Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 2009 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 2009 season.

The Best of 2009

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 Pujols24.814.73.8
5.3
1Albert Pujols24.814.73.8
5.3
2Adam Wainwright17.912.13.6
5.0
2Adam Wainwright17.912.13.6
5.0
3Chase Utley23.116.33.3
4.7
3Chase Utley23.116.33.3
4.7
4Zack Greinke16.110.03.1
4.5
4Zack Greinke16.110.03.1
4.5
5Chris Carpenter (1997)13.98.83.0
4.1
5Tim Lincecum16.511.53.0
4.3
6Josh Johnson15.410.43.0
4.2
6Ben Zobrist21.615.82.9
4.3
7Tim Lincecum16.511.53.0
4.3
7Justin Verlander17.011.62.7
4.3
8Ben Zobrist21.615.82.9
4.3
8Josh Johnson15.410.43.0
4.2
9Felix Hernandez15.59.82.9
4.2
9Felix Hernandez15.59.82.9
4.2
10Justin Verlander17.011.62.7
4.3
10Chris Carpenter (1997)13.98.83.0
4.1


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
1Zack Greinke16.79.43.7
5.1
1Zack Greinke16.79.43.7
5.1
2Albert Pujols24.115.43.1
4.6
2Albert Pujols24.115.43.1
4.6
3Tim Lincecum16.211.82.8
4.1
3Ben Zobrist21.516.02.7
4.1
4Chris Carpenter (1997)13.69.12.8
3.8
4Tim Lincecum16.211.82.8
4.1
5Ben Zobrist21.516.02.7
4.1
5Chase Utley22.417.02.6
4.0
6Chase Utley22.417.02.6
4.0
6Chris Carpenter (1997)13.69.12.8
3.8
7Joe Mauer14.810.52.5
3.6
7Josh Johnson14.811.02.4
3.7
8Josh Johnson14.811.02.4
3.7
8Justin Verlander16.412.32.1
3.6
9Ubaldo Jimenez15.112.02.1
3.4
9Joe Mauer14.810.52.5
3.6
10Justin Verlander16.412.32.1
3.6
10Troy Tulowitzki21.618.22.0
3.5


Based on the above tables, the 2009 season looked to be a very good year for pitchers with 7 of the top 10 players in pWOPA, pWORL, and eWOPA, and 5 of the top 10 in eWORL being pitchers.

I take a closer look at a few of the top players in the above tables next.

League-Leading Teammates
The top two players in pWins over positional average and replacement level in 2009 were teammates on the St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright.

The list of teammates for finished 1-2 in Major League Baseball in pWORL since 1937 is shown in the next table.

Teammates Finishing 1-2 in Major-League pWORL
Player 1 Player 2
Team Season Player 1 pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Player 2 pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
BRORoy Campanella19.710.44.9
6.2
Duke Snider23.313.34.4
5.9
CLEBobby Avila24.915.25.0
6.7
Larry Doby26.915.34.9
6.6
NYAMickey Mantle23.313.54.2
5.6
Roger Maris22.513.83.8
5.2
NYAMickey Mantle25.814.94.8
6.6
Roger Maris26.915.54.5
6.3
CINJoe L. Morgan22.314.74.3
5.7
George Foster27.119.53.0
4.9
SLNAlbert Pujols24.814.73.8
5.3
Adam Wainwright17.912.13.6
5.0


The 2009 Cardinals teammates hold a couple of unique distinctions on that list. First, they are the only teammates who were a pitcher and position player (Wainwright is the only pitcher in the above table). The Cardinals are also the only team on that list who did not make the World Series.

Best in the American League: Zack Greinke
The best player in the American League in 2009, as measured by Player won-lost records (in or out of context), was Cy Young winner Zack Greinke. At the time, there was some old-school / new-school controversy regarding Greinke's 2009 season. On the one hand, Greinke's 2009 season was excellent by any measure - 2.16 ERA, 242 K's in 229.1 IP. On the other hand, he "only" won 16 games. Not entirely coincidentally, he also accumulated 16 pWins. But even tying his performance to team wins - and Greinke only won 16 games because his team, the Kansas City Royals only won 65 games - Greinke led the American League in pWins over either positional average or replacement level and did so fairly easily.

Zack Greinke has never matched his 2009 performance in any other season, but he has nevertheless had a very good career. Greinke's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Zack Greinke
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
2004KCA20
24
8.49.20.479-0.4
0.6
8.69.00.488-0.20.8
2005KCA21
33
10.413.00.444-1.3
-0.1
11.112.20.475-0.50.6
2006KCA22
3
0.30.40.428-0.0
-0.0
0.30.40.451-0.00.0
2007KCA23
52
7.87.40.5140.2
1.2
7.97.30.5200.31.3
2008KCA24
32
13.511.50.5401.1
2.4
13.111.90.5240.72.0
2009KCA25
33
16.110.00.6183.1
4.5
16.79.40.6413.75.1
2010KCA26
33
12.112.80.487-0.3
1.0
13.211.70.5290.82.1
2011MIL27
29
12.410.20.5481.4
2.5
11.411.20.5030.41.5
28
37
13.110.60.5531.5
2.6
12.810.90.5391.22.3
2013LAN29
29
13.48.80.6052.9
3.9
11.810.40.5311.22.3
2014LAN30
32
12.711.60.5231.0
2.2
13.011.30.5341.32.5
2015LAN31
32
15.29.60.6123.3
4.5
14.310.50.5762.43.6
2016ARI32
27
10.39.20.5301.0
2.0
10.09.50.5120.61.6
2017ARI33
33
15.210.80.5842.8
4.1
14.711.30.5662.33.6
2018ARI34
34
13.412.10.5251.2
2.5
13.611.90.5341.42.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
463
174.3147.00.54217.6
33.9
172.3149.00.53615.632.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
11
3.84.00.485 0.44.54.50.501 0.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
474
178.1151.10.542
34.4
176.9153.50.536 32.6


2009 Postseason

The 2009 postseason saw the Philadelphia Phillies win a second consecutive National League pennant, only to lose a 6-game World Series to the New York Yankees.

The one bright side for the Phillies in the 2009 postseason was the performance of Cliff Lee, who led all players in postseason pWins (total, as well as over either average or replacement level), on the strength of a 4-0 record in 5 starts, 40.1 IP, 33 K, and a 1.56 ERA.

2009 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Cliff P. LeePHI2.80.91.2
Alex RodriguezNYA2.81.20.9
Hideki MatsuiNYA2.00.70.8


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

2009 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Hideki MatsuiNYA1.20.20.6
Cliff P. LeePHI1.20.30.6

2009 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
C.C. SabathiaNYA1.10.40.4
Ryan HowardPHI1.00.30.4
Carlos RuizPHI0.70.10.3
Jayson WerthPHI1.10.60.3
Alex RodriguezNYA0.90.40.3
Mariano RiveraNYA0.70.20.3
Shane VictorinoPHI0.70.30.2
Ryan MadsonPHI0.50.20.2
Jeff MathisANA0.50.20.2
Raul IbanezPHI0.60.30.2
John LackeyANA0.70.50.2
Jimmy RollinsPHI0.80.60.2
Cliff P. LeePHI0.40.20.2
Robinson CanoNYA0.90.70.2

2009 Postseason: Division Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Cliff P. LeePHI1.20.40.5
Alex RodriguezNYA0.80.20.4
Jered WeaverANA0.70.10.3
Torii HunterANA0.90.30.3
Vladimir GuerreroANA0.80.30.3
Vicente PadillaLAN0.70.20.3
Derek JeterNYA0.70.20.3
Andre EthierLAN0.80.30.3
Bobby AbreuANA0.70.20.3


Best of 2009 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 2009 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Albert Pujols17.710.73.3

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jacoby Ellsbury2.11.10.5
Michael Bourn2.31.40.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Zack Greinke12.88.24.7
Tim Lincecum12.28.63.7


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Zack Greinke0.40.10.3
Javier Vazquez0.40.10.3
Brandon Lyon0.40.10.3


Besides being the best player in the American League, Zack Greinke also led the major leagues in net Player pitching wins as well as net fielding wins by a pitcher. Only one other player has led the major leagues in both of these statistics for any year for which I have complete play-by-play data.

The list of players who led major league pitchers in both net pitching wins and net fielding wins (since 1937) is shown in the next table.

Major-League Leaders in Pitching and Fielding in the Same Season
Pitching Fielding
Player Season eWins eLosses eWOPA eWins eLosses eWOPA
Zack Greinke
2009
12.88.2
4.7
0.40.10.3


Now, back to 2009 leaders.

Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Rob Johnson1.30.80.5


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Adrian Gonzalez3.02.20.8


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ian Kinsler5.54.70.8


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Pedro Feliz4.93.61.3


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Brendan Ryan4.73.61.0


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Carl Crawford6.24.91.4


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Franklin Gutierrez6.54.61.9


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Elijah Dukes3.82.81.0
Nelson R. Cruz5.44.41.0


Best by Position
Next, we look at 2009 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
Joe Mauer12.78.82.4


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Albert Pujols22.014.62.5


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Chase Utley21.916.72.5


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Evan Longoria19.815.82.0
Ryan Zimmerman22.918.62.0


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Hanley Ramirez21.017.91.9


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jason Bay21.117.61.6


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carlos Beltran11.78.91.3


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Shin-Soo Choo17.414.21.3


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Zack Greinke13.28.32.5


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Andrew Bailey4.92.81.1


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 2009 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 2009, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Jonathan Papelbon7.83.40.6942.22.9
Jonathan Broxton7.13.00.7062.12.8
Joe Nathan7.03.50.6691.82.5
Joakim Soria5.92.10.7361.92.4
Brian Wilson8.66.00.5881.32.3


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Hideki Matsui11.79.60.9
Jim Thome8.77.00.7
Adam Lind9.67.80.7


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
Carlos Zambrano1.21.20.4


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Seth Smith1.40.80.4
Ross Gload2.11.60.4


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Brett Gardner0.50.10.2


Noteworthy Players of 2009

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 2009 seasons.

Notable Debuts
It is, of course, far too early to know who will have the most successful careers among the players who debuted in 2009. The Debut Class of 2009 does include the last two National League Most Valuable Players, however. The careers, to date, of San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the next table.

Buster Posey Andrew McCutchen
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
200970.30.40.405-0.1
-0.0
10813.715.10.475-0.80.2
201010812.710.40.5501.2
2.0
15418.619.10.492-0.50.9
2011454.13.90.5130.2
0.5
15820.918.80.5260.62.2
201214819.112.60.6013.1
4.3
15722.118.30.5461.32.8
201314814.913.30.5300.8
1.9
15723.417.50.5722.54.0
201414717.712.20.5922.7
3.8
14619.914.80.5732.13.4
201515017.313.60.5601.9
3.0
15722.415.40.5933.14.5
201614615.813.90.5331.1
2.2
15317.518.30.489-0.60.7
201714014.113.50.5120.3
1.4
15619.517.30.5310.82.1
201810510.29.90.5080.4
1.1
15519.419.20.502-0.41.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,144126.3103.70.54911.6
20.2
1,501197.3173.80.5328.021.7


Last Hurrahs
Finally, 2009 was the final season for two of the greatest pitchers of all-time, who won a combined eight Cy Young awards, both of them winning at least one in each league, with both of them winning the award in both 1999 and 2000.

The career records of Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented in the final table of this article.

Randy Johnson Pedro Martinez
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
198841.81.30.5680.2
0.4
1989299.110.70.461-0.7
0.2
19903313.912.50.5260.7
2.0
19913314.013.50.5100.3
1.7
19923114.315.50.479-0.6
1.0
20.20.30.394-0.0-0.0
19933617.011.30.6012.9
4.2
657.55.40.5801.01.8
19942311.28.50.5701.4
2.5
249.77.90.5521.22.1
19953016.57.50.6884.5
5.8
3011.611.30.5070.51.7
1996143.92.60.6040.7
1.1
3313.313.20.5010.51.9
19973016.28.40.6583.9
5.4
3118.011.90.6013.65.2
19983418.014.90.5481.8
3.5
3315.610.70.5932.53.8
19993518.513.30.5823.2
4.7
3116.36.50.7144.96.1
20003518.613.40.5813.2
4.7
2916.47.10.6994.75.9
20013519.112.50.6053.8
5.5
187.44.00.6501.72.4
20023519.110.40.6464.8
6.3
3014.87.50.6633.74.9
2003187.57.60.4960.2
1.0
2913.87.30.6543.34.5
20043515.512.60.5522.0
3.5
3314.710.90.5741.93.4
20053413.210.90.5461.2
2.4
3113.311.00.5481.62.7
20063311.811.30.5110.3
1.5
238.49.90.458-0.50.4
2007103.53.50.5030.1
0.5
52.31.50.6080.50.7
20083011.511.50.5010.4
1.5
206.58.10.443-0.60.1
2009227.07.40.486-0.0
0.7
93.82.70.5800.60.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS619281.2220.90.56034.2
59.9
476193.6137.40.58531.148.5




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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