Predicting the W-L record of the 2012 Blue Jays using WAR

By Eric Han

Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Boxscore updated his WAR spreadsheet today. What’s a WAR spreadsheet? Well, it’s a magical tool that lets you punch in a bunch of numbers, and shoots out some other numbers in return! It’s kind of cool.

To be specific, the tool uses an inputted value of a team’s total plate appearances, weighted on base average, baserunning value, fielding value, total innings pitched, and earned run average, and estimates the total WAR value, and thus the estimated win count, of that team.  You can download it here.

I assumed in this exercise that the Jays’ roster for 2012 is roughly the same as they had at the end of the 2011 season.

Hit the jump for my predictions for the position players:

Some notes:

  • The BR and Fld values are a bit confusing. It’s completely different from the ones that FanGraphs, BP, or THT uses, so you have to generalize quite a bit. 0 is completely average, while +/- 0.25 would be slightly above/below average, +/- 0.50 is above/below average, and so on.
  • I assumed that the (AL) league average wOBA is .320
  • 2010 – Team wOBA : .333   Total offensive fWAR: 24.0
  • 2011 – Team wOBA: .319    Total offensive fWAR: 21.3

Here are my predictions for the pitchers:

Some notes:

  • I assumed that the (AL) league average ERA is 4.00 ERA
  • LEV stands for leverage. Leverage represents the importance of the situation, and how likely it is to change the outcome of the game. For example, a bottom-of-the-ninth, 2-out, bases loaded situation in a 1-run game will have a ridiculously high leverage. On the other hand, a 20-0 blowout will have a very low leverage, regardless of the inning or base-out situation. Closers tend to pitch in high leverage situations, but not all save situations are high leverage situations. In my set of data, I assumed that Casey Janssen will be the high-leverage “closer”.
  • 2010 – starting pitching ERA: 4.30  relief pitching ERA: 4.09  total pitching WAR: 17.4
  • 2011 – starting pitching ERA: 4.55  relief pitching ERA: 3.88  total pitching WAR: 12.5

The total team WAR value adds up to 41.0, roughly 84.5 wins, or an 85-77 record.

Does this seem right? Am I optimistic on some players? Pessimistic? Criticism is welcome.

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2 responses to “Predicting the W-L record of the 2012 Blue Jays using WAR

  1. Seems about right. If the current roster played the entire season instead of all the stopgaps and replacements that started the year, the Jays could have won 4 or 5 more games easily.

  2. Seems about right. I guessed at 85-90, if everybody stays healthy. This is a young team, so hopefully everybody will get better with experience this year, and 85-90 isn’t unrealistic.
    Just for fun, what happens if you plug Villanueva and McGowan into starter’s roles, and move Cecil and Drabek to the pen?

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