WAR Updates!

We’ve made some slight changes to the way WAR is calculated. The changes will impact players at most, about 0.5 wins, but the vast majority of individual player WAR will remain pretty unchanged.

1. Position player WAR now includes ground into double play avoidance (or lack thereof) with the stat wGDP. This will impact the very best players about +/- 0.5 wins. All but a few will fall in the +/- 0.2 win range. wGDP is also available as a separate stat in both the leaderboards and the player pages.

2. UBR has been updated to include advances and outs on WP and PB, as well as a few minor changes. Big thanks to Mitchel Lichtman for this and the wGDP inclusion.

3. Pitcher WAR park factors have been changed to FIP specific park factors. You can see all the new park factors under FIP in the FanGraphs Guts! Section. FIP park factors in general are considerably more compressed than runs park factors, so pitchers in extreme parks will be less impacted. Thanks goes out to Noah Baron for the suggestion.

4. We’ve adjusted the pitcher WAR league baseline to better even out the leagues.

We hoped you liked reading WAR Updates! by David Appelman!

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scott
Member
scott

A little confused about FIP specific park factors (im a newbie). Doesnt 2/3 of FIP have nothing to do with ballparks? Shouldnt every park be neutral in terms of K and BB? What am I missing? (sincere question)

Detroit Michael
Member
Detroit Michael

Ballparks tend to not vary as much with regard to K and BB tendency, but they aren’t completely neutral either. For example, lighting conditions and amounts of foul territory can affect K frequency.

scott
Member
scott

But are those small factors enough to be weighed as heavily as they are in FIP based park factors?

For sake of not repeating myself, I made a reply to John below. Just trying to make sense of it.

Chummy Z
Guest
Chummy Z

I think that Noah’s main (and valid) issue has been that Fangraphs uses a FIP-based WAR, yet used to use a runs-based park factor in calculating it. That short-changed a lot of pitchers on certain teams, such as the Mets, by penalizing their WAR on a runs basis despite the fact that their FIPs were good. Basically, the issue is consistency, and fWAR was relatively useless until tat consistency issue was fixed.

Scoko
Guest
Scoko

Sticking with Mets, Citi field has been ranked 22 or worse in park factors based on runs every year it has existed( 6 seasons). We can safely assume, regardless of k, bb, or hr rates that Citi field absolutely suppresses runs. 6 years in a row it hasn’t just been below avg, but near the bottom. That’s enough data to trust. I think it makes complete sense that Mets pitcher WARs are hurt despite good FIPs.

Idc if based on fip citi field isn’t a pitcher park when rate of run scored there has been in bottom 8 six years in a row. It is a pitchers park.

teufelshuffle
Guest
teufelshuffle

Scoko: that only makes sense if you’re going to assess pitchers based on how many runs they give up. You’re arguing that 6 years of run data is better than 6 years of K, BB, and HR data to adjust pitching performance that solely looks at K, BB, and HR

Scoko
Guest
Scoko

I am absolutely arguing 6 years of run data is better than 6 years of fip data. If 6 years in a row a team is considered a neutral park based on fip yet 6 years in a row the parks run rates rank in bottom 8 to me that just proves that the fip data is missing something and telling the wrong story.

I can’t fathom arguing Citi field is a neutral park bc fip says so when every single year the run rates disagree. The run rates disprove the what fip claims, not the other way around. If Citi was a neutral park than the run rates over 6 years would reflect that.

teufelshuffle
Guest
teufelshuffle

I think you’re missing the point. 6 years of run data ARE better than 6 years of FIP data for regressing ERA. But that’s not what we’re talking about. fWAR is a FIP based WAR, so whether the park is run-neutral or not is irrelevant, because runs are not part of the fWAR calculation.

If you are a truck driver, you want to know how heavy a brand of cereal is by the box. So you weigh a bunch of boxes and get an average and now you can just multiply the number of boxes you have plus the average and have a very reliable figure for how much weight of cereal boxes you have. Now imagine someone took that average and multiplied it by the average calories per gram of the cereal to come up with the total calorie content in the truck. That is essentially what Fangraphs has been doing, basing their calculation on a very valid measurement, but not the one that actually gets them the information they are looking for. They have now stopped measuring the cardboard the same as the cereal.

Citi field is a pitchers park for runs, but not for FIP. It’s a thing! At least according to Fangraphs, and some people who have looked very, very hard at it (read Noah Baron’s community posts.

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter

scoko, the problem is that fWAR is based on FIP, not runs. In Noah’s article, I think it said that the run factor was 95 and FIP was 102. So think of it this way (ERA and FIP are just made up numbers below).

Let’s say you have a completely average pitcher, and the league average ERA is 3.50. If he pitched in Citi Field, he might have a 3.30 ERA because the park was stingy in runs. Since Citi Field inflates FIP though, his FIP might be 3.60. That’s all in line with league average.

However, fWAR would look at his performance and say “you pitched in a great pitcher’s park that suppresses runs by 5%, but your FIP (3.60) was worse than league average (3.50), so you’re a bad pitcher!” We know that’s not right though, because everything is average, not bad.

Scoko
Guest
Scoko

I think my point is being missed. My point is simply if we have enough data to undeniably say Citi field suppresses runs than who cares what their fip factors are? If fip says a park is neutral isn’t that another way of saying the run rates for that park SHOULD be neutral? So now we judging Met pitchers against a backdrop of a neutral stadium, which is going to make their WAR better than it should be, because, based on the undeniable amount of run data we have since Citi has existed it is absolutely not a neutral park.

melon130
Member
melon130

citi field suppresses runs overall but doesn’t suppress home runs, which is what fip cares about

teufelshuffle
Guest
teufelshuffle

Last attempt: fWAR does not look at runs that a pitcher gives up. It does not matter if Citifield suppresses runs. FIP does not look at runs, and fWAR does not look at runs.

Fangraphs used to regress FIP based on the runs factor of the stadium. They were convinced that that was a mistake.

Fangraphs will not be “judging Met pitchers against a backdrop of a neutral stadium, which is going to make their WAR better than it should be.” Rather, they will be judging Mets pitchers ability to strike batters out, avoid walking batters, and avoid home runs based on Citifield’s tendencies to aid pitchers in striking batters out, walking batters, and avoiding home runs, rather than judging their ability to strike batters out, avoid walking batters, and avoid home runs based on Citifield’s tendencies to aid pitchers in stopping runners from crossing home plate by any means.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo

I understand making the change to make it consistent with WAR, but I think it fails in the purpose of park factors. Park factors is supposed to show how each park fairs in suppressing runs relative to the others. To me fip park factors is another way of saying “using fip to determine how a park should fair in suppressing runs”. If a park consistently suppresses more runs than their FIP park factors indicates then clearly you can toss out the fip park factors for that team. No different than if a given pitcher beats his fip significantly every year of their careers. Going by a form of WAR that views the Mets park as a park that should be neutral in run suppression, to me, is clearly giving you an inaccurate WAR. Even if it is fip compared to fip,I think you can toss that WAR out the window if the fip park factors so clearly tells an invalid story of run suppression.

melon130
Member
melon130

fWAR is a defense independent pitching stat, so it doesn’t make sense to use park factors that include a load of hits that it doesn’t consider a part of a pitcher’s value

Scoko
Guest
Scoko

If fip park factors have no consistency with actual run suppression than using it in fWAR is statistically consistent but giving a false representation of the players value, which is the entire purpose of WAR.

melon130
Member
melon130

It doesn’t necessarily misrepresent a pitcher’s value, but whether defense independent stats are the best way to value a pitcher is a different argument. There’s plenty of good stuff to read on that.

Teufelshuffle
Guest
Teufelshuffle

I think I get your point now. You are essentially arguing that fWAR is not a valid measurement of a pitcher’s results, or perhaps even arguing it’s not a valid measurement of a pitcher’s skill because it’s based on FIP, not ERA. Plenty of people agree with you, but it has very little to do with the current improvement in fWAR, since the improvement was one in consistency, and you want a change in philosophy.

Scoko
Guest
Scoko

We’re basically pretending Citi field isn’t a pitchers park for the sake of consistency. It’s a lie.

A Mets pitcher value is now flat out wrong in fWAR. If a mets pitcher should have a 3.50 era based on fip, then in reality he would have a worse than 3.50 in neutral stadium bc regardless how citi fairs in k bb and hr it suppresses runs. That’s the reality. What fWAR tells us now is not the reality. It’s false value.

Table
Guest
Table

Scoko, FIP based WAR does not care about how many runs you allow. It does not care about how many runs your ballpark allows. It only cares about K/9, BB/9, and HR/9. That is how it judges performance. FIP and xFIP are representations of a pitcher’s performance put into and era like form. If you want to include Citi Field ajustments into FIP based WAR you need to adjust for the ballpark’s K, BB, and HR rates.

You keep on harping on how Citi Field surpresses runs, however if that run suppresion does not show up in K/9, BB/9, or HR/9 then it must be due to BABIP affects. FIP based WAR does not care about BABIP.

“in reality he would have a worse than 3.50 in neutral stadium bc regardless how citi fairs in k bb and hr it suppresses runs.”

FIP based WAR is not factoring in Citi Field’s run suppression, it is not factoring in pitcher era.

Table
Guest
Table

Skoco, I don’t think you know what FIP is. You can read about it in the glossary here on Fangraphs: http://www.fangraphs.com/library/pitching/fip/

Luke
Guest
Luke

Scoko:

“To me fip park factors is another way of saying ‘using fip to determine how a park should fair in suppressing runs’.”

No one is saying that FIP calculates how a pitcher SHOULD perform. FIP simply calculates how well a pitcher performs in Ks, BBs, and HRs, and scales this number so that it looks like an ERA. It does correlate with ERA, and it is more of a repeatable skill than ERA, but we know that it’s not a perfect measure of true talent for everybody.

You are bringing in a much larger debate that has been going on all over this website for a long time, but has nothing to do with this simple improvement being made to fWAR. Right now, fWAR does not judge pitchers based on balls in play at all, and as long as that is the case it makes no sense to adjust their fWAR with an overall park factor that includes park effects on balls in play. The FIP park factor MUST be used as long as fWAR is calculated based on FIP.

The reason fWAR goes by FIP is because our current analytical tools simply don’t have the ability right now to accurately divide credit between pitchers and fielders for what happens to balls in play. Someday I think we will be able to do this with more granular data. For now, you can use FIP-WAR, or RA/9-WAR, or some mix of the two. All of these solutions are wrong, since FIP-WAR assumes pitchers have zero control over balls in play (which is wrong), and RA/9-WAR assumes pitchers have 100% control over balls in play (which is wrong). That said, to say that FIP-WAR is a “lie” is ridiculous. It’s simply one of the only answers we can calculate right now with our analytical tools.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo

It is an absolutely lie!!!!

Look at the Mets!!!!

Nothing within fWAR is taking into acct whatever factors make Citi a pitchers park. Because fip park factors are favorable for hitters in Citi, yet run park factors prove it is a pitchers park, all the fWARs of Mets pitchers are higher than what I think their actual value in terms of wins is to their team.

I dont see how you can argue that fWAR of Mets starters is now fairly representing the value of the players since there is no correction for the fact that it is a pitchers park.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo

I think a combination of FIP, and park factors based on runs would give a much more accurate version of value, or WAR. I dont see why they cant mix. Its taking the trustworthy information in terms of how well a pitcher or how a park will perform and combining them. In so many stats are unrelated but trustworthy statistics combined and weighted and transformed into a stat representing some form of value.

Run park factors accurately shows a parks ability to suppress runs.
Fip shows a close enough value of a pitchers ability.

Why cant there be a pitcher WAR that incorporates each? Didnt we just have that?

Luke
Guest
Luke

Scoko, here is why you are wrong: The Mets’ FIPs are not helped by Citi Field. The end.

BTW, UZR is park-adjusted. So, all of the Mets position players WARs are adjusted down via their UZR’s being adjusted down, since it’s easier to prevent singles, doubles, and triples in Citi Field. The effect you are looking for shows up in the evaluation of the Mets fielders.

Table
Guest
Table

” The Mets’ FIPs are not helped by Citi Field. The end.”
” The Mets’ FIPs are not helped by Citi Field. The end.”
” The Mets’ FIPs are not helped by Citi Field. The end.”