Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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2006 Season

The 2006 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 2006 season.

The Best of 2006

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
1Albert Pujols23.212.69.2
10.9
1Albert Pujols23.212.69.2
10.9
2Carlos Beltran23.314.68.5
10.2
2Carlos Beltran23.314.68.5
10.2
3David Ortiz19.111.46.8
8.8
3David Ortiz19.111.46.8
8.8
4Derek Jeter22.717.06.4
8.2
4Derek Jeter22.717.06.4
8.2
5Johan Santana15.99.96.3
8.0
5Johan Santana15.99.96.3
8.0
6Brandon Webb15.110.55.7
7.2
6Brandon Webb15.110.55.7
7.2
7Justin Morneau21.615.05.4
7.1
7Justin Morneau21.615.05.4
7.1
8Ryan Howard21.314.65.2
6.8
8Jermaine Dye22.416.85.1
6.9
9Jermaine Dye22.416.85.1
6.9
9Ryan Howard21.314.65.2
6.8
10Frankie Rodriguez8.83.55.1
6.4
10Carlos Guillen22.117.84.9
6.8


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
1Albert Pujols22.013.86.6
8.2
1Albert Pujols22.013.86.6
8.2
2Carlos Beltran22.015.85.8
7.5
2David Ortiz18.611.95.7
7.7
3David Ortiz18.611.95.7
7.7
3Carlos Beltran22.015.85.8
7.5
4Brandon Webb15.010.65.6
7.1
4Brandon Webb15.010.65.6
7.1
5Johan Santana15.510.45.4
7.1
5Johan Santana15.510.45.4
7.1
6Ryan Howard21.414.55.3
6.9
6Chase Utley22.317.65.1
6.9
7Chase Utley22.317.65.1
6.9
7Ryan Howard21.414.55.3
6.9
8Jim Thome15.910.34.7
6.5
8Grady Sizemore23.118.64.7
6.6
9Travis Hafner15.09.54.7
6.4
9Jim Thome15.910.34.7
6.5
10Grady Sizemore23.118.64.7
6.6
10Travis Hafner15.09.54.7
6.4


I take a look at some of the most interesting players of 2006 at the end of this article.

2006 Postseason

The 2006 postseason had several great moments. Billy Beane's Oakland A's finally won a postseason series. The New York Mets carried the momentum of a 97-win regular season through a 3-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers only to be shocked in 7 games by the St. Louis Cardinals.

The American League pennant was won by the Detroit Tigers, winner of 24 games more than the season before and 52 wins more than three years earlier. For the National League, the pennant winner was the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals, although that 83 wins was a little misleading as this was essentially the same team that had won 100 and 105 games the two previous regular seasons. The Cardinals won the World Series in five games.



2006 Postseason: Total
Player Team pWins pLosses pWORL
Kenny RogersDET2.00.71.5
Albert PujolsSLN2.81.41.3
Chris Carpenter (1997)SLN2.31.61.1
Adam WainwrightSLN1.10.31.0
Jeff SuppanSLN1.61.00.9
Carlos BeltranNYN1.60.90.9
Jeff WeaverANA2.41.90.9
Tom GlavineNYN1.51.00.7
Craig MonroeDET2.01.30.7
Carlos DelgadoNYN1.50.90.6


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

2006 World Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Albert PujolsSLN1.10.40.7
Scott RolenSLN0.90.30.6
Kenny RogersDET0.60.20.5
Adam WainwrightSLN0.50.10.4
Chris Carpenter (1997)SLN0.60.20.4

2006 Postseason: League Championship Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Jeff SuppanSLN1.10.40.8
Magglio OrdonezDET1.10.30.7
Carlos BeltranNYN1.30.70.6
Craig MonroeDET0.80.20.6
Placido PolancoDET0.80.30.5

2006 Postseason: Division Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Chris Carpenter (1997)SLN1.10.60.5
Kenny RogersDET0.80.30.5
Jeremy BondermanDET0.50.10.5
Tom GlavineNYN0.60.20.4
Jay PaytonOAK0.70.20.4


Best of 2006 by Factor and Position

Next, let's look at the top players 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 2006 in wins over positional average (WOPA) by factor were as follows.

Batting
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Ryan Howard18.010.8
6.9
1Albert Pujols18.79.19.3
2Albert Pujols17.110.7
6.0
2David Ortiz18.210.27.9
3David Ortiz17.211.1
6.0
3Carlos Beltran16.08.57.3
4Travis Hafner14.38.9
5.3
4Ryan Howard18.110.77.1
5Lance Berkman15.910.3
5.2
5Lance Berkman16.49.86.3
6Jim Thome15.19.8
5.2
6Justin Morneau18.111.76.3
7Jason Giambi15.110.3
4.7
7Jason Giambi15.89.66.1
8Miguel Cabrera15.710.8
4.7
8Derek Jeter16.010.45.5
9Manny Ramirez13.48.6
4.6
9Jim Thome15.29.75.4
10Carlos Beltran14.79.8
4.6
10Manny Ramirez13.68.45.1
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Baserunning
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Ichiro Suzuki2.21.3
0.9
1Hanley Ramirez2.01.10.9
2Carl Crawford1.81.0
0.8
2Chone Figgins2.21.30.9
3Brandon Phillips1.50.8
0.7
3Brandon Phillips1.60.70.8
4Felipe Lopez2.11.4
0.6
4Orlando Cabrera1.70.80.8
5Corey Patterson1.50.9
0.6
5Brian Roberts1.91.20.8
6Albert Pujols1.40.8
0.6
6Corey Patterson1.50.80.7
7Grady Sizemore1.91.3
0.6
7Willy Taveras1.60.90.7
8Scott Podsednik2.01.4
0.6
8Chase Utley1.40.80.6
9Brian Roberts1.91.2
0.6
9Ichiro Suzuki2.11.40.6
10Dave R. Roberts1.91.3
0.6
10Eric Byrnes1.30.80.6
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Pitching
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss Net eWins Player pWins pLoss Net pWins
1Brandon Webb13.49.2
4.2
1Johan Santana15.59.56.0
2Johan Santana14.510.5
4.0
2Frankie Rodriguez8.83.15.6
3Derek Lowe12.79.2
3.6
3Brandon Webb13.88.85.1
4B.J. Ryan6.43.5
3.0
4Joe Nathan6.61.74.9
5Chris Carpenter (1997)13.010.0
3.0
5Chris Carpenter (1997)13.69.44.1
6Takashi Saito5.93.0
2.9
6B.J. Ryan6.92.94.0
7Jonathan Papelbon6.03.2
2.8
7J.J. Putz6.72.74.0
8Joe Nathan5.62.7
2.8
8Roy Oswalt12.68.63.9
9John Lackey12.79.9
2.8
9Jonathan Papelbon6.52.63.9
10Jeremy Bonderman13.210.5
2.7
10Francisco Liriano7.74.03.7


Fielding by Position


Fielding, P
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Greg Maddux0.50.2
0.3
1Joe Borowski0.40.00.4
2Orlando Hernandez0.40.1
0.3
2Brian Sweeney0.30.00.3
3Josh Johnson0.40.1
0.3
3Orlando Hernandez0.40.10.3
4Mariano Rivera0.30.0
0.3
4Greg Maddux0.50.20.3
5Johan Santana0.50.2
0.3
5Ryan Madson0.30.10.3


Fielding, C
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Yadier Molina1.61.1
0.5
1Ivan Rodriguez1.30.80.5
2Gerald Laird0.80.4
0.4
2Jason Kendall1.81.40.4
3Yorvit Torrealba1.00.6
0.4
3Yadier Molina1.51.10.4
4Ivan Rodriguez1.20.8
0.4
4Kenji Johjima1.61.20.4
5Kenji Johjima1.61.2
0.3
5Jorge Posada1.61.20.4


Fielding, 1B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Albert Pujols3.32.6
0.7
1Chris Shelton1.81.10.6
2Dan Johnson1.71.3
0.5
2Adrian Gonzalez2.62.10.6
3Scott Hatteberg2.01.6
0.4
3Scott Hatteberg2.11.50.5
4Chris Shelton1.61.3
0.3
4Albert Pujols3.22.70.5
5Adrian Gonzalez2.52.2
0.3
5Kevin Youkilis1.91.50.4


Fielding, 2B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Chase Utley6.14.7
1.4
1Placido Polanco4.83.21.6
2Jamey Carroll4.23.0
1.1
2Aaron Hill4.93.71.3
3Aaron Hill4.73.9
0.7
3Jamey Carroll4.13.11.0
4Placido Polanco4.33.7
0.6
4Josh Barfield5.24.50.7
5Mark Grudzielanek4.84.3
0.5
5Jose Valentin3.32.60.7


Fielding, 3B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Brandon Inge6.45.1
1.3
1Brandon Inge6.65.01.5
2Freddy Sanchez3.62.3
1.2
2Eric Chavez4.63.41.2
3Mike Lowell4.83.6
1.2
3Freddy Sanchez3.52.41.2
4Joe Crede5.64.5
1.1
4Mike Lowell4.73.71.0
5Pedro Feliz5.14.2
0.9
5Joe Crede5.64.61.0


Fielding, SS
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Adam Everett6.85.0
1.8
1Adam Everett6.84.91.9
2Jhonny Peralta7.15.7
1.4
2Jimmy Rollins5.85.00.8
3Jack Wilson5.75.1
0.6
3Craig Counsell3.83.00.8
4Juan Uribe5.54.9
0.6
4Jhonny Peralta6.86.00.8
5Craig Counsell3.63.1
0.5
5Jose B. Reyes5.44.60.7


Fielding, LF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Reed Johnson2.81.9
0.9
1Alfonso Soriano7.36.01.3
2Alfonso Soriano7.16.2
0.9
2Nick Swisher4.12.91.2
3Nick Swisher3.93.1
0.8
3Reed Johnson2.91.81.1
4Luke Scott1.81.3
0.5
4Cliff Floyd3.52.80.7
5Jason Tyner1.51.1
0.5
5Ryan Langerhans3.22.60.6


Fielding, CF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Vernon Wells5.74.8
0.9
1Jim Edmonds5.53.42.1
2Willy Taveras4.63.9
0.7
2Vernon Wells5.94.61.3
3Grady Sizemore6.45.8
0.7
3Corey Patterson4.63.31.2
4Corey Patterson4.33.6
0.6
4Curtis Granderson6.04.91.1
5Ryan Freel2.01.6
0.4
5Jay Payton2.31.40.9


Fielding, RF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Alexis Rios4.63.7
0.9
1Jason Lane3.92.71.2
2Jeff Francoeur7.87.0
0.8
2Nick Markakis4.43.21.1
3Reggie L. Sanders3.12.3
0.8
3Magglio Ordonez6.35.31.0
4Ryan Freel2.01.3
0.8
4Jeff Francoeur7.97.00.9
5Jason Lane3.63.0
0.6
5Milton Bradley4.03.20.8


Best by Position
Next, we look at 2006 Major-League leaders by position. The figures shown here only include Player decisions earned while playing this particular position.

Catcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Brian McCann13.510.6
3.2
1Jorge Posada14.010.54.1
2Jorge Posada13.311.1
2.9
2Joe Mauer13.410.83.3
3Joe Mauer13.111.1
2.8
3Brian McCann13.410.63.1
4Ramon J. Hernandez12.611.1
2.2
4Mike Napoli8.06.02.4
5Kenji Johjima12.711.8
1.6
5Jason Varitek9.58.21.8


First Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Albert Pujols21.714.0
6.2
1Albert Pujols23.212.69.2
2Ryan Howard21.014.6
4.8
2Justin Morneau21.314.75.4
3Lance Berkman13.59.8
2.6
3Ryan Howard21.114.55.0
4Nick Johnson17.213.3
2.4
4Lance Berkman14.19.24.0
5Justin Morneau19.716.2
2.2
5Carlos Delgado16.612.13.1


Second Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Chase Utley21.817.4
4.8
1Chase Utley21.617.64.4
2Ray Durham17.515.3
2.6
2Ray Durham18.014.83.4
3Jose Valentin11.410.0
1.7
3Jose Valentin12.39.13.4
4Jamey Carroll13.312.0
1.6
4Placido Polanco14.112.52.2
5Dan Uggla18.917.9
1.4
5Robinson Cano14.713.22.1


Third Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Miguel Cabrera21.016.3
3.8
1David Wright22.516.94.8
2Alex Rodriguez20.116.9
2.7
2Miguel Cabrera21.216.14.2
3Chipper Jones13.910.8
2.5
3Alex Rodriguez20.416.73.2
4Garrett Atkins21.818.3
2.4
4Brandon Inge19.516.13.0
5David Wright21.218.2
2.0
5Eric Chavez16.213.02.7


Shortstop
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Derek Jeter20.917.9
3.8
1Derek Jeter22.416.36.8
2Carlos Guillen20.517.6
3.6
2Carlos Guillen21.116.94.9
3Miguel Tejada19.818.4
2.3
3Jose B. Reyes21.017.83.6
4Jose B. Reyes20.118.7
1.8
4Jimmy Rollins21.018.62.9
5Bill Hall17.015.5
1.8
5Orlando Cabrera20.518.92.4


Left Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Manny Ramirez17.714.2
2.9
1Manny Ramirez18.214.24.0
2Alfonso Soriano23.319.3
2.8
2Nick Swisher12.18.73.6
3Barry Bonds14.311.1
2.5
3Barry Bonds14.411.12.7
4Nick Swisher11.68.7
2.5
4Alfonso Soriano23.019.32.0
5Jason Bay23.520.0
2.1
5Frank Catalanotto12.311.01.7


Center Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Carlos Beltran21.715.9
5.6
1Carlos Beltran23.214.48.5
2Grady Sizemore22.818.7
4.2
2Andruw Jones22.217.84.1
3Andruw Jones22.317.7
4.2
3Vernon Wells20.617.13.7
4Vernon Wells20.717.0
3.8
4Grady Sizemore22.519.13.5
5Mike Cameron19.417.1
1.9
5Curtis Granderson19.516.73.0


Right Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Jermaine Dye21.617.6
3.5
1Jermaine Dye22.416.85.2
2Bobby Abreu21.618.4
2.5
2Bobby Abreu22.317.73.9
3Austin Kearns20.517.9
1.8
3Milton Bradley13.39.83.2
4Lance Berkman5.83.9
1.7
4Alexis Rios15.913.02.5
5Alexis Rios15.413.5
1.5
5Mike Cuddyer19.717.02.3


Starting Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Brandon Webb13.79.5
4.5
1Johan Santana15.99.96.3
2Johan Santana15.010.8
4.5
2Brandon Webb14.29.05.4
3Derek Lowe12.99.5
3.7
3Chris Carpenter (1997)13.79.54.5
4Chris Carpenter (1997)13.210.1
3.3
4Roy Oswalt12.88.64.4
5John Lackey13.110.2
3.2
5Derek Lowe13.19.44.0
6Roy Oswalt12.19.3
3.0
6Roy Halladay12.18.53.8
7Jeremy Bonderman13.410.7
2.9
7Jeremy Bonderman13.710.43.6
8Chien-Ming Wang12.29.8
2.6
8John Lackey13.210.13.3
9Mike Mussina10.88.5
2.4
9Francisco Liriano7.03.93.3
10Francisco Liriano6.64.3
2.4
10Jered Weaver8.15.03.2


Relief Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1B.J. Ryan6.63.5
2.9
1Frankie Rodriguez8.83.55.1
2Mariano Rivera6.73.7
2.8
2Joe Nathan6.71.84.6
3Takashi Saito6.03.0
2.8
3B.J. Ryan7.13.03.8
4Jonathan Papelbon6.03.2
2.7
4J.J. Putz6.72.83.8
5Joe Nathan5.62.9
2.6
5Jonathan Papelbon6.62.73.7
6Huston Street7.24.7
2.3
6Takashi Saito6.32.73.5
7J.J. Putz6.03.5
2.2
7Bobby Jenks7.74.03.4
8Frankie Rodriguez7.35.0
2.0
8Mariano Rivera7.03.43.4
9Akinori Otsuka5.83.9
1.7
9Trevor Hoffman6.83.43.2
10Cla Meredith3.21.5
1.6
10Billy Wagner7.34.03.0


Designated Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1David Ortiz16.811.4
4.4
1David Ortiz17.610.66.1
2Jim Thome15.110.2
4.2
2Jim Thome15.210.14.3
3Travis Hafner14.19.3
4.0
3Frank E. Thomas14.810.23.9


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

Pitcher Offense
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Carlos Zambrano1.21.5
0.6
1Carlos Zambrano1.61.01.2
2Dontrelle Willis1.11.5
0.4
2Jake Peavy1.71.61.0
3Mark Mulder0.50.5
0.3
3David Bush1.11.40.5


Pinch Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Daryle Ward1.81.3
0.7
1Josh Willingham0.70.10.7
2Olmedo Saenz1.81.5
0.5
2Mike Piazza0.90.30.6
3Moises Alou0.60.1
0.5
3Ken Griffey Jr.0.80.30.6


Pinch Runner
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Ray Olmedo0.20.0
0.2
1Ray Olmedo0.20.00.2
2Eric Reed0.30.1
0.2
2Eric Reed0.30.10.2
3Khalil Greene0.20.0
0.1
3Pablo Ozuna0.30.10.2


Noteworthy Players of 2006

NL MVP Race
The best player in the major leagues in 2006, as measured both pWins and eWins over either positional average (WOPA) or replacement level (WORL) was St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols. The second-best National League player in all four measures was New York Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran.

The voters chose Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Howard had a very good season - he even led the major leagues in (context-neutral) batting wins over non-pitcher average. But other players were better.

The next table compares the careers of the top two players in the major leagues in pWOPA and pWORL in 2006: Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran. I would anticipate that both of these players will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame within the next 10 years.

Albert Pujols Carlos Beltran
Season Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1998
 
141.62.2-0.6-0.4
1999
 
15620.121.1-1.20.8
2000
 
9810.211.4-1.4-0.3
2001
16123.617.74.6
6.8
15521.519.91.63.8
2002
15723.617.74.7
6.8
16219.819.7-0.21.9
2003
15723.214.87.1
9.0
14119.415.34.15.9
2004
15421.913.47.2
9.0
15923.218.64.46.5
2005
16120.714.45.0
6.5
15119.918.41.12.8
2006
14323.212.69.2
10.9
14023.314.68.510.2
2007
15820.114.24.6
6.1
14420.015.34.45.9
2008
14819.212.55.5
6.9
16124.517.86.28.2
2009
16025.114.88.5
10.3
8111.29.11.92.9
2010
15922.314.76.0
7.7
647.06.9-0.00.6
2011
14719.613.35.0
6.6
14219.817.41.12.9
2012
15418.214.92.6
4.3
15120.716.03.95.8
2013
999.79.5-0.0
1.2
14519.417.11.23.0
2014
15917.814.32.5
4.2
10910.010.3-0.60.6
2015
15717.715.31.4
3.2
13315.614.80.31.7
2016
15216.414.31.4
3.4
15115.814.80.72.4
2017
14913.214.0-0.6
1.3
1298.49.3-0.70.5
2018
11711.811.8-0.6
0.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,692347.3254.174.0
104.9
2,586331.4290.034.665.4


AL MVP Race
The actual MVP race was a close race between a Minnesota Twin and New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. Based on the first four tables in this article, Player won-lost records sort of agree: two of the top three players in the American League in 2006 were Derek Jeter and a Minnesota Twin. Except for one thing: based on Player won-lost records, the Minnesota Twins' MVP candidate was Johan Santana, but the actual 2006 AL MVP was Santana's teammate, first baseman Justin Morneau.

I take a somewhat closer look at these three players next.

Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter might have had more written about him than any other recent major-league player. On the one hand, he is adored, regarded by some as the greatest New York Yankee of all time. On the other hand, he is regarded by others as the worst defensive shortstop in major-league history.

Googling to find the examples in the previous paragraph, I came across this article with the headline, "Derek Jeter, Still Baseball's Most Underrated Overrated Player". I think that headline hits the nail pretty well on the head. And I think this dichotomy can perhaps best be seen in Derek Jeter's MVP vote totals through his career.

On the one hand, Derek Jeter received MVP votes in 12 seasons and he ranks 42nd in career MVP shares at Baseball-Reference.com. That would seem to support the "Jeter is overrated" hypothesis. On the other hand, based on Player won-lost records, Derek Jeter was among the top two players in the American League in pWins over positional average (pWOPA), replacement level (pWORL), or both three times: 1998, 1999, and 2006. Derek Jeter finished 3rd, 6th, and 2nd in MVP voting those three years. To some extent, I think that Derek Jeter is so over-rated that he's under-rated.

Derek Jeter's career, 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 pWORL pWOPA
1995NYA21
15
1.01.6-0.4-0.5
1996NYA22
157
18.219.71.4-0.4
1997NYA23
159
21.120.24.22.2
1998NYA24
149
23.116.89.47.3
1999NYA25
158
26.118.111.29.1
2000NYA26
148
20.516.76.44.6
2001NYA27
150
20.117.45.63.6
2002NYA28
157
20.317.65.43.5
2003NYA29
119
15.812.94.93.5
2004NYA30
154
22.718.17.55.5
2005NYA31
159
23.020.55.43.5
2006NYA32
154
22.717.08.26.4
2007NYA33
156
21.318.15.53.8
2008NYA34
150
18.417.73.31.7
2009NYA35
153
19.416.55.53.8
2010NYA36
157
20.320.03.31.4
2011NYA37
131
15.915.42.71.2
2012NYA38
159
20.318.94.22.2
2013NYA39
17
1.51.7-0.0-0.2
2014NYA40
145
15.918.1-0.0-1.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,747
367.6323.193.860.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
158
21.318.45.83.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,905
388.9341.599.564.5


Johan Santana
The best pitcher in the American League in 2006 (and, arguably, in the major leagues) was Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins. The 2006 season was the last of three consecutive seasons over which Johan Santana led American League pitchers in pWOPA and pWORL (he led all major-league pitchers in 2004 and 2006). Santana remained very good for three more seasons after 2006, although the last of these (2009) was injury-shortened (25 games). Unfortunately, that was mostly the end of Johan Santana's run as an elite major-league pitcher.

The next table compares the careers of Johan Santana and another pitcher whose run as the best pitcher in baseball was cut short by injuries, Sandy Koufax, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Johan Santana Sandy Koufax
Age Games eWins eLoss pWOPA pWORL Games eWins eLoss pWOPA pWORL
19
00.00.00.0
0.0
122.52.40.20.5
20
00.00.00.0
0.0
163.44.4-0.9-0.4
21
302.43.2-0.9
-0.4
345.35.8-0.30.4
22
151.51.30.2
0.5
4010.212.0-1.4-0.0
23
277.45.52.0
2.9
359.69.40.51.6
24
4510.36.14.3
5.5
3710.512.5-1.5-0.1
25
3415.38.17.4
8.9
4217.415.82.34.3
26
3314.58.56.2
7.6
2811.89.23.34.6
27
3415.99.96.3
8.0
4022.513.210.212.5
28
3313.510.83.0
4.7
2915.711.25.37.1
29
3415.111.84.3
6.0
4325.114.611.714.1
30
2511.39.32.7
3.9
4122.916.17.810.1
31
2912.512.70.6
2.1
00.00.00.00.0
32
00.00.00.0
0.0
00.00.00.00.0
33
218.410.1-1.1
0.0
00.00.00.00.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Total360128.097.435.0
49.7
397156.8126.737.154.8


Justin Morneau
The winner of the official 2006 American League MVP award was Justin Morneau, who narrowly defeated Derek Jeter. This decision was widely disdained in sabermetric circles.

Using the measure of Player won-lost records that most closely matches other sabermetric measures, eWins, over either positional average or replacement level, Justin Morneau was not among the top 25 players in the American League in 2006.

And yet, Justin Morneau's name appears in two of the top 10 lists above: not at the top among American Leaguers, but within the top four at least.

The next table presents Justin Morneau's 2006 season, as measured by Player won-lost records, both in and out of context.

Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Justin Morneau
157
21.615.05.4
7.1
19.916.62.13.8


Putting Justin Morneau's 2006 season in context, it turns out to have been worth approximately 3.4 more wins to the Minnesota Twins than expected.

It turns out that the timing of Justin Morneau's hitting in 2006 was extremely favorable to the Twins. Overall, for the season, Morneau batted .321/.375/.559, an OPS of .934. In extra innings, Morneau batted .500/.545/1.375, an OPS of 1.920! In tie games, Morneau batted .324/.370/.613/.983. For the season, 47% of Morneau's plate appearances came with runners on base (309 out of 661), but he hit 56% of his home runs with runners on base (19 of 34).

Baseball-Reference divides plate appearances into three buckets by leverage: high, medium, and low. Morneau's OPS in high-leverage plate appearances was 1.027.

But, to me, the most amazing split of Justin Morneau's 2006 batting stats is this one. In (94) Twins victories, Morneau batted .371/.421/.661 (1.082 OPS) with 27 HRs and 109 RBI (in 418 PAs). In (63) Twins losses, Morneau batted .235/.296/.382 (.679 OPS) with 7 HRs and only 21 RBI in 243 PAs.

On average, hitters generally perform better in team wins than in team losses - that's one reason why teams win those games, of course. But generally not to that extent. For the 2006 AL as a whole, batters hit .311/.380/.512/.892 in team wins and .235/.294/.355/.650 in team losses. Morneau's teammate, Joe Mauer, hit .404/.493/.586/1.080 in team wins and .266/.328/.393/.720 in team losses. The OPS difference for the AL as a whole was .242, for Mauer it was .360; for Morneau, it was .403.

David Ortiz
It turns out - in a result that is as surprising to me as it probably is to you - that, according to Baseball Player won-lost records, the 2006 AL MVP was probably neither Derek Jeter nor a Minnesota Twin. It was Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz, who finished second in AL MVP voting in 2005 and third in 2006. Certainly, Ortiz's offensive numbers stack up well with historical MVP winners: .287/.413/.636, a 1.049 OPS, 355 total bass, 119 walks, 54 home runs, 137 RBI, 115 runs scored. He led the American League in home runs, RBI, walks, and total bases.

For his career, Baseball Player won-lost records think highly of Ortiz and view him as having amassed a deserving Hall-of-Fame resume.

Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWORL pWOPA
1997MIN21
15
1.01.2-0.2-0.3
1998MIN22
86
7.07.8-0.7-1.5
1999MIN23
10
0.20.7-0.4-0.5
2000MIN24
128
9.69.80.4-0.8
2001MIN25
89
7.77.11.40.3
2002MIN26
125
10.28.82.31.0
2003BOS27
128
13.810.74.12.6
2004BOS28
150
17.212.66.04.0
2005BOS29
159
20.211.79.87.8
2006BOS30
151
19.111.48.86.8
2007BOS31
149
18.313.06.34.2
2008BOS32
109
11.98.34.53.1
2009BOS33
150
13.911.23.82.1
2010BOS34
145
16.011.06.44.6
2011BOS35
145
14.611.44.32.6
2012BOS36
90
9.76.44.23.1
2013BOS37
137
14.810.75.94.2
2014BOS38
142
14.011.23.92.3
2015BOS39
146
14.311.73.71.9
2016BOS40
151
17.412.46.54.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,405
250.9189.080.951.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
85
9.66.14.23.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,490
260.5195.185.155.0


Finally, to close out this article, I take a closer look at the surprise team of 2006.

Remarkable Turnaround: 2006 Detroit Tigers

The 2003 Detroit Tigers lost an American League record 119 games, winning 5 of their final 6 to just barely avoid finishing worse that the 120-loss New York Mets. Three years later, the 2006 Detroit Tigers were the talk of the baseball world, winning 95 games and the American League pennant.

How did they do it?

The next three tables divide the players on the 2006 Detroit Tigers into three groups and look at how those groups of players performed, as measured by Player won-lost records.

The first table shows the 2006 Player won-lost records for players who played on both the 2003 and 2006 Detroit Tigers. The players in this table are sorted by pWins over replacement level in 2006.

2006 Detroit Tigers who were also on 2003 Detroit Tigers
(sorted by pWORL)
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Jeremy Bonderman
34
13.710.53.5
5.1
13.710.53.55.0
Brandon Inge
159
19.516.13.0
4.6
18.617.01.22.8
Craig Monroe
147
18.115.51.9
3.6
17.016.6-0.41.3
Fernando Rodney
63
5.64.11.3
2.3
5.44.30.92.0
Nate Robertson
32
13.113.00.4
2.0
12.813.3-0.11.6
Mike Maroth
13
3.42.50.9
1.3
2.73.2-0.4-0.0
Jamie Walker
56
1.61.20.3
0.6
1.51.30.10.4
Omar Infante
78
5.65.9-0.2
0.4
5.85.80.20.7
Wilfredo Ledezma
24
2.83.0-0.2
0.3
3.02.80.20.6
Chris Spurling
9
0.10.10.0
0.1
0.10.1-0.00.0
Ramon Santiago
43
1.62.1-0.4
-0.2
1.62.1-0.4-0.2
Dmitri Young
48
2.83.9-1.3
-0.9
3.23.5-0.6-0.1


The Tigers had two regulars who had been with them three years earlier, although Brandon Inge switched positions between the two seasons, moving from catcher to third base. Both Inge and Monroe performed better in 2006 than they had in 2003.

The 2006 Tigers also had three starting pitchers who had been with the team in 2003: Jeremy Bonderman, Nate Robertson, and Mike Maroth, as well as key relief pitcher Francisco Rodney.

But overall, the number of holdovers from the 2003 Tigers to the 2006 Tigers was fairly small.

The second table shows the 2006 Player won-lost records for players who played for the 2006 Detroit Tigers, who made their major-league debut after 2003. Again, the players in this table are sorted by pWins over replacement level in 2006.

2006 Detroit Tigers who debuted after 2003
(sorted by pWORL)
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Curtis Granderson
159
19.616.82.8
4.5
18.517.90.82.4
Justin Verlander
30
12.010.41.8
3.3
11.311.00.51.9
Joel Zumaya
62
7.15.11.8
3.1
6.75.51.02.3
Chris Shelton
115
9.78.30.8
1.6
9.28.8-0.30.6
Roman Colon
20
1.41.20.2
0.5
1.31.3-0.10.2
Zach Miner
27
4.65.2-0.6
0.1
4.65.1-0.40.3
Mike Rabelo
1
0.00.00.0
0.0
0.00.00.00.0
Brent Clevlen
31
1.31.4-0.1
-0.0
1.51.20.30.4
Jordan Tata
8
0.20.3-0.1
-0.0
0.30.30.00.1
Kevin Hooper
8
0.00.0-0.0
-0.0
0.00.0-0.0-0.0
Jack Hannahan
3
0.00.2-0.2
-0.2
0.00.1-0.1-0.1
Andrew Miller
8
0.30.5-0.3
-0.2
0.30.4-0.10.0


Historically, the best way for very bad teams to get better is with good young homegrown talent. The 2006 Tigers got some of this: 25-year-old center fielder Curtis Granderson, 23-year-old starting pitcher (and 2006 AL Rookie of the Year) Justin Verlander, 21-year-old reliever Joel Zumaya, and 26-year-old first baseman (and Rule 5 pickup from the Pittsburgh Pirates following the 2003 season) Chris Shelton.

Finally, the third table shows the 2006 Player won-lost records for players who played for the 2006 Detroit Tigers, who also played in 2003, but not for the Tigers. Once again, the players in this table are sorted by pWins over replacement level in 2006.

2006 Detroit Tigers who played in 2003 for somebody else
(sorted by pWORL)
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Carlos Guillen
153
22.117.84.9
6.8
21.518.43.65.5
Kenny Rogers
34
11.99.92.3
3.7
11.010.80.41.8
Placido Polanco
110
14.312.62.2
3.5
13.013.9-0.21.0
Magglio Ordonez
155
20.718.71.4
3.2
20.219.20.62.4
Todd Jones
62
5.84.11.6
2.6
5.64.31.12.2
Marcus Thames
110
10.68.81.3
2.3
10.49.01.02.0
Ivan Rodriguez
136
12.512.50.8
1.9
12.712.31.12.3
Vance Wilson
56
3.73.10.8
1.1
3.43.40.20.6
Alexis Gomez
62
2.72.7-0.1
0.2
2.82.70.10.3
Jason Grilli
51
1.82.1-0.3
0.1
2.01.9-0.00.4
Chad Durbin
3
0.10.00.0
0.0
0.00.0-0.00.0
Matt Stairs
14
0.70.8-0.2
-0.1
0.70.8-0.10.0
Bobby Seay
14
0.20.3-0.1
-0.1
0.20.3-0.10.0
Colby Lewis
2
0.00.2-0.1
-0.1
0.10.1-0.0-0.0
Neifi Perez
21
1.42.4-0.8
-0.6
1.62.2-0.5-0.4
Sean Casey
53
4.35.6-1.7
-1.2
4.45.5-1.5-1.0


This last table is the key one for the 2006 Tigers: between shrewd trading and judicious free-agent signings, the Tigers brought in five starting position players, a starting pitcher, and a closer, among others. Oh, and the 2006 Tigers added one more piece to the puzzle that's not reflected in these three tables: manager Jim Leyland.

Overall, an excellent building job by Dave Dombrowski and his staff.

Article last updated: October 7, 2019

Wins over positional average and replacement level are calculated using data only for the 2006 season. Positional averages for starting pitching and relief pitching are calculated using single-year data for all starting pitchers and all relief pitchers.

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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