Effectively Wild Episode 1139: The WAR We Want


Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about a Shohei Otani “deadline” and Braves prospect Ronald Acuna, then bring on FanGraphs managing editor Dave Cameron to discuss a dispute about WAR and valuing players between Bill James and sabermetric stat sites, the evolution of awards (and Hall of Fame) voting, why Dave expects certain teams to dictate the way the winter unfolds, and the free agents he sees as notable bargains or busts.

Audio intro: Waxahatchee, "Misery Over Dispute"
Audio interstitial: My Morning Jacket, "War Begun"
Audio outro: The Killers, "Deadlines and Commitments"

Link to first Bill James WAR article
Link to second Bill James WAR article
Link to Joe Posnanski’s WAR article
Link to Dave’s WAR article
Link to Dave’s top 50 free agents
Link to Effectively Wild t-shirts

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If, as Cameron speculates, the future resolves into one where we have a James-approved context-incorporating retrospective WAR, and a Statcast-derived prospective WAR, where does that leave the current Fangraphs/BBRef WAR, which is neither? Does Fangraphs shift away from its current model, adding both of these “backWARd” and “forWARd” ones which its writers increasingly use? Presumably the Statcast-based one would be used the most, but since the Statcast data is sourced from MLBAM via Baseball Savant, which isn’t entirely open, won’t that mean the “forWARd” calculation will be something of a black box?