W.A.R.: What is it good for?

As a very beginner level sabermetrician, one statistic that I can comprehend is WAR – Wins Above Replacement.  Basically it calculates how many wins a player added to his team over a period of time, above that of a replacement level, minor leaguer or bench player.  It shows how valuable a player is, considering offense, base running, and defense.  Fangraphs defines WAR as “an attempt by the sabermetric baseball community to summarize a player’s total contributions to their team in one statistic.”  A team full of replacement players would, under this statistic, finish a season with a .320 winning percentage – a record of around 52-110.

I thought it would be interesting to take all of the potential contributors on this year’s Twins roster, find out each players’ best year for WAR, their worst year, and convert that into a potential 2013 record.  Note that this is by no means meant to be some kind of scientific analysis, but rather a gathering of information to see what a best-case and worst-case scenario might look like heading into 2013.

Here are 27 players’ history of WAR, who are expected to contribute this season, and have played in the majors prior to this season.

Joe Mauer: Best = 7.6 (2009); Worst = 1.4 (2011)

Ryan Doumit: Best = 3.2 (2008); Worst = -0.3 (2006)

Drew Butera: Best = 0.2 (2012); Worst = -1.6 (2011)

Justin Morneau: Best = 4.6 (2010); Worst = -1.2 (2011)

Brian Dozier: Best = 0.5 (2012); Worst = 0.5 (2012)

Pedro Florimon: Best = 0.8 (2012); Worst = -0.1 (2011)

Jamey Carroll: Best = 3.2 (2012); Worst = 0.1 (2003)

Trevor Plouffe: Best = 0.9 (2012); Worst = -1.2 (2011)

Eduardo Escobar: Best = 0.3 (2012); Worst = 0.0 (2011)

Josh Willingham: Best = 2.9 (2012); Worst = -0.3 (2004)

Darin Mastroianni: Best = 0.8 (2012); Worst = -0.2 (2011)

Chris Parmelee: Best = 1.3 (2011); Worst = -0.6 (2012)

Joe Benson: Best = -0.7 (2011); Worst = -0.7 (2011)

Scott Diamond: Best = 2.2 (2012); Worst = 0.1 (2011)

Vance Worley: Best = 3.2 (2011); Worst = 0.5 (2010)

Kevin Correia: Best = 2.2 (2007); Worst = -1.9 (2010)

Mike Pelfrey: Best = 3.1 (2008); Worst = -0.5 (2007)

Liam Hendriks: Best = -0.2 (2011); Worst = -1.2 (2012)

Cole De Vries: Best = 0.2 (2012); Worst = 0.2 (2012)

Anthony Swarzak: Best = 1.1 (2011); Worst = -0.6 (2012)

Glen Perkins: Best = 2.0 (2011); Worst = -0.4 (2010)

Alex Burnett: Best = 0.3 (2012); Worst = -0.2 (2011)

Jared Burton: Best = 1.2 (2012); Worst = 0.0 (2009)

Brian Duensing: Best = 3.5 (2010); Worst = -1.4 (2012)

Casey Fien: Best = 1.0 (2012); Worst = -0.3 (2009)

Josh Roenicke: Best = 2.0 (2012); Worst = -0.4 (2009)

Tyler Robertson: Best = -0.3 (2012); Worst = -0.3 (2012)

Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, Ryan Pressly and other rookies = 0.0

Total: Best = 47.1; Worst = -10.6; Middle = 18.25

Potential Records: Best = 99-63; Worst = 41-121; The Middle = 70-92

Going by WAR alone, if every Twins player matched the best season they have had in their careers, this is a 99 win team.  99 wins would have been good for the best record in baseball last year, 1 game ahead of the Washington Nationals.  On the other side of the coin, if each player matched their worst seasons, the Twins become a 41 win team.  That would have finished 14 games back from the Houston Astros last season.

Right in the middle of those two extremes is a 70 win team, which would probably be good for a fourth place finish in the AL Central in 2013.  If the over-under was set at 70, I think I’d take the over without question.  Realistically, tough, I don’t think a 70 win season would really be that surprising to most.  Of course, I’d say Orioles fans wouldn’t have been surprised at 70 wins last year, and they won 93.

Follow Twins Rubes on Twitter @twinsrubes.

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