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Fun With The Phillies (Math!)


wOBA*: park-adjusted wOBA, taken from Stat Corner. Present-day value calculated using rough .1/.2/.3/.4 weighting approximation (2005-2008).

Defense: best guess as to each player's defensive runs contributed above/below posiitonal average, based on UZR, RZR, PMR, etc.

WAR: wins above replacement, with help from Tango. Current positional adjustments can be found here.

Player wOBA* Defense WAR
Howard .389 -5 2.75-3
Victorino .360 0 3-3.25
Utley .403 15 6.25-6.5
Burrell .383 -10 2.5-2.75
Werth .373 5 3.25-3.5
Rollins .363 5 4-4.25

Those WAR figures are intended to reflect each player's estimated true value as of right now. And while you can quibble about things like defense and the weighting all you want, the take-home message is that Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell are wildly overrated, and Chase Utley is amazing. 

Keep in mind that, this season, Howard didn't even come close to that wOBA* estimate above. While his four-year estimate is .389, his 2008 performance stood at .359, which - when combined with his defense and position - made him a below-average player overall. Below average! And this is a guy that a few people think deserves the MVP. It boggles the mind. Howard might've been worse than Pedro Feliz.

I don't know that any player type gets overvalued the way slugging first basemen get overvalued. With rare exception, they simply aren't precious assets. That Ryan Howard got paid more than Chase Utley this season despite two fewer years' service time is one of the greater injustices in the league.