FanPost

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Wins Probability Added: A Quick Study

After today's 9-0 drubbing of the St. Louis Cardinals (overrated), I compiled a little study on our Pirates and their WPA (Wins Probability Added). Yeah, it gets boring on the night shift. Borrowing liberally from source material available at www.fangraphs.com and www.baseball-reference.com, and my old friend Microsoft Excel, I came to some surprising conclusions.

A quick and dirty WPA explanation: For every game the Pirates win, they are awarded a total of .5 WPA, for each loss, they're penalized -.5 WPA. What this means is that a .500 team will finish the season with a collected WPA of exactly zero. The Pirates, currently five games over the watermark, have thus far collected a 2.5 WPA. I broke down each of the 25 box scores from the season thus far to find our team's best and worst performers. Here's what I found.

The Pirates best player, measured by WPA, is Starling Marte, at 1.102. No surprise, right? What I didn't count on was the other seven position players in each of the 25 games aggregating a total of -.019 WPA. That's not to say the team is filled with bad players, on the contrary. A lifetime WPA of zero simply means that you pulled your weight and did what was expected. Anything above that total is just gravy. The biggest surprise amongst the position players was Neil Walker's team worst -0.894 WPA. I mean, he's not that bad, right? His .253 average ranks fifth on the team amongst batting average qualifiers, and with 20 hits, he's tied for third on the club. Upon examination, I found that most of his negative impact stems from one contest, the Pirates 3-2 loss to the Cubs in the third game of the season. Walker flew out in the second when the game was tied at zero, flew out in the fifth when down 1-0, struck out looking to end the seventh with Andrew McCutchen standing on third base and down by a run, and ground into a game ending double play with runners at the corners down 3-2. Not the best day ever for our hero, who's reward was a club worst single game WPA of -.561.

Pittsburgh's starting rotation collected an aggregate WPA of -1.071. Of course, this includes Jonathan Sanchez' sparkling -.0873 WPA, as well as James McDonald's -.503. This group also contains the Pirates club best single game WPA of 0.364, Jeff Locke's performance last night - seven innings, three hits, two walks, four strikeouts and zero runs. Wandy Rodriguez has the best collected rating thus far this season, at 0.287.

The real surprise was in Pittsburgh's relief corps, which combined for a 2.627 WPA. This group includes four of Pittsburgh's top 10 highest rated in WPA, with Mark Melancon (0.889), Jason Grilli (0.880), Justin Wilson (0.704), and Tony Watson (0.452). The whole list follows.

Starling Marte: 1.102

Mark Melancon: 0.889

Jason Grilli: 0.880

Gaby Sanchez: 0.775

Justin Wilson: 0.704

Travis Snider: 0.585

Garrett Jones: 0.514

Tony Watson: 0.452

Michael McKenry: 0.452

Wandy Rodriguez: 0.287

Andrew McCutchen: 0.197

AJ Burnett: 0.186

Jeff Locke: 0.158

Vin Mazzaro: 0.143

Brandon Inge: 0.026

Bryan Morris: 0.007

Jeanmar Gomez: -0.005

Russell Martin: -0.019

Alex Presley: -0.027

Josh Harrison: -0.090

Chris Leroux: -0.092

John McDonald: -0.189

Phil Irwin: -0.326

Jose Tabata: -0.337

Jared Hughes: -0.351

Clint Barmes: -0.356

James McDonald: -0.503

Pedro Alvarez: -0.845

Neil Walker: -0.854

Jonathan Sanchez: -0.873

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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