|Team||Actual Record||Pythagorean||+/-||WAR Wins||+/-|
Based on WAR, the Twins are baseball’s best collection of talent. With Francisco Liriano, Justin Morneau,, and Joe Mauer coming in with 5.6, 5.2, and 4.2 WAR respectively. The Twins have an astounding 9 players who have contributed 2 or more WAR already. For the sake of comparison, the division rival White Sox only have 6 players of greater than 2 WAR, and John Danks, Gavin Floyd, and Alexei Ramirez’s 4.2, 3.9, and 3.2 WAR lead the team. The Twins do have to deal with an injury to Morneau, from which we have no timetable for return.
Another team who has underperformed their WAR is the Boston Red Sox. GM Theo Epstein was met with skepticism when he went into the offseason looking to upgrade the defense. While John Lackey has been a disappointment for Boston, and Mike Cameron has spend as much time on DL as in the OF, Adrian Beltre may have been the best signing of the offseason. Beltre leads the Sox with 5.6 WAR for just $10M.
Based on WAR record, the Nationals, Cubs, and Diamondbacks have drastically underperformed their records. It’s easy to understand why the Diamondbacks have done so poorly, considering the terrible state of their bullpen. The Arizona pen has put up a -1.8 WAR.
The Nationals can be best described as ‘top-heavy’. Washington’s best player has been Ryan Zimmerman. His 6.0 WAR is the best in the National Leauge. The Nats have also received good seasons from Adam Dunn (3.5WAR) Josh Willingham (2.7 WAR) and Livan Hernandez (2.7 WAR). Stephen Strasburg is also skyrocketing up the charts at 2.4 WAR in just 63.2 IP. Beyond these six players, it get a bit sketchy, as the Nationals have 3 position players and 5 pitchers who have provided negative WAR in 2010. While it doesn’t make for a good team this season, Washington’s young core gives them a nice outlook for the future.
The Cubs have the same a stars and scrubs outlook of their own, but it’s mostly restricted to the pitching staff, and more specifically the bullpen. Carlos Marmol has been baseball’s best reliever at 2.2 WAR, and Sean Marshall ranks fourth in reliever WAR at 2.0. Unfortunately for the Cubs, in spite of the efforts of Marmol and Marshall, the team ranks only 16th in Reliever WAR at 1.5. The Cubs have received negative WAR from 12 relievers. The only positive relief WAR other than Marmol and Marshall has come from Tom Gorzelanny and Carlos Zambrano.
WAR was not designed to project team wins and losses. The stat was created to give us the neutral context value of an individual player’s contributions, but it does give us a nice overview of which teams have the most talented rosters, and gives us a preview of teams due for a breakout.