Tuesday, February 6, 2018

From the Handbook: Bill James leaders

Over his long career as a pioneer of sabermetrics, Bill James has concocted a number of analytical stats. Some. such as runs created, have become foundation pieces for further metrics; some never caught on in the sabermetric community.

Win shares is one of the latter. I took note earlier this offseason of the philosophical debate on social media over WAR -- wins above replacement -- which has the same goal as win shares (to put one all-encompassing number on a given player's contributions). James' criticism of the various formulas for WAR is that, despite its name, the stat is disconnected from wins. Win shares is not.

In the leaderboard section of the 2018 Bill James Handbook, following the traditional stats (common and obscure) comes the Bill James Leaders. And I see that Joe Mauer is nestled between Robinson Cano and Chase Utley in career win shares, 290, seventh among active players. The top 10 is, really, made of guys I expect to get to the big stage at Cooperstown some induction Sunday down the road -- Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Beltre, Ichiro Suzuki, Joey Votto ... and, yes, Mauer. 

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