Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Lost Value of Mauer and Hamilton

By Mike Moritz

As we learned a couple days ago, reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton will be out for 6-8 weeks after breaking his arm on a not-your-usual play at the plate and Joe Mauer will be on the 15-day disabled list to a bum knee. As I was watching the Yankees-Rangers game last night, the text-poll was "which team will suffer more from the losses of: A) Josh Hamilton or B) Joe Mauer. This immediately inspired me to figure this out. Which team WILL suffer more?

I have come up with a simple equation to figure this out. First, you add up all the collective WAR for the player and then divide that number by the number seasons he has been playing. After you get the average WAR per season, you have to then divide that number by the average number of games played by that player per year. After doing so, you must then count the number of games that the player will miss and then with the decimal that you just got, you must multiply that number by the number of games going to be missed and that is your final answer.

Josh Hamilton sliding into home plate and thus breaking his arm. Considering that there was no one covering home plate when Hamilton was tagging and also considering his average speed, it was not a bad idea for him to try and score. He's just not a durable player and broke his arm.
So to start off, I'll figure out how many wins the Rangers are expected to lose for the next eight weeks without Hamilton. Hamilton's career average WAR is 4.75. NOTE: for his shortened 2007 and 2009 seasons, I added what I thought might be a good number WAR over the course of the whole season. That said, this is why 4.75 is our number. After dividing, we get .029 WAR per game and that number times 48 (the number of games that he is most likely to miss) is 1.4. So the Rangers are losing almost a win and a half without Hamilton in the lineup for eight weeks. But let us consider what the Rangers offer us with the players coming off the bench. The replacement for Hamilton is David Murphy, who is a solid player, put simply. What you get out of Murphy is essentially just barely above average hitting and just barely above average defense. With that in mind, I am not worried at all about the Rangers being that they have Murphy to fill in. So they might only lose 1 win instead of 1.5. Murphy has been more than capable of a starting job and while he has gotten no more than 494 PAs in a season and is on the Rangers roster as a bench player, he is still good and good enough to get into the lineup very often for a bench player. He can play any outfield spot but will probably be playing left field until Hamilton gets back.

While the Rangers are not in a bad situation without Hamilton, Joe Mauer and the Twins are, indeed in a bad situation in the seasonal-run, but for the next 15 days, they should be fine (others will beg to differ). Mauer is dealing with a bum knee (and viral infection) which is scary to think considering that he's a catcher. Anyways, I could not find exactly when he is due back so I am going to assume that this is just your Average-Joe's DL stint. So he should be missing 14 games in the 15 days that he is on the DL. Using the same equation on Mauer, we find that the Twins will lose .451 wins, or about half a win over the course of the 15 days.

The Twins are have questionable defense and a depleted bullpen and people will probably overreact to the loss of Mauer over the next few days. If Hamilton and Mauer switched places and Hamilton was on the Twins, then I would say that the Twins would be in trouble because they would not have a good replacement player for the next eight weeks (assuming Delmon Young would not be on the Twins if they had Hamilton). And if the Rangers did not have Yorvit Torrealba and had Mauer out for eight weeks, I still would not have worried because the Rangers could put Mike Napoli in for that time and get a lot of production out of him. But nonetheless, Mauer is a Twin and Hamilton is a Ranger. Luckily, the Twins are only losing Mauer for 15 days and the Rangers have a more than an adequate outfield replacement in David Murphy so eight weeks won't even harm them that much.

NOTE: In calculating how many wins lost, I did not include this years WAR since each player have had minimal PAs.

NOTE: If there are errors in my equation, please let me know by commenting down below. I am by no means a math-wiz and would like to make sure that this is correct.

(Statistics in courtesy of: fangraphs.com, espn.com)

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