both playing at the level of play that ultimately will deservedly put both men in the Hall of Fame.

The next table presents Ryne Sandberg's career.

Ryne Sandberg
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1981PHI21
11
0.00.00.5240.0
0.0
0.20.20.430-0.0-0.0
1982CHN22
156
18.219.10.487-0.9
0.6
18.718.80.499-0.41.0
1983CHN23
158
19.520.70.485-0.5
1.0
20.619.90.5090.51.9
1984CHN24
156
25.319.10.5703.3
5.0
23.719.20.5522.44.1
1985CHN25
153
24.019.20.5562.3
3.9
22.718.90.5461.83.3
1986CHN26
154
19.518.50.5140.8
2.2
20.519.40.5150.82.3
1987CHN27
132
16.815.90.5130.6
1.9
17.215.40.5271.12.3
1988CHN28
155
20.418.60.5231.0
2.5
21.119.40.5200.92.5
1989CHN29
156
21.618.10.5451.6
3.0
21.618.20.5431.63.0
1990CHN30
155
22.018.70.5401.6
3.1
23.517.90.5682.84.3
1991CHN31
158
23.117.10.5752.8
4.3
23.918.20.5672.54.2
1992CHN32
158
24.818.80.5682.8
4.5
26.019.00.5773.35.0
1993CHN33
117
13.213.70.491-0.2
0.9
14.314.10.5030.11.3
1994CHN34
57
6.97.10.493-0.1
0.5
6.96.80.5070.10.7
1996CHN36
150
19.616.70.5391.7
3.2
18.116.00.5301.32.7
1997CHN37
135
12.713.70.480-0.4
0.6
12.913.20.493-0.10.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,161
287.6255.10.53016.6
37.2
291.7254.70.53418.839.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
10
1.41.30.506 0.11.61.10.609 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,171
289.0256.40.530
37.3
293.3255.70.534 39.9


One More 1992 Breakthrough: Gary Sheffield
Arguably - based on pWins over replacement level (pWORL) - the most valuable player in the major leagues in 1992 was a young third baseman having a breakout season.

Gary Sheffield was the first major-league player who was younger than me (by just over five months) when he debuted in 1988 at the age of 19. His 1992 season, at age 23, was his first truly great season (but far from his last) and arguably the greatest season of his career. His career is presented next.

Gary Sheffield
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1988MIL19
24
2.63.10.461-0.1
0.1
2.62.90.472-0.10.1
1989MIL20
95
11.012.60.467-0.5
0.4
10.511.50.477-0.20.6
1990MIL21
125
16.314.50.5301.0
2.1
15.814.30.5250.92.0
1991MIL22
49
4.56.50.406-1.0
-0.6
4.86.30.431-0.8-0.3
1992SDN23
146
24.917.80.5833.1
4.7
22.217.70.5571.93.4
24
138
16.316.90.491-0.5
0.8
16.715.90.5110.11.4
1994FLO25
87
12.611.20.5290.2
1.2
12.710.50.5480.71.6
1995FLO26
63
8.88.70.504-0.3
0.4
9.87.10.5771.01.6
1996FLO27
161
24.619.70.5551.5
3.3
23.717.50.5762.33.9
1997FLO28
135
18.515.80.5400.6
2.0
18.515.10.5500.92.3
29
130
16.515.00.5240.0
1.2
17.014.30.5430.61.9
1999LAN30
152
18.616.60.5280.5
1.8
19.716.20.5491.22.6
2000LAN31
141
21.416.00.5732.0
3.5
20.415.50.5691.73.2
2001LAN32
143
22.718.80.5471.1
2.9
21.917.90.5511.22.9
2002ATL33
135
21.314.20.6002.8
4.2
18.315.10.5480.92.3
2003ATL34
155
23.916.80.5872.7
4.3
22.415.70.5872.64.1
2004NYA35
154
22.816.80.5752.7
4.3
20.217.10.5421.32.8
2005NYA36
154
20.515.50.5702.2
3.6
19.916.00.5531.63.0
2006NYA37
39
4.14.70.465-0.4
-0.0
4.33.90.5230.10.4
2007DET38
133
13.810.30.5731.3
2.7
13.510.80.5560.92.3
2008DET39
114
8.19.70.456-1.0
0.0
8.99.30.488-0.40.6
2009NYN40
100
8.48.90.487-0.4
0.3
9.18.80.509-0.00.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,573
342.0289.80.54117.6
43.4
332.8279.40.54418.443.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
44
5.55.60.495 0.25.95.40.520 0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,617
347.5295.40.541
43.7
338.7284.90.544 44.0


The 1992 Postseason

The 26-year period of franchise stability that ended with the 1992 season began with the addition of two expansion teams in 1977. It was perhaps fitting, therefore, that the 1992 season ended with one of these two expansion teams winning its first World Series: the Toronto Blue Jays.

The best of the 1992 postseason in table form:
1992 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
John SmoltzATL2.11.60.5
Juan GuzmanTOR1.50.90.4
Dave WinfieldTOR1.30.70.4
Joe CarterTOR1.71.10.4
Damon BerryhillATL1.50.90.4
Jimmy KeyTOR0.90.30.4
Tom HenkeTOR0.90.30.4
Candy MaldonadoTOR1.71.20.4
Dave StewartOAK1.30.80.4
Sid BreamATL1.30.70.3
David ConeTOR1.61.40.3
Ed Sprague Jr.TOR0.60.00.3
Devon WhiteTOR1.71.40.3
Don SlaughtPIT0.60.20.3
Pat BordersTOR1.31.10.3
Tim WakefieldPIT1.00.70.3


It is unusual, but not completely unheard of, for the top player in the postseason to come from a team that did not ultimately win the World Series. Just as the year before (when he pitched 7+ shutout innings in a fairly famous World Series Game 7, the Braves' failure to win the World Series had little, if anything, to do with John Smoltz.

This tended to be a theme throughout Smoltz's career. Smoltz appeared in the postseason 14 different times, but was a member of only one World Series winner. For his career, however, Smoltz's postseason performance ranks among the top 10 postseason performances among players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records. The top 10 career postseason records, as measured by pWins over positional average (pWOPA), are shown in the next table.

Top Career Postseason Performers
(measured by pWOPA)
pWins pLosses pWOPA
Mariano Rivera13.03.54.4
Curt Schilling9.35.42.2
Albert Pujols12.36.92.2
John Smoltz12.59.32.1
Derek Jeter21.318.42.0
Andy Pettitte17.114.11.9
Lou Gehrig6.42.31.8
Cliff P. Lee6.43.61.6
Paul O'Neill11.68.01.6
David Ortiz9.66.21.5


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1992 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Jimmy KeyTOR0.80.30.4
Ed Sprague Jr.TOR0.50.00.3
Pat BordersTOR0.90.50.3
Joe CarterTOR0.80.40.3
Tom GlavineATL0.90.70.3
Lonnie SmithATL0.70.40.2
Tom HenkeTOR0.50.20.2

1992 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
John SmoltzATL1.40.80.5
Dave StewartOAK1.30.80.4


The 1992 postseason was the fourth of five League Championship Series in which Dave Stewart appeared. In all five of these LCS's, Stewart posted a pWinning percentage of 0.600 or greater. In fact, Stewart's LCS winning percentage was actually lowest in 1992. For his career, this puts Stewart in the top 5 in pWOPA for this round of the playoffs.

The top 5 career performers in League Championship Series, as measured by pWins over positional average.

Top Career Performers, LCS
(Measured by pWOPA)
pWins pLosses pWOPA
Mariano Rivera4.71.01.7
Bernie Williams6.93.81.5
Dave Stewart5.53.01.3
Jim Palmer3.92.11.0
Justin Verlander3.82.01.0


Best of 1992 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 1992 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Barry Bonds16.18.93.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tim Raines Sr.2.21.10.5
Marquis Grissom2.91.80.5
Pat Listach2.31.40.5
Steve Finley1.91.10.4
Roberto Alomar1.91.10.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Tim Raines was one of the finest baserunners for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records. The top 10 baserunners, measured by career (context-neutral) wins over (non-pitcher) average are shown below.

Top 10 Career Baserunning Totals
(Wins over non-Pitcher Average)
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rickey Henderson52.536.47.9
Tim Raines Sr.34.520.76.5
Willie Wilson26.514.85.9
Bert Campaneris36.123.75.8
Davey Lopes23.714.44.3
Paul Molitor29.621.04.3
Joe L. Morgan37.127.44.2
Luis Aparicio30.921.94.1
Vince Coleman26.117.63.9
Lou Brock41.333.13.4


Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Greg Maddux14.110.04.1
Roger Clemens13.99.94.0
Charles Nagy13.910.43.6
J. Kevin Brown14.110.63.5
Melido Perez13.910.83.1


The top two starting pitchers of 1992 were also the top two pitchers for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records. I wrote an article comparing Greg Maddux to Roger Clemens that can be found here.

Next, we look at the major-league leaders in net fielding wins in 1992 by fielding position.

Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
J. Kevin Brown0.90.50.4


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Terry Steinbach1.61.10.5
Greg Olson1.71.20.5


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Wally Joyner3.73.10.7
Mark Grace4.43.70.7


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ryne Sandberg7.76.21.5


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Damion Easley3.01.91.1


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Craig Grebeck3.72.80.9


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tim Raines Sr.5.44.31.2


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Darrin Jackson6.44.71.7


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
David Justice4.43.41.0


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1992 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
Darren Daulton16.911.72.9


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Frank E. Thomas20.815.02.2


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ryne Sandberg25.819.43.0


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Robin Ventura22.218.51.8
Gary Sheffield22.217.81.8


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Barry Larkin19.816.32.1


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Barry Bonds22.815.63.0


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Andy Van Slyke22.618.21.7


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Larry Walker18.414.51.5


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Greg Maddux15.010.52.5
J. Kevin Brown15.011.12.2
Charles Nagy14.410.62.2


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rusty Meacham5.94.10.7
Mel Rojas5.84.00.7
Dennis Eckersley4.73.10.7


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 1992 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1992, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Dennis Eckersley7.42.40.7572.32.9
Doug Jones9.65.60.6311.72.6
Duane Ward7.94.60.6301.32.1
John Wetteland7.85.10.6041.11.9
Jeff Montgomery7.44.70.6111.11.8


Dennis Eckersley won the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Awards in 1992. Eckersley did have an excellent season for a relief pitcher in 1992, but it's hard to amass as much value pitching 80 innings (as Eckersley did) as, for example, it is pitching 246.2 innings, as Roger Clemens did, or batting 671 times and playing 1,276.2 innings in the middle infield, as Roberto Alomar did.

Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Brian Downing8.46.50.7
Dave Winfield12.010.00.7
Paul Molitor10.99.00.6
Mickey Tettleton3.92.60.6
Danny Tartabull4.93.60.5
Edgar Martinez3.52.40.5


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 Gooden1.41.70.4


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mitch Webster1.60.90.4


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Eric Fox0.10.00.1


Miscellaneous Musings

The Lull Before the Silly-Ball Storm
The years immediately following 1992 saw big changes to Major-League Baseball: four new teams in the next six years, 50% more divisions, twice as many playoff teams, interleague play five years later. But perhaps the most dramatic change was an explosion in run-scoring levels. Run scoring levels in the years immediately following 1992 were the highest in more than 50 years. Exaggerating the magnitude of this growth, run-scoring levels in 1992 were actually below historical averages to that date.

Run-scoring levels affect the win value of various events. The net win values of various events is discussed in a separate article here. The relationship between run-scoring levels and net win values is explored in a separate article that compares net win values for 1968 and 2000.

The next table compares net win values for 1992 with the years before and the decade immediately after.

Net Win Values for Offensive Events
Runs/Game HR T D S/ROE W/HBP IW Out
1947 - 1991 4.640.14810.07800.06060.03690.03240.0068-0.0232
1992 4.360.14990.08750.06620.03690.02950.0083-0.0227
1993 - 2002 5.170.13350.07490.05620.03480.02870.0096-0.0235
Runs are runs per 27 outs for games used in calculating Player Won-Lost records.


Retiring Players
Finally, the list of players who played their last major-league game in 1992 can be used to construct a fairly impressive All-Star team, especially considering it only includes two Hall-of-Famers (and 3 Hall-of-Meriters).

All-Star Team of Players Whose Final Season was 1992

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
CGary Carter
2,293
241.8216.60.52714.1
31.6
239.2207.30.53617.434.5
1BPedro Guerrero
1,531
188.9163.10.5376.3
19.6
186.6158.80.5407.520.6
2BWillie Randolph
2,199
275.3246.80.52719.6
39.5
268.6251.70.51613.833.6
3BCarney Lansford
1,861
211.7206.80.5061.7
17.7
211.3207.00.5051.417.4
SSRance Mulliniks
1,311
103.695.70.5204.6
13.1
101.998.00.5102.611.1
LFBrian Downing
2,341
235.6211.10.52710.3
30.3
237.5208.50.53312.632.6
CFGary Pettis
1,161
119.8116.70.5070.6
9.5
121.7120.90.502-0.58.5
RFJack Clark
1,992
248.2206.40.54611.4
29.9
248.5197.60.55716.234.3
SPBert Blyleven
697
291.3260.10.52822.2
47.9
300.5264.30.53224.951.1
RPDave S. Smith
609
53.644.10.5493.1
9.2
38.234.20.5280.85.3


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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