Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 2003 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 2003 season.

The Best of 2003

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
1Barry Bonds21.011.63.9
5.2
1Barry Bonds21.011.63.9
5.2
2Mark Prior15.810.03.6
5.0
2Roy Halladay17.611.63.4
5.0
3Marcus Giles21.714.73.6
5.0
3Marcus Giles21.714.73.6
5.0
4Jason Schmidt14.28.43.5
4.7
4Bret Boone23.717.73.4
5.0
5Pedro J. Martinez13.77.33.4
4.6
5Mark Prior15.810.03.6
5.0
6Bret Boone23.717.73.4
5.0
6Albert Pujols23.215.03.2
4.7
7Roy Halladay17.611.63.4
5.0
7Esteban Loaiza16.410.73.2
4.7
8Albert Pujols23.215.03.2
4.7
8Jason Schmidt14.28.43.5
4.7
9Esteban Loaiza16.410.73.2
4.7
9Pedro J. Martinez13.77.33.4
4.6
10Tim Hudson15.49.73.1
4.6
10Tim Hudson15.49.73.1
4.6


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
1Barry Bonds20.311.73.6
4.9
1Barry Bonds20.311.73.6
4.9
2Pedro J. Martinez12.56.63.2
4.3
2Alex Rodriguez23.418.23.1
4.7
3Albert Pujols23.915.83.2
4.7
3Albert Pujols23.915.83.2
4.7
4Alex Rodriguez23.418.23.1
4.7
4Roy Halladay16.811.82.8
4.5
5Mark Prior15.010.33.1
4.4
5Mark Prior15.010.33.1
4.4
6Tim Hudson15.29.92.9
4.3
6Tim Hudson15.29.92.9
4.3
7Roy Halladay16.811.82.8
4.5
7Pedro J. Martinez12.56.63.2
4.3
8Javy Lopez14.79.92.7
3.7
8Esteban Loaiza14.810.22.6
4.0
9Esteban Loaiza14.810.22.6
4.0
9Gary Sheffield23.216.82.4
4.0
10J. Kevin Brown14.010.12.6
3.8
10Todd Helton22.415.62.4
3.9


Barry Bonds
The best player in major-league baseball in 2003 was also the best player in major-league baseball in 2001, 2002, and 2004, as well as several seasons in the late 20th century. Barry Bonds's 2001 - 2004 run was certainly one of the best statistical four-year runs in baseball history. It was not, however, the best such run, as measured by Player won-lost records.

The next table shows the top 5 4-year totals for pWins over replacement level.

Player Seasons pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
-
0.00.00.00.0
-
0.00.00.00.0
-
0.00.00.00.0
-
0.00.00.00.0
-
0.00.00.00.0


Barry Bonds's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table.


Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1986PIT21
113
15.615.20.507-0.2
1.0
16.112.80.5561.22.3
1987PIT22
150
18.716.90.5240.2
1.7
19.516.30.5451.02.4
1988PIT23
144
21.415.80.5752.2
3.6
20.416.10.5591.52.9
1989PIT24
159
21.119.00.5250.3
1.7
22.519.20.5400.92.4
1990PIT25
151
24.116.40.5953.0
4.5
22.916.30.5842.53.9
1991PIT26
153
24.315.80.6073.7
5.3
22.516.40.5782.54.0
1992PIT27
140
22.214.90.5983.0
4.4
23.115.20.6043.34.8
1993SFN28
159
26.915.70.6314.9
6.6
26.015.90.6214.46.0
1994SFN29
112
18.613.40.5822.2
3.5
18.212.20.5992.63.8
1995SFN30
144
24.717.00.5923.2
4.8
23.016.60.5812.64.1
1996SFN31
158
25.918.10.5893.0
4.8
25.816.70.6073.75.4
1997SFN32
159
25.618.00.5873.3
5.0
25.617.80.5913.55.2
1998SFN33
156
24.717.20.5893.2
4.8
23.817.10.5822.84.4
1999SFN34
102
15.611.10.5851.9
2.9
14.010.60.5681.32.3
2000SFN35
142
23.314.70.6133.6
5.1
22.014.90.5972.94.4
2001SFN36
153
27.915.10.6495.5
7.4
27.715.10.6475.47.3
2002SFN37
143
24.813.20.6545.0
6.6
23.512.30.6554.86.3
2003SFN38
130
21.011.60.6433.9
5.2
20.311.70.6353.64.9
2004SFN39
147
23.211.70.6655.0
6.4
23.812.00.6645.16.6
2005SFN40
14
1.71.40.5580.1
0.2
1.71.10.6030.20.3
2006SFN41
130
15.312.20.5561.1
2.1
15.311.80.5641.32.3
2007SFN42
126
15.312.40.5531.1
2.1
14.711.30.5651.32.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,985
462.0316.80.59359.3
89.7
452.5309.50.59458.588.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
48
6.46.40.502 0.36.85.30.563 1.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
3,033
468.4323.10.593
90.0
459.4314.80.594 89.2


Mark Prior
The best pitcher in major-league baseball in 2003, as measured by pWins over positional average and either pWins or eWins over replacement level, was Mark Prior. In 2003, Mark Prior pitched 211.1 innings with 245 strikeouts (2nd in the NL), against only 50 walks, with a 2.43 ERA (3rd in the NL), and a traditional won-lost record of 18-6. He was only 22 years old. The future looked limitless. Alas, Mark Prior would only win 18 more games in the rest of his career.

I actually wrote about the player most similar to Mark Prior through age 22 in my article about the 1976 season. As I said in that article, it's always a little bit depressing to do a comp list of young pitchers: the fact is, what happened to Mark Prior is, in many ways, the norm, not the exception, throughout baseball history.

Mark Prior's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.


Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
2002CHN21
19
8.07.50.5150.6
1.4
8.07.40.5210.71.5
2003CHN22
32
15.810.00.6123.6
5.0
15.010.30.5943.14.4
2004CHN23
21
7.46.70.5240.7
1.5
8.07.20.5250.81.6
2005CHN24
27
10.610.40.5040.6
1.6
10.911.30.4920.41.4
2006CHN25
9
2.55.20.324-1.2
-0.8
2.74.20.389-0.6-0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
108
44.239.80.5264.4
8.6
44.740.40.5254.38.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
3
1.81.30.593 0.51.51.40.522 0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
111
46.041.10.526
9.1
46.241.80.525 8.9


2003 Postseason

I live 3 - 4 blocks from Wrigley Field. In about the fifth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, my wife turned to me and said, "We should try to go to a World Series game." That opportunity has still not presented itself to us yet. That's all I'll say about the 2003 postseason, which was perhaps the most bittersweet postseason of my baseball fandom. I'll just let the Player won-lost records for the 2003 postseason speak for themselves.

2003 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Josh BeckettFLO3.01.71.0
Mariano RiveraNYA1.40.10.8


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

2003 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Josh BeckettFLO1.30.70.5
Brad PennyFLO1.10.50.4

2003 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Mariano RiveraNYA0.90.10.5
Mike LowellFLO1.20.30.5
Josh BeckettFLO1.10.50.4
Aramis RamirezCHN1.30.60.4

2003 Postseason: Division Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Kerry WoodCHN1.40.60.6
Jason SchmidtSFN0.90.20.5


Best of 2003 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 2003 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Barry Bonds14.77.43.4
Albert Pujols17.310.63.1

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carl Crawford1.90.90.5

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Pedro J. Martinez10.86.44.4
Tim Hudson12.99.03.9
Mark Prior12.28.43.8
Jason Schmidt11.57.83.7
J. Kevin Brown11.78.13.6
Roy Halladay14.410.93.5


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Hideo Nomo0.80.30.5


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Paul Lo Duca2.31.70.5


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jim Thome2.52.00.5


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mark Ellis5.74.90.8
Mark Grudzielanek4.03.20.8
Marcus Giles5.54.80.8


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Adrian Beltre5.14.11.0


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jose Valentin5.65.00.6
Omar Vizquel2.72.10.6


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Geoff Jenkins5.74.70.9


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mike Cameron6.15.01.1


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ichiro Suzuki7.24.42.8


Ichiro Suzuki's 2003 season was arguably the best fielding season for any season for which I have calculated Player won-lost records. The next table shows the top 10 seasons in fielding wins over replacement level.

Top 10 Fielding Seasons, all positions
Player Season eWins eLosses WORL_f
Ichiro Suzuki20037.24.41.7
Mark Belanger19756.54.61.7
Mark Belanger19736.04.41.6
Cal Ripken19848.47.41.6
Jim Piersall19537.75.41.6
Eddie R. Miller19437.45.71.5
Eddie R. Miller19447.45.91.5
Gary Ward198310.18.11.5
Dave Parker19778.76.31.5
B.J. Upton20087.45.41.5


Because I tie replacement level to positional average, replacement level has a built-in positional adjustment, so that fielding wins over replacement level should control for defensive position and these numbers should be (roughly) comparable across positions. Even so, comparing fielding numbers across positions is, at best, highly speculative.

That said, Ichiro's 2003 season is at the top of the list, which is pretty damn impressive.

Best by Position
Next, we look at 2003 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
Javy Lopez14.29.52.6


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Todd Helton22.215.82.2


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Marcus Giles20.216.12.1


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Scott Rolen20.516.71.8


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Alex Rodriguez22.918.42.8


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Barry Bonds19.111.73.0


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carlos Beltran18.814.52.2


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gary Sheffield23.116.92.3


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pedro J. Martinez10.86.62.2
Tim Hudson13.49.52.2
Jason Schmidt11.77.92.1
J. Kevin Brown12.28.42.1
Roy Halladay14.711.22.0
Mark Prior12.38.82.0


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Eric Gagne5.12.31.3


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 2003 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 2003, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Eric Gagne8.32.70.7572.63.4
Keith Foulke7.93.60.6851.92.8
Mariano Rivera7.33.00.7082.02.7
Brendan Donnelly6.62.80.7021.72.4
Tim Worrell8.14.90.6261.42.4


The way that I calculate pWins, the players on a team earn 2 pWins in every team win and 1 pWin in every team loss, so that, in some sense one-third of Player decisions are what I sometimes call "background wins" and one-third of Player decisions are "background losses". If one subtracts out "background wins" and "background losses", player pWins would sum to team wins and player pLosses sum to team losses. If I did not include these background wins and losses, then, anybody with a pWin winning percentage over 0.667 (two-thirds) would break the system: subtracting out "background losses" leaves Gagne, Foulke, Rivera, and Donnelly contributing negative losses. That's an extraordinary collection of high-quality pitching.

Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
David Ortiz8.25.51.1
Frank E. Thomas11.89.31.0


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
Russ Ortiz1.51.50.5
Gregory 'Woody' Williams1.51.60.5


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Greg Norton1.91.40.4


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gabe Kapler0.30.00.1
Damian Jackson0.70.50.1
Gerald Williams0.20.00.1
Chad Meyers0.20.00.1
Shane Victorino0.20.00.1
Andres Torres0.10.00.1
Willie Harris0.10.00.1
Adrian Brown0.10.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 2003

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 2003 seasons.

Notable Debuts
Based on their careers to date, the two best players who made their major-league debuts in 2003 were Miguel Cabrera and Chase Utley. Their careers, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the next table.

Miguel Cabrera Chase Utley
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
20038711.19.20.5460.7
1.4
434.23.90.5210.20.5
200416023.620.40.5360.8
2.6
949.37.70.5470.81.5
200515823.119.20.5451.3
2.9
14721.214.70.5903.14.4
200615821.716.40.5702.1
3.5
16021.917.20.5602.53.9
200715620.317.10.5431.2
2.6
13219.414.40.5742.43.6
200816018.315.60.5400.9
2.1
15921.217.30.5511.93.3
200916017.615.60.5300.2
1.5
15622.716.30.5823.04.5
201015020.714.50.5872.4
3.7
11515.911.90.5711.93.0
201116122.314.60.6043.2
4.6
10314.711.10.5701.82.7
201216122.518.10.5532.0
3.5
8310.39.90.5120.31.0
201314721.814.90.5953.4
4.8
13116.915.10.5280.82.0
201415918.713.70.5772.1
3.3
15519.418.90.5060.21.6
201511914.310.50.5781.5
2.4
10710.511.60.475-0.60.2
201615819.515.60.5561.6
2.8
13814.414.20.503-0.20.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,094275.2215.40.56123.4
41.7
1,723222.1184.30.54718.133.0


Cabrera's and Utley's careers are an interesting contrast. From 2005 - 2009, Utley was clearly better. But then, Utley, who is four years older than Cabrera, started to show his age, while Miguel Cabrera took his game to another level, so that Cabrera was clearly the better player from 2010 - 2013.

Last Hurrahs
Finally, 2003 was the final season for one of the most colorful - and greatest - players in major-league history, Rickey Henderson. The final table of this article presents Rickey Henderson's career, as measured by Player won-lost records.

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
11.912.40.490-0.4
0.5
11.112.10.478-0.70.2
1980OAK21
158
26.720.30.5692.5
4.3
24.419.00.5622.13.7
1981OAK22
108
17.613.40.5671.7
3.0
18.013.60.5691.83.1
1982OAK23
149
22.018.90.5381.1
2.7
22.218.40.5481.53.1
1983OAK24
145
20.617.20.5441.3
2.7
21.516.30.5692.23.6
1984OAK25
142
22.417.20.5652.1
3.7
21.716.70.5652.03.5
1985NYA26
143
23.716.20.5943.5
5.0
23.415.80.5963.65.0
1986NYA27
153
20.918.50.5301.0
2.5
21.818.40.5431.53.0
1987NYA28
95
13.610.90.5551.1
2.2
13.210.50.5581.22.2
1988NYA29
140
22.617.00.5712.5
3.9
22.617.80.5602.13.6
30
150
22.717.30.5672.1
3.6
22.617.90.5571.83.2
1990OAK31
136
23.914.60.6214.2
5.6
21.814.70.5973.14.5
1991OAK32
134
19.015.30.5541.6
3.0
18.815.00.5561.73.0
1992OAK33
116
17.912.10.5972.7
3.8
16.211.80.5792.03.1
34
134
19.116.60.5351.0
2.4
19.615.20.5642.03.4
1994OAK35
87
11.48.90.5591.1
2.0
10.28.20.5550.91.7
1995OAK36
112
15.012.10.5541.2
2.4
13.711.40.5460.92.0
1996SDN37
148
16.714.50.5360.5
1.8
17.115.50.5240.21.5
38
120
12.012.20.498-0.3
0.8
13.512.90.5110.11.2
1998OAK39
152
18.118.30.497-0.2
1.2
19.518.00.5200.62.1
1999NYN40
121
14.714.10.511-0.1
1.0
14.213.40.5150.01.1
41
123
13.814.20.493-0.6
0.6
12.814.60.468-1.3-0.1
2001SDN42
123
13.112.20.518-0.0
1.1
13.012.70.506-0.40.8
2002BOS43
72
6.76.50.508-0.0
0.5
6.56.30.507-0.10.5
2003LAN44
30
1.92.10.471-0.2
-0.0
1.91.80.510-0.00.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
3,080
428.0352.90.54829.5
60.2
421.1347.80.54828.759.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
60
8.16.60.551 1.18.56.70.557 1.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
3,140
436.0359.50.548
61.4
429.6354.60.548 60.3




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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