Thursday, February 27, 2014

Baseball Organizational Replacement Value

As Vince Genarro wrote seven years ago, "A team’s location on the win-curve—their absolute level of wins—has a dramatic impact on the value of a win." Every year, we draw a line for replacement level at each position, usually described as the production of a player who could be signed as a free agent or called up from the minor leagues to replace an injured, traded, suspended, retired, or otherwise displaced player. My opinion is that we should have a league-wide replacement level for available free agents, but the depth of each individual organization should also affect what replacement level production is for each individual team.

For example, if a team has a starting pitcher get hurt in Spring Training, they can replace him with a free agent or internal option. Each team has replacement options, of varying talent levels, in the bullpen or minor leagues.

Some teams have great depth and can promote a player who may earn 2 or 3 WAR over a whole season. Other teams have poor depth and could potentially have a rotation of players who are earning negative-WAR. Again, the Free Agent pool has a league-wide "replacement level", but each team's internal options have varying replacement levels.

Let's take a hypothetical Free Agent Starting Pitcher who would be precisely at replacement level, earning 0.0 WAR this season, if signed. However, it seems that it should depend on which team signs him because each team should have a different actual replacement level value - based on their organizational depth.

Over thinking is one of our other favorite pastimes. Are we guilty of that here? Or, should there be a WAR factor that considers organizational depth to determine unique replacement levels for each organization? Thanks for stopping by - please let us know in the comments section below or a social network of yous choice.

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