Calendar Year Averages

With the advent of the calendar year data here on the site I have gotten a few questions regarding what constitutes “good” win probability statistics in the various time parameters. One question in particular piqued my interest: How do the context-neutral wins look across the position spectrum? The reader essentially wanted to know how, say, Brian McCann’s WPA/LI over the last two calendar years stacked up not just to all other offensive players but all other catchers. Not only would something like this help show which players’ context-neutral contributions were above- or below-average but it would allow a look at how the averages change from position to position.

Looking at the last two calendar years, with anyone amassing 450+ plate appearances (to use a qualifier but allow for mid-season callups), here are the positional averages with the top player(s) at each:

C: -0.86 WPA/LI, Russell Martin, 3.62 WPA/LI
1B: 2.17 WPA/LI, Albert Pujols, 10.77 WPA/LI and Lance Berkman, 10.65 WPA/LI
2B: -0.10 WPA/LI, Chase Utley, 8.77 WPA/LI
3B: 1.03 WPA/LI, Chipper Jones, 10.26 WPA/LI and Alex Rodriguez, 9.33 WPA/LI
SS: -0.65 WPA/LI, Hanley Ramirez, 6.75 WPA/LI
OF: 0.95 WPA/LI, Matt Holliday, 9.21 WPA/LI
SP: 1.10 WPA/LI, Roy Halladay, 6.90 WPA/LI and C.C. Sabathia, 6.06 WPA/LI

The outfielders on the leaderboards here are lumped together rather than separated by left, center, or right, so their results may shift a bit when properly divided. I also did not use relievers since there are all different types of them—closers, setup men, long relievers, etc—and I don’t much like comparing one set to another out of their element.

These overall results will change as the season goes on as well since calendar years implies a duration spanning yesterday to the same day two years ago; since we are currently in the middle of the season this is not a concrete look at the WPA/LI from concluded years, which I’ll get to sometime later this week. The scary aspect of these numbers is that, of those meeting my previously established cutoff point, any Catcher, Second Baseman, or Shortstop that has a 0.00 WPA/LI over the last two calendar years—meaning their efforts ended up cancelling each other out to the point of zero contribution—is above average. Essentially, someone at these positions contributing, on average, no context-neutral wins, is above average. For now, though, you can see that the averages supply, at the very least, the general ranges for where the benchmarks should be set.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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Eric, since you’ve done it a couple of times, please, never ever divide two relative numbers. You can read it here:

Where I say:
0 Celsius is 270 Kelvin. They both describe the same thing, but in different scales. Celsius cannot be used in multiplication or division. +5 celsius is not 5 times hotter than +1 celsius. However, the Kelvin scale is an absolute scale, and can be used in this manner. Linear Weights is a relative scale.