Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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Friday, June 09, 2006

A Look @ Win Shares 

I realized suddenly the other day that I hadn’t looked at the Phillies Win Shares for the 2006 campaign yet. Win Shares, for those not in the know, are a stat developed by Bill James to calculate a player’s overall contribution to his teams fortunes. They are broken down by batting, fielding and pitching and added together to get a total number.

Not surprisingly, some players are having great seasons by Win Shares. Here are some of the Phillies top performers:

Bobby Abreu: 14
Chase Utley: 13
Ryan Howard: 8
Aaron Rowand: 6
Brett Myers: 6
Pat Burrell: 6
Tom Gordon: 6
David Bell: 6
Jimmy Rollins: 5
Shane Victorino: 5

What’s interesting to me (and I feel like this is a common theme to my blog this week) is what a surprise it is to see David Bell on the positive side of the ledger. His fielding is where he’s making a big impact: 1.7 Fielding Win Shares … David Bell earned 9 Win Shares in all of 2005, so having 6 right now ain’t bad.

Poor Pat Burrell: Win Shares don’t really care much for him. He’s at just six and his winning percentage is just .548, worse than Aaron Rowand (.604), Ryan Howard (.855), Chase Utley (.903), and Abreu (1.004). He’s doing a bit better than David Bell (.513), but aside from Jimmy Rollins (.352) here isn’t much better than any other Phillies regular.

Jimmy Rollins needs to step things up: his five Win Shares are pretty lousy. If you look inside his numbers 2.4 go to his batting and 2.7 to his fielding. He simply isn’t getting the job done at the plate. Win Shares have always liked J.Roll: he had 21 last year, 24 in ’04, 19 the year before that. He could end up with a career-low 12-14 this season.

Abreu, Utley and Howard are clearly the Phillies superstars. Of all of them, Chase Utley is the one that most impresses me: he is exceeding his expected Win Shares by six. Unlike Abreu, who is a one-dimensional player (hitter), Chase is really doing a lot of good work for the Phillies in the field. Chase is really the glue holding this team together. If he got injuried the Phils would be in trouble.

Consistency thy name is Bobby Abreu. Scope out his previous seasons:

2005: 25
2004: 33
2003: 28
2002: 29
2001: 26
2000: 23
1999: 26
1998: 26

Bobby is on a pace for a career high this season: he should get 35 or so Win Shares. Not bad at all.

Enjoy your weekend all! See you on Monday!

More and more, you hear rumblings [outside of Philly of course] that Abreu could be a HOF-er. Looking at his career win shares, I wonder how many win shares the "average" HOF-er has? What player has the least? How does Bobby compare?
Tom, here's an article on that very subject. It references Bill James' conclusion that 300 career WS means a likely HOF-er, and 400 means a certain one. Given that by the end of the year, Abreu should have about 250 WS (maybe more) and is showing no signs of slowing down, I'd say he's going to have a great argument for it.

Here's a fun thought: if you think Abreu is controversial today, imagine in 2015 to 2018 when he's first eligible for HOF consideration. It will be a modernist apocolypse. The James camp will cite a Career Win Share of likely 350 or so. The Eskin camp will snort with contempt and cite his lack of running into walls.

Baseball is another word for a long running argument.
Note, Abreu will never be considered one of the greatest ballplayers of all time. Here's a list of the all time greats in Win Shares:

Ruth 756
Cobb 722
Bonds 675
Wagner 655
Aaron 643
Mays 642
Young 634
Speaker 630
Musial 604

Note that some of Ruth's WS came as a pitcher, so Cobb has the highest offensive WS in baseball history.
Bobby Abreu is worth so much more to this team than people realize. They see the way he plays and think that he's not trying enough, or that he doesn't care. What fans fail to realize is that Abreu has given this organization some great years and as mentioned is consistent. If the Phillies were successful in his tenure as a Phillie he would receive far greater praise...it's not his fault the team falls short every season and once again is heading that direction this season.
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