Thread: WAR Question:
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Old 05-28-2018, 01:16 PM
AGuinness AGuinness is offline
Garth Guibord
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 455

Originally Posted by Peter_Spaeth View Post
How does Bobby Grich come out so far ahead of Biggio and Alomar, among others, speaking of WAR? 7th best second baseman of all time?
I can't answer this to the underpinnings of WAR, and I'm certainly not well versed in Grich, but I'll do my best to share the context that I do know.

First off, there are two versions of WAR, produced by Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference, and they have some differences in how they get to where they get. Grich is 8th on BR's WAR list for 2B with 71.1 WAR (Alomar is 14 with 67.1, Biggio is 15 with 65.5). Grich is 8th on Fangraphs with 69.2 (Biggio is 10 with 65.8, Alomar is 11 with 63.6).

My understanding of WAR is that it offers an approximate value on a player's contributions, albeit the way it is presented sometimes would make one thing it is hard and fast to the decimal accurate. On a single season WAR total, my understanding is that there is around a .5 margin of error (possibly a bit more), so a player who has 6.5 WAR hasn't necessarily had a superior season to another one who has 6.0 WAR.

So my reading of that would lead me to believe that players with similar WAR totals for their career are all in the same boat, which would be the case for Grich, Alomar and Biggio. They all had about the same total contributions between defense, offense and baserunning.

In that light, it might be more useful to look at the different tiers of 2B, based on WAR. Using just Fangraphs' list, I might put Hornsby and Eddie Collins in the first tier, followed by Lajoie and Morgan in tier 2. After that, things get muddied, starting with number 5 all time with Charlie Gehringer (78.6 WAR) all the way down to Joe Gordon at 16th (60.6 WAR) - and due to service time limitations, and I'd easily include Jackie Robinson in this tier (17th, 57.2 WAR). This third tier could be broken up into two, easily, maybe three, or all grouped together. I don't think small differences in WAR should be hard and fast when it comes to ranking players.
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