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“New” Advanced Stats / Changes you should know

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Fantrax

Sabermetrics / Advanced Analytics in baseball are constantly evolving, much to the dismay of the average fan. In a world of concrete stats like RBI’s, Wins, ERA etc - there is an overwhelming amount of underlying statistics, with one true purpose. To accurately measure the contribution of the player and remove elements from the game such as luck or contributions from other players. With that said I wanted to highlight 3 “new” stats and/or changes to existing ones.

fWAR

I’ll start with fWAR, as I would say WAR has been one of the most commonly adopted statistics even outside of the sabermetrics community. WAR is intended to be as close as possible to an all-encompassing stat to measure a players value. Frustratingly, there are numerous versions of the stat as Baseball Reference / Fangraphs etc disagree on some elements and how to value them. Regardless, fWAR (Fangraphs) is the one I utilize most, and they had a significant change in their measurement as of 3/20/19 - with the inclusion of Catcher framing - for both Pitchers and Catchers.

I won’t go into the full explanation as Fangraphs has a whole article explaining their thought process and calculations. It also compares their pitch framing statistics to the other major sites to see if it is in line with their calculations. Lastly, they did an article on the impact to WAR here.

Baseball Prospectus

DRC+

Baseball Prospectus released a new statistic this year called DRC - Deserved Runs Created, with the plus basically indicating that higher is better. They wrote a whole article on the new statistic which you can read here , but for a high level analysis,

So why use DRC+ over OPS+ or WRC+? According to Baseball Prospectus, it i simply far more accurate, descriptive, and predictive statistic. (Full Analysis of comparison is listed on their page).

How is it done? Instead of utilizing what actually occurred, Baseball Prospectus is utilizing what the expected results would be to calculate DRC. DRC+ uses the same 100 as league average rating as you’ve grown accustomed to with OPS+/WRC+, to compare the percent better or worse than league average.

Truthfully, DRC to me seems like a more refined version of WRC+, and should replace WRC+ in my usage, though I’m admittedly timid to make this change without more research on my part.

Statcast

xWOBA

Although still viewed as somewhat experimental, xWOBA is extremely interesting to me. If you’re familiar with WOBA (Weighted On Base Average) - that looks to measure a player’s overall offensive contributions on a per plate appearance basis utilizing linear weighting. WOBA is scaled to be like OBP. WOBA was found to be a better tool than OPS, Runs Created, etc. It feels somewhat off to use a metric that looks like OBP to measure pitchers, but it does provide a usable statistic.

xWOBA is the Expected Weighted On Base Average, which you can read a full article about here. With the release of statcast data, there is a revolution on-going in the statistics in baseball. Having exit velocity, launch angle, and even Sprint Speed allows us to build out much more of expected results taking out the variance for excellent/poor defense and other aspects that would generally fall into “luck”, allowing for a statistic that is far more predictive in the future and descriptive of the actual player’s contributions.

Tell me what you feel about the new statistics.