Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Nick Johnson
What Kind of Career Might a Healthy Nick Johnson Have Had?

Nick Johnson recently announced his retirement.

The first table below presents Nick Johnson's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Nick Johnson
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
2001NYA22
23
1.51.70.468-0.2
0.0
1.41.80.448-0.2-0.1
2002NYA23
129
10.68.40.5570.8
1.7
9.19.20.496-0.40.5
2003NYA24
96
9.78.00.5460.5
1.4
9.78.20.5400.41.3
2004MON25
73
6.06.30.489-0.4
0.1
6.56.30.507-0.20.3
2005WAS26
131
15.912.40.5601.0
2.1
15.312.90.5430.51.6
2006WAS27
147
16.414.20.5370.3
1.4
17.413.40.5641.22.3
2008WAS29
38
4.13.00.5750.4
0.6
3.72.80.5690.30.5
30
133
12.813.40.488-1.1
-0.2
15.113.40.530-0.01.0
2010NYA31
24
2.11.50.5890.3
0.5
1.81.70.5150.00.2
2012BAL33
38
1.81.80.500-0.0
0.2
2.02.00.505-0.00.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
832
80.870.80.5331.6
7.7
82.071.80.5331.67.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
20
1.52.00.420 -0.21.21.70.413 -0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
852
82.372.80.533
7.6
83.273.50.533 7.7


Unfortunately, the most memorable aspect of Nick Johnson's career was that he was constantly injured. Over the twelve years between his first and last appearance in the major leagues, Johnson played over 100 games in a season only 4 times (2002, 2005, 2006, and 2009) and missed two full seasons (2007, 2011). When he was healthy, Nick Johnson was excellent at getting on base (career OBP of .399) with moderate power (34 doubles, 18 HRs per 162 games). Overall, as shown above, this made for a solidly above-average player.

But what if he could have stayed healthy?

The next table hypothesizes what a healthy Nick Johnson's career might have looked like. Nick Johnson's career high in games played was 147 in 2006. In creating my alternative healthy Nick Johnson, I assumed that he played 147 games every season from 2002 through 2012. Of course, a healthy Nick Johnson would probably also play in 2013, but we'll set that aside for now. I did not adjust his 23-game rookie season since he did not debut that season until August 21st. For seasons in which Johnson played, I simply left his Player winning percentage unchanged, but adjusted his player decisions to reflect 147 games played. For the two seasons that Johnson missed, I assumed his Player winning percentage was the average of the seasons immediately before and after. The next table shows the career of a hypothetical, healthy Nick Johnson.

Nick Johnson
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Season Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
2001
23
1.51.70.468-0.2
0.0
1.41.80.4480.00.0
2002
147
12.19.60.5570.9
2.0
10.410.50.496-0.40.6
2003
147
14.812.30.5460.8
2.1
14.812.60.5400.72.0
2004
147
12.112.60.489-0.8
0.2
13.112.70.507-0.40.6
2005
147
17.814.00.5601.2
2.3
17.214.50.5430.61.8
2006
147
16.414.20.5370.3
1.4
17.413.40.5641.22.3
2007
147
16.112.90.5550.9
1.9
15.812.10.5661.12.2
2008
147
15.711.60.5751.4
2.4
14.210.70.5691.12.1
2009
147
14.214.80.488-1.3
-0.2
16.714.90.530-0.11.1
2010
147
12.88.90.5891.7
3.0
11.210.60.5150.11.4
2011
147
9.97.90.5550.8
1.8
9.59.10.5110.01.1
2012
147
6.96.90.500-0.1
0.7
7.77.60.505-0.00.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,640
150.2127.50.5415.7
17.6
149.4130.40.5344.015.8


So how good a player is this hypothetical, healthy Nick Johnson? Below are all players whose actual career Player won-lost records are within 0.5 pWOPA and 0.5 pWORL of the hypothetical healthy Nick Johnson through age 32.

pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
Healthy Nick Johnson150.2127.55.717.6
Matt Holliday176.0155.05.818.0
Edwin Encarnacion145.3127.76.117.6
Ron Gant160.9142.25.717.4
Willis Hudlin132.1127.95.517.4
Howie Kendrick160.1150.45.917.4
Darin Erstad158.2142.15.217.3
Ken Griffey Sr.157.8136.05.817.2
Greg Vaughn144.6127.85.617.1
Chick Hafey147.3127.15.617.1
Lee May158.2131.05.317.1


That's a pretty impressive group of players. No Hall-of-Famers, but some fine players who had fine careers. Just eyeballing the numbers, the one who strikes me as probably the best comp, in terms of value, might be Ken Griffey, Sr.. Griffey made 3 All-Star teams and played until he was 41.

The final table shows how Ken Griffey, Sr. and the real Nick Johnson compared by age.

Nick Johnson Ken Griffey Sr.
Age Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
22
231.51.70.468-0.2
0.0
23
12910.68.40.5570.8
1.7
244.02.10.6610.91.1
24
969.78.00.5460.5
1.4
868.26.90.5430.41.0
25
736.06.30.489-0.4
0.1
13018.813.20.5882.23.5
26
13115.912.40.5601.0
2.1
14621.515.50.5812.33.7
27
14716.414.20.5370.3
1.4
15420.718.40.5290.21.8
28
 
15822.120.70.517-0.11.5
29
384.13.00.5750.4
0.6
9511.212.10.482-0.9-0.0
30
13312.813.40.488-1.1
-0.2
14620.717.90.5370.82.3
31
242.11.50.5890.3
0.5
10114.012.10.5370.61.6
32
 
12716.417.30.488-0.60.7
33
381.81.80.500-0.0
0.2
11813.711.20.5501.01.9
34
 
12012.613.40.485-0.60.4
35
 
12714.313.00.5240.41.5
36
 
13915.416.10.488-0.80.4
37
 
12112.615.20.452-1.8-0.7
38
 
935.68.50.397-1.7-1.1
39
 
1067.67.20.512-0.10.5
40
 
674.54.20.5150.10.4
41
 
302.92.90.499-0.00.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS83280.870.80.5331.6
7.7
2,088247.0227.90.5202.320.7


Oh, what 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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