Monday, January 10, 2011

Bored? Have Fun with WPA/LI

Since an anonymous poster recently said our Managerial Coaching Tree study seemed "kind of boring", we thought we'd liven things up with a fairly advanced stat, Situational Wins.

How could anyone find
Stump Merrill boring?
Almost 40 months ago, Tom Tango introduced the world to Situational Wins (WPA/LI), calling it: "linear weights by game state, with the leverage aspect deflated".

It was almost three years ago, when David Appleman introduced me to the concept of WPA/LI in a manner I could more easily understand.  David wrote: "WPA/LI (context neutral wins / game state linear weights): How many wins a player contributes to his team with the Leverage Index aspect removed, invented by Tom Tango... ~snip~ ...WPA/LI does take into account the situation. So at times when a walk would be just as valuable as a home run, WPA/LI accurately weights the walk and the home run, where linear weights would still give .13 wins to the home run and the walk .03 wins."

Where will Albert be in 2012?
In the past ten years, 546 players had a positive WPA/LI.  Leaders in this hitting category include some of the usual suspects:

Albert Pujols: 61.69
Barry Bonds: 54.29
Lance Berkman: 44.17
Alex Rodriguez: 41.31
Manny Ramirez: 37.63

The flip side to that coin shows the trailers in the category, since 2001, as Cesar Izturis (-18.28), who has otherwise added a lot of value with his glove, and Neifi Perez (-15.21), who, um, hasn't.

Still with us, anonymous poster?  This can get really boring, really fast.  Instead, I thought it'd be cool to see if anyone interesting landed on an even 0.00 WPA/LI within the same time frame.

Who'd we find, but the very newest Chicago Cub.  No, not Matt Garza.  It's Max Ramirez, of Texas Rangers fame, who spent five days as a member of the Red Sox organization last week.  Ramirez's career Major League stats include a very healthy walk rate (12.9%), decent On-Base Percentage (.343), but a terrible strikeout percentage (32.2%).  While Ramirez can crush a fastball (2.6 runs above average vs fastballs), he has been below average versus all other pitches.

Hak-Ju Lee, we hardly knew ya!
Max Ramirez may develop into an outstanding backup for Geovany Soto, and getting him for a mere offseason waiver claim is excellent.

At the very least, it has taken a bit of the sting away from trading Robinson Chirinos and three arguably better prospects, in Archer, Lee, and Guyer, before a season in which we aren't expected to compete for the World Series.

That, thankfully, is a discussion for another time.

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