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Old 11-04-2019, 09:31 PM   #1
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What do we think of WAR?

I know loaded question.


But I am serious. What do you think of the WAR stat? Do you think that just looking overall it is a good measure of comparing one player to another? Do you think you could look at it in combination with overall ratings or do you think it is overrated?
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:53 PM   #2
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Here was a recent thread/argument about it

https://forums.ootpdevelopments.com/...d.php?t=306436

If you mean the real life versions of it. Unequivocally, it is a useful, but imperfect, tool for valuing players.

If you mean the OOTP version, that's less clear. I haven't looked at it the same way I have real WAR (running a correlation between team wins and WAR wins), but I have some doubts about its accuracy. Especially with pitchers (FIP seems especially wonky) and, maybe, replacement level.

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Old 11-04-2019, 11:02 PM   #3
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:54 AM   #4
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Ahhh!!! Head for the hills!!! Here come the zealots from both sides of the argument!!!

Seriously...It's not perfect, BUT, it is the best tool we have in the toolkit right now for evaluating all of the on the field contributions a player makes to his team's ability to win games. It encompasses offense, defense, and baserunning, and distills it down to one number. That number is an estimate. It is not to be taken as gospel, nor is it to be taken as "a 6.5 win player is better than a 6.4 win player". When it's that close a gap, you need to dig a little deeper if you want to figure out who the better player is. Or, you could just say to hell with it, and call them equals.

The argument that because there are at least three different versions of it (that we know of - you can bet your boots that every MLB team has their own proprietary version that they use to evaluate players to make the various decisions they have to make), it somehow sucks, or should be set on fire in a dumpster while everyone dances around it chanting the song made famous by Edwin Starr in 1970, is every bit as ludicrous as rounding it off to ten decimal places, so that we can confidently say that player X was a better player than player Y in a particular season by 0.0000000001 WAR. Can't we all just take a step back, stop the madness and meet in the middle? It's a useful tool, but it's not the only tool. I happen to like it because I like my players to be well rounded, and feel that the well rounded ones constantly get the short end of the stick when it comes to all-star selections, awards, and the ultimate honour, while those that specialize in one, maybe two areas get all the ice cream. That doesn't make sense to me or sit well with me at all.

Honest question: When you're watching a baseball game, do you not like to point out the little things players do like taking the extra base successfully on a consistent basis, being smart instead of reckless with stolen bases consistently, being in the right place at the right time consistently to get the out or keep the double play in order on defense, whether it's a web gem level play or not? WAR is the attempt to measure that. It's flawed as hell (so are we), but at least it's trying. Why is it then that when we go to vote on awards, all-star selections, and the HoF, that we drop all of the little things that...you know...go in to winning championships, in favour of the baseball card stats (that are far less reliable at measuring a player's overall contributions to his team's success) that we could rhyme off in our sleep as kids?

Is it a comfort thing? Is it an I don't understand the formula, and therefore it's all crap thing? 'Cause I've got news for ya. Most of you don't understand all the formulae that go into making the things that you use every day, yet there you are using them without a second thought. Do you really need to understand the formulae that go into the WAR calculation in order to look at a player's WAR, and use it to evaluate their contributions to their team, understanding that it's just an estimate and not an absolute? Or is it just an excuse to push it all away instead of having a look at it, seeing what it's trying to do, taking a closer look at the games of the players that it values (and those that it doesn't) having it maybe teach you to look at the game you love in a different way, and maybe come to love that game even more?

The beauty of baseball is that you can enjoy it on so many levels. I know people who don't have the first clue about even the simplest of stats, and couldn't care less because there's poetry in baseball. There are life lessons. There's sooo much failure. There's a certain order to it, and yet there's the absolute chaos of an impossible comeback within that order that makes you keep coming back for more. There are moments that grab you, that make you remember exactly where you were when they happened, and you remember and cherish those moments for the rest of your life. It's timeless because of the fact that there's no clock to let you know when the game is over, and it's just plain freakin' timeless. That timelessness makes the defeats absolutely crushing, because one second you're like "Ok, we're in a bit of a jam, but we can still get out of it, we've just got to..." THWACK!!! Oh crap. Oh man. This really, really sucks. Thanks for ruining my day. I hate you baseball. I'm never coming back. Yet, there you are the next day, ready for more.

I understand that a lot of people feel "under attack" because it's taken over the age old arguments and comparisons of players. It must be like if you're really, really, really not a fan of somebody's music and yet you find you can't get away from it because there it is blaring on every street corner. Block it out. Put on your metaphorical noise cancelling headphones. Find what works for you. Enjoy the game your way. Plenty of ways to enjoy it. Just don't tell me that sabermetrics are what's killing the joy and the romance of baseball, because for some of us, they've helped us come to enjoy and love the game even more.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my wandering ramblings. I hope I didn't upset or offend anyone or give them whiplash trying to follow my zig-zags and course changes. Nasty habit that. I'll try to keep it in check, but it is kinda how I roll.
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:19 AM   #5
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I hate to follow actionjackson's soliloquy with a simple and boring post, but here it goes.

I like WAR as a nice round number to judge value at a glance. Where it falls short as a metric based on my testing is that it undervalues knuckleball pitchers and defensive catchers, two types of players I like. That I'm fairly certain on.

Anecdotally, I also feel WAR overvalues bat-first players in traditionally defense-first positions. I.E. shortstop and centerfield. If there's a 40 rated SS with 4.0 WAR on one team, and an 80 rated SS with 4.0 WAR on another team, I bet the 2nd team actually got more "real wins" from the SS position. I realize WAR takes into account defensive runs saved, but I just don't trust it in this case.

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Old 11-05-2019, 01:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argonaut View Post
I hate to follow actionjackson's soliloquy with a simple and boring post, but here it goes.

I like WAR as a nice round number to judge value at a glance. Where it falls short as a metric based on my testing is that it undervalues knuckleball pitchers and defensive catchers, two types of players I like. That I'm fairly certain on.

Anecdotally, I also feel WAR overvalues bat-first players in traditionally defense-first positions. I.E. shortstop and centerfield. If there's a 40 rated SS with 4.0 WAR on one team, and an 80 rated SS with 4.0 WAR on another team, I bet the 2nd team actually got more "real wins" from the SS position. I realize WAR takes into account defensive runs saved, but I just don't trust it in this case.
A "simple and boring post" is often better received than a rambling, wandering soliloquy where the reader's eyes glaze over while they're yelling at the screen "GET TO THE BLEEPIN' POINT!!!". I guess they both have their place depending on what you're in the mood for.
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Old 11-05-2019, 11:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Argonaut View Post
I hate to follow actionjackson's soliloquy with a simple and boring post, but here it goes.

I like WAR as a nice round number to judge value at a glance. Where it falls short as a metric based on my testing is that it undervalues knuckleball pitchers and defensive catchers, two types of players I like. That I'm fairly certain on.

Anecdotally, I also feel WAR overvalues bat-first players in traditionally defense-first positions. I.E. shortstop and centerfield. If there's a 40 rated SS with 4.0 WAR on one team, and an 80 rated SS with 4.0 WAR on another team, I bet the 2nd team actually got more "real wins" from the SS position. I realize WAR takes into account defensive runs saved, but I just don't trust it in this case.
Defensive runs saved in real life are difficult to account for, but in a baseball simulation like OOTP they become the result of calculation somewhere in the depths of the program and as such they ought to be known exactly. So, the OOTP version of WAR should be able to accurately value a defensive SS vs. an offensive SS. Real life WAR, perhaps not so much.

At least, OOTP ought to provide a 100% accurate version of Zone Rating and then any issues are with the formula itself, not the data that goes into it.

For defensive catchers, the added value shows up in the WAR of the pitchers he handles, so that makes evaluation with WAR more difficult, even in OOTP.
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Old 11-05-2019, 11:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by actionjackson View Post
That number is an estimate. It is not to be taken as gospel

Game, set, and match right there. It's all that needs to be said.
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Old 11-05-2019, 11:43 AM   #9
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Game, set, and match right there. It's all that needs to be said.
Maybe you want to limit yourself to that information.

Not everyone else has to.

Yes, it's an estimate. A very good one.
How good?

Quote:
for team wins alone, our model could only explain about 85 percent of the variability.
https://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/20...ird-order-wins

Extremely good. Especially when one understands that the goal, specifically, is not to explain 100% of the variation. WAR specifically excludes things like sequencing (a walk then a home run is different than a home run then a walk).

The biggest thing for people to remember with WAR (outside of the fact that it absolutely works) is that it does not say that a player with 2.5 WAR was absolutely better than a player with 2 WAR, only that it's more likely the player with 2.5 WAR was better than the 2 WAR player than the other way around. Same with a 3 WAR player and a 2 WAR player. And a 4 WAR player and a 2 WAR player, etc. And the bigger the difference, the more sure you can be,
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Old 11-05-2019, 12:54 PM   #10
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Defensive runs saved in real life are difficult to account for, but in a baseball simulation like OOTP they become the result of calculation somewhere in the depths of the program and as such they ought to be known exactly. So, the OOTP version of WAR should be able to accurately value a defensive SS vs. an offensive SS. Real life WAR, perhaps not so much.

At least, OOTP ought to provide a 100% accurate version of Zone Rating and then any issues are with the formula itself, not the data that goes into it.

For defensive catchers, the added value shows up in the WAR of the pitchers he handles, so that makes evaluation with WAR more difficult, even in OOTP.
That's why I said it was anecdotal. I just remember in a Pirates save a while back my team was awful, well below .500. This is before I knew much about how defense worked in OOTP. My SS had a decent bat that masked how poor he was defensively when looking at WAR only. Anyway I brought in a defensive wizard for SS... the only change that was needed to turn a sub .500 team to a division winner.

And yes, lucky pitchers will get a WAR boost from defensive catchers. This bothers me when it comes to things like the Hall of Fame, that will probably overlook a lot of real value provided by certain catchers.
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:16 PM   #11
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That's why I said it was anecdotal. I just remember in a Pirates save a while back my team was awful, well below .500. This is before I knew much about how defense worked in OOTP. My SS had a decent bat that masked how poor he was defensively when looking at WAR only. Anyway I brought in a defensive wizard for SS... the only change that was needed to turn a sub .500 team to a division winner.
This is either misleading, or I don't understand how defense works in OOTP. Or both are possible.

Supposing that both SS were 2 WAR players, switching from one to the other shouldn't, by itself, result in going from under .500 to a a division winner (outside a strange set of circumstances like winning the division being under .500).

Whether a player is 2 WAR because of helping to score more runs, or helping to prevent more runs, shouldn't matter. Outside of a few effects you can leverage (groundball staff vs strike out staff, additive properties of offense and defense - adding runs to a protent offense increases wins more than playing better defense behind the same offense). Both 2 WAR players should add 20 runs to your run differential regardless of whether it's by scoring more or defending more.
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Old 11-05-2019, 02:04 PM   #12
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This is either misleading, or I don't understand how defense works in OOTP. Or both are possible.

Supposing that both SS were 2 WAR players, switching from one to the other shouldn't, by itself, result in going from under .500 to a a division winner (outside a strange set of circumstances like winning the division being under .500).

Whether a player is 2 WAR because of helping to score more runs, or helping to prevent more runs, shouldn't matter. Outside of a few effects you can leverage (groundball staff vs strike out staff, additive properties of offense and defense - adding runs to a protent offense increases wins more than playing better defense behind the same offense). Both 2 WAR players should add 20 runs to your run differential regardless of whether it's by scoring more or defending more.
Yes, the math should line up the way you say. But I still believe a 4.0 WAR defensive shortstop has much more value than a 4.0 WAR offensive shortstop in OOTP. I have admitted this is an entirely anecdotal observation. The Pirates example was just one I can think of, other things have given me the same feeling.
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Old 11-05-2019, 03:46 PM   #13
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Yes, the math should line up the way you say. But I still believe a 4.0 WAR defensive shortstop has much more value than a 4.0 WAR offensive shortstop in OOTP. I have admitted this is an entirely anecdotal observation. The Pirates example was just one I can think of, other things have given me the same feeling.
I certainly wasn't trying to "call you out" or anything such stupid thing

Just in a thread about "What do you think of WAR" trying to off any "see WAR sucks" comments at the pass.

It's entirely possible that OOTP's WAR undercounts defensive WAR.

That would *in no way* invalidate any real world WAR or WAR as a concept any more than OOTP calculating batting average incorrectly would invalidate batting average.
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Old 11-05-2019, 04:34 PM   #14
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If you've made it this far, thanks for reading my wandering ramblings. I hope I didn't upset or offend anyone or give them whiplash trying to follow my zig-zags and course changes. Nasty habit that. I'll try to keep it in check, but it is kinda how I roll.
To save time, I just read the last paragraph in your "rambling wanderings".

Not really true... I enjoyed the heck out of your rambling rant.

You need to get yourself a Dynasty League and continue your "wandering ramblings"... not only do you know your statistics, you write darn well.

And to stay on topic... thanks for letting me know what the heck WAR is... all I ever use is the old stuff... BA, H, HR, RBIs, runs, SB, ERA, FA... also WINS and LOSSES.

and to digress again: I have a new sabermetric that's even better than WAR... I use it in my Klingon dynasty report... WORF... it's pretty complex, but I find it useful... if anyone is interested, I'll get actionjackson to explain it.

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Old 11-05-2019, 05:48 PM   #15
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I won't say anything bad about War but I still use traditional states. I like to build my teams with contact hitters, speed, and defense. Good personalities and great health.

I feel that one of the reason War is still a big issue is how it is related to the Hall of Fame. The current use of it in the game today is becoming more accepted but the way it is used to gauge someones Hall credentials is something that causes problems.
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:19 PM   #16
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And yes, lucky pitchers will get a WAR boost from defensive catchers. This bothers me when it comes to things like the Hall of Fame, that will probably overlook a lot of real value provided by certain catchers.
Not only the hall of fame: my dang owner constantly nags me about upgrading my marginal-hitting but defensively magnificent catcher...
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:29 PM   #17
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Not only the hall of fame: my dang owner constantly nags me about upgrading my marginal-hitting but defensively magnificent catcher...
You can't expect some old billionaire to understand something as subtle as pitch framing.
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:29 PM   #18
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And it's not just the hall-of-fame committee or the owner; the player seems to undervalue himself. These highly skilled defensive players are just happy to be playing and generally won't ask for huge contracts. Same thing for CF's and SS's. Chances are that 4 WAR offensive shortstop is going to ask for a lot more money than the 4 WAR defensive shortstop. I think that mirrors RL to a certain extent and also provides an opportunity for a savvy GM to stretch the budget without sacrificing WAR.
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:56 PM   #19
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And it's not just the hall-of-fame committee or the owner; the player seems to undervalue himself. These highly skilled defensive players are just happy to be playing and generally won't ask for huge contracts. Same thing for CF's and SS's. Chances are that 4 WAR offensive shortstop is going to ask for a lot more money than the 4 WAR defensive shortstop. I think that mirrors RL to a certain extent and also provides an opportunity for a savvy GM to stretch the budget without sacrificing WAR.
Maybe better than that if Argonaut is correct
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Old 11-05-2019, 07:57 PM   #20
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The first sabermetrics book time after time explained how baseball people were wrong. That their statistics didn't tell them what they wanted to know, that their decisions in absence of good stats were wrong etc.

Then it went into a discussion what what became WAR. And for the defensive positions used the decrease of offense managers would tolerate - actually using that word - to get a good fielder at a defensive position. Sorry, but using the anecdote based decisions of a justifiably maligned group as a major part of a statistical calculation is ludicrous.
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