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The Distribution of Position Player WAR by Team, 2002-2011

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Tuesday, I wrote about trends in negative WAR position players in the league since 2002.

Generally speaking, about 20% of all players that accumulate >=100 plate appearances in a season will finish with negative Wins Above Replacement (using FanGraphs' measure for WAR).

In that analysis, I ranked teams in terms of the percent of players with >=100 PA's with negative WAR they had on their rosters relative to their total position players during that time frame.

A number of commentators here and at other sites asked about the distribution of positive WAR players by team.

The graphic above shows the breakdown of total negative WAR players and then positive WAR players for various ranges for each team since 2002. The table is sorted on the negative WAR column, from least to greatest percentage. Each column is also heat mapped from largest (dark green) to smallest (white) percentage.

A few observations:

  • While the Mets had the third-fewest players overall with negative WAR, they ranked first by far in terms of the percent of players with WAR between 0 and 1 (48.2%). So while they have largely avoided negative WAR players, it's clear they weren't always fielding a team of high performers.
  • The Cardinals ranked first in terms of 7+ WAR players with 7.4%. This was largely a function of having Albert Pujols on the roster, as he accounted for 8 out of the 11 7+ WAR seasons for the team since 2002.
  • The Yankees came in first in terms of >4WAR players at 27.9%, followed by the Red Sox (23%), Phillies (21.3%), and Braves (20.5%). These were the only teams to have >20% of >4WAR players.
  • The Cardinals (19.1%), Marlins (16.4%), Rangers (14.2%), Brewers and Rays (both at 13.7%) were the next highest in terms of >4WAR players.
  • Sadly, the Royals had the fewest >4WAR players (5.2%).