It’s hard to say that Baseball-Reference could get any more useful. But, Baseball-Reference just got even more useful.
Sabermetricians have always been on the search for the best way to measure wins contributed by players. Baseball Prospectus has WARP, Bill James has win shares and now we are presenting Sean Smith’s Wins Above Replacement or WAR data on the site.
Yup. You’re reading that right. Baseball-Reference is now providing WAR data. I’d advise you to click the above link to read through their methodology for calculating WAR — it’s slightly different than the FanGraph’s flavor. My favorite part is that this data, used in conjunction with the Play Index Tool, has a ton of uses and it’s search-ability is beyond amazing.
Take, for example, if I wanted to know the Top-10 defensive seasons in Giants history (1901-2010). Just a quick run through the PI Tool and bang, I get this.
Or, if I wanted to go a little more obscure, I can search the Top-10 best fielding seasons (again from 1901-2010, min. 75% of games started at 3B) for a Giants third baseman.
Hmm, can’t say that I’m shocked to see Pedro Feliz topping this one. He had some truly excellent years for the Giants on defense. I’m not sure I’ve seen another 3B make the play to his right while making a strong throw across the diamond look so easy. His ability to charge the bunt was excellent, as well. I love running searches like this. Heinie Zimmerman? Can’t say I’ve ever heard of him, but he totaled 33.8 career wins above replacement. Not bad. His +11 runs in 1917 was by far a career year for him on defense. He appears to have been an average-to-below average fielder for most of his career outside of that season.
Overall, it’s a great addition to the already beefy database of Baseball-Reference. I can’t wait to play around with the data some more.