Back in July I wrote an article On Derrek Lee's tremendous season to that point, comparing it to the four greatest single seasons of first basemen ever. I said that I wanted to write the article, so that I could "look back when the year is over and see how much he gained or lost since that time." I did not state whether or not he would or would not hold up his pace, I simply wanted to see where he stood and what it looked like as of July. Now that the season is essentially over, or atleast close enough where we can see whether he will make it to the coveted cutoff line of 13.0 Wins Above Replacement Level (the third version), I have decided to write this article so while I remember that I promised it. For those of you who do not know, or just want a refresher as to the why, here is the definition of WARP3:
One other thing. Back when I did the original article, we used Marginal Lineup Value Rate in the formula for Net Runs Above Average, rather than EqA like in the current formula. This kept us from going back further than 1972. The problem being, 3 of the 4 greatest seasons ever by a first basemen came from before 1972. Now that the formula is different though, we can see where they stand in another statistic. WARP3, EqA, Rate2, and NRAA will be used in the table:
Looks like Derrek Lee has fallen short in more than just the WARP3 category. His NRAA is really only comprable with George Sisler, who only has a WARP3 of 13.1 anyways (read: just made it, whereas Gehrig and Foxx are way up in the 13 area). Jeff Bagwell completely decimates the competition according to Net Runs Above Average, but due to the strike shortened season his cumulative NRAA (per Games Played) is the second lowest next to Lee's. His EqA and Rate2 were highest though, and he has such a lead in NRAA that even if he had collapsed for a stretch of time in 1994 he would most likely continue to hold the lead in that category. I think now that we absolutely know that he leads in NRAA thanks to its newfound ability to travel through time, we can safely crown Bagwell's 1994 season as the crown jewel of first base seasons. As for Derrek Lee's 2005 season...
...it doesn't really accomplish that much more than Todd Helton's two finest efforts.
Does anyone else find it midly amusing (and fitting) that Sisler hit .407 in his season on the list, and that it is the lowest EqA of all the 13+ WARP3 seasons at first? It is hard to hit an "empty" .407, but when you're staring at a Foxx season line of .364/.469/.749 with 58 homeruns, you understand my meaning. Obviously the man had his value, but I'd take Foxx 11 times out of 10.
Update [2005-9-20 10:32:46 by Marc Normandin]: One last thing...Lee is still the MVP this season, even if he isn't stacking up against these 4.