Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1998 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records



Next up in my series looking at various Major-League seasons through the prism of Player won-lost records: the 1998 season.

The 1998 season featured saw two new teams, a team switch leagues for the first time in the 20th century, and a team set the American League record (since broken) for regular-season wins as well as the major-league record (still held) for combined regular-season and postseason wins.

And, of course, 1998 was the season of the Great Home Run Chase that Saved Baseball, between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

The Best of 1998

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
1Derek Jeter23.216.74.0
5.5
1Derek Jeter23.216.74.0
5.5
2J. Kevin Brown17.010.93.8
5.1
2Craig Biggio25.217.93.7
5.3
3Craig Biggio25.217.93.7
5.3
3J. Kevin Brown17.010.93.8
5.1
4Chipper Jones23.615.83.6
5.1
4Chipper Jones23.615.83.6
5.1
5Roger Clemens15.79.33.5
4.8
5Barry Bonds24.616.83.4
5.0
6John Smoltz13.37.73.4
4.4
6Greg Vaughn23.615.93.3
4.8
7Greg Maddux17.112.03.4
4.8
7Nomar Garciaparra23.418.63.2
4.8
8Barry Bonds24.616.83.4
5.0
8Roger Clemens15.79.33.5
4.8
9Al Leiter13.98.43.3
4.4
9Greg Maddux17.112.03.4
4.8
10Bernie Williams20.313.63.3
4.7
10Bernie Williams20.313.63.3
4.7


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
1J. Kevin Brown17.610.84.2
5.5
1J. Kevin Brown17.610.84.2
5.5
2Mark McGwire23.313.53.7
5.2
2Mark McGwire23.313.53.7
5.2
3Greg Maddux15.910.33.6
4.8
3Greg Maddux15.910.33.6
4.8
4Roger Clemens15.410.12.9
4.3
4Alex Rodriguez23.819.72.8
4.5
5Barry Bonds23.616.72.9
4.5
5Barry Bonds23.616.72.9
4.5
6Alex Rodriguez23.819.72.8
4.5
6Ken Griffey Jr.22.717.22.7
4.3
7Ken Griffey Jr.22.717.22.7
4.3
7Roger Clemens15.410.12.9
4.3
8Derek Jeter21.517.62.7
4.2
8Derek Jeter21.517.62.7
4.2
9Curt Schilling17.514.02.6
4.1
9Curt Schilling17.514.02.6
4.1
10Mike Piazza17.513.02.6
3.8
10Greg Vaughn22.116.12.5
4.0


In terms of individual player seasons, 1998 is, of course, best remembered for Mark McGwire's 70 home runs and Sammy Sosa's 66 home runs.

So, of course, the top 10 lists above are topped by two starting pitchers and two slap-hitting middle infielders.

Neither of the two MVP winners in 1998 appear on any of the lists above. Here's how Juan Gonzalez's and Sammy Sosa's 1998 seasons look in terms of Player won-lost records.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Juan Gonzalez
154
19.316.80.5330.6
2.2
18.815.50.5481.12.6
Sammy Sosa
159
25.318.50.5782.4
4.1
25.119.70.5611.73.4


1998 Postseason

The 1998 postseason was dominated by the New York Yankees. Not surprisingly, then, Yankees players dominate the postseason leaderboards.

1998 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Scott BrosiusNYA2.30.90.8
David WellsNYA2.21.10.8
Paul O'NeillNYA2.41.20.7
Michael TuckerATL1.70.50.7


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1998 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Chuck KnoblauchNYA1.00.30.4
Scott BrosiusNYA0.90.20.4
Ricky LedeeNYA0.70.30.3
Tino MartinezNYA0.70.20.2
Andy PettitteNYA0.60.20.2
Paul O'NeillNYA0.80.50.2
Mariano RiveraNYA0.50.10.2

1998 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
David WellsNYA1.10.50.4
Sterling HitchcockSDN1.00.50.4

1998 Postseason: Division Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
David WellsNYA0.90.20.4
Greg MadduxATL0.80.20.4
Jim LeyritzSDN0.80.10.4
Michael TuckerATL0.90.20.4
J. Kevin BrownSDN1.10.60.4


Best of 1998 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 1998 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mark McGwire19.49.34.8

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Mark McGwire's 1998 season is the most net batting wins in a season by any player other than Barry Bonds (for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records).

Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Craig Biggio2.21.40.3
Tony Womack1.81.10.3
Derek Jeter1.71.10.3
Jose Offerman1.91.20.3
Larry Walker1.20.60.3
Quilvio Veras1.71.10.3
Darren Lewis1.61.00.3
Alex Rodriguez1.71.10.3
Andruw Jones1.30.80.3
Paul Molitor1.20.70.3
Eric Young Sr.1.81.20.2
Mark Kotsay1.30.80.2
Kenny Lofton1.71.30.2
Barry Bonds1.71.20.2
Ray Durham1.61.20.2
Wilton Guerrero1.00.60.2
Barry Larkin1.30.90.2
Chris Stynes1.00.60.2
Otis Nixon1.41.00.2
Edgardo Alfonzo1.30.80.2
Juan Samuel0.60.20.2
Johnny Damon1.41.00.2
Devon White1.30.90.2
Jeff Bagwell1.41.00.2
Raul Mondesi Sr.1.51.10.2
Mike Cameron1.00.60.2
Mickey Morandini1.20.90.2
Rickey Henderson2.01.70.2

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
J. Kevin Brown14.38.95.4
Greg Maddux12.98.24.7


Kevin Brown's 1998 season was truly outstanding, ranking among the top 10 pitching seasons (as measured by net wins) for which I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Scott Karl0.50.20.3
Kenny Rogers0.50.30.3
Brian Bohanon0.50.30.3
Carlos Gross Perez0.60.30.3


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ivan Rodriguez2.01.40.6


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
John Olerud2.82.10.7


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Keith Lockhart4.32.81.6


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Robin Ventura4.93.61.3


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Neifi Perez7.76.90.8


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
B.J. Surhoff5.64.90.7
Mark Whiten1.81.20.7


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Andruw Jones6.95.11.8


Andruw Jones's 1998 season ranks among the top 10 seasons for net fielding wins by a center fielder for which I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Bobby Abreu5.74.31.4


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1998 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
Mike Piazza16.713.02.2


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mark McGwire22.913.83.4


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Craig Biggio23.619.91.9


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Chipper Jones21.416.62.1


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Alex Rodriguez23.620.02.6


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Barry Bonds23.317.02.6


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ken Griffey Jr.22.417.22.6


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Sammy Sosa24.619.31.6


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
J. Kevin Brown14.79.42.9


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tom Gordon4.72.90.7
Trevor Hoffman4.22.50.7
Robb Nen5.03.30.7


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 1998 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1998, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Trevor Hoffman7.42.40.7522.32.9
Tom Gordon8.63.90.6892.12.9
Mariano Rivera6.41.90.7702.12.6
Rod Beck9.35.60.6241.52.5
John Wetteland6.92.90.7051.82.4


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Edgar Martinez14.411.01.2
Tim Salmon10.88.21.0


The top player on all of the above position-leader tables is either already in the Hall of Merit or will be almost as soon as they become eligible. That's actually pretty rare for a season: no one-year wonders here.

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
Steve Trachsel1.31.40.4


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Glenallen Hill0.70.30.2
Midre Cummings0.90.50.2
Ron Gant0.70.30.2
Scott Livingstone1.10.80.2
Greg Colbrunn1.21.00.2
Kevin Jordan1.41.20.2
Jim Leyritz1.00.70.2
John Vander Wal1.61.50.2
Armando Rios0.40.00.2
Tyler Houston0.70.40.2
Kurt Abbott0.60.30.2
Matt Stairs0.50.20.2
David Justice0.50.20.2


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Juan Samuel0.40.10.1


Farewell Seasons

Finally, the 1998 season was the final season for two Hall-of-Famers: Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley. Their career Player won-lost records are shown in the final table here.

Paul Molitor Dennis Eckersley
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1975
 
3412.29.50.5631.42.5
1976
 
3611.810.60.5280.71.7
1977
 
3314.710.80.5762.13.4
197812416.114.90.5201.1
2.3
3516.712.50.5722.23.6
197914020.916.50.5592.7
4.2
3316.411.70.5832.63.8
198011115.514.00.5261.2
2.4
3011.611.50.5010.21.2
1981647.07.10.496-0.2
0.5
238.37.10.5410.81.6
198216022.417.90.5572.1
3.7
3313.112.00.5230.82.0
198315117.417.30.501-0.1
1.1
2810.312.30.455-0.80.2
1984121.11.20.461-0.1
0.0
3313.312.50.5171.02.0
198514017.516.70.5110.4
1.7
2510.37.70.5731.82.6
198610514.211.70.5491.1
2.1
3310.011.90.456-0.40.5
198711815.210.30.5952.4
3.7
547.76.10.5570.51.3
198815420.916.20.5642.3
3.9
606.93.40.6661.52.1
198915519.416.80.5361.3
2.7
515.32.00.7311.52.0
199010311.911.80.5030.0
0.9
636.32.10.7521.92.4
199115818.815.10.5551.3
3.1
677.65.30.5891.01.8
199215818.013.40.5741.8
3.5
697.42.40.7572.32.9
199316018.512.80.5912.6
4.4
646.04.50.5690.61.3
199411511.49.60.5440.6
1.9
454.63.40.5740.51.1
199513010.710.80.498-0.5
0.9
524.03.80.514-0.10.5
199616116.814.30.5400.7
2.6
635.34.50.5390.20.8
199713513.013.10.499-0.4
1.2
575.15.00.505-0.10.5
199812611.211.70.490-0.7
0.7
502.42.00.5560.20.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,680317.9273.00.53819.8
47.4
1,071217.3174.40.55522.442.4




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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