Calculating Customized Value Statistics
The first option is the range of seasons over which the statistic will be calculated. One can only choose seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records of course (actually, you could choose seasons for which I haven't calculated records; everybody's records would just all be 0 - 0, by construction).Season Range
As with most of the stat pages on my website, one can choose the time period over which positional averages are calculated. This is an option on most stat pages. Options for positional averages are 0.500 for all positions, or position-specific averages calculated over one year, nine years (the year of interest plus four years prior and four years after, if available), or all seasons for which Player won-lost records are calculated (currently 1916 to 2019). For pitchers, one can also choose how to calculate positional averages for starting vs. relief pitchers (0.500 for both, empirical - i.e., overall record for all starters vs. overall record for all relievers, or empirical only for those pitchers who did both in the same season). Positional averages are discussed in more detail here.Positional Averages
I calculate Player won-lost records two ways: pWins are tied to team records while eWins control for context. One can enter any numbers one wishes in the two boxes on this line.pWins vs. eWins
Wins are simply raw wins - a pure counting stat. WOPA stands for Wins over Positional Average and measures value relative to average. WORL stands for Wins over Replacement Level. Replacement Level is set one standard deviation below positional average. Wins over Star (WO*) are wins over "Star Level". Star Level is set one standard deviation above positional average.Wins vs. WOPA vs. WORL vs. WO*
Approximately half of all WOPA and a majority of WO* values will be negative, by construction. It is also possible for WORL to be negative for a season. If a "y" is entered in any of these boxes, negative seasonal values for WORL, WOPA, and/or WO* will be treated as zeroes in calculation. A value of "n" will rely upon raw WORL, WOPA and/or WO* values, regardless of sign.Zero Out Negative Values?
There are 14 separate positions to which one can apply distinct weights: the 8 fielding positions, designated hitter, pinch hitter, pinch runner, a pitcher's offensive contributions, starting pitching, and relief pitching. One can enter any numbers one wishes in these fourteen boxes.By Position
Player won-lost records are calculated for postseason games exactly the same way as they are calculated for regular-season games. One can assign whatever weights one would like for postseason wins, WOPA, and WORL. The weights chosen earlier for pWins vs. eWins and for Wins vs. WOPA vs. WORL will be applied to postseason records as well. Wins over Star are not calculated for postseason records.Weights for Postseason
Entering a positive number, p, in this box will normalize all team seasons to p games. So, for example, if a player played in 120 of his team's 162 games in a season and p was set equal to 100, the player's statistics would be scaled down by (100/162), which would reduce the player's effective games played to 74 games (120*[100/162]). Leaving this box blank, or entering the number zero, would use the actual number of team games for all seasons.Normalize seasons to _ Games
For seasons before 1928, Retrosheet is missing play-by-play data for some games. In these cases, Player won-lost records are calculated only for games for which Retrosheet has released play-by-play data.Extrapolate missing player games?
The number entered in this box will be the number of players presented in the final table of players. The table is constructed on the fly and the larger the number entered here, the longer the table may take to be built. Please be patient.Show top _ players
162-Game SeasonFirst, prior to 1961 in the American League and 1962 in the National League, seasons were 154 games long. Since 1962 (1961 in the AL), seasons have been 162 games long. Eight games may not seem like much, but over the course of a 20-year career, an additional 8 games per season adds up to another full season (20*8 = 160).
Labor StoppagesSecond, there have been regular-season games missed due to labor strikes during four seasons in major-league history: 1972, 1981, 1994, and 1995. The first of these was relatively short, reducing season lengths by about 7 games on average (teams played 153 - 156 games that year). The last reduced season length by exactly 18 games per team (teams played a 144-game schedule in 1995). The middle two were particularly bad, costing teams 50 or more games each season and, in the latter case, eliminating the postseason as well. There were no players whose careers were affected by all three (1994-95 was a single work stoppage) of these work stoppages, but even for players affected only by the 1994-95 strike, the lost games added up to nearly half a season. For players affected by both the 1981 and 1994-95 strikes, the lost games added up to nearly a full season.
Missing Play-by-Play DataThe third potential issue with games played is unique to Player won-lost records, rather than to the actual seasons played. My Player won-lost records are only calculated based on games for which Retrosheet has play-by-play data. Unfortunately, Retrosheet is missing some games in seasons prior to 1928. The exact games missing by season and by team are detailed here.
Adjustments Based on Season LengthMy customized uber-stat page allows two types of adjustments based on season length. First, one can normalize the number of team games to adjust for differences between 154-game and 162-game schedules and to account for games lost due to strikes. Second, one can extrapolate missing player records for games for which Retrosheet has not yet released play-by-play data.
WinsPlayer wins are calculated such that the players on a team earn three Player decisions per game. I calculate two sets of Player wins: pWins are tied to team wins - the players on a winning team earn two pWins and one pLoss, the players on a losing team earn one pWin and two pLosses - while eWins attempt to control for the context in which they were earned, as well as controlling for the abilities of a player's teammates.
Wins over Positional Average (WOPA)In constructing Player wins and losses, all events are measured against expected, or average, results across the event. Because of this, Fielding Player won-lost records are constructed such that aggregate winning percentages are 0.500 for all fielding positions. Hence, one can say that a shortstop with a defensive winning percentage of 0.475 was a below-average defensive shortstop and a first baseman with a defensive winning percentage of 0.510 was an above-average defensive first baseman, but there is no basis for determining which of these two players was a better fielder - the below-average fielder at the more difficult position or the above-average fielder at the easier position.
Wins over Replacement Level (WORL)Replacement Level is the level of performance which a team should be able to get from a player who they can find easily on short notice - such as a minor-league call-up or a veteran waiver-wire pickup. The theory is that major league baseball players only have value to a team above and beyond what the team could get from basically pulling players off the street. That is, there's no real marginal value to having a third baseman make routine plays that anybody who's capable of playing third base at the high school or college level could make, since if a major-league team were to lose its starting third baseman, they would fill the position with somebody and that somebody would, in fact, make at least those routine plays at third base. This is similar to the economic concept of Opportunity Cost.
WO*In 2018, I self-published a book Baseball Player Won-Lost Records: 150 Players, 50 Years which looks at the top 150 players of the 50 years from 1961 - 2010 as measured by an uber-stat which I created at that time. For that work, I created a fourth "wins" measure, Wins over Star, or WO*.
Combining Wins, WORL, WOPA, and WO*The choice between wins, WORL, WOPA, and WO* will likely depend on exactly what one is looking for. And there's no reason to limit oneself to just one of these three.
Relative Weights for Wins, WORL, WOPA, and WO*In the past, I have set my default weights for Wins, WORL, WOPA, and WO* in such a way that the N-th-best career value in each statistic over a particular time period would be worth the same value. So, for example, in my book, Baseball Player Won-Lost Records: 150 Players, 50 Years, the weights I chose for these four values were based on the 300th-best career value in each of these four statistics over the 50 seasons from 1961 through 2010.
Changing Replacement LevelIt may be the case that somebody doesn't like my choice for replacement level. One could approximate an alternate replacement level by weighting Wins, WOPA, and/or WORL at my uber-stat page.
|(1)||WORL - WOPA||=||.058*(Player Decisions)|
|(2)||Wins - WORL||=||.442*(Player Decisions)|
|(1)||(1/0.058)*(WORL - WOPA)||=||(Player Decisions)|
|(2)||(1/0.442)*(Wins - WORL)||=||(Player Decisions)|
Wins over 0.480 = WOPA + 0.345*(WORL - WOPA) = 0.655*WOPA + 0.345*WORL
Wins over 0.342 = WORL + (.226)*(Wins - WORL) = (.774)*WORL + (.226)*Wins
Team Win Pct. = (pWinPct - (1/3)) / (1/3)
Replicating WARProbably the most popular "uber-stat" for measuring baseball players' value is Wins above Replacement (WAR). Measures of WAR are presented on player pages at both Baseball-Reference.com (hereafter bWAR) as well as at Fangraphs.com (hereafter fWAR).
(Wins over .500) ~ bWAA ~ 2*eWOPAI have recently changed my calculation of of eWOPA (and pWOPA), however, so that it is now on the same scale as WAA.
(1) Calculate the Player win percentage that corresponds to a team winning percentage of .294,Using the formula shown above, a team-level replacement level of .294 would work out a player replacement level of .431. To set player-level replacement level at .431, you want to subtract 0.012*(Player Decisions) from WORL, or, from above: (0.012/0.443)*(Wins - WORL), i.e.,
(2) Adjust the replacement level underlying WORL as outlined above.
Wins over 0.431 = WORL + 0.027*(Wins - WORL) = 0.027*Wins + 0.973*WORL
Default WeightsMy default weights for the Uber-Statistics page on the website are zero for wins, 1.5 for WOPA and 1.0 for WORL. These are purely subjective and, of course, can be changed to whatever numbers one desires.
|Position||eWins + eLosses||eWORL|
What Do These Numbers Mean?So, what do these numbers mean?
First, being a little above average helps a lot in producing team victories. This effect is more pronounced for pitchers than for position players, because pitchers concentrate their performance into fewer games.Shifting the focus, then, to non-pitcher fielding positions, the first thing that I notice is that the distribution of eWORL is fairly uniform across fielding positions - ranging between 6.6% and 7.5% of total eWORL - with two exceptions: First Basemen, who earn 5.9% of all eWORL, and Catchers, who earn 5.1% of all eWORL.
Second, pitchers are somewhat harder to replace than position players, which is reflected in a somewhat lower replacement level for pitchers (an average replacement level of 0.430 over the Retrosheet Era) than for non-pitchers (average replacement level of 0.450).
Relationship between Player Position and Career LengthWhen evaluating a player's career, it can be important to put career length into perspective. One thing that can affect the length of a player's career is what position(s) he played. The table below shows the distribution of eWORL by player position for three sets of players: everybody for whom Player won-lost records have been calculated, the top 100 players in career eWORL, and the top 1,000 players in career eWORL.
|Position||Total WORL||Top 100||Top 1,000|
Weighting Player Value by Position(s) PlayedIn my book, Baseball Player Won-Lost Records: 150 Players, 50 Years, I assigned unique weights for positions based on a variation of the above table. For the website, I have simplified the default weights considerably: 1.15 for catchers and 1.0 for all other positions.
Home List of Articles