If you can remember all the way back to Wednesday when I mentioned, at the end of the post, my feelings on the various and sundry defensive metrics. This got me thinking about the ongoing disparity between Fangraphs WAR and Baseball Reference aka Rally WAR.
Are the differences really that striking? We often come across examples of disagreement between the two systems, leading to more confusion rather than increased understanding.
To review - Fangraphs version of WAR uses UZR for the defensive component while the batting runs are based on weighted on-base average (wOBA). Rally uses Total Zone for defense and park adjusted batting runs for offense.
How the sausage is made doesn't really matter for the bulk of us, but we like to know where the flavor comes from sometimes. Below are both WARs, broken down into their compents for worthwhile, contributing Blue Jays. Each numbers is displayed at the end of each row to allow for easier comparison. Let's get nerdy!
Poor Jose. While he tells anyone who listens how much more comfortable he is in the outfield, it doesn't seem to matter. He's basically a Tarantino character roaming around with a rifle in place of his right arm. Total Zone rates him twice as harshly as UZR, which already held a low opinion of Bautista in the field. Vernon Wells' strong season takes a slight hit at the hands of Total Zone, while Lyle Overbay and his agent are sending bouquets of flowers to Sean Smith as you read this.
Nothing revealed here is likely to change your overall impression of any of these players. Whether you think Vernon Wells is a 4 Win guy or a 3.5 Win guy doesn't change the fact that he's a slightly above-average performer. WAR is a descriptive stat, it tells us what happened in 2010.
One year of data doesn't mean to suggest Jose Bautista will continue to put up 5 or 7 win seasons in the future. There isn't any great disparity among the position players. It is when we get to the pitchers (tomorrow) that the fussing and feuding gets serious.
Hat tip to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs for the info.