Thursday, July 24, 2014

WAR Power

Giants go up in the West by two games after a stirring win in Philadelphia. Madison Bumgarner was dazzling and Hunter Pence delivered the big hit in the 9th to plate the go-ahead runs. Phillies ├╝ber-closer Jonathan Papelbon has to be wondering who the hell these guys in orange and black are after yielding soul-crushing 9th-inning extra-base hits on consecutive nights. Oh, they are just Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, nobody special.

Hunter Pence, according to FanGraphs, has piled up 4.1 WAR and leads the team by a wide margin. He's listed as 9th in the majors but the two fellows at #8 (Paul Goldschmidt) and #7 (Adam Jones) are in a tie with him. The only other NLers in the top tier are Troy Tulowitzki (5.1) and Andrew McCutcheon (4.5). Pence is a serious NL MVP candidate. There's no doubt he's the team MVP, and we don't need no steenkeen saber-stats to tell us that. Pence was the best player on the team last season as well. Currently he leads the league in games, plate appearances, at-bats, hits and runs scored. Funny, none of the defensive metrics seem to like his glove work. As much as I enjoy learning more about baseball by diving into the new statistics, I've yet to find a reliable fielding scheme. Pence is a great fielder and is right up there in PhoneCo prowess with Nate Schierholtz and Jose Cruz, Jr. Remember when he signed his contract and all the buzz was about "overpaying" him? Sheesh, the guy is worth every nickel!

Madison Bumgarner is of course the leader in pitching WAR with 2.4 and also rates 0.8 WAR as a hitter! A .500 slugging percentage will do that. He sits at #22 in that category for MLB but 6th in the NL behind Zimmerman, Cueto, Strasburg, Wainwright and Kershaw. Lofty company, eh?

Tim Hudson takes the ball this morning as the Giants look for a sweep. LA is traveling to San Francisco for the big showdown this weekend.




Brother Bob said...

I love Hunter Pence. His hustle makes him a great role-model type player.
And I love our 2-game lead, considering how totally pessimistic I was a couple of weeks ago. It feels like the team's resurgence might be related to Lincecum's streak of great starts.
I'm also glad to see someone else use the name "PhoneCo" for the ballpark in SF. I hate it when they keep changing the name of a place.

JC Parsons said...

Pitching WAR is funky. Not sure I get it, seems to be influenced by some weird metrics. For example, Tim is below Petit. WTF? So it isn't really showing contribution to team success, like the James one. I love these modern stats but they take a little more thinking than the old days.

Hunter is a true baseball gem. I was a bit miffed last night with the crazy steal and slide into left field until I realized it was a frigging water slide out there. It did make for more great Pence facial expressions. What a caveman! I love him!

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Yeah, I love Pence for his hustle too, great role model (for his hustle and positive attitude, not his hacktastic ways :^) for our prospects to learn from and emulate.

The turnaround, I think, is just related to the hitters getting a break and reset from their mindset during the tailspin. People sometimes get into bad habits and find it hard to break out of it.

The starting pitching has actually been pitching well during the bad streak per sabermetric measure PQS. They were just suffering from a lot of bad luck from all the hits given up and given up at the wrong time.

Well, the name changes should be at end, AT&T aint getting bought by anybody.

Baseball-reference has Lincecum at 1.1 WAR vs. 0.1 for Petit.

bWAR rewards actual performance whereas fWAR (which I assume is what you used) focuses more on DIPS metrics. So Petit got rewarded greatly for his high K/9 and K/BB ratio vs. Lincecum.

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Oh, and I'll share a recent realization I had recently. While position players have highers WAR, per the reasoning that the sabers note, pitchers WAR/game is much much higher than position players. That makes a much greater difference when you look at WAR on a per game situation, like we would in a playoff situation. I've been planning on writing about this at some point.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I used PhoneCo because the Park wasn't AT&T when Cruz played there (still PacBell at the time). I'm not sure if Nate was on the team during the SBC phase but I wanted to cover all my bases! Yeah, I think it will be AT&T for a while.

Indeed Pence is a hacker, but he makes it work by putting a lot of hard-hit balls in play. I just like how guys can make positive contributions to winning in lots of ways. Some guys take a lot of pitches, are selective, get on base, etc. Some guys swing away. Just as long as they help the team win, baby!