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11-12-2012, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by AlienWorkShop View Post
I've seen this point a couple times about this "mythical" replacement player.

It's just a matter of using a baseline. WAR simply established baselines at league-average levels for defence and below league-average for offense. It doesn't even need to be literally AAA players when you're considering these "AAAA" players. Just taking a glance at all players with at least 300 PA last year, there were 26 players within .3 wins of 0 WAR last year, or roughly one per team. Throw in a fair amount of AAA players and it's a pretty reasonable assumption.

I'm no JPA fan, but it's harsh (and technically wrong) to call him a replacement level player considering he was a 1.3 WAR last year in only 102 games. I'm personally critical of JPA simply because I see little reason to suspect he'll improve much from what he is now, which is roughly a below-average catcher. Nothing particularly wrong with that, but nothing to get hyped about either, especially since he'll be 27 in January.

Considering JPA was at 1.3, it's certainly a stretch to suggest you could easily replace JPA and his .233/.275/.435, 89 wRC+ and average to below-average defence with some other bottom rung MLB catcher and/or a few AAA catchers.

But, in WAR's defence... Just to take one example from this past year, Josh Thole had a 0.1 WAR for the Mets. Is it really a stretch to suggest you could easily find a low-rung MLB backup catcher or AAA catcher that could replicate Thole's .234/.294/.290, 60 wRC+ and roughly league average defence? I don't think so.
I don't agree with that statement, in fact I think using WAR for a catcher is a bad idea to begin with given that it doesn't incorporate pitch framing data which makes up a significant portion of a catcher's defensive value, and it is there that JPA struggles significantly.

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