# Tigers WAR Projections

It seems as if calculating wins above replacement, or WAR, has become the cool thing to do this offseason. We’ve delved into WAR here in the past when evaluating contracts. Now Fangraphs has made WAR available to the masses. Detroit Tiger Tales has already taken a look at the 08 Tigers numbers. And now a call to action from Beyond the Boxscore has inspired me to project the 09 team numbers.

For now I’m focusing on the position players. What I’ve done is to use split the difference for the Bill James and Marcel projections for the 09 players for wOBA. Defensively I’ve used UZR/150 as the base, but in cases where there isn’t a lot of data due to injury or position shifts, I’ve made my best guesses. When in doubt I’ve left players as average defensively, like Guillen in left or Santiago wherever he plays. For playing time, this was entirely subjective and the area that you’ll most likely choose to disagree. That’s okay. This is one guy’s opinion and I certainly have no injury/effectiveness crystal ball. Heck, we don’t even know who the 5th outfielder and other utility infielder will be at this point.

The table below has my projections as of the time of writing. I’ve also built the same spreadsheet in Google Docs that I will update as more information becomes available. This one is just prettier and then anybody commenting will be working off the same initial assumptions.

2009 Detroit Tigers WAR Projections - Position Players

As for the calculations:
Batting Runs: (wOBA-.338)*700/1.15*Playing Time. This converts wOBA to runs by comparing it to league average and then factoring in playing time.

Fielding Runs: UZR/150*162/150*Playing Time. The UZR numbers adjusted to reflect projected games played

Position Adjustment: Position Adjustment*Playing Time. Not all positions are created equal. This accounts for that.

WAR: (Batting Runs+Fielding Runs+Position Adjustment)/10.5 + (2.5*Playing Time). This adds up all the runs and converts it to wins above or below average. The 2.5 is the win difference between an average player, and a replacement player.

1. JOE Z

December 29, 2008 at 4:10 am

dont really care for WAR, sorry. but how much do you get bothered by that fact the tigers have dontrelle and robertson signed for 10 million each this season. they trade for edwin whoever. and now i read brad penny signs with the bosox for a 1 year 5 million dollar deal. i dont know about his arm and shoulder problems, but ill take a 1 year flier on him over any of the previous 3 dudes i mentioned for half the price. he started the allstar game for gosh sakes, yeah he played in chavez ravine, but the copa should be quite pitcher friendly itself id like to believe. just a rant, continue on.

2. billfer

December 29, 2008 at 8:24 am

We’ve talked about Jackson in the past and I’ll be doing the pitchers WAR in the next day or two.

3. December 29, 2008 at 8:56 am

I’m curious what the trade off would be if the team opted for defense in the backup outfielders and went with Clevlen and Thomas over Thames and Raburn.

4. billfer

December 29, 2008 at 9:36 am

Given the lack of thump on the left side of the infield and catcher, I think they need someone who can hit coming off the bench.

5. Jurgen

December 29, 2008 at 10:41 am

Good to see somebody doing this work.

I’m impressed with the teams’ (re-)commitment with defense, but, yeah, they’re going to need another bat from somewhere.

6. Greg

December 29, 2008 at 12:21 pm

What does this mean for the team? If the projections are correct, then we’re 24.9 wins above replacement, before getting to pitchers. How many games would a “replacement team” win?

• billfer

December 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm

@greg In the AL a replacement level team will win about 43 games.

7. Andre in Chicago

December 29, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Greg,

that depends on whether or not Hackman is coaching and if Keanu starts. but assuming the answer is yes, chances are the “replacements” win quite a few games, but fall just short of the playoffs.

8. Robo-Tiger

December 29, 2008 at 4:43 pm

43 wins for a replacement level team…that seems about right…remember the 03 Tigers! no coincidence there.

9. Mr X

December 29, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Penny isn’t worth a dime.

10. Andre in Chicago

December 29, 2008 at 4:57 pm

“Penny isn’t worth a dime.”

Mr X,

you might be right literally (and literarily?); \$0.01 doesn’t = \$0.10, but you forgot to show your work. therefore, you only get partial-credit.

11. Joey the K in Portland Or

December 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm

I just like the name, Tigers WAR Projections. Here’s hoping to winning many battles and the war in 09!

12. Coleman

December 29, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Joey the Harrington: “I just like the name, Tigers WAR Projections”

I was mildly disappointed it had nothing to do with Gary Sheffield or the Cleveland Indians…

13. Coleman

December 29, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Andre in Chicago: “Penny isn’t worth a dime.”
Actually I thought that was a play on the title of the old blues song, “Penny aint worth no Dime.” (Stubbleneck Williams, but I’m sure you knew that…)

14. Vince in MN

December 30, 2008 at 3:00 am

Ok, so 43 + 25 = 68. That means the pitching staff needs to be 13 WAR to get them to 81 and .500, 22 WAR (90 wins) to have an outside chance at the division title.

Why do I keep thinking that ’09 SHOULD be a rebuilding year? What am I missing? Is it just my propensity to see the glass half empty rather than half full?

15. billfer

December 30, 2008 at 8:51 am

@vince in mn

I think there’s 2 things at work here. First, how can they rebuild? Nobody wants the big contracts. Outside of Polanco there isn’t a vet on the team that could fetch much and I don’t think you mean rebuild by trading Verlander/Granderson/Cabrera.

Second, look at the rest of the division. Who do you see as a clear 90 win team? I like Cleveland the best, but that’s hardly a slam dunk. The AL Central could be this year’s version of the NL West where you don’t have to be good to compete for a playoff spot. You just have to compete.

16. Andre in Chicago

December 30, 2008 at 10:24 am

“where you don’t have to be good to compete for a playoff spot. You just have to compete.”

sounds like the dating scene from my alma mater, we had a 75/25 ratio of ladies/fellas. you didn’t have to be good, you just had to be straight.

17. Vince in MN

December 30, 2008 at 12:41 pm

“The AL Central could be this year’s version of the NL West where you don’t have to be good to compete for a playoff spot. You just have to compete.”

Thank you billfer. Vince takes a deep breath, sighs and says “yes we can, yes we can, yes we can….”

Yeah, the salary structure does put them between a rock and a hard place as far as roster flexibility (read: rebuilding). Given the tepidness of the division I guess they have somewhat of a shot. Obviously the chances of the wild card coming out of the Central are practically nil, so depending on where they sit at the trading deadline, any additons/subractions to the team could be interesting. No 0-7 starts please.

By the way, is ther a WAR for managers? Oh, never mind.

18. Mark in Chicago

December 30, 2008 at 5:06 pm

billfer, any idea how other AL Central teams stack up in terms of WAR for the position players?