MLB Best: wRC+


As I wrote earlier, wRC+ is one of the best ways to evaluate a player’s offensive ability. It will tell you how many runs a player creates per plate appearance. It takes into effect everything that happens during each plate appearance for a player. It calculates walks as well, which is another stat that helps a team, even when it doesn’t seem like it. This stat is ballpark adjusted so each team isn’t at a disadvantage or an advantage because it has a hitter’s/pitcher’s ballpark. 100 is average and every point above that is a point above average, pretty simple.

So I did some research and came up with the teams that do the best job of creating runs. It really shouldn’t surprise you which teams create runs the best. We can even break it down into which league does the best job as well. Here is how each team stacked up.

The Red Sox led the way with a wRC+ of 115, with the Marlins finishing dead last at 72. Neither of these are really surprises. The Tigers, A’s, Angels, Rays, Indians, Cardinals, Dodgers, Braves, and Orioles came in after the Red Sox. All of these teams finished at or above the 100 average. As we look at each of the teams mentioned, all of them made the playoffs except for the Marlins, Angels, and Orioles. You can’t make this stuff up, this stat correlates to winning teams.

The other two playoff teams not mentioned were the Reds and Pirates, who finished at 97 and 98 respectively. The big surprise that jumps off the page is that the Royals finished 25th in the league in wRC+ at 88. The Royals finished just five games back of the second wild card spot in the American League.

Another thing is that the Padres scored the 24th most runs in MLB but finished 17th in wRC+. Maybe it is nothing but it is something to look into further. A huge jump from 2012 to 2013 was the Pirates. They finished 26th in wRC+ in 2012 and 13th in 2013. They became a playoff team for the first time in 20 seasons because of it. Another non coincidence in my mind.

So that is how the teams stacked up against each other, but how did the player’s on each respective team stack up against the league average? I put together a list of each team and how many player’s made the 100 average or above. To qualify, the player had to play at least 100 games with that respective team.

The Red Sox had nine players at or above 100, which was best in the league. They also scored the most runs in the league so that is no surprise. They also went on to win the World Series. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The Cardinals, Rays and Pirates were second on the list with eight players. The middle of the pack teams had four players on average, while the Astros, Yankees and White Sox had two each. The Marlins were last once again, with one player at or above 100.

The Pirates also made a huge jump in the amount of players that finished at or above league average. They doubled in players from one year to the next. They finished tied for second in the league with eight players in 2013. The Dodgers had one of the best seasons in the majors but only had five players made the cut. Hanley Ramirez would have made six but he didn’t play enough games.

There were no other really surprises in the research I did. So, how did each league represent itself?

The American League had seven teams that made the cut, while the National League had three. This could be because of the DH, but I didn’t look into it that far. If you would like me to, let me know that in the comment section.

So, while you try to process all of that information, think about it like this. If a team has just enough average players they make the playoffs. If they have a really great player but others are below average, they don’t make the playoffs (Angels).

How is your team addressing this information and are they trying to find just enough average players to become a great team? Some don’t think about it that way, but it is true.

It all goes back to the Athletics. They had six underrated players that were just good enough to be average of just above and won the American League West. While the Rangers had some power house names but only had four players make the cut, and their team failed to make the cut as a whole.

Sabermetrics can tell you a lot of things, and most of the time are the correct way to look at things. This is just one of those ways. The numbers don’t lie as you can see. Think about this stat while your team is in a playoff race next season, and see if they stack up against the rest of the majors as the best run creating team.