Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cobb and Everyone Else in Center

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

The fact that Ty Cobb dominates Tigers center fielders with 153.7 WAR (Table 1) comes to no surprise to anyone. What is interesting is that no other player has accumulated that many WAR for one team. Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds have more total WAR than Cobb but their WAR was more divided among different teams.

Following Cobb are Chester Lemon (27.6 WAR), Curtis Granderson (19.2) and Jimmy Barrett (14.9). If you are unfamiliar with early Tigers history, Barrett was an original Tiger playing 589 games from 1901-1905. He is considered by some historians to be the first Tigers star.

Table 2 shows that Cobb leads by a huge margin in WAR per 600 plate appearances (WAR600). His 7.8 WAR is almost twice as high as Granderson (4.02), the second place center fielder. It may surprise some fans that Granderson has the 17th highest lifetime WAR600 among Tigers.

Table 1: Top Ten Tigers Center Fielders by WAR

Player

PA

WAR

Tyrus Cobb

11,824

153.7

Chester Lemon

4,629

27.6

Curtis Granderson

2,867

19.2

Jimmy Barrett

2,589

14.9

Hoot Evers

3,054

12.6

Mickey Stanley

5,401

11.9

Heinie Manush

2,293

11.8

Barney McCosky

2,674

11.3

Gee Walker

3,206

11.2

Ron Leflore

3,532

11.1



Table 2: Top Five Tigers Left Center by WAR600

Player

PA

WAR600

Tyrus Cobb

11,824

7.80

Curtis Granderson

2,867

4.02

Chester Lemon

4,629

3.58

Jimmy Barrett

2,589

3.45

Heinie Manush

2,293

3.09

5 comments:

  1. Charles ListonDecember 27, 2009

    I'm surprised by the WAR per 600 comparison between Lemon and LeFlore. If my math is correct, LeFlore's is 1.89 and Lemon is almost double that. No question that Lemon was better defensively, LeFlore was brutal. But I would have thought, without researchng the numbers, that LeFlore was significantly better offensively, and that the final comparison would be closer.

    Out of curiosity where did Billy Bruton end up on the per 600 numbers?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like seeing Lemon score so well. He was one of my favorite Tigers in the 80s. LeFlore had him beat on batting average and obviously stolen bases, but Lemon walked more (without striking out much) and had a lot more power.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Charles,

    Leflore was killed by his defense in this system. He was -61 cumulative runs below average defensively for his career. Lemon was +57.

    Bruton was 8.2 WAR and 2.24 WAR600.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lee,
    Kaline played most all of 59 and all of 60 as a centerfielder. He also played 477 games throughout his career in centerfield. I am curious what his total WAR and WAR600 was as a centerfielder of his total of 91 WAR.
    Thanks, Ron

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ron, I don't have the data set up yet to determine WAR by position when a player played multiple positions in a season. The way I'm doing this is assigning a player to the position he played most often for the Tigers.

    Kaline had 8.4 WAR in 1959-1960. I would guess based on his total stats that his CF WAR was around 15 and WAR600 was around 4.7.

    Lee

    ReplyDelete

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