If you're looking for an all-inclusive, handy sabermetric to assess a player's performance quickly, this WAR calculator is the right place for you. The WAR baseball statistic is an attempt to summarize a baseball player's value to their team in a concise way, rather than using many different measures. Read on to find out more about Wins Above Replacement, discover its strengths and weaknesses, and learn how is WAR calculated.
What is WAR (Wins Above Replacement)?
WAR is a non-standardized sabermetric, created as an attempt to showcase a player's total contribution to their team's performance in one concise statistic. While it's not meant to be perfectly accurate, it offers a unique perspective on a player's overall value to their team, and can be a reliable source of information to determine which players should take part in an upcoming game to increase the team's chances of winning.
Importantly, WAR is calculated differently for different types of players - specifically position players and pitchers.
A note on the sources used in the WAR calculator
Despite its applicability and popularity, Wins Above Replacement is a non-standardized measure. As such, there exists no single established way to calculate the WAR baseball statistic's value. If you were to Google "how is WAR calculated," you would come across several sources offering formulas which are similar, but upon a closer look, turn out to have minor but significant differences. We based our WAR calculator on the version of the sabermetric developed by FanGraphs - Sabermetrics Library, one of the best sources available for baseball statistics, and we would like to kindly thank Steve Slowinski for a comprehensive review of the subject.
How to use the WAR calculator?
With the help of our WAR calculator, calculating Wins Above Replacement is quick and easy. All you need to do is provide it with some statistics.
Start by choosing whether you want it calculated for a position player or a pitcher.
To calculate WAR for a position player:
- input the values of batting runs, base running hits, fielding runs, positional adjustment, league adjustment, replacement runs and runs per win into the WAR calculator.
To calculate WAR for pitchers:
- input the values of runs per win, league FIP, FIP, replacement level, innings pitched, leverage multiplier for relievers and league correction into the Wins Above Replacement calculator.
How is WAR calculated?
While the WAR baseball statistic may seem scary and confusing at first, calculating it is nowhere near as hard as it looks. The base equations are not that complicated. It is important to remember that it uses different information for pitchers and position players. Hence you will find two separate equations here.
Let's start with WAR for position players. The overall equation is:
WAR (position players) = (Batting Runs + Base Running Runs + Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment + League Adjustment + Replacement Runs) / (Runs Per Win)
In the case of WAR for pitchers, the equation is a little more complicated. It's overall equation is as follows:
WAR (pitchers) = [((League “FIP” – “FIP”) / Pitcher Specific Runs Per Win + Replacement Level) * Innings Pitched * Leverage Multiplier for Relievers] / 9 + League Correction
Please note that, for clarity's sake, we decided to limit our calculator to the overall equations for the Wins Above Replacement. If you want to see more detailed information on calculating its components, please refer to FanGraphs' sections on Wins Above Replacement for position players and pitchers.
How to interpret your WAR results?
Now that the question "how is WAR calculated" has been answered, it's a good idea to take a moment to talk about what the numbers mean.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when interpreting WAR is that it is not meant to be used as a precise reflection of a player's skills. As opposed to sabermetrics like ERA or WHIP, Wins Above Replacement is more of a guide for separating groups of players based on their skills and value to the team, and should be applied accordingly.
For example, it allows you to say with confidence that a player whose WAR is 5 and a player whose WAR is 4.8 have similar skill levels, and could be placed in the same group, but you cannot rely on these values to precisely differentiate between the two, so you might need to check some other sabermetrics before deciding which one should play in the next match. Or it can tell you that a player whose WAR equals 6.1 will be much more valuable to their team than one whose WAR is 5 - when the difference exceeds one, it's a pretty definitive difference.
With that being said, we can move on to the generally accepted way of interpreting the WAR baseball statistic. FanGraphs recommend going by the following rule of thumb:
- 0 - 1 WAR: Scrub
- 1 - 2 WAR: Role Player
- 2 - 3 WAR: Solid Player
- 3 - 4 WAR: Good Player
- 4 - 5 WAR: All-Star
- 5 - 6 WAR: Superstar
- 6+ WAR: MVP
If you want to gain a perspective on professional baseball players, you can refer to Major League Baseball's seasonal rankings. Feel free to browse through the years as far back as 2000, or check out the top 10 seasonal WARs of 2019:
- Cody Bellinger - WAR: 9
- Alex Bregman - WAR: 8.4
- Mike Trout - WAR: 8.3
- Marcus Semien - WAR: 8.1
- Justin Verlander - WAR: 7.8
- Mike Minor - WAR: 7.8
- Lance Lynn - WAR: 7.6
- Jacob deGrom - WAR: 7.3
- Christian Yelich - WAR: 7.1
- Ketel Marte - WAR: 6.9
Why is WAR (and other baseball statistics) useful?
Knowing your level is crucial in any field, not only in sport. Assessing how good (or bad - we all start somewhere!) you are is necessary for setting up an appropriate training pace. In the case of sports and other competitive areas, it's especially useful, as it allows you to be more accurate in estimating your chances of winning!
If you're interested in other baseball statistics, feel free to check out our baseball calculators - for example the ones for slugging percentage and fielding percentage. Whether you're a professional or an amateur, all these tools will be a great addition to Wins Above Replacement. They will help you gain a better understanding of baseball and assist you in determining the odds of doing well an upcoming season!