Monday, February 25, 2013

Dodgers' Winter Moves Add Up To +1.7 WAR Impact

Old news from last week, but I love the WSJ's take on how each MLB team's off-season moves improved the team, statistically.

Here's the methodology:

The calculations were based on each player's projected wins above replacement (WAR), a statistic used to compare a player's value to the average Triple-A fill-in. The forecasts were made by Dan Szymborski, a sabermetric analyst whose projection system, Zips, is considered among the most reliable. It uses weighted averages of four years of data and adjusts for age based on aging trends of similar players. The rankings don't include contract extensions or promotions within organizations.

The Blue Jays were the big winner, with a +10.7 WAR improvement (driven off of Jose Reyes (+4.3) and R.A. Dickey (+4.0). Down at #12 are the Dodgers:

12. DODGERS (+1.7). Key acquisitions: SP Zack Greinke (4.3), RP Hyun-Jin Ryu (1.8). Key loss: OF Shane Victorino (2.9). Outlook: The highest payroll in baseball means high expectations for the Dodgers, who narrowly missed the playoffs last year.

If Victorino is the main loss, then if anything our WAR impact is understated, right?

The NL West is bunched tightly: the Diamondbacks are ninth with +3.1; the Padres are tenth with +2.3; the Rockies are 11th with +2.1. The Giants are way down there at 16th with +0.3.

Going into the 2011 season, the Dodgers were also smack dab in the middle, as the fourteenth-best-improved team with a WAR impact of +0.1. And they went from 80-82 in 2010 to 82-79 in 2011. Last year, the Dodgers had a WAR improvement of +0.8, and they improved to 86-76.

We're still positioned in the middle of the pack this year, but the projected WAR impact magnitude is noticably higher. Can we expect 2013 returns to be a multiplier-effect higher, in kind?