Wednesday's Daily Boil: WAR! What is it Good For?

Kevin C. Cox

Terri Schlather highlights the cost of winning article from Beyond the Boxscore and how the Astros look to be spending in all the right ways.

The TCB writers have a google group and the discussions often steer toward the sabermetric side of things. Generally, when the stats talk gets super heavy, I tune out. I understand the concepts, but am soooo not a math girl that even the acronyms start to make my head hurt after a while.

There is one exception - I am fascinated by WAR. For those like me, WAR is "wins above replacement." There's no one set way to calculate WAR and even if you wanted to try, it's something like a one hundred step process, so bust out your abacus. But the idea is a good one for a game that's about wins and losses - how good is a player relative to what a team would have to do, on average to replace him? It's what the player's total contribution is to one team - not based on ONE thing they do, but based on EVERYTHING they do. It's the well-rounded stat.

Maybe that's why I like WAR.

So it stands to reason that this article, "MLB Payrolls and the Cost of a Win," over on Beyond the Box Score caught my eye because it talks about using WAR to calculate how much a win really costs...in actual dollars. Who pays the most per WAR and who pays the least and who is just paying too much for what they get.

According to Bryan Robinson's calculations, the Astros are spending most effectively when it comes to batting wins and even if you look at the pitching numbers, the Astros are pretty conservative. Of course, as Robinson points out, without Scott Feldman's contract it looks even better, but hey - the front office is trying to win a few games this season, so they had to spend somewhere!

So go check out Robinson's article and if you like math more than I do, you can bring your calculator along and double check his work. I'm going to just trust him on it, and nod my head.

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