Monday, September 13, 2004

Win Shares

With another day off, I thought it might be a nice time to look at the win shares totals in the National League.

You can find win shares on the internet at

This site is not only a good resource for win shares, but contains some great baseball blogs. I highly recommend this site for great information. As I write this report today, all stats are updated through games on Thursday, September 9th.

How do the Cards stack up compared to everyone else?

Bonds - 47
Rolen - 36
Pujols - 35
Edmonds - 34

Wow! Three players very closely packed in Rolen, Pujols, and Edmonds. Of course, if you've paid attention to this team this season, you may have expected as much. But those guys are putting up some incredible win share totals. Bill James, the creator of the stat, cites that a season with 40 win shares is of MVP caliber. Heading into this weekend's play, the Cardinals three headed monster was on pace for:

Rolen - 42
Pujols - 41
Edmonds - 40

In other words - 3 guys putting up legitimate MVP seasons on the same team. I do not know if that's ever been done before. Some more research on my part is in order.

Of course, using win shares as a measure of MVP, Barry Bonds is far and above everyone else. I realize that some people are tired of him, some think only a player on a playoff team should win, etc. But face it, folks - the guy is awesome, and truly deserves the award again this year. But, there are plenty of people around the league, including fans at Dodger stadium, that think the real MVP this year is Adrian Beltre. To be sure, the guy is having a fantasic year. From a win shares standpoint, however, he doesn't stack up as well as some might think.

5th - Mark Loretta, 31
6th - Adrian Beltre, 30
7th - Bobby Abreu, 30
8th - Sean Casey, 29
9th - JD Drew, 28

Beltre is near the top, but on par with Mark Loretta and Bobby Abreau - and I doubt you've heard anyone mention them as MVP candidates this season. As solid as Beltre has been, entering play over the weekend he was worth 2 fewer wins than Scott Rolen (3 win shares = 1 win). I understand the arguments for Beltre, but don't agree with them.

Over the weekend, Jim Tracy was quoted as saying that he thought Beltre might win the gold glove this season. Is that warrented? Let's look at defensive win shares for NL 3rd basemen.

Scott Rolen - 5.4
Adrian Beltre - 5.1
Mike Lowell - 4.1
Tony Batista - 4.0

Everyone else is at 3.9 or less. Rolen and Beltre have been head and shoulders above everyone else in this category. I see the gold glove argument as similar to the MVP - Rolen deserves it more than Beltre, but Beltre is no slouch.

Along the same lines, I've heard some suggest that Rolen deserves the MVP this year because of his glove. Is he the best defensive player among MVP candidates? Let's look at some more defensive win share totals.

Jim Edmonds - 6.2
Mark Loretta - 6.0
Scott Rolen - 5.4
Adrian Beltre - 5.1

Rolen is among the leaders, but believe it or not, Jim Edmonds has been more valuable with the glove this year. And while I don't think that Mark Loretta is an MVP candidate, I think he should be right up there, so he is listed as well.

How does Edmonds stack up among NL outfielders in defensive win shares?

Andruw Jones - 6.8
Jim Edmonds - 6.2
Corey Patterson - 4.9 (didn't see that coming)
Mike Cameron - 4.7

Everyone else is 4.5 or lower. Looks like Edmonds can expect another gold glove for his mantle this year, which really is of no surprise.

Finally, a look at the rest of the Cardinal team. Most valuable starting pitchers?

Marquis - 14
Carpenter - 11
Williams - 8
Suppan - 8
Morris - 7

Marquis only ranks higher than Carpenter on this list because he has 0.6 win shares with his bat, as opposed to the negative 2.4 win shares Carpenter has batting. In fact, Marquis is the only pitcher on the Cardinal staff who's batting totals help his win shares rather than hurt it. I don't think the above rankings will surprise any of you, as Morris has been the least reliable starting pitcher all season long for the Cards.

There are plenty of other things you can look at using win shares, but I just wanted to give you a taste.


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