A Fan's Guide to Baseball Analytics: Why WAR, WHIP, wOBA, and Other Advanced Sabermetrics Are Essential to Understanding Modern Baseball

A Fan's Guide to Baseball Analytics: Why WAR, WHIP, wOBA, and Other Advanced Sabermetrics Are Essential to Understanding Modern Baseball

by Anthony Castrovince


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Broken up into sections (pitching, fielding, hitting), this authoritative yet fun and easy guide will help readers young and old fully understand and comprehend the statistics that are the present and future of our national pastime.
We all know what a .300 hitter looks like. The same with a 20-game winner. Those numbers are ingrained in our brains. But do they mean as much as we think? Do we feel the same way when we hear a batter has a .390 wOBA? How about a pitcher with a 1.2 WHIP? These statistics are the future of modern baseball, and no fan should be in the dark about how these metrics apply to the game.

In the last twenty years, an avalanche of analytics has taken over the way the game is played, managed, and assessed, but the statistics that drive the sport (metrics like wRC+, FIP, and WAR, just to name a few) read like alphabet soup to a large number of fans who still think batting average, RBIs, and wins are the best barometers for baseball players.

In A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Analytics, MLB.com reporter and columnist Anthony Castrovince has taken on the role as explainer to help such fans understand why the old stats don’t always add up. Readers will also learn where these modern stats came from, what they convey, and how to use them to evaluate players of the present, past, and future. 

For instance, what if we told you that when Joe DiMaggio had his famous 56-game hitting streak in 1941, helping him win the AL MVP, that there was, perhaps, someone more deserving? In fact, the great Ted Williams actually had a higher fWAR, bWAR, wRC+, OPS, OPS+, ISO, RC . . . well, you get the picture. So, streak or no streak, Williams should have been league MVP.

An introductory course on sabermetrics, A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Analytics is an easily digestible resource that readers can keep turning back to when they see a modern metric referenced in today’s baseball coverage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683583448
Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC
Publication date: 05/12/2020
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 43,668
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter and columnist for MLB.com, where he has worked since 2004. He is also a national contributor for the MLB Network. A proud graduate of Ohio University, he lives in Cleveland with his wife and daughters.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Stats What I'm Talking About-Why Baseball's "Nerdy" Numbers Are Worth Learning xi

Section 1 Behind in the Count-The Trouble With the Old Stats 1

Average? More like Below Average! 3

RBI: Really Bad Idea? 8

To Err Is Human 14

Winning Isn't Everything 21

Save Us from the Save 31

Section 2 Batter Up(date)-The Best Qffense Stats 41

OBP (On-Base Percentage) 43

SLG (Slugging Percentage) 50

OPS (On-Base Plus Slugging) 56

RC (Runs Created) 61

ISO (Isolated Power) 67

wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average) 71

wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus) and OPS+ (On-Base Plus Slugging Plus) 76

BsR (Baserunning) 82

Section 3 Pitching in and Catching on-The Best Pitching and Defense Stats 89

ERA+ (Adjusted Earned Run Average) 91

WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Inning Pitched) 98

GSc (Game Score) 102

FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) 109

Miscellaneous Pitching Stats 117

DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) 122

Miscellaneous Defense Stats 128

Section 4 There Is an Eye on Team-The Best Ways to Evaluate a Ballclub 133

Diff (Run Differential) 135

SRS (Simple Rating System) 142

DER (Defensive Efficiency Rating) 147

WP (Win Probability) 151

MN (Magic Number) 156

Section 5 The Full Count-Context Stats that Add Clarity 161

BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) 163

xBA, xSLG, and xwOBA (Expected Batting Average, Slugging Percentage, and Weighted On-Base Average) 170

Park Factors 177

WPA (Win Probability Added) 182

WAR (Wins Above Replacement) 189

Epilogue: Stats All, Folks? 201

Quiz: The Numbers Game 205

Acknowledgments 211

Appendix of Analytic Rating Tables 215

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