Oct 1, 2007

Yanks MVP

Yeah, I know, Arod's a slam dunk not just for Yankee MVP but for the whole AL. But let's look at the numbers anyway, and maybe determine who would be the second, third and fourth choices for Yankee MVP.

I prefer three SABR-type stats: WARP (wins above replacement player) because it's a stats heavy equation that attributes wins to a player's offense and defense; Win Shares (similar to WARP but weighted slightly differently - Win Shares are artificially multiplied by 3 to create a wider variance between players, so I will remove that); and WPA (win probability added) because it accounts for the importance and 'timeliness' of a player's production (e.g. a 3-run HR in a close game counts more than in garbage time - however, it does not account for defense or a player's position).

10.9 WARP - crazy. Arod won 11 more games by himself than a replacement level third-baseman.
13 (39/3) Win Shares - the most in baseball!
7.51 WPA - again, the best in baseball. He won seven and a half games by himself!
A total of 31.4

Posada would be my vote for MVP runner-up before looking at the stats. Here they are:
8.2 WARP - Posada gets a boost from being a catcher.
8.7 WS
2.69 WPA
19.6 Total

If not for Arod having a historic season, talk would focus on Posada as the possible MVP.

Jeter will look great on offense, but his defense is what kills him.
6.2 WARP
8 WS
2.58 WPA
16.8 Total - so far, this order looks correct.

Cano might surpass Jeter. Let's see:
9 WARP - higher than DJ or Posada mostly because of his spectacular defense.
7 WS
-.01 WPA - so he was basically an average clutch hitter. I actually thought it would be more in the negative.
16 Total

Jeter comes out just slightly ahead despite Cano's better production due to his greater 'clutchiness.'

Wang was most likely the top pitcher due to the lowest era and the most innings.
7.2 WARP
5.3 WS
2.3 WPA
14.8 Total

Pettitte's last outing hurt his value, which is unfortunate because that game meant nothing.
5.9 WARP
4.3 WS
.52 WPA
10.7 Total

5.4 WARP
3 WS
2.32 WPA

He had the highest pitcher WPA on the team despite several big blown saves and his highest era since his rookie year.

Best Defensive Players
Here I'll go with a combination of FRAA (fielding runs above average) and Fielding Win Shares. I'll convert FWS into total runs saved.

Cano 23
Melky 13
Damon 5
Molina 5

Amazing that Molina racked up that many FRAA after playing just 29 games with the Yanks. Unless we can sign IRod or Zaun as the backup catcher, I'd like to see Cash Money re-sign Molina for another year (assuming he re-signs Posada).

Cano 23
Posada 22
Jeter 17
Melky 16

The thing that makes FRAA superior is that it's relative to the average player, whereas FWS does not. It makes far more sense that Damon was the team's 3rd best defender rather than DJ. And Posada is not a great catcher (he strikes me as about average), but he got a lot of playing time to accumulate all those FWS.

BPro also has defensive positions listed by average runs saved over a season (adjusted for all-time) - so in essence it's a descending list of defensive positions in order of importance:
1. catcher
2. shortstop
3. second base
4. centerfield
5. third base
6. corner outfield
7. first base

Just like the saying goes, 'defense up the middle wins games.' Fortunately, the Yanks have that - the total FRAA of Jeter (-6), Posada (-4) , Cano (+23) and Melky (+13) is 26 runs saved compared to the average up-the-middle defense. That's two and a half games won this season just by their D (going by the principle that 10 runs equals about one win).

BP, THT, FanGraphs, BaseballGraphs


dan said...

Just found this site, and I have a minor problem with the application of some stats.

Fielding win shares and FRAA are hardly the best measures of fielding ability availability. FRAA is best applied over a career to compare historical players. I'd suggest using zone ratings provided by "on baseball and the reds" here:


Also, your measuring sticks for win totals are different. WARP is obviously compared to the replacement player, while WPA is compared to the average. This causes a strong WPA player (a stronger clutch hitter) to be penalized because he doesn't get as much credit as a player with high win shares or WARP would.

dan said...

I just left a longer comment, but for some reason it didn't show up. Here's a summary:

Don't use FRAA or fielding win shares: there are much better measures, such as these:


The baselines for WPA, WARP and Win Shares are different. I'm not sure what WS uses (probably replacement), but WPA is versus the average, and WARP is obviously versus replacement.

Travis G. said...

it's hard to believe any of that when it says Melky is the 4th worst CF in all baseball and Damon is the 16th best. i usually respect SABR metrics, but that is out of whack.