Do MLB Teams Keep Their Elite Talent?

On an episode of the Effectively Wild podcast, an interesting question was raised.  The question was whether teams have increasingly held onto their top talent.  This was measured by whether a star player was still with the team that originally drafted him.  I decided to take a closer look at this question by examining the top 10 finishers in Wins above Replacement (WAR) with hitters and pitchers examined separately over a number of seasons.  To examine the current trend in holding on to elite talent, I explored the last three full seasons of the WAR leader boards (2015-2017).  I then examined the players that comprised the top 10 WAR finishers during the 2007 and 1997 seasons in order to compare whether top talent is more frequently held on to by teams of today than teams from 10 and 20 years ago.

* Wins Above Replacement (WAR) taken from Baseball-reference.com

 

2017 WAR Leaders: Position Players

Altuve 8.3 – Age 27 – with original team.

Judge 8.1 – Age  25 – with original team.

Stanton 7.6 – Age 27 – with original team.

Votto 7.5 – Age 33 – with original team.

Arenado 7.2 – Age 26 – with original team.

Simmons 7.1 – Age 27 – with 2nd team.  Traded from Atlanta to Los Angeles/Anaheim (November of 2015).

Ramirez 6.9 – Age 24 – with original team.

Trout 6.7 – Age 25 – with original team.

Betts 6.4 – Age 24 – with original team.

Pham 6.4 – Age 29 – with original team.

Average age = 26.7 years

9 of 10 players were with their original team. 

 

2017 WAR Leaders: Pitchers

Kluber 8.0 – Age 31 – with 2nd team.  Traded from San Diego to Cleveland (July of 2010).

Scherzer 7.3 – Age 32 – with 3rd team.  Traded from Arizona to Detroit (2009).  Signed via free agency with Washington (January of 2015).

Gonzalez 6.6 – Age 31 – with 4th team.  Traded from Chicago to Philadelphia, from Philadelphia to Chicago, from Chicago to Oakland, and from Oakland to Washington (December of 2011).

Strasburg 6.5 – Age 28 – with original team.

Verlander 6.4 – Age 34 – with 2nd team.  Traded mid-season from Detroit to Houston (2017).

Greinke 6.0 – Age 33 – with 5th team.  Drafted by Kansas City, traded to Milwaukee, traded from Milwaukee to Los Angeles/Anaheim.  Signed via free agency with Los Angeles (2012).  Signed via free agency with Arizona (2015).

Sale 6.0 – Age 28 – with 2nd team.  Traded from Chicago to Boston (December of 2016).

Stroman 5.8 – Age 26 – with original team.

Carrasco 5.4 – Age 30 – with 2nd team.  Traded from Philadelphia to Cleveland (July of 2009).

Severino 5.3 – Age 23 – with original team.

Average Age: 29.6 years

3 pitchers remained with original team. 

 

2016 WAR Leaders: Position Players

Trout 10.5 – Age 24 – with original team.

Betts 9.5 – Age 23 – with original team.

Bryant 7.7 – Age 24 – with original team.

Altuve 7.6 – Age 26 – with original team.

Donaldson 7.5 – Age 30 – 3rd team.  Drafted by Chicago, traded by Chicago to Oakland, Oakland traded to Toronto (November of 2014).

Cano 7.3 – Age 33 – with 2nd team.  Signed with Seattle via free agency (2013).

Seager 6.9 – Age 28 – with original team.

Machado 6.7 – Age 23 – with original team.

Arenado 6.6 – Age 25 – with original team.

Dozier 6.5 – Age 29 – with original team.

Average age: 26.5 years

8 of 10 players were with their original team.  1 hitter was traded and 1 hitter moved on to his second team via free agency.   

 

2016 WAR Leaders: Pitchers

Verlander 6.6 – Age 34 – with original team.

Kluber 6.4 – Age 30 – with 2nd team.  Traded from San Diego to Cleveland (July of 2010).

Scherzer 6.2 – Age 31 – with 3rd team.  Traded from Arizona to Detroit (2009).  Signed via free agency with Washington (January of 2015).

Cueto 5.6 – Age 30 – 3rd team.  Signed by Cincinnati, traded to Kansas City (July of 2015), signed with San Francisco via free agency (2015).

Kershaw 5.6 – Age 28 – with original team.

Roark 5.5 – Age 29 – with 2nd team.  Traded by Texas to Washington (July of 2010).

Tanaka 5.4 – Age 27 – with original team.

Martinez 5.4 – Age 24 – with original team.  Originally signed with Red Sox but league voided and then signed with St. Louis.

Lester 5.3 – Age 32 – with 3rd team.  Drafted by Boston, traded to Oakland (July of 2014).  Signed with Chicago via free agency (2014).

Syndergaard 5.3 – Age 23 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Toronto and traded to New York (December of 2012).

Average age: 28.8 years

 4 of 10 pitchers were with their original team.

 

2015 WAR Leaders: Position Players

Harper 9.9 – Age 22 – with original team.

Trout 9.4 – Age 23 – with original team.

Donaldson 8.8 – Age 29 – 3rd team.  Drafted by Chicago, traded by Chicago to Oakland, Oakland traded to Toronto (November of 2014).

Goldschmidt 8.8 – Age 27 – with original team.

Votto 7.6 – Age 31 – with original team.

Pollock 7.4 – Age 27 – with original team.

Kiermaier 7.3 – Age 25 – with original team.

Cain 7.2 – Age 29 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Milwaukee.  Traded to Kansas City (December of 2010).

Machado 7.1 – Age 22 – with original team.

Heyward 6.5 – Age 25 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Atlanta and traded to St. Louis (November of 2014).

Average age: 26.0 years

7 of 10 players were with their original team.

 

2015 WAR Leaders: Pitchers

Greinke 9.3 – Age 31 – with 5th team.  Drafted by Kansas City, traded to Milwaukee, traded from Milwaukee to Los Angeles/Anaheim.  Signed via free agency with Los Angeles (2012).  Signed via free agency with Arizona (2015).

Arrieta 8.7 – Age 29 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Baltimore and traded to Chicago (July of 2013).

Kershaw 7.5 – Age 27 – with original team.

Keuchel 7.2 – Age 27 – with original team.

Scherzer 7.1 – Age 30 – with 3rd team.  Traded from Arizona to Detroit (2009).  Signed via free agency with Washington (January of 2015).

Price 6.0 – Age 29 – with 3rd team.  Drafted by Tampa Bay and traded to Detroit (mid 2014) and then traded to Toronto (mid 2015 season).

Gray 5.8 – Age 25 – with original team.

Lackey 5.7 – Age 36 – 3rd team.  Drafted by Los Angeles/Anaheim.  Signed with Boston via free agency (2009).  Traded by Boston to St. Louis (July of 2014)

Bumgarner 4.8 – Age 25 – with original team.

deGrom 4.7 – Age 27 – with original team.

Average age: 28.6 years

5 of 10 pitchers were with their original team. 

 

2007 WAR Leaders: Position Players

Rodriguez 9.4 – Age 31 – with 3rd team.  Left Seattle for Texas via free agency (2001).  Traded from Texas to New York February of 2004).

Pujols 8.7 – Age 27 – with original team.

Wright 8.3 – Age 24 – with original team.

Utley 7.8 – Age 28 – with original team.

Jones 7.6 – Age 35 – with original team.

Granderson 7.6 – Age 26 – with original team.

Ordonez 7.3 – Age 33 – with 2nd team.  Left Chicago for Detroit via free agency (February of 2005).

Pena 7.2 – Age 29 – with 6th team – Drafted by Texas, traded to Oakland, traded from Oakland to Detroit (2002).  Signed as a free agent with New York (2006), signed as a free agent with Boston (2006), and signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay (January of 2007).

Tulowitzki 6.8 – Age 22 – with original team.

Cano 6.7 – Age 24 – with original team.

Average age: 27.9 years

7 of 10 hitters were still with their original team. 

 

2007 WAR Leaders: Pitchers

Oswalt 6.7 – Age 29 – with original team.

Beckett 6.5 – Age 27 – Traded from Florida to Boston after 2005 season.

Webb 6.4 – Age 28 – with original team.

Sabathia 6.3 – Age 26 – with original team.

Lackey 6.3 – Age 28 – with original team.

Vasquez 6.2 – Age 30 – with 4th team.  Traded from Montreal to New York, New York to Arizona, and Arizona to Chicago.

Hernandez 6.2 –  Age 26 – with original team.

Peavy 6.2 – Age 26 – with original team.

Buehrle 6.1 – Age 28 – with original team.

Harang 6.0 – Age 29 – with 3rd team.  Traded from Texas to Oakland (2000) and Oakland to Cincinnati (mid-2003 season).

Average age: 27.7 years.

7 of 10 pitchers were with their original team. 

 

1997 WAR Leaders: Position Players

Walker 9.8 – Age 30 – with 2nd team.  Signed by Montreal (1984).  Signed with Colorado via free agency (April of 1995).

Biggio 9.4 – Age 31 – with original team.

Griffey 9.1 – Age 27 – with original team.

Piazza 8.7 – Age 28 – with original team.

Bonds 8.2 – Age 32 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Pittsburg (1985).  Signed with San Francisco via free agency (1992).

Bagwell 7.7 – Age 29 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Boston (1989) and traded to Houston (August of 1990).

Thomas 7.3 – Age 29 – with original team.

Knoblauch 6.7 – Age 28 – with original team.

Garciaparra 6.6 – Age 23 – with original team.

Rodriguez 6.5 – Age 21 – with original team.

Average age: 27.8 years

7 of 10 hitters were with their original team. 

 

1997 WAR Leaders: Pitchers

Clemens 11.9 – Age 34 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Boston.  Signed by Toronto via free agency (December of 1996).

Martinez 9.0 – Age 25 – 2nd team.  Signed by Los Angeles (1988) and traded to Montreal (November of 1993).

Pettitte 8.4 – Age 25 – with original team.

Johnson 8.0 – Age 33 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Montreal (1985).  Traded to Seattle (1989).

Maddux 7.8 – Age 31 – with 2nd team.  Drafted by Chicago (1984).  Signed with Atlanta via free agency (1992).

Thompson 7.7 – Age 24 – with original team.

Brown 7.0 – Age 32 – with 3rd team.  Drafted by Texas (1986).  Signed with Baltimore via free agency (April of 1995).  Signed with Florida via free agency (December of 1995).

Cone 6.8 – Age 34 – with 4th team.  Drafted by Kansas City, Traded to New York Mets (1987).  New York traded to Toronto (August of 1992).  Signed with Kansas City via free agency (1992).  Traded from Kansas City to Toronto (April of 1995) and from Toronto to New York Yankees (July of 1995).

Schilling 6.3 – Age 30 – with 3rd team.  Drafted by Boston, traded to Baltimore (July of 1988).  Baltimore traded to Houston (January of 1991).  Traded from Houston to Philadelphia (April of 1992).

Hentgen 5.8 – Age 28 – with original team.

Average age: 27.1 years

3 of 10 pitchers were with original team. 

 

Summary:

Lists containing 10 hitters and 10 pitchers are small samples thus it is dangerous to conclude much.  However, there are some data trends that appear interesting.

  1. The number of top pitchers that remained with their original teams was lower than the number of hitters that remained with their original teams. This trend is more pronounced in the 2015-2017 groups. Examining the transactions that led to top pitchers no longer remaining with their original teams during the last three seasons indicated the following – trades prior to a pitcher gaining any, or extremely limited MLB experience (Cory Kluber, Noah Syndergaard, and Carlos Carrasco).  Additionally, established pitchers found on the lists were often traded as part of trade deadline deals (Lester, Greinke, and Cueto) or as part of their original team jettisoning high priced talent during tanking/rebuilding efforts (Verlander and Sale).  Compare this with the pitching WAR leaderboard for 2007 and 1997.  These two lists show a different story of pitcher movement.  In 2007, 7 of 10 pitchers were still with their original team (whereas 7 pitchers on the WAR leaderboard were with their original teams in 2016 and 2017 combined).  The 1997 group is populated by a number of pitchers age 30 or older who left their original teams via free agency.
  2.  Teams appear much less willing to part with offensive talent. In 4 of the 5 seasons examined, more hitters than pitchers remained with their original team. The only year this was not the case was in 2007 when the same number of hitters and pitchers were still with their original ball clubs (7).  The pattern of hitters remaining with their club of origin and pitchers being moved was most extreme in 2017.  Here, 9 of 10 hitters remained with their original team while only 3 pitchers remained with their team.

3a. The current hitter WAR leaders (2015-17) trend younger than their counterparts of 2007 and 1997.  In the last three seasons the average age of the hitter top 10 were 26.7, 26.5, and 26 years while the average age from 2007 and 1997 were 27.9 and 27.8 years.

3b. Conversely, modern WAR pitching leaders trend older than their 1997 and 2007 peers.  The 2017, WAR pitcher leaders had an average age of 29.6, 28.8 in 2016, and 28.6 in 2015.  In 2007, the WAR pitching leader average age was 27.7 and in 1997 it was 27.1.

3c. Same season WAR leaders: The average age of hitters and pitchers on the 2007 and 1997 leader boards are closer than the hitter and pitcher leaders from 2015-2017.

3d. The average age of hitters from the 1997 and 2007 sample is older than the pitcher lists from 97 and 07.  The reverse is true in 2015-2017.  Here, the average pitcher age is significantly older than the average age of the hitter.

Ideas:

Although the samples are small, there is still much to think about.  Some areas I wonder about include:

The impact PED use and current testing has on the leader board demographics.  Possibly related to this, why do older players appear to provide less elite production/value than they did 10 and 20 years ago?

The data indicates that teams are more willing to deal top pitching prospects than hitting prospects.  This may be related to pitching development being more variable/harder to predict than hitting ability, the increased potential for career stalling or career threatening pitcher injury, and the typical aging curve for hitting and pitching development and performance.  Based on the data from the last three years though, it appears that it takes longer for most pitchers to reach elite levels when compared to one or two decades ago.

The impact of free agency and the impact of tanking and rebuilds may be an area worth examining more closely.  The two great motivators for original teams moving elite talent appear to be (1) highly paid player on a team re-tooling and/or stripping assets or (2) players that will be paid more than the original team can afford when the player is a free agent and the team determines that it is better to move the player for future assets than to let the player walk away for nothing.  As teams appear to be more willing to tank in order to rebuild, this may become the most common way an elite talent leaves his original team.

Below is the summary of the Top 10 WAR leaders for each season (age, number of players with original team, and average WAR).

2017

Hitters:

Average age = 26.7 years

9 of 10 players were with their original team.

Average WAR: 7.22

Pitchers:

Average Age: 29.6 years

3 pitchers remained with original team.

Average WAR: 6.33

 

2016

Hitters:

Average age: 26.5 years

8 of 10 players were with their original team.  1 hitter was traded and 1 hitter moved on to his second team via free agency.

Average WAR: 7.68

Pitchers:

Average age: 28.8 years

4 of 10 pitchers were with their original team.

Average WAR: 5.73

 

2015

Hitters:

Average age: 26.0 years

7 of 10 players were with their original team.

Average WAR: 8.0

Pitchers:

Average age: 28.6 years

5 of 10 pitchers were with their original team.

Average WAR: 6.68

 

2007

Hitters:

Average age: 27.9 years

7 of 10 hitters were still with their original team.

Average WAR: 7.74

Pitchers:

Average age: 27.7 years

7 of 10 pitchers were with their original team.

Average WAR: 6.29

 

1997

Hitters:

Average age: 27.8 years

7 of 10 hitters were with their original team.

Average WAR: 8.0

Pitchers:

Average age: 27.1 years

3 of 10 pitchers were with original team.

Average WAR: 7.87

 

Follow me on Twitter: @doctordaver

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2017 Baseball – Predictions and Reality

The 2017 season is in the books.  Baseball fans were given a very entertaining regular and post-season.  Although many favored teams heading into the season performed well, there were enough surprises, both good and bad, that kept things interesting.

It is now time to take stock of how I did projecting team wins and which teams would make the playoffs.  Below are my predictions on the left and the actual results on the right for each team.  The number of wins (above or below my prediction are in parentheses).

american league

AL EAST Prediction          AL EAST Results

Boston 91                            Boston 93 (+2)

Toronto 86                          NY Yankees 91 (+9)

Baltimore 86                       Tampa Bay 80 (0)

NY Yankees 82                   Toronto 76 (-10)

Tampa Bay 80                     Baltimore 75 (-11)

Looking back at the pre-season projection – I was right about Boston but they did not have the season I envisioned.  The pitching never got on track and the loss of Ortiz clearly affected the lineup, especially in the power department.  The Yankees arrived a year earlier than many (including me) expected and Judge’s production more than made up for the loss of offense that Greg Bird’s injury appeared ready to inflict upon the offense.  Gregorius had a tremendous season, especially in the power department and the pitching, even with starters going out with injury and Chapman and Betances both struggling at times, held things down well enough to challenge the Sox for the A.L. East crown all the way to the end of the regular season.  I was more bullish on the Orioles than I probably should have been.  I know many projections didn’t like their chances to challenge for a playoff spot but the same projection systems tend to under-rate them year after year.  This was the year the projection systems got things right.  Toronto dug themselves an early season hole and although they played better at times, the damage was done and the 2017 season was lost.  Tampa Bay played as I expected and even a little better than I expected during parts of 2017.  My pre-season projection had them as a last place 80 win team.  The reality was that those 80 wins made them a third place finisher in the division.   

AL CENTRAL Prediction          AL CENTRAL Results

Cleveland 93                               Cleveland 102 (+9)

Kansas City 82                            Minnesota 85 (+15)

Detroit 81                                    Kansas City 80 (-2)

Chicago W.S. 70                         Chicago W.S. 67 (-3)

Minnesota 70                              Detroit 64 (-17)

Cleveland cruised along and then hit the gas blowing away the competition as they headed into the post season.  Making the post season surprised no one but their exit and the hands of the Yankees sure did.  The Twins were a great A.L. Central story.  They had a surprisingly good 2015 (83 wins), went backwards in 2016 (59 wins), and many thought their struggles would continue in 2017.  They started out hot and played good enough ball down the stretch to hold onto the wild card and proved just about every baseball fan living outside of Minnesota wrong.  The 2017 season was not very exciting for the three other AL Central teams.  Detroit bottomed out, the White Sox traded every player being paid over ten bucks, and the Royals treaded water in what may have been their last attempt at a run at the post season for a while (due to the impending free agencies of many of their best/most productive players).  

AL WEST Prediction          AL WEST Results

Houston 90                          Houston 101 (+11)

Seattle 86                             L.A. Angels 80 (+2)

Texas 85                              Seattle 78 (-8)

L.A. Angels 78                    Texas 78 (-7)

Oakland 71                          Oakland 75 (+4)

 The Astros started out cold in 2016 which ultimately sunk their season.  I didn’t think that this would happen again and the team played as I expected them to throughout 2017.  The Astros looked good from beginning to end and were a first place team in the A.L. West the whole year.  The Angels pitchers couldn’t stay healthy which crippled their chances all season long.  The Halos were in the wild card hunt for a while and stayed relevant even when Trout went on the disabled list.  Once Trout returned, there was optimism that the team would make a final push and catch the Twins for the final wild card.  Trout did not perform in his typical superhuman fashion and neither did the team (even with the Justin Upton addition to the outfield).  The Angels ultimately finished 5 games back of the Twins for the last wild card spot.  I thought the 2017 Mariners had an aging core and a suspect pitching staff.  Jerry Dipoto made a number of moves in an attempt to bolster an aging team and keep the Mariners in the playoff discussion.  Although James Paxton took a big leap forward in his development, not much else broke right for the Mariners and they ended 2017 in typical fashion, watching playoff baseball on TV.  The Rangers were a team that vastly outperformed their underlying metrics by many games in 2016.  This may have given fans a false hope for 2017.  Not me.  The team struggled early on (especially the bullpen) and the Rangers were left on the outside looking in at the post season.  Oakland was expected to finish poorly… and they did….again.    

 

national league

NL EAST Prediction          NL EAST Results

Washington 91                    Washington 97 (+6)

NY Mets 87                         Miami 77 (+2)

Atlanta 76                            Atlanta 72 (-4)

Miami 75                             NY Mets 70 (-17)

Philadelphia 73                   Philadelphia 66 (-7)

I predicted the Nationals and the Mets would beat up on the rest of their N.L. East rivals and I was 50% right.  The Nationals seemed to never break a sweat.  Even with the loss of Adam Eaton (for almost the entire season) and Trea Turner (for a sizable chunk of time), the team just kept abusing the other four teams in the East and ran away with the division. I expected the Mets to continue their winning ways.  The pitching staff looked to be maturing and developing into a dominating machine that could feasibly have more quality starters than they would know what to do with.  Everything broke wrong for the team, especially health.  If not for the Giants in the N.L. West, the Mets would have been the biggest disappointment of 2017.  The Marlins are a strange team.  The pitching staff seemed quite suspect heading into the season.  Conversely, the Stanton, Ozuna, Yelich outfield may be the best overall trio of starting outfielders in the game.  Most baseball fans will tell you that this team sucked in 2017 yet they still managed to finish second in the division.  That tells you all you need to know about the N.L. East in 2017.  The Braves were expected to have a re-building year.  They started off looking OK but quickly fell to Earth as Freeman was injured and Swanson struggled all year.  I was not hopeful about the Phillies chances in 2017 as they remained in perpetual rebuild mode.  It looked like a completely lost year for the team until a few of their in-season call ups caught fire and saved the team the embarrassment of losing 100 or more games in the season (however they kept their streak of 90 plus loss seasons going – it is now at 3 years).   

NL CENTRAL Prediction          NL CENTRAL Results

Chicago C. 100                           Chicago C. 92 (-8)

St. Louis 84                                 Milwaukee 86 (+13)

Pittsburg 82                                 St. Louis 83 (-1)

Milwaukee 73                             Pittsburg 75 (-7)

Cincinnati 65                              Cincinnati 68 (+3)

Entering 2017, I thought the Cubs would be firing on all cylinders and have no World Series hangover.  I was wrong.  The team took a long time to finally get going and didn’t take over first place for what felt like forever.  Even when they took over the division lead, they never “caught fire”.  Although 92 wins is nothing to cry about, this team underachieved.  The Brewers on the other hand overachieved.  What was supposed to be a rebuilding year turned into one of the best story lines.  Like most baseball fans and writers, I sorely underestimated this team.  Although they were not able to hold off the Cubs for the division or the Rockies for the last wild card spot (ultimately 1 victory less than the Rockies), their season has to be seen as major success. It will be interesting to see if their success was a one season wonder or if the front office has a knack for putting together a competitive team much more quickly than many expected.  The Cardinals are always a solid organization and even in a down year, they managed to hang around the playoff race.  Injuries and down years from guys like Piscotty, Diaz, and Grichuk hurt their chances.  The Pirates were another team that I thought could break either way in 2017.  I knew which direction they were going once Marte earned a PED suspension.  I didn’t expect much from the Reds heading into the season.  The team began hot, cooled off quickly, and was irrelevant after the first month or two.  This is a shame because Joey Votto had a terrific season that was largely ignored by most of the baseball world (although he is a MVP finalist).  

NL WEST Prediction          NL WEST Results

L.A. Dodgers 100                 L.A. Dodgers 104 (+4)

San Francisco 87                   Arizona 93 (+23)

Colorado 73                          Colorado 87 (+14)

Arizona 70                            San Diego 71 (+8)

San Diego 63                       San Francisco 64 (-23)

Although the N.L. Central was supposed to be the powerhouse division in the National League, the West was where the best teams resided.  The Dodgers were expected to win a ton of games and during their hot streak it seemed like had a chance to set the all time mark for wins in a season.  However, an equally extreme cold streak brought their win total back in line with many pre-season estimates (although some systems had them projected for around 110 wins).  Arizona completely changed their front office personnel and the payoff was immediate (69 wins in 2016 to 93 in 2017).  Great pitching performances and excellent offense carried this team to a level of success that I was not anticipating.  Colorado was another team I underestimated. All season long I expected their pitching to finally give out and although closing games became a slight issue as Holland struggled towards the end of the season, the team hung on to the final wild card.  The Padres were expected to continue their never ending re-build.  Many of their higher rated prospects started the season with the big league team.  I had them pegged for an extremely poor season and although their season won’t be remembered for generations to come, it wasn’t a complete dumpster fire either.  The Giants’ season on the other hand was a complete dumpster fire.  Bumgarner had an off the field injury that limited him to only 17 starts.  Outside of Bumgarner, no Giants starter with more than 9 starts had an ERA+ over 100.  The team also lost their big free agent acquisition, closer Mark Melancon for most of the year and the bullpen, even when Melancon was closing, was shaky at best.  The team’s decision not to upgrade the outfield hampered the offense as did losing Belt (he played just over 100 games) and a down year from Crawford.  In a nutshell, 2017 SUCKED for the Giants.  I completely missed on this projection as I had them making the playoffs when in reality they ended the season with the worst record in baseball.        

Based on my win total prediction, here were the playoff teams with my picks for the World Series and eventual champion as compared to how things played out:

PLAYOFFS:

AL Playoff Representatives Prediction: Cleveland, Houston, Boston, Seattle, Toronto

Actual AL Playoff Representatives: Cleveland, Houston, Boston, N.Y. Yankees, Minnesota

(The 3 division winners were predicted correctly.  The two wild card predictions were incorrect.)

NL Playoff Representatives Prediction: Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, Mets, Giants

Actual NL Playoff Representatives: Dodgers, Cubs, Nationals, D-Backs, Rockies

(The 3 division winners were predicted correctly.  The two wild card predictions were incorrect.)

World Series: Cubs vs. Cleveland (Zero for two in predicting the World Series representatives from each league).

Champion: Cubs (Nope!)

Entering the 2017 Playoffs, I felt good about my Cleveland pre-season pick.  The only other AL team that I thought had a legitimate chance to knock them out was Houston. It turned out that the Yankees did the Astros’ dirty work for them. 

In the National League I felt less confident with my Cubs pre-season pick as the post season began.  The Cubs never really caught fire at any time during the season.  Some analysts believed that the Cubs played just enough solid baseball to get to the post-season and once there, last year’s juggernaut would reappear.  That did not happen and the Cubs went home courtesy of the Dodgers in the NLCS. 

Unlike the 2017 Cubs, the Dodgers did catch fire.  However, their hot streak occurred after the All-Star break and the momentum they had built evaporated in the final few weeks.  Although a win total that would rival the all-time great teams was not in the cards for them, the Dodgers looked primed for a deep playoff run.  If given a chance to change my pre-season prediction, I would have dumped the Cubs and jumped on the L.A. bandwagon.   

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5 Homers in the World Series: Examining Jackson and Springer

Reggie Jackson set the record for most home runs in a World Series when he launched 5 homers in a 6 game series versus the Dodgers in 1977.  This record held until 2009 when Chase Utley matched the feat against the Yankees in a losing effort.  In this past World Series George Springer tied the mark with 5 of his own against the Dodgers in a seven game series win.  It’s impressive when a post season record stands for forty years, especially when considering the current playoff format.  The current playoff system allows for more games to be played in the post season than the system that was in place years ago.  More games equal more chances.  More chances equal more opportunities to rack up counting stats – and that’s why many post season records fall and why the current post season record book is filled with players from the past 20 years or so.

The 2017 regular season featured unprecedented power as home runs came from the usual suspects like Giancarlo Stanton (59) but also from surprising sources like Francisco Lindor (33).  This trend continued into the post season as homers continued raining from the skies.  The year of the homer culminated with George Springer scaling the mountain of power and planting his flag next to the one Jackson placed four decades prior.

With these two players separating themselves from the countless other power hitters that have appeared post season history, I wanted to take a closer look at the production of each player given the environment of the World Series in which each player accomplished the 5 homer feat.

jackson

In 1977, Jackson’s Yankees faced off against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Yankees ultimately defeated the Dodgers 4 games to 2.  During the 6 game series, a total of 17 home runs were hit, 5 by Jackson.  This means that Jackson hit 29.47% of all home runs in the World Series that year.

Game by Game Breakdown of Home Runs (1977):

Game 1: Randolph

Game 2: Cey, Yeager, Smith, Garvey

Game 3: Baker

Game 4: Jackson, Lopes

Game 5: Jackson, Munson, Yeager, Smith

Game 6: Jackson (3), Chambliss, Smith

 

springer

In 2017, Springer’s Astros faced off against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Astros defeated the Dodgers 4 games to 3.  During the 7 game series, a total of 25 home runs were hit, 5 by Springer.  This means that Springer hit 20% of all home runs in the World Series in 2017.

Game by Game Breakdown of Home Runs (2017):

Game 1: Bregman, Taylor, Turner

Game 2: Springer, Gonzalez, Altuve, Correa, Pederson, Puig, Seager, Culberson

Game 3: Gurriel

Game 4: Springer, Bregman, Pederson

Game 5: Springer, Gurriel, Altuve, Correa, McCann, Bellinger, Puig

Game 6: Springer, Pederson

Game 7: Springer 

 

So which performance was more impressive?  It depends on how you evaluate the results.  Here are a few interesting ways to look at the information:

  • Jackson hit his 5 home runs in a six game series while Springer hit his 5 during a seven game series.
  • Jackson hit 3 homers in one game.
  • During his 3 homer game, Jackson hit a home run off three different pitchers.
  • Springer hit a home run in four consecutive games.
  • Springer hit a homerun in 71% of his World Series games while Jackson hit a homer in 50% of his games.
  • Jackson hit 5 of the Yankees’ 9 total home runs (62.5%) in 1977 while Springer hit 5 of the Astros’ 15 total home runs (33%) in 2017.

I’d give the nod to Jackson given the above information.  However, 5 home runs in the World Series no matter the context is an amazing accomplishment and may not be seen by MLB fans for another many years.

Edit – A few readers nicely (and one or two rudely) pointed out that I did not include Utley’s 2009 5 home run performance.  This article was intended to review the 1977 record setting performance by Jackson and compare it to the 2017 5 homer performance of Springer.  I was remiss not to at least mention that Utley tied the record in 2009 so now there is mention of his performance in the opening paragraph.  I hope this clarifies any ambiguity.  Thanks again for reading.

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Can A Starter Save The Day?

The 2017 post season is in full swing.  Throughout the Wild Card games as well as the Divisional Series, teams have been plugging starters into relief roles.  How effective have starting pitchers been when called on to pitch out of the pen?  The results have been mixed.  It appears that for the most part, starters who didn’t fare well were on teams that were eliminated with the exception being the Houston Astros (Verlander, Liriano, and to a lesser extent McCullers whose surface stats don’t look good but advanced stats rated him positively).

 

Here’s a look at the results of starters working in relief.  Each match up is listed below with the statistical line from each appearance given its own entry.

mlb logo

WILD CARD GAMES

Arizona vs. Colorado

Ray 2.1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 3.86 ERA, .088 WPA, .7 RE24

Anderson 1 IP, 2 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 1 strikeout, 18.00 ERA, -.058 WPA, -1.4 RE24

 

New York vs. Minnesota

Berrios 3 IP, 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 earned runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts, 9.00 ERA, -.0183 WPA, -1.4 RE24

 

DIVISIONAL SERIES

Washington vs. Chicago

Scherzer  1.0 IP  3 hits, 4 runs, 2 earned runs, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 HBP, 3.68 ERA, -.438 WPA, -3.47 RE24

 

Quintana .2 IP 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA, -.035 WPA, -.53 RE24

Lester 3.2 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 earned run, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts, 1.86 ERA, .199 WPA, 1.87 RE24

 

Huston vs. Boston 

Verlander  2.2 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 earned run, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts, 3.12 ERA, -.123 WPA, -.3 RE24

McCullers 3 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts, 6.00 ERA .083 WPA, .6 RE24

Liriano .1 IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 earned run, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, 13.50 ERA, -.195 WPA, -1.7 RE24

Liriano .1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0.00 ERA, .004 WPA, .4 RE24

 

Porcello 1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0.00 ERA, 0.000 WPA, .5 RE24

Price 2.2 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA, .110 WPA, 2.5 RE24

Sale 4.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 2 earned runs, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts, 1 homerun, 8.38 ERA, .120 WPA, 1.5 RE24

  • Price moved to a relief role at the end of the 17 season making 5 relief appearance in September.

 

Los Angeles vs. Arizona

Maeda 1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA, .100 WPA, .6 RE24

Maeda 1 IP, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 earned runs, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, 0.00 ERA, .048 WPA, .5 RE24

  • Maeda made 4 relief appearances during the regular season.

 

Godley 5 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts, 3.60 ERA, -.048 WPA, -.5 RE24

 

It will be interesting to see how managers utilize available starters going forward in the playoffs.  Will they continue to call on starters who are not part of the playoff rotation or are on a throwing day to work in relief during the Championship Series and World Series?

 

Glossary of Stats – Source – Baseball Reference

WPA = Win Probably Added — +1 to -1 indicates a full win added or lost.

RE24 = Base Out Runs Saved – Given the bases occupied/out situation, how many runs did the pitcher save in the resulting play.  0 is average, above 0 is better than average, below 0 is worse than average.

 

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Revisiting Reader Poll MLB Predictions from July

 

On July 13th, Underthought posted a reader’s poll asking for MLB predictions.  Now that the 2017 season is finished, let’s review the results and compare the votes to the actual outcome:

Who will:

Win the AL East = Red Sox 73% and Yankees at 14%

Win the AL Central = Indians 88% and Twins 7%

Win the AL West = Astros 98%

*The respondents did well picking division winners.  The second place finishers in the East and Central were the Wild Card winners.

 

Will an AL team win 100 or more games = 80% said yes

*Cleveland ended the season with 102 wins and Huston ended with 101.

 

Worst AL record will belong to: White Sox 52% and As 27%

*The Tigers ended up with the worst record (64 wins).  The White Sox were a close second with 67 wins.

 

Win the NL East = Nationals 96%

Win the NL Central = Cubs 51% followed by Brewers 38%

Win the NL West = Dodgers 92%

*The respondents did well picking division winners.  It was interesting how many voters liked the Brewers’ chance to take the Central when votes were cast in mid-July.

 

Will an NL team win 100 or more games = 73% said yes

*The Dodgers ended the season with a MLB best 104 wins.

 

Worst NL record will belong to: Phillies 63% and Padres 26%

*The worst record in the NL belonged to the Giants (64 wins).  The Phillies finished with the second worst record (66 wins).

 

Aaron Judge will hit ___ homers:

40-49 homers: 60%

50-59 homers: 27%

30-39 homers: 12%

*Judge ended the season with 52 homers.

 

Eric Thames will hit __ homers:

30-39 homers: 72%

23-29 homers: 16%

40-49 homers: 10%
*Thames cooled off significantly as the season progressed and ended with a total of 31 homers.

 

Will Mike Trout lead the AL in WAR for the 6th straight year:

64% said no

Trout missed a good deal of time with an injury but came back strong.  Although it looked like he would make a strong challenge for the AL WAR lead, he slowed down towards the end of the season.  Trout finished with the 6th highest WAR in the AL (5th if pitchers are excluded from the list) with a Baseball Reference calculated WAR of 6.7.

NL Cy Young Winner:

Scherzer: 48%

Kershaw: 46%

*To be determined but based on the numbers, I wouldn’t be surprised if Scherzer finished first and Kershaw finished second in Cy Young voting.

AL Cy Young Winner:

Sale: 79%

Someone else: 12%

Kluber: 6%

* To be determined but Kluber’s second half performance moved him into strong consideration for this award.  Prediction – Kluber first and Sale second in the AL Cy Young voting.

 

AL Team that will be in the World Series:

Astros = 67%

Indians = 13%

Red Sox = 10%

 

NL Team that will be in the World Series:

Dodgers = 59%

Nationals = 21%

Cubs = 8%

Brewers = 6%

 

The 2017 World Series champion will be:

Astros = 45%

Dodgers = 39%

Indians = 6%

Cubs = 4%

*These four teams appear to be the most popular choices for winning it all as they head into the 2017 post season.  However, it would be interesting to see which team readers would have the most confidence in if they were polled today.

Looking at the Stolen Base in Today’s MLB

hamilton billy  gordon

 

 

 

Baseball fans and analysts have been focusing on the increase in homeruns over the past few seasons but there is much less discussion regarding stolen bases during this same time period.  Stolen bases and home runs have a strong relationship to one another, especially as teams have focused on the importance of baserunners and the value baserunners have related to run expectancy.  As teams have become more reliant on the long ball to create runs, it matters less if a runner is on first, second, or third base as a homer brings a player in regardless of the base on which he stood.  Thus, the stolen base has much less value and much greater risk in most situations as being thrown out attempting to steal hurts run expectancy.

2012 was the last season that players successfully stole over 3000 bases (3229, specifically).  2014 was the season with the next most successful attempts ( a mere 2764).  As the number of stolen bases has decreased, the question becomes, are the players who amass the most steals accounting for more, less, or the same percentage of the league’s steal total?  Examining the 2012-2017 seasons, it appears as though the most prolific stealers are accounting for a greater percentage of steals relative to the other players in the game.  Below is a table illustrating the top three stolen base leaders each season and the percentage their total equaled league-wide:

2017: Top 3 finishers accounted for 6.5% of all steals.

2016: The top 3 accounted for 6.5% of all steals.

2015: The top 3 accounted for 6.3% of all steals,

2014: The top 3 accounted for 6.3% of all steals.

2013: The top 3 accounted for 5.3% of all steals.

2012: The top 3 accounted for 4.3% of all steals.

Additionally, fewer players appear to be racking up significant steal totals.  For instance, in 2017, there is currently (as of Aug 17th) one player with at least 50 steals, one player with 40-49 steals, and 1 player with 30-39 steals.  The table below charts the high end totals in steals each season from 2012-2017.

2016: 1 player 60 or more steals, 1 player 50 to 59 steals, 3 players with 40 to 49 steals.

2015: 2 players with 50 to 59 steals and 1 player with 40 to 49 steals.

2014: 1 player with 60 or more steals, 2 players with 50 to 59 steals, and 1 player with 40 to 49 steals.

2013: 1 player with 50 to 59 steals and 7 players with 40 to 49 steals.

2012: 6 players with 40 to 49 steals.

Examining the high end performers in the steal category, it appears as though the overall steal rate for the league results from two separate factors – an increased reliance on totals the top base stealers amass as well as a communal effort with many players ranging from few to modest steal totals.

Gone are the days of the Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman 100 steal seasons.  Gone also are the days when a multitude of thieves tally 40 and 50 bags in a season.  Rather, in today’s game, steals appear to be the function of two player types; the elite outliers like Dee Gordon and Billy Hamilton (possibly Trea Turner in the near future) and the workman like totals of various players chipping in single digit to low teen totals (Freddie Freeman, Joey Votto, and Justin Upton) to mid-20 bags (Elvis Andrus, Lorenzo Cain, and Mookie Betts).

… and the Award for Best Trade of 2017 Goes to… Arizona!

The transaction: On July 18, J.D. Martinez was traded from the Detroit Tigers to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor leaguers Sergio Alcantara, Jose King, and Dawel Lugo.    martinez

The addition of Martinez was a huge upgrade for the Diamondbacks as their third outfield slot was seen as a glaring weakness for a team that appears headed for an unexpected post-season run.  Yasmany Tomas (-.4 WAR), Gregor Blanco (-.1 WAR), Daniel Descalso (-.2 WAR), and a host of other mix and match options were just not producing for the team.  Trading for an anchor like Martinez puts the Diamondbacks’ outfield in much better shape especially if the health of A.J. Pollock and David Peralta cooperates.

Don’t let Martinez’s paltry .195 batting average with the Diamondbacks fool you.   His triple slash of 195/313/634 (OPS of .947) and his 130 OPS+ tell the story of his time with the D-Backs more accurately.  Six of Martinez’s 8 hits (48 at bats in 12 games) have been home runs and he’s also walked 7 times.  How can things get even better for J.D. and the Diamondbacks?  Towards the end of August and into September the schedule becomes division focused.  Not only will Martinez receive plenty of at bats in a hitter friendly home ballpark but he should also feast on many of his opponents.  For instance, he will have an opportunity to visit the friendly confines of Coors Field and he will also get to hit against an anemic Padres’ pitching staff.  Thus, the ingredients for a strong final third of the season for Martinez are in place.

Arizona’s farm system is not highly regarded by many scouts and prospect analysts.  However, this trade did little damage to their minor league equity as none of the three players moved were ranked highly within the D-Back’s system.  Alcantra is a 20 year old infielder currently playing in A+ minor league ball.  Many rate his arm and defense as above average but scouts don’t necessarily agree on his big league potential.  King is an 18 year old infielder currently playing in Rookie league minor league ball and Lugo is a 22 year old infielder currently playing in AA minor league ball.  Of these three, he is the only player to be added to Detroit’s 40 man roster.  Although it may take a few years to get a clear picture of Detroit’s return, this trade currently seems like a huge win for the Arizona as it allows them to rent J.D. Martinez’s services for half of a season while giving up no immediate or near-future assets.

This trade illustrates how teams around the league did not value sluggers in 2017.  Although home runs are up in 2017, an offensive talent like Martinez was thought by many observers to be worth more than three lower level prospects.  Whether the Tigers jumped too early to make a deal or the market did not bare out the perceptions of what Martinez’s value was thought to be, the Diamondbacks gave up relatively little to gain a player currently sports a WAR of 2.0 and an 160 OPS+ in just 69 games.  Of all the deals that were made prior to the July 31st deadline, the Martinez acquisition appears to be the steal of 2017.

diamondbacks

The Yankee – Red Sox Race for Third Base

In an  interesting move heading into the trade deadline, the Yankees swung a deal with the White Sox landing third baseman/first baseman Todd Frazier and relief pitchers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle.

This trade did a number of things for the Yankees in the short term; it bolstered their bullpen for a playoff push with two reliable arms, it jettisoned the poorly performing Tyler Clippard from a team and a manager that lost its faith in his ability to get high leverage outs, and it secured an additional ‘proven closer’ for late inning work and a possible role replacement should Betances continue to have command/walk issues in the 8th inning or if Chapman needs another DL stint and can’t man the 9th inning.  Additionally, the Yankees haven’t been happy with the production Chase Headley was providing at 3rd base and the 1st base production for the team had been all but non-existent.  Thus, the addition of Frazier was thought to help rectify that problem as well.

However, the acquisition of Frazier has been seen by many fans and analysts as a preemptive strike against the Red Sox, a team also struggling to find average to above average play from their third basemen as the team makes its own run towards securing a spot in the post-season.  It’s been postulated that the Yankee’s primary move in their trade with the White Sox was focused on addressing bullpen needs while the addition of Frazier in the trade was to block the Red Sox from enjoying his services for the remainder of 2017 (while to a lesser extent also trying to rectify their own infield productivity concerns).  However, based on the Red Sox’s actions since the Yankee – White Sox trade, I believe that either the premise of Frazier being acquired to block the Sox is incorrect or that Boston actually lucked into a better situation as a result of the Yankees picking up Frazier.

Since Frazier has donned the Yankee pinstripes, The Red Sox have made two significant moves to address their third base dilemma (not counting the addition by subtraction of releasing Pablo Sandoval).  The team called up top prospect, Rafael Devers and also traded with the Giants to acquire Eduardo Nunez.  While it will be interesting to see how Devers adjusts to the major leagues and whether the Sox can catch lightening in a bottle with him, it is the team’s addition of Nunez that seems to be the piece in this Yanks – Sox chess match that may be most interesting.

yanks red sox

Frazier is the more recognizable player for many baseball fans.  He was a back to back All Star selection in 2014 and 2015 and has shown consistent pop (29, 35, and 40 homers in his last three full seasons) although his batting average and OPS have begun to significantly drop.  Nunez, an All Star selection in 2016, plays both infield and outfield.  Although he hits for significantly less power than Frazier, his batting average is safer and he has also increased his stolen base output (especially in the past two seasons).

Here is a quick look at how Frazier and Nunez compare in 2017:

frazier

Todd Frazier – age 31 – free agent at the end of the 2017 season.  2017 salary = 12 million dollars.

In 2017, Frazier has played 3rd base, 1st base, and designated hitter.

1.7 WAR

100 OPS+

.205 BA

.326 OBP

.416 SLG

.742 OPS

16 home runs, 44 RBI, 42 Runs, and 4 stolen bases in 87 games.

nunez

Edwardo Nunez – age 30 – free agent at the end of the 2017 season.  2017 salary = 4.2 million dollars.

In 2017, Nunez has played 3rd base, shortstop, left field, and right field.

.2 WAR

98 OPS+

.308 BA

.334 OBP

.417 SLG

.752 OPS

4 home runs, 31 RBI, 37 Runs, and 18 stolen bases in 76 games.

Clearly, Frazier and Nunez are two very different third base options.  Frazier is low average and power while Nunez is batting average and stolen bases.  Although the Red Sox and Yankees don’t have to penny pinch, Nunez and his contract appear to be a much better value than Frazier and his contract.  Additionally, Nunez has the additional advantage of being able to play shortstop as well as the outfield while Frazier is strictly a corner infielder.  Although his glove work is not great historically, especially at shortstop, Nunez’s ability to play all over the field may allow the Sox to keep him in the lineup even if Devers gets a stranglehold on third base playing time.

The Yankees, through their trade with the White Sox were able to significantly upgrade their ball club.  However, if the impetus to add Frazier as part of the deal occurred merely to block their rival in Boston from making a move for him, they may have misplayed their hand.  There is the potential that the unintended consequence of their move allowed the Red Sox to add a low cost player in Nunez who can provide similar value (but a significantly different skill set) to Frazier.  Nunez also has additional value in the position flexibility he offers which will allow the team to audition their top prospect while also allowing rest to various position players around the diamond as the season winds down.

 

 

Post All-Star Break Reader Poll

As baseball exits the All Star break and returns to action, the pennant races (especially the AL wild card) will heat up.  There are a lot of questions and what better way to find the answers than to poll people who love the game.  Please answer the following questions and share you opinion on how the rest of the season will play out:

american league

American League

 

national league

National League

 

Player Questions

 

Post-Season

 

Mike Trout – The WAR Machine

trout image

According to Baseball Reference’s calculation of WAR, Mike Trout has led the American League in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 with a 10.8, 9.3, 7.9, 9.4, and 10.5 respectively.  There was a different WAR leader in the National League in each of these five seasons which makes Trout’s domination of the A.L.’s WAR leaderboard during the last half decade truly amazing.  However, what’s even more impressive are the ways that Trout has modified his approach each season yet still remained the A.L.’s WAR leader.  Two of my favorite data points during this run: First, his lowest OPS+ of 168 was still so far above average that it led the league.  Second, many questioned whether Trout was selling out for increased power in 2014 when he ended up with 36 homers and a league leading 184 strikeouts.  But to counter that narrative, Trout increased his homers to 41 and reduced his strikeouts to 158 in 27 fewer at bats the following year (while also increasing his walks of 83 in 2014 to 92 in 2015).

Trout got off to a phenomenal start in 2017.  He had amassed 3.4 WAR in only 47 games.  Remaining on this pace would have put him close to setting a new personal best and likely maintain his WAR dominance in the A.L.  However, Trout suffered an injury on May 28th that required surgery to repair a torn UCL and a dorsal capsule in his left thumb.  Trout and the Angels are hoping to activate him around the All-Star Break.  Whether a July return leaves Trout with enough time (and health) to amass the amount of production needed to retake the A.L. WAR lead will be a fascinating storyline for the second half of the season. 

The American League WAR leaderboard is topped by Aaron Judge with 4.8 and followed by Jason Vargas (4.3), Jose Altuve (3.8), Carlos Correa (3.8), and Mookie Betts (3.8).  Trout, as of July 1st, sits 9th place on the list with his aforementioned 3.4 WAR.  Mike Trout has the ability to put up tremendous numbers in whatever time remains once he is on the field again.  However, outpacing some of the names on the list that reside ahead of him will be a tall order.  If he does claim the 2017 A.L. WAR throne, this achievement will be just as impressive as the half decade of WAR dominance he has already banked.