Every March, the invaluable research tool Baseball-Reference retroactively adjusts its Wins Above Replacement (WAR) calculations. The 2020 update is more dramatic than usual, particularly for several Marlins players past and present.
Sports-Reference.com has the full blog post detailing why these players’ value have changed.
Longtime Fish Stripes readers may be aware that myself and most of the staff prefer conducting our analysis using the FanGraphs version of WAR (abbreviated fWAR). We will continue to do so, but the Baseball-Reference (rWAR) update deserves mention nonetheless.
- We begin with the “bad” news. Miguel Rojas, the heart and soul of the Marlins, acclaimed by fans and teammates for his defensive fundamentals and versatility, is one of the biggest losers here. All measurements of Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) since 2013 have been revised using the PART system. In Rojas’ case, his 2018 season rWAR was lowered from 2.4 to 1.3, and similarly, his 2019 rWAR is now 1.4 (previously 2.4). In a single weekend, he has lost nearly one-quarter of his overall career value, dropping from 9.0 rWAR to 6.8 rWAR.
Conveniently, we just had Mark Simon as a guest on Fish Bites whose company, Sports Info Solutions, is responsible for the new DRS methodology.
- You weren’t crazy: Adeiny Hechavarría really was a slicker fielder for the Marlins than he ever got credit for...until now. Hech’s rWAR from each of his first three seasons in Miami has been boosted thanks to the PART system. He peaked during the 2015 campaign (2.6 rWAR/12 DRS).
- The 2019 Marlins team defense had been valued at -7 DRS before the update compared to 19 DRS now. Starlin Castro, for example, emerges from this looking better than initially believed.
- José Ureña gets singled out in the Sports-Reference post as a major beneficiary of re-computed park factors. Marlins Park played more favorably for hitters in 2019 than in previous seasons, which is considered when recalculating a pitcher’s Wins Above Replacement over the entire 2017-2019 three-year span. Ureña’s 2018 season is credited with an additional 0.7 wins as a result.
Other Marlins whose values have fluctuated due to the aforementioned DRS and park factor updates:
- Brian Anderson—2018 season rWAR lowered from 3.9 to 3.2
- Wei-Yin Chen—2018 season rWAR raised from -0.5 to 0.0
- Derek Dietrich—2018 season rWAR lowered from 0.4 to -0.3
- Tom Koehler—career rWAR raised from 2.8 to 3.3
Got some extra time on your hands while waiting out the pandemic? Well, Alex Bonilla of Sports-Reference put together a comprehensive spreadsheet of all the players impacted by the rWAR update.