Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gehringer and Whitaker Dominate at 2B

Today, we'll continue the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) series using Sean Smith's WAR database to rank Tigers second basemen. Other parts of the series including an explanation of WAR can be found in theWAR folder.

As expected, Charlie Gehringer (80.9) and Lou Whitaker (69.7) head the list of Tigers second baseman in career WAR. 1960s second baseman Dick McAuliffe finished third at 35.3. The rest of the top ten are shown in Table 1.

It was difficult to determine a position for super sub Tony Phillips as he did not have a regular position during most of his time in Detroit. His most frequent positions were left field (217 games), second base (203) and third base (170). I decided to include him among second basemen rather than left fielders mostly because the Tigers had more good left fielders than second basemen. It also didn't seem right to stick a versatile player like Phillips in with the more one dimensional left fielders.

Every position has some players who may be recognizable to many fans. The highest ranking lesser known player on this list is Frank Bolling. Bolling played six years on some nondescript and mostly unsuccessful Tigers teams between 1954-1960. His best years were 1958 and 1959 when he had 3.4 and 3.2 WAR respectively. He was a better fielder than hitter with only one year exceeding an OPS+ of 100 (108 in 102 games in 1956).

Table 1: Tigers Top Ten Second Basemen by WAR


Player

PA

WAR

Charlie Gehringer

10,096

80.9

Lou Whitaker

9,787

69.7

Dick McAuliffe

6,772

35.3

Tony Phillips

3,280

24.6

Placido Polanco

2,789

17.5

Damion Easley

3,473

14.9

Frank Bolling

3,206

9.6

Jim Delahanty

1,529

8.1

Eddie Mayo

2,418

5.9

Germany Schaefer

2,397

5.0


Switching from career performance to yearly averages, Table two lists the second basemen with the most WAR per 600 PA (WAR600). Gehringer also led this list at 4.81 but Phillips edged out Whitaker 4.50 to 4.27.

Table 2: Tigers Top Five Second Basemen by WAR600


Player

PA

WAR600

Charlie Gehringer

10,096

4.81

Tony Phillips

3,280

4.50

Lou Whitaker

9,787

4.27

Placido Polanco

2,113

3.76

Jim Delahanty

1,529

3.18

2 comments:

  1. Lee, The Tigers second baseman WAR reminded me of a story from the Hardball Times from Feb. 2006 titled the All Time All franchisr Team. That one used RCAA Runs Created Above Average. The Tigers with Gehringer, Whitaker, and McAuliffe lead every teams second basemen with 781 RCAA. I would guess they are the leaders with the WAR numbers too.
    Here is that link for your viewing.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-all-time-all-franchise-all-star-team/
    Tigers centerfielders and rightfielders are mentioned as third and second place finishers.
    Thanks for your fine work with charts and graphs for all Tigers fans. Ron KC

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the link Ron. that was interesting. WAR also includes fielding but I imagine the results would be similar. I might try it if I can get my database linked up with a position database. Right now, I'm figuring out the positions manually.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete

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