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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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fun With Win Shares 

I love Win Shares. Bill James overall stat for evaluating a player’s contribution to a team is a great way of distilling a player’s contributions down into a single number. Flawed, it most certainly is, but it provides for a lot of water-cooler chat in the ‘ol blogosphere.

First, let’s look at what the Phillies players did in 2006:

Win Shares:
1. Ryan Howard: 31
2. Chase Utley: 28
3. Jimmy Rollins: 26
4. Bobby Abreu: 17
5. Pat Burrell: 17
6. Shane Victorino: 12
7. Brett Myers: 11
8. Geoff Geary: 10
9. Aaron Rowand: 9
10. Five tied with 8

I noticed a few things that were interesting …

First off, notice who is sitting at #8. Geoff Geary, the Phillies set-up man, had ten Win Shares in 2006, a tremendous total that even eclipsed rookie sensation Cole Hamels and closer Tom Gordon, both of whom had eight. A slight factor here is the fact that Geary didn’t hit at all, and thus did not have to register a negative factor with his batting, as virtually all N.L. starting pitchers must. Geary had a .2 Win Share for hitting and 9.8 for pitching. Myers, for example, was -3.1 Win Shares with his batting in 2006, which drags his Win Shares total from 14.5 to 11.4. Hamels had -1.2 for hitting and 9.0 for pitching.

Geary’s .838 Win Share percentage was best on the team … better even than Ryan Howard (.812). Oh yeah, and Geary finished tied for fourth amongst N.L. relief pitchers in Win Shares. I would categorize Geary’s performance as a major surprise and a major under-appreciated story of the ’06 campaign.

Victorino’s presence on the lost isn’t so good once you look inside of Victorino’s numbers. His hitting Win Share is pretty puny – 8.1 – but he made a big impression defensively, getting a 3.9 Fielding Win Share. That is roughly 1/3 of his Win Shares for 2006, supporting my contention that Victorino is a marginal offensive player at best for the Phillies. Victorino was just three Win Shares above a bench player and posted a .494 Win Share percentage.

Like Victorino, Aaron Rowand has little to celebrate from being on this list: his Win Shares were a product of good fielding. Rowand actually had 8.8 Win Shares and 3.8 were a product of his fielding, that’s 43%. When an outfielder is putting 43% of his contribution to the team in the form of defense, you aren’t getting enough offense from that player. Tellingly, Rowand was right at bench player level and posted a .365 winning percentage.

The Phillies Big Three in 2006 were Howard, Utley and J.Roll. Rollins transformation in 2006 was astonishing. Already the Phillies key defensive player with 6.1 Fielding Win Shares, J.Roll’s 19.8 hitting Win Shares were third on the team. Rollins was twelve Win Shares above bench, again third on the team. Jimmy Rollins was also third in the N.L. amongst shortstops in Win Shares too.

Chase Utley was just above J.Roll, posting 4.9 Fielding Win Shares, second behind J.Roll, and had 23.2 hitting Win Shares. Utley was also fourteen Win Shares above bench level. Utley ranked tenth in the N.L. in Win Shares, by the way, his 28 being eleven behind Albert Pujols for the N.L. lead. Utley also led all N.L. second basemen in Win Shares.

Obviously the Phillies top player was Ryan Howard. His 31 Win Shares were sixth in the N.L. and led the team. Howard did little with his glove, getting just 1.2 Fielding Win Shares, and doing it all with this bat: 29.8 hitting Win Shares. I could think of dozens of superlatives here, but I think Ryan Howard’s season can best be summed up with a simple statement: He was amazing.

Finally, Chris Coste tied with four other Phillies for tenth on the team in Win Shares, and he ought to be proud of the job he did in 2006. His Win Share percentage is .720, better than Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, or even Chase Utley. He hit well and played good defense. His eight win shares are a full four above a bench player. He played great in ’06 and deserves to return to the team. I hope the Phillies give him a chance.

So what did we learn from Win Shares? Ryan Howard was great last year … okay, we already knew that … and so were Geoff Geary and Chris Coste, two players who were key to the Phillies success in 2006 and didn’t get nearly enough recognition. Meanwhile, the Phillies need to expect more from Aaron Rowand and Shance Victorino if the Phillies can hope to be successful in 2007.

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re: win shares for 2007

I estimate these win shares for the phils in 2007 based on 2006:

Utley, Howard, Rollins - 105
Victorino, Rowand, Burrell - 45-50
Catcher, 3B - 10
Bench Players - 10
Starters - Garcia - 15
Myers - 10-15
Hamels - 10-15
Moyer - 10-15
Eaton/Lieber - 5-8
Starters - 50-70

Bullpen - 30-50

Overall - Hitting and Fielding -
160 Win shares
Pitching - 80-120 win shares

this should be enough to make the playoffs and possibly win the division. the team will still be hitting heavy, but so were the 93' and 80 clubs.

--art kyriazis, philly
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