Friday, June 25, 2010

Royals Best wOBA+ Single Seasons

As far as I know, there's no source to look up a wOBA+ stat. A plus stat, such as OPS+ or ERA+, compares a stat against a league average, thereby adjusting for era. WOBA+ would be figured like so: 100 x (wOBA/lg wOBA), where 100 is exactly average for that given year, anything greater than 100 is above average and vice versa. I've been thinking this would be the ultimate hitting stat, and started crunching numbers for Royals players. After I'd crunched a bunch, I came across a discussion on wOBA creator Tom Tango's web site in which Tango says he's "not in favor of wOBA+" because he prefers wRC+ (weighted runs created).  WRC is directly related to wOBA, but a little more complex. I don't entirely understand it, but Fangraphs gives the definition as "total runs created based of wOBA. It is calculated as (((wOBA – lgwOBA) / wOBAScale) + (lgR/PA)) * PA." Tango prefers it because it is park adjusted. Tango is on a higher plane than me when it comes to stats, so I don't doubt wRC+ is a better stat than wOBA+. But wOBA just makes a lot of sense to me. I've been nerding out hardcore on Royals historical wOBA and wOBA+.

Here are the top 20 individual seasons by wOBA+ in Royals history (min. 400 plate appearances or a similar ratio in shortened seasons):

1. George Brett 1980: 146
2. John Mayberry 1972: 136
3. John Mayberry 1975: 134
4. George Brett 1986: 133
5. Danny Tartabull 1991: 132
6. John Mayberry 1973: 126
7. Mike Fiore 1969: 126
8. Amos Otis 1978: 126
9. Hal McRae 1976: 125
10. George Brett 1983: 125
11. Mike Sweeney 2002: 125
12. George Brett 1988: 123
13. George Brett 1990: 122
14. Willie Aikens 1983: 122
15. Carlos Beltran 2003: 122
16. Hal McRae 1982: 121
17. George Brett 1979: 121
18. Bob Hamelin 1994: 121
19. George Brett 1976: 121
20. Danny Tartabull 1988: 121

Things that jumped out at me as I crunched the numbers:
  • Danny Tartabull absolutely crushed from 1987-91. Dude has three of the top 21 seasons in Royals history
  • David DeJesus truly has been the model of consistent decency. Here are his wOBA+ numbers from 2004-09: 99, 106, 104, 97, 107, 101. This year he has jumped out to 117. We can expect that to fall before the year is out.
  • Hal McRae mashed for a bunch of years. He had at least 400 PAs between 1974-1983 and was above average every year, and seven times was 110 or better, with three seasons of 120 or better.
  • Steve Balboni's 1985, the year of his team record 36 HRs, was a sad 105.
  • John Mayberry's 1972-75 seasons. Go take a look at these gaudy stats. He had that elusive combination of power and plate discipline. Why did the Royals let him go after '77? Baseball-Reference says he was "purchased" by Toronto.
  • Mike Fiore's 1969 season at #7. Huh? The rookie had an incredible season with a .420 OBP and 3.0 WAR. He was never a full-time player again. Must be a story there.

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