Times change. Baseball changes. Stats that were the measure of a player’s value have changed dramatically since I first watched a game. One of the ways some use is wins above replacement, or more commonly, WAR.
If you go to the All-time WAR leaders, the first Dodger you find is in 67th place. Clayton Kershaw 79.3 WAR. The first offensive player you find is in 116th place, Pee Wee Reese, 68.4. Not the guy you would expect to be the one in that spot on the Dodger all time WAR leaders.
The top dog of all of them is no surprise, Babe Ruth. 182.6 career WAR. Bonds is almost 20 points behind him. # 2 and 3? Both pitchers, Walter Johnson and Cy Young. Then comes Bonds. Those four players are the only ones in history over 160 WAR.
There are thirty two players in history with a WAR over 100. Four of them spent at least one year with the Dodgers. Greg Maddux, Frank Robinson, Rickey Henderson and Albert Pujols.
The top 24 Dodgers as listed by Baseball Reference are Kersh, Reese, Drysdale, Snider, Robinson, Wheat, Vance, W. Davis, Koufax, Sutton, Cey, Rucker, Hershiser, Hodges, Gilliam, Valenzuela, Garvey, Campanella, Dixie Walker, Carl Furillo, JT, Jeff Pfiffer, Brickyard Kennedy and Welch.
Mike Piazza, a career 59 WAR player, is not on the Dodger list. But he is on the Mets list at #14. Simply because 24.6 is his number as a Met. Weird huh? Sniders career WAR is .5 points higher than his Dodger WAR. That comes simply because his last two seasons in the majors, he was nothing but a reserve. He put up very small numbers because of that.
The only way you can figure out what a player’s worth was WAR wise in a certain season is to go back and check where he was rated that particular year. I have yet to see a place where that can be done easily.
I did go back on Baseball Reference and I went year to year to see what Piazza did as a Dodger. Although Mike played for the Mets longer than he did in LA, 8 years to parts of 7 in LA. His WAR was higher in LA, 31.9. than it was in NY. And if he had played more than 37 games his last season in LA, he no doubt would have finished in the top 24 since Welch only beat him out by one point. 32.9.
Being old school, I guess I am more than a little resistant to relying on sabermetrics. I usually use the eye test. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that Muncy’s swinging at balls he let go by in years past. We all could see Bellinger flailing away at pitches outside the zone.
Now it seems the big gauge of a player’s worth is becoming his OPS. Many have pooh poohed Muncy’s low BA simply because his OPS is .807. But think of what it would be if Max were hitting .245 instead of being under the Mendoza Line.
Max’s career BA is down to .227. And why is that, simple, over the last 4 years, including the shortened season in 2020, he has hit .192, .249, 196 and he is at .197 so far this year. His career bWAR at this point, 18.7.
His OPS last year was .713. In 2021, it was .895. It is .807 this year. Why? 55 walks in 356 plate appearances and as of today, 25 homers. Max will no doubt reach 30 again. But he also is on pace to strike out over 130 times again.
So is WAR a viable way to judge a player’s performance? The Dodgers have two players whose WAR so far this season is above 4. Freeman and Betts. Kershaw and Smith are the only other players above 3. May is next and he is out for the year. His WAR is 1.9. Muncy is seventh with a 1.6.
JD (1.4) is behind Muncy in WAR and that is probably because JD has less than half the walks Max has and 11 more K’s.
I still value a player’s batting average because I believe hits are more valuable for run production than walks. What was good enough for well over 100 years is still a good way in my mind to judge a player’s performance. I know there are many who do not agree and that is fine. Most fans rarely agree on anything.
But I do value the input I get from those who to me dive into all the different stats. I just do not have the time or the patience to learn them all.
07-26-2023 – MiLB Game Summary Report
by Jeff Dominique
OKC Dodgers 13 – Reno Aces (Arizona) 11
In a game that had 24 runs and 28 hits did not showcase a lot of pitching prowess. But there was an encouraging start by Ryan Pepiot. Pepiot started and completed 3.1 IP and 58 pitches. He surrendered 6 hits, no BB, 2 K, and a 2-run HR. He still has a ways to go before he is ready for MLB hitters, but he is lengthening his outings.
Neither Jimmy Nelson and Ken Giles did not pitch well in this one.
- Nelson – 1.0 IP, 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 BB
- Giles – 0.2 IP, 3 runs, 2 hits, 3 BB
Recently acquired 33 year old LHRP, Ryan Sherriff pitched a scoreless inning. 1 hit, 1 BB, 1 K.
- Kole Calhoun – 3-5, 2 runs, 5 RBI, 1 BB, HR (3)
- Hunter Feduccia – 2-4, 2 runs, 2 BB, double (16)
- Bryson Brigman – 3-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI, 1 BB, double (8)
- Drew Avans – double (19)
- Steven Duggar – HR (7)
Springfield Cardinals 3 – Tulsa Drillers 2
Springfield jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 3.0. Tulsa kept clawing back, but could never catch them. Tulsa out hit Springfield 9-5.
- José Ramos – 2-4
- Imanol Vargas – 2-4, 1 RBI José
- Yusniel Diaz – double (11)
Dayton Dragons (Reds) – Great Lakes Loons 5
GL had a 4-2 lead after 3.0 innings. Ronan Kopp started and went 2.0 IP. He allowed a 2-run HR, 2 hits, 2 BB, 4 K. Dayton scored 8 runs (4 earned) in the 7th. GL got one back in the 9th.
Great Lakes had 5 hits, all singles. No GL hitter had more than 1 hit, nor XBH.
San Jose Giants 6 – Rancho Cucamonga Quakes 4
RC had a 4-1 lead going into the 8th. However, San Jose scored 5 runs in the 8th for the 6-4 victory.
- Dayton Dooney – 2-4, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 2 doubles
- Wilman Diaz – double (2)
- Jose Izarra – double (15)
- Livan Reinoso – 2.2 scoreless IP, 2 hits, 1 BB, 3 K