Is WAR The Best Indicator Of Offensive Production?

Is WAR The Best Indicator Of Offensive Production?


Is WAR The Best Indicator Of Offensive Production?


Most Cleveland Indians fans dislike Aaron Judge.

Perhaps it was him robbing Frankie Lindor of a homerun in game three of the 2017 ALDS that, in all likely hood, would’ve given the Indians a sweep in the series?

Maybe because he was the most cheered Yankee despite striking out more times than Russell Branyan in his career?

Or maybe because he’s very good.

In any case, if you look at Aaron Judge’s basic stats he was the league’s most powerful offensive force.  This is true whether you look at Fangraphs or Baseball Reference.

Does being the most powerful offensive force also mean you are the most powerful generator of runs?  You would think that would have to be true.  After all, what is the point of generating offense if you are not generating runs?

  • Then again, that IS how we think of it for football.  Generating yards doesn’t equate with generating points, and we do evaluate football players by their offense, aka yards.  Or at least some do.
  • That is NOT how we think of it for basketball.  Generating offense requires that the ball go through the hoop.  We don’t generate offense by a successful pass that is subsequently turned over.

In baseball, with 600+ opportunities to generate offense, it would seem that having a high OBP and high SLG would eventually work itself out so that generating offense also generates runs.  Except it does not even itself out even after 600 opportunities.  In the case of Aaron Judge specifically, he hit better with bases empty than men on base.  This means he was not able to “leverage” his opportunities as effectively.

Baseball is unique in that the score is dependent on the number of players you have on base.  You don’t find this in the other sports for the most part.  The closest is basketball, with its three point line.  But, that come with rider, where the points are proportionate to its difficulty.

So, it would seem, at the very least, if you are going to have an accounting for generating offense, you would at least split the performance based on whether you have the bases empty or not.

Let’s say we all agree on that.  We have a stat ready-made for it called RE24 (run expectancy by the 24 base out states).  Not only would this knock out a few runs from Aaron Judge, it would catapult Joey Votto above Judge.  Just as Judge hit noticeably worse with men on base, therefore reducing the run-impact of his “offense”, Votto hit better with men on base, thereby increasing the run-impact of his offense.  They both went to buy a suit, they both spent the same amount of money, but Votto came out looking sharper because Votto brought a coupon with him.  It’s something REAL and tangible.  Actual runs resulted.

I consider RE24 a better indicator of offensive production rather than WAR.

Do you?

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