An astute reader (Nuss) asked for a little more context in the career wins above replacement graphs we post on this site. It's easy to compare the players on the graph to each other, but it might also be nice to compare them to the player pool as a whole. Does their career belong in the Hall of Fame discussion? Is a player an all-time great at his position? Did he follow the career path of a typical five-time All-Star or merely a league-average player? Those are all questions I think we could try to answer from one graph.
I have two ideas to add some context to the WAR graphs:
- Add a few career trajectories in the background of the graph (or just with subtler colors) that show a variety of talent levels. These trajectories would be included on all graphs we post, in order to provide a consistent baseline. It would be nice if these trajectories were somewhat smooth or at least somewhat typical of a certain type of player.
- Add and label a few horizontal lines for various levels of performance. For example, my personal scale of choice goes something like: 0 WAR is replacement level, 2 WAR is average, 4 WAR is borderline All-Star, 6 WAR is best among position, 8 WAR is strong MVP candidate, and 10 WAR is deserving of a book (or at least an e-book).
What do you think? What's the best way to add context? I'm leaning towards option one, as option two still needs some knowledge of how many seasons other players put up at each performance level. Feel free to toss out some suggestions of player careers to serve as baselines.