Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 2007 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 2007 season.

The 2007 regular season was so good that they added an extra game, which was so good that it lasted thirteen innings. I wrote a companion article to this one focusing on the final regular-season game of 2007: Game 163 between the San Diego Padres and Coloerado Rockies.

The Best of 2007

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
1Alex Rodriguez25.216.24.4
5.9
1Alex Rodriguez25.216.24.4
5.9
2Brandon Webb17.012.23.2
4.7
2Brandon Webb17.012.23.2
4.7
3Jake Peavy15.610.93.1
4.4
3Vladimir Guerrero22.615.83.0
4.6
4Kelvim Escobar14.69.13.0
4.4
4Jake Peavy15.610.93.1
4.4
5Vladimir Guerrero22.615.83.0
4.6
5Matt Holliday26.019.12.8
4.4
6C.C. Sabathia15.29.92.9
4.3
6Kelvim Escobar14.69.13.0
4.4
7Matt Holliday26.019.12.8
4.4
7C.C. Sabathia15.29.92.9
4.3
8Fausto Carmona14.810.22.5
4.0
8Fausto Carmona14.810.22.5
4.0
9Erik Bedard12.27.62.5
3.6
9Magglio Ordonez23.217.62.4
3.9
10Brad Penny13.19.52.5
3.6
10David Ortiz18.313.02.0
3.9


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
1Alex Rodriguez22.315.53.3
4.7
1Alex Rodriguez22.315.53.3
4.7
2Jake Peavy15.611.03.1
4.4
2Jake Peavy15.611.03.1
4.4
3Tim Hudson14.510.03.0
4.3
3C.C. Sabathia15.610.32.9
4.4
4C.C. Sabathia15.610.32.9
4.4
4Tim Hudson14.510.03.0
4.3
5Brandon Webb15.611.82.6
4.0
5Brandon Webb15.611.82.6
4.0
6Chipper Jones18.612.92.5
3.7
6Matt Holliday23.617.52.4
3.9
7Matt Holliday23.617.52.4
3.9
7David Ortiz16.911.72.1
3.8
8Brad Penny13.910.52.4
3.6
8David Wright22.016.62.3
3.7
9David Wright22.016.62.3
3.7
9Magglio Ordonez21.616.32.3
3.7
10Kelvim Escobar13.19.12.3
3.6
10Chipper Jones18.612.92.5
3.7


Next, I take a look at a few of the more interesting players from the above tables.

Alex Rodriguez
Player won-lost records agrees with the 2007 American League MVP voters. Clearly the best player in the major leagues in 2007, as measured by Player won-lost records - in or out of context, relative to average or replacement level - was Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

The next table shows the top 10 seasons, ranked by pWORL, by players who compiled a majority of their player decisions while playing third base, for all seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Top Seasons by a Third Baseman, based on pWORL
Player Season pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Alex Rodriguez200725.216.20.6094.45.9
Eric Chavez200121.713.20.6224.35.8
Harmon Killebrew196924.815.20.6204.15.8
Al Rosen195326.617.20.6074.05.8
Joe Torre197126.316.90.6084.15.8
Alex Rodriguez200525.617.10.5994.25.8
Scott Rolen200422.913.80.6244.15.5
Eddie Mathews195324.615.90.6073.75.4
Robin Ventura199923.315.40.6033.85.3
Adrian Beltre200424.616.20.6033.75.3


Matt Holliday
Player won-lost records do not agree with the 2007 National League MVP voters. The winner, Jimmy Rollins, had a good enough season to show up at the bottom of the pWORL and eWORL leaderboards. But the best position player in the National League in 2007, as measured by Player won-lost records, was Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday.

I remember thinking at the time in 2007 that Matt Holliday had come out of nowhere. The next table shows Matt Holliday's career (through 2017).

Matt Holliday
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
2004COL24
121
10.613.00.448-1.7
-0.8
12.613.10.490-0.70.3
2005COL25
125
15.117.00.470-1.4
-0.3
16.315.30.5160.01.2
2006COL26
155
20.920.80.502-0.7
0.8
20.818.90.5240.31.7
2007COL27
158
26.019.10.5772.8
4.4
23.617.50.5742.43.9
2008COL28
139
20.716.40.5571.5
2.9
21.015.70.5722.13.4
29
156
22.219.50.5321.0
2.5
21.117.20.5501.63.0
2010SLN30
158
22.618.70.5471.2
2.8
21.117.10.5511.32.7
2011SLN31
124
16.813.20.5611.6
2.7
17.814.30.5551.52.8
2012SLN32
157
21.217.30.5501.4
2.8
21.618.30.5421.22.6
2013SLN33
141
20.715.70.5692.1
3.5
18.215.10.5481.22.5
2014SLN34
156
22.918.60.5521.7
3.2
21.019.50.5190.31.8
2015SLN35
73
7.76.50.5430.5
1.0
7.47.30.501-0.10.4
2016SLN36
109
11.310.50.5190.3
1.1
11.510.90.5130.11.0
2017NYA37
105
8.98.60.5080.2
1.2
8.58.30.5050.11.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,877
247.6215.00.53510.5
28.0
242.4208.40.53811.328.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
73
8.08.30.491 0.38.68.40.505 0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,950
255.6223.30.535
28.3
251.0216.90.538 28.9


Holliday's career took a definite step up in 2007, although the quality of his play in 2005 and 2006 was masked somewhat by context (i.e., it wasn't noticed because he played on lousy teams). The 2007 season was definitely Matt Holliday's peak season, but it was more of a "breakthrough" season than a "spike" or "fluke" season, as he has certainly remained a solid major-league player since then.

Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb
Jake Peavy won the 2007 NL Cy Young award unanimously. Based on Player won-lost records, it's hard to argue that voters got this one wrong - Peavy is the top pitcher on 3 of the 4 lists. But he's not necessarily so much greater than Brandon Webb that he deserved to win the award unanimously. Comparing their 2007 Player won-lost records is a nice case study in the importance of context in evaluating player value.

The table below compares Jake Peavy's and Brandon Webb's 2007 seasons, in and out of context.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Jake Peavy
36
15.610.90.5873.1
4.4
15.611.00.5863.14.4
Brandon Webb
34
17.012.20.5823.2
4.7
15.611.80.5692.64.0


Controlling for context and the ability of their teammates, Jake Peavy's season was clearly better than Brandon Webb's, as measured by Player won-lost records (which is no knock against Brandon Webb's excellent 2007 season, of course). A good chunk of that is actually offense: Peavy beats Webb by 0.4 wins over positional average on offense, on the strength of a .233/.250/.315 batting line for Peavy (in 84 PAs) vs. .082/.095/.110 for Webb (in 82 PAs).

Putting their records in context, however, Webb basically pulls even with Peavy. It seems a little odd that context helps the guy who finished with a traditional W-L record of 18-10 gain ground on the guy who finished 19-6. Looking a bit more closely at the 2007 gamelogs for Peavy and Webb, however, helps us to understand this a bit better.

First, the difference in their personal (traditional) W-L records somewhat overstates the difference in their teams' record in their respective starts. The Padres went 23-11 in Peavy's starts, only one game better than the Diamondbacks' 22-12 record in Webb's starts.

In games in which his team scored 3 or fewer runs (for the entire game, not merely while he was in the game), Jake Peavy's team went 6-9. Webb's team did (very) slightly better at 7-9. Looking at games where the Padres or D-Backs scored 2 or fewer runs in Peavy's and Webb's starts, however, is where we start to see a bit of separation. The Padres went 1-8 in such games while the Diamondbacks had a surprisingly respectable 3-5 record in such games with Webb pitching 23 shutout innings over three games in which the Diamondbacks scored a total of 4 runs.

It's not a lot of difference and, really, even at best, it merely makes Brandon Webb's 2007 season as good as Jake Peavy's. But, then again, the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Diego Padres by one game (not counting the Padres' Game 163 loss) for the NL West division title: turn one of Webb's 1-0 wins into a 2-1 loss and the 2007 season might have turned out quite different for these two teams.

2007 Postseason

Objectively speaking, the 2007 postseason was, in some respects, exceptionally boring. Out of 28 postseason games played, only four were won by the team who did not go on to win their series, 3 of which came in the same series and none by a National League team.

Still, it's baseball and it's the postseason, so there was plenty of note that did happen. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, and Philadelphia Phillies made the postseason for the first time in 5, 6, and 14 years, respectively.

The Colorado Rockies closed the regular season by winning 14 of their final 15 games, including a dramatic 13-inning Game 163 to make the postseason for only the second time in their history and the first time in 12 years. The extended their hot streak with 3-game and 4-game sweeps in the first rounds of the playoffs - 21 wins in 22 games overall over exactly a month (Sep 16 - Oct 15) - to make the first (and, so far, only) World Series appearance in franchise history.

The best players in the 2007 postseason as measured by Player won-lost records are shown in the tables below. The generally lopsided nature of the playoffs can be seen here as no players from losing teams show up on any of these lists (the lack of Indians players in the LCS table is perhaps the only real surprise there).

2007 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Josh BeckettBOS2.30.71.0
Manny RamirezBOS2.81.40.8


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

2007 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Jacoby EllsburyBOS0.80.30.3
Jonathan PapelbonBOS0.50.10.2
Mike LowellBOS0.70.30.2
Josh BeckettBOS0.50.20.2
Jon LesterBOS0.50.20.2
Dustin PedroiaBOS0.60.30.2
Curt SchillingBOS0.40.20.2
Daisuke MatsuzakaBOS0.40.20.2

2007 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Josh BeckettBOS1.10.40.4
J.D. DrewBOS1.20.50.4
Manny RamirezBOS1.40.80.4
Yorvit TorrealbaCOL0.80.30.3
Matt HollidayCOL0.80.30.3
Kevin YoukilisBOS1.00.50.3
Brad HawpeCOL0.70.20.3

2007 Postseason: Division Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Kazuo MatsuiCOL1.10.20.5
Manny RamirezBOS1.00.20.4
David OrtizBOS0.70.00.4
Chris B. YoungARI0.80.10.4


Best of 2007 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 2007 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Alex Rodriguez16.910.83.0

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jose B. Reyes3.31.80.7
Juan Pierre2.61.40.6

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
C.C. Sabathia13.69.63.9
Brandon Webb12.99.23.7
Jake Peavy12.59.13.4
Tim Hudson11.48.13.4
Josh Beckett11.18.22.9


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Kelvim Escobar0.60.20.5


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Gerald Laird1.61.00.6


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Albert Pujols3.22.11.0


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Orlando Hudson5.64.80.7
Mark Ellis6.35.60.7


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mike Lowell4.33.50.8
Ryan Zimmerman5.85.10.8


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Troy Tulowitzki7.05.81.2


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ryan Church5.53.61.9


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ichiro Suzuki6.95.91.1


The 2007 season was the only season in Ichiro's MLB career when he played centerfield regularly. And, of course, he was the best defensive CF in the majors.

Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Alexis Rios6.04.61.4


Best by Position
Next, we look at 2007 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
Jorge Posada13.711.61.7


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carlos Pena17.712.82.0


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Chase Utley19.014.92.0


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Alex Rodriguez21.715.53.0


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jimmy Rollins23.419.91.8
Hanley Ramirez23.219.81.8


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Matt Holliday23.517.42.4


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Grady Sizemore21.118.21.5


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Magglio Ordonez20.115.52.0


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Brandon Webb13.59.82.0
C.C. Sabathia13.610.21.9
Jake Peavy12.79.31.9
Tim Hudson11.78.41.8


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rafael Betancourt4.52.21.0


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 2007 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 2007, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
J.J. Putz6.92.30.7512.22.8
Frankie Rodriguez8.13.90.6771.92.7
Takashi Saito6.72.10.7572.12.7
Joe Nathan7.33.50.6741.72.5
Rafael Betancourt5.92.20.7291.72.3


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
David Ortiz16.111.31.9


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
Micah Owings1.51.10.7


For his career, Micah Owings has the rare distinction for a pitcher of having amassed a better Player winning percentage on offense (i.e., batting and baserunning) than on defense (i.e., pitching and fielding).

The next table shows all such players who amassed at least 5 offensive Player decisions and 10 Player pitching wins in their career, sorted by career Player pitching wins.

Offense Defense
Player eWins eLosses eWinPct eWins eLosses eWinPct
Don Newcombe18.818.40.506115.8113.90.504
Earl Wilson15.115.20.498111.2115.90.490
Blue Moon Odom8.79.60.47781.489.20.477
Ken Brett7.77.30.51181.780.20.504
Tommy Byrne11.912.40.48973.883.00.471
Tim Lollar4.95.20.48347.554.90.464
Chubby Dean19.020.80.47736.841.50.470
Lynn Nelson6.36.90.47731.236.00.464
Brandon Backe2.82.90.49329.433.30.469
Les Sweetland4.15.10.44928.436.20.440
Micah Owings4.54.20.51927.329.80.479
Clint Hartung7.37.40.49927.731.40.469
Mike Corkins2.52.60.49224.529.20.456
Jack Bentley8.28.80.48324.527.50.471
Wayland Dean3.23.50.47720.423.20.468
Bob Chesnes3.53.50.50219.821.20.482
Chad Kimsey3.13.00.50919.621.50.476
Art Reinhart3.33.20.50317.518.50.485
Johnny Lindell66.758.80.53242.044.30.487


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mark Sweeney2.11.70.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Charlton Jimerson0.20.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 2007

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 2007 seasons.

Notable Debuts
The two Rookie-of-the-Year winners in 2007 would both go on to win MVP awards in the future. I believe this was only the second (and, so far, last) time this has happened (the first was 2001, when Albert Pujols and Ichiro Suzuki won the Rookie-of-the-Year awards).

The table below compares 2007 Rookie-of-the-Year award winners Ryan Braun and Dustin Pedroia.

Ryan J. Braun Dustin Pedroia
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
200711314.313.90.508-0.1
0.9
13916.414.90.5230.92.0
200815122.017.80.5531.5
3.0
15720.818.60.5271.32.8
200915823.519.60.5461.5
3.1
15420.417.50.5381.63.0
201015622.418.50.5471.3
2.8
7510.48.20.5611.32.0
201115024.316.90.5893.3
4.9
15921.517.60.5502.23.7
201215421.818.20.5441.3
2.7
14117.317.10.5030.51.7
2013618.88.00.5220.2
0.8
16021.618.20.5441.93.4
201413518.417.60.512-0.1
1.2
13516.216.70.4930.01.2
201514017.116.30.512-0.2
1.1
9311.811.80.5000.21.0
201613516.916.40.5080.1
1.3
15321.117.40.5481.73.0
201710412.112.00.502-0.1
0.8
10512.711.60.5210.61.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,457201.6175.20.5358.8
22.7
1,471190.2169.60.52912.025.3


Last Hurrahs
Finally, 2007 was the final season for an unusually large number of players who put up Hall-of-Fame caliber numbers. This group debuted on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2013. I wrote an article about that ballot here.

Statistically, the two best players whose final season was 2007 were Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Unfortunately, neither of them will be entering the Hall of Fame anytime soon. Nevertheless, their career records, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented in the table below.

Barry Bonds Roger Clemens
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1984
 
217.35.80.5570.91.4
1985
 
155.94.60.5610.71.3
198611215.515.10.507-0.2
1.0
3317.39.90.6373.95.2
198715018.817.00.5250.3
1.7
3618.311.70.6093.65.1
198814421.415.90.5742.1
3.6
3518.011.90.6033.34.7
198915921.119.10.5260.3
1.7
3514.812.70.5371.22.6
199015124.116.50.5933.0
4.5
3116.78.70.6574.25.5
199115324.315.80.6063.7
5.2
3516.811.10.6023.04.5
199214022.214.70.6023.2
4.6
3215.510.20.6032.94.3
199315926.915.60.6334.9
6.6
2912.712.60.5020.21.4
199411218.613.20.5852.2
3.6
2410.68.00.5701.42.5
199514424.717.10.5903.1
4.8
238.86.70.5691.32.1
199615825.617.70.5923.1
4.9
3413.411.00.5491.52.9
199715924.817.40.5883.3
5.0
3418.69.80.6554.76.4
199815624.616.80.5953.4
5.0
3315.79.30.6283.54.8
199910215.611.00.5881.9
3.0
3013.212.30.5160.62.0
200014223.815.30.6093.5
5.1
3214.012.00.5381.22.6
200115328.015.50.6435.3
7.2
3313.98.80.6112.84.1
200214325.413.20.6575.3
6.8
2911.59.10.5591.42.5
200313021.011.60.6454.0
5.3
3313.411.00.5481.42.8
200414723.211.60.6685.1
6.5
3314.810.80.5782.84.1
2005141.71.40.5590.1
0.2
3214.19.80.5902.83.9
200613015.311.80.5641.3
2.3
197.24.80.5981.52.1
200712615.412.00.5611.3
2.3
185.95.50.5190.31.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,984462.1315.10.59560.3
90.8
709318.2228.20.58251.179.6


The final table here compares two other players whose final season was 2007 who, hopefully, will be entering the Hall of Fame very soon: Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza.

Craig Biggio Mike Piazza
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1988502.73.30.449-0.3
-0.0
198913413.912.10.5351.3
2.2
199015016.416.90.493-0.3
0.9
199114914.514.00.5090.7
1.8
199216221.420.20.5150.5
2.1
211.21.90.389-0.3-0.2
199315521.519.10.5301.3
2.9
14918.113.80.5672.23.5
199411417.112.70.5752.3
3.5
10712.59.80.5611.62.5
199514122.317.10.5672.8
4.4
11214.710.20.5912.43.4
199616222.719.50.5382.0
3.7
14819.513.10.5973.44.7
199716123.818.50.5632.8
4.5
15218.013.30.5762.53.7
199816025.217.90.5843.7
5.3
15118.513.20.5843.14.3
199916023.020.50.5291.2
2.9
14117.914.00.5612.33.6
200010111.411.70.494-0.0
0.9
13617.911.80.6033.24.5
200115521.016.50.5602.2
3.9
14116.813.40.5562.33.6
200214517.117.80.489-0.2
1.2
13513.513.40.5010.61.7
200315318.218.20.500-0.2
1.2
676.46.50.4980.10.6
200415617.719.50.476-1.4
0.0
12911.312.10.482-0.60.4
200515520.417.50.5381.3
2.7
1139.810.60.480-0.20.6
200614515.316.80.475-0.7
0.5
12611.110.80.5060.31.1
200714112.915.70.450-1.5
-0.4
836.87.10.492-0.40.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,849358.5325.40.52417.3
44.0
1,911214.0174.90.55022.438.4




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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