Saturday, November 23, 2013

2013 KBO Position Player WAR Leaderboard

In case you missed it, I posted the pitcher WAR leaderboard for the 2013 Korea Baseball Organization here. This post is the position player version of the 2013 KBO WAR leaderboard. Before the list below, some quick notes on methodology.

For ease, I kept the same simple speed score method from last time. This time, I did note that league average simple speed score was 5.96, so I began by grading harder. So to keep it somewhat simple, I calculated the first method of speed score for each player, then subtracted it by .96. Then, to take account of playing time like we did with batting (I didn't do this last year), I assumed that a "full time player" had about 300 plate appearances (70 had that much in the KBO). So while I kept the run scale of doubling speed score from 5 to equal 1 run, I assumed it equaled 1 run over 300 plate appearances. So I used the percentage of plate appearances over or under to adjust the run value. But before I did that, I had to give everyone 6 extra runs to make league average 0, something I didn't do last year, just so we make sure we are weighing each player against average. Just like with last year, I am keeping the defense and speed values and the batting values separate, so if you want to ignore them, feel free, but hopefully this gives us some idea of how valuable the players' ability to steal (and by extension, run the bases) was. 

For defense, this year's method will be a lot simpler. One reason is the lack of defensive stats easily available (like with the pitching numbers, I used the numbers from So I will just use positional adjustments, the same I used last year. I will just use the rosters' position labels on to determine what position a player usually is. For the purpose of this article, we are assuming that all players at each position are equal defenders, which is obviously wrong and overly simplistic, but will have to work for this article. Again, you can ignore the adjustments all together.

With the pitchers' WAR, I put every single pitcher that threw an inning in the spreadsheet. For the hitters, this isn't practical. There were 60 players who played in a game as a position player but didn't have a plate appearance. 106 of them had 10 plate or appearances or less. So I decided to post the WARs of the 129 players that had 100 plate appearances or more. This is more than I did last year.

For defense and baserunning, I only posted the league average rates, but for the batting, I used three different levels of measurements: replacement, average, and "foreign level expectation". For the batting version of WAR, I used the same simple runs created method, but as the run environment did change in 2013, I adjusted the baselines:

RC/PA League Average: .117

Replacement level (.320): .075

In 2014, KBO teams will be forced to use at least foreign roster spot on a position player (each team gets an extra foreign player as well), so I thought we needed some projection for how we expect those new players to perform. This isn't very mathematic, but without looking at past players for translations, we don't really have any idea what to expect from foreign position players. So I just used the same number baseline (which was gleaned from runs allowed per inning)  that I used for foreign pitchers in the pitcher WAR post, which is 1.1 better than league average:

Foreign Player Expectation: 1.1 * .117 = .129 runs created per plate appearance

The sum of the batting runs above average, speed score runs, and defensive adjustment (divided by 10 to convert from runs to wins) creates the Wins Above Average at the end (like last year, I didn't create an actual WAR for position players). Here is the leaderboard containing every player with at least 100 plate appearances in 2013, sorted by WAA:

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