Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 2016 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records

I have recently updated my Player won-lost records to incoporporate the 2016 season.

This article takes a look at the 2016 season as measured by Player won-lost records.

The Best of 2016

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
1Clayton Kershaw12.26.33.6
4.6
1Mike Trout23.816.73.5
5.0
2Mike Trout23.816.73.5
5.0
2Mookie Betts26.119.23.3
4.9
3Johnny Cueto14.69.33.5
4.7
3Johnny Cueto14.69.33.5
4.7
4Mookie Betts26.119.23.3
4.9
4Clayton Kershaw12.26.33.6
4.6
5Adrian Beltre21.815.13.1
4.4
5Adrian Beltre21.815.13.1
4.4
6Noah Syndergaard14.110.02.9
4.1
6Max Scherzer16.813.22.8
4.4
7Madison Bumgarner15.111.62.8
4.2
7Madison Bumgarner15.111.62.8
4.2
8Anthony Rizzo20.313.32.8
4.0
8Noah Syndergaard14.110.02.9
4.1
9Max Scherzer16.813.22.8
4.4
9Kris Bryant23.317.02.6
4.1
10Rick Porcello13.89.22.7
4.1
10Jon Lester14.811.22.7
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
1Mike Trout23.415.73.8
5.2
1Mike Trout23.415.73.8
5.2
2Madison Bumgarner16.312.82.9
4.4
2Madison Bumgarner16.312.82.9
4.4
3Clayton Kershaw10.25.72.8
3.7
3Kris Bryant21.615.52.6
4.0
4Kris Bryant21.615.52.6
4.0
4Justin Verlander14.610.62.4
3.9
5Johnny Cueto14.711.72.5
3.8
5Johnny Cueto14.711.72.5
3.8
6Justin Verlander14.610.62.4
3.9
6Rick Porcello14.310.42.4
3.8
7Noah Syndergaard13.410.32.4
3.7
7Mookie Betts24.419.52.2
3.8
8Rick Porcello14.310.42.4
3.8
8Clayton Kershaw10.25.72.8
3.7
9Carlos Martinez13.510.82.2
3.5
9Noah Syndergaard13.410.32.4
3.7
10Mookie Betts24.419.52.2
3.8
10Nelson R. Cruz17.813.32.0
3.5


Mike Trout
For the fifth season in a row, the pre-award discussion in the online sabermetric community focused in equal parts on how Mike Trout was clearly the best player in the American League and how Mike Trout was likely to be robbed of the American League MVP award. For the second time in those five seasons, these concerns were unfounded and Mike Trout won the MVP award. As the tables above show, Player won-lost records agree with the MVP voters (and sabermetic fans): Mike Trout was clearly the best and most valuable player in the American League in 2016.

The most similar player to Mike Trout through age 24, as measured by Player won-lost records, is Mickey Mantle. Here's how Trout and Mantle compare in context-neutral Player won-lost records (eWins) through age 24.

Mike Trout Mickey Mantle
Age Games eWins eLoss WinPct eWOPA eWORL Games eWins eLoss WinPct eWOPA eWORL
19
404.13.80.5160.1
0.4
9611.79.50.5520.91.8
20
13920.915.30.5772.5
3.8
14221.415.20.5852.74.2
21
15723.916.80.5873.3
4.9
12718.913.30.5862.33.7
22
15723.516.70.5843.1
4.6
14522.815.80.5902.74.3
23
15924.317.20.5843.3
4.8
14722.614.10.6163.65.1
24
15923.415.70.5983.8
5.2
15024.314.10.6334.56.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Total, thru Age 24811119.985.60.58416.1
23.8
807121.681.90.59716.725.0


Clayton Kershaw
Mike Trout is the top player in 3 of the 4 tables above. Heading up the fourth table is Clayton Kershaw, who led Major League Baseball in pWOPA, despite missing more than two months with a bad back. The 2016 season was Clayton Kershaw's age-28 season. The next table shows the 10 players most similar to Clayton Kershaw in career value through age 28, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Pitching Fielding
Clayton Kershaw
271
121.487.523.1
33.1
-3.3-0.015.50.6
Pedro J. Martinez
278
108.674.420.2
29.9
-2.2-0.014.60.1
Roger Clemens
241
114.976.320.9
30.3
0.00.014.00.2
Tom Seaver
269
133.499.922.2
32.2
-2.40.011.60.7
Bert Blyleven
357
155.8131.516.1
29.0
-2.60.112.70.6
Robin Roberts
327
152.4121.120.7
32.5
-3.7-0.111.40.4
Greg Maddux
282
126.6104.916.7
27.2
-3.6-0.010.70.6
Bob Feller
303
156.1120.122.4
34.7
-3.50.010.20.1
Felix Hernandez
303
125.8102.214.3
26.4
-0.2-0.011.30.4
Hal Newhouser
379
164.9136.419.2
32.5
-3.2-0.110.01.2
Bret Saberhagen
273
107.380.714.9
24.3
-0.2-0.010.80.6


Six of the ten players on the list are in the Hall of Fame and the other four won a combined 11 Cy Young awards. Oh, and while these are the players most similar to Clayton Kershaw, Kershaw actually has more net pitching wins and pWins over positional average (pWOPA) through age 28 than any of the them. It's not exactly a breakthrough finding of Player won-lost records, but Clayton Kershaw has had a pretty good career so far.

2016 Postseason

My father was born in Cleveland and was a teenager when the Cleveland Indians last won the World Series.

I was born in Baltimore and was a teenager when the Baltimore Orioles last won the World Series.

My sons were both born on the North Side of Chicago and are teenagers this year.

Books will be - and already have been - written about this postseason, so let's just jump right to the numbers. The top performers in the 2016 postseason, as measured by Player won-lost records, are shown in the table below.

2016 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Corey KluberCLE3.11.51.2
Clayton KershawLAN2.41.40.8
Cody AllenCLE1.90.50.8
Jon LesterCHN2.31.40.8
Andrew MillerCLE2.00.70.8


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

2016 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Corey KluberCLE1.40.60.6
Jake ArrietaCHN0.90.40.4
Addison RussellCHN1.30.80.3
Ben ZobristCHN1.20.80.3


Going into Game 7 of the World Series, the choice of who might be chosen as World Series MVP was an interesting contrast between the two teams. If the Indians won Game 7, that would have meant that the Indians won all three games started by Corey Kluber, who would have almost certainly been MVP barring something very strange - which then almost happened. In contrast, the Cubs seemed to have a dozen viable candidates and it seemed most likely to come down to who came up biggest in Game 7. And, indeed, the World Series MVP was given to the player who had the game-winning RBI in Game 7, Ben Zobrist. As measured by net Player won-lost records (pWins minus pLosses), Player won-lost records agrees that the most valuable player of Game 7 was Ben Zobrist, although the overall MVP of the World Series was Corey Kluber, in spite of his relatively poor Game 7 performance and the top player for the Cubs was Jake Arrieta, who won Games 2 and 6.

Now, back to earlier playoff rounds.

2016 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Andrew MillerCLE1.10.10.5
Francisco LindorCLE1.10.40.4
Corey KluberCLE1.10.50.4
Cody AllenCLE0.70.10.3
Clayton KershawLAN1.20.90.3
Jon LesterCHN0.80.40.3

2016 Postseason: Division Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Clayton KershawLAN1.20.50.5
Troy TulowitzkiTOR1.00.20.5
Javier BaezCHN1.10.30.4
Josh DonaldsonTOR0.80.20.4

2016 Postseason: Wild Card Round
pWins pLosses pWORL
Madison BumgarnerSFN0.70.20.3
Conor GillaspieSFN0.50.10.2
Noah SyndergaardNYN0.40.20.1
Josh DonaldsonTOR0.30.10.1
Brandon CrawfordSFN0.30.10.1
Roberto OsunaTOR0.20.00.1
Marcus StromanTOR0.30.20.1
Edwin EncarnacionTOR0.20.00.1
Francisco LirianoTOR0.10.00.1
Ezequiel CarreraTOR0.20.10.1
Darren O'DayBAL0.10.00.1
Addison ReedNYN0.20.10.1
Kevin PillarTOR0.20.10.1


Best of 2016 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 2016 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mike Trout16.210.23.0

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Billy Hamilton2.00.90.5
Mookie Betts2.01.20.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Clayton Kershaw8.24.43.7
Johnny Cueto12.39.23.1
Rick Porcello12.59.72.8


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Chad Green0.60.00.6


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Salvador Perez1.71.10.6


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Yonder Alonso2.41.70.6


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Joe Panik5.23.91.3


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Adrian Beltre4.73.61.0


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Francisco Lindor6.24.81.4


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Adam Duvall5.85.00.8


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Leonys Martin5.74.80.9
Ender Inciarte5.34.50.9


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Adam C. Eaton5.74.41.4


Best by Position
Next, we look at 2016 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
Jonathan Lucroy13.010.81.4


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Freddie Freeman20.315.11.9


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Daniel Murphy17.013.11.6
Robinson Cano21.618.01.6


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Josh Donaldson18.614.81.6


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carlos Correa21.017.81.9


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Christian Yelich17.514.81.2


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mike Trout22.215.43.4


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mookie Betts24.419.72.1


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Clayton Kershaw8.34.62.1
Johnny Cueto12.69.32.0


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Andrew Miller4.52.40.9


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 2016 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 2016, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Zach Britton7.81.80.8122.73.4
Andrew Miller7.92.30.7702.53.2
Jeurys Familia8.94.80.6491.72.7
Kenley Jansen6.22.60.7081.62.2
Sam Dyson7.44.20.6411.32.2


Historic Relief Pitcher Seasons
Over the last five months of 2016, Zach Britton pitched in 58 games, of which he finished 54, winning 1 game and saving 41. Overall, over those five months, he pitched 57 innings and allowed ONE earned run, good for a 0.16 ERA. As shown in the table above, that translates into a pWin winning percentage of over 0.800.

As impressive as Britton was, Andrew Miller was almost as good: 10-1, 12 saves, 1.45 ERA in 74.1 IP.

It turns out that both Britton and Miller had historic 2016 seasons, as measured by Player won-lost records. The next table shows the top 10 seasons in pWin winning percentage for players with at least 2.0 pWins in a season for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Top pWin Pct. (min. 2 pWins)
Player Season pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Zach Britton20167.81.80.8122.73.4
Bob Milacki19882.10.50.7950.80.9
Karl Spooner19542.20.60.7850.91.0
Joe Nathan20066.71.80.7852.32.9
Kenley Jansen20177.82.10.7852.73.5
Koji Uehara20135.11.50.7751.72.2
Andrew Miller20167.92.30.7702.53.2
Mariano Rivera19986.41.90.7702.12.6
Tim Burke19877.62.30.7652.53.1
Zach Britton20156.52.00.7642.02.6


Zach Britton is the first player with 2.0 or more pWins and a pWinning percentage over 0.800. In fact, Britton has a higher winning percentage than any player with at least 1.1 pWins in a season. Pretty impressive!
Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
David Ortiz15.011.21.6
Nelson R. Cruz11.68.21.5


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
Jake Arrieta1.31.40.5
Madison Bumgarner1.51.90.5


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Matthew Joyce1.91.30.3
Derek Dietrich0.90.40.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Adam Frazier0.30.00.1
Keon Broxton0.20.00.1
Tyler Holt0.20.00.1
Terrance Gore0.70.60.1
Ronald Torreyes0.10.00.1
Jake Marisnick0.20.10.1


Noteworthy Players of 2016

Noteworthy Retirements
It appears that the 2016 season will be the final season in the careers of several noteworthy players. The two most significant players whose final season was 2016 were probably long-time AL East rivals Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Several years ago, I wrote an article comparing Rodriguez's and Ortiz's 2005 seasons, when they finished first and second in American League MVP voting. Their careers, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the next table.

Alex Rodriguez David Ortiz
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1994170.92.00.313-0.5
-0.4
1995483.84.10.476-0.1
0.3
199614622.316.80.5713.4
5.0
199714120.217.20.5402.2
3.7
151.01.20.457-0.1-0.1
199816123.920.50.5382.4
4.2
867.07.80.474-0.7-0.1
199912918.416.40.5301.6
2.9
100.20.70.199-0.3-0.2
200014823.615.00.6124.9
6.5
1289.69.80.495-0.40.8
200116222.917.50.5663.3
5.0
897.77.10.5220.21.1
200216221.718.00.5452.3
3.9
12510.08.60.5400.61.7
200316121.318.30.5382.0
3.5
12813.810.60.5651.22.6
200415521.015.20.5792.6
4.0
15017.212.60.5772.03.7
200516225.617.10.5994.2
5.7
15920.211.60.6353.85.7
200615420.517.00.5461.5
2.8
15119.111.30.6283.35.1
200715825.216.20.6084.3
5.8
14918.313.00.5852.03.9
200813818.115.80.5341.0
2.3
10911.88.30.5891.52.7
200912417.712.90.5792.4
3.6
15013.811.20.5521.02.5
201013718.714.30.5652.2
3.5
14516.010.90.5952.33.9
20119912.09.80.5501.2
2.1
14514.811.50.5631.32.9
201212213.112.00.5210.4
1.5
909.86.30.6071.52.5
2013444.54.20.5150.1
0.5
13714.910.50.5862.23.7
2014
 
14214.111.20.5561.12.7
201515114.411.40.5571.1
2.7
14614.311.80.5470.92.4
2016654.45.30.455-0.5
0.0
15117.312.30.5842.23.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,784374.0297.20.55742.1
69.1
2,405250.9188.30.57125.551.4


In Memoriam: Jose Fernandez
Finally, one other noteworthy event of 2016 warrants mention. In addition to the retirements of several players at the end of long and illustrious careeers, 2016 was the final season for one player for a far more tragic reason. On September 25, 2016, Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died tragically at the age of 24. The next table presents Jose Fernandez's career as evaluated by Player won-lost records.

Jose D. Fernandez
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
2013MIA20
28
11.77.60.6062.6
3.5
12.08.10.5982.53.5
2014MIA21
8
4.63.40.5750.8
1.2
3.62.70.5780.71.0
2015MIA22
11
4.02.60.6020.9
1.2
4.53.70.5520.71.1
2016MIA23
30
13.29.80.5742.4
3.7
12.710.20.5542.03.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
77
33.523.50.5886.8
9.6
32.924.60.5715.98.8


Pitcher careers are much harder to forecast than position player careers, especially very young pitchers. The next table shows the 10 players most similar to Jose Fernandez in career value through age 23 (2016 was Fernandez's "age-23" season even though he had turned 24 before his untimely death).

Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Pitching Fielding
Jose D. Fernandez
77
33.523.56.8
9.6
-0.6-0.03.80.0
Roger Clemens
69
30.420.25.5
8.0
0.00.03.4-0.0
Mark Prior
72
31.124.05.0
7.8
-0.6-0.03.00.0
Madison Bumgarner
122
48.142.55.2
9.4
-1.3-0.03.2-0.1
Clayton Kershaw
118
47.940.16.2
10.4
-1.60.04.80.2
Carlos Zambrano
101
36.232.73.7
7.2
-0.8-0.02.90.3
Dontrelle Willis
109
42.533.86.7
10.4
-0.60.02.30.2
Ismael Valdez
117
40.236.43.8
7.8
-1.6-0.03.70.2
Pete Donohue
117
49.837.97.0
10.8
-1.0-0.13.10.2
Bret Saberhagen
134
49.235.87.4
11.7
0.0-0.04.90.2
Dean Chance
146
50.443.45.3
9.9
-2.0-0.05.10.0


It's hard to say exactly what Jose Fernandez's career might have looked like had he lived longer. There are no Hall-of-Famers on that list (yet), but 5 of the 10 players won a combined 14 Cy Young awards. Of course, the greatest tragedy of Jose Fernandez's death was not what his major-league career might have looked like but what the rest of his life might have been.

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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