WAR gives NL Starters Slight Edge

WAR gives NL Starters Slight Edge

Wins Above Replacement (WAR) gives the NL starters a slight edge over the American League lineup if the NL chooses to start Carlos Gomez at DH and Clayton Kershaw on the mound. WAR says those 10 players would be about 61-27 so far this year even with no other standouts on the roster, while the AL All-Stars with Chris Sale on the mound would be 60-28. The value of each All-Star starter so far this season is listed below:

Pos NL Starter Team WAR AL Starter Team WAR Edge
1B Joey Votto Cincinnati 3.8 Chris Davis Baltimore 4.3 AL
2B Brandon Phillips Cincinnati 1.9 Robinson Cano NY Yankees 4.2 AL
3B David Wright N.Y. Mets 4.7 Miguel Cabrera Detroit 4.8 AL
C Yadier Molina St. Louis 3.7 Joe Mauer Minnesota 3.5 NL
DH* Carlos Gomez Milwaukee 5.4 David Ortiz Boston 2.3 NL
OF Carlos Gonzalez Colorado 4.0 Mike Trout LA Angels 3.6 NL
OF Carlos Beltran St. Louis 1.9 Jose Bautista Toronto 3.5 AL
OF Bryce Harper Washington 1.4 Adam Jones Baltimore 1.7 AL
SS Troy Tulowitzki Colorado 3.7 J.J. Hardy Baltimore 2.2 NL
P* Clayton Kershaw L.A. Dodgers 4.9 Chris Sale Chicago 4.3 NL
  Record 61-27   35.4 Record 60-28   34.4 NL

One disadvantage the AL has is that David Ortiz was voted as their DH, but the most valuable player in the league to date has been Manny Machado for the Orioles (5.0), who just happens to play the same position as the second best player in the AL, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera. If Machado could be subbed for Ortiz, the AL squad would actually be stronger based on WAR, which gives the value of each player in the number of wins he has added with his glove and bat (or arm for pitchers) over what a replacement player would have been expected to produce.

Fans might prefer to see a match-up of the pitchers who have put up a lot of wins – Max Scherzer of the Tigers vs. Matt Harvey of the Mets – but WAR calculates that Sale and Kershaw have actually been slightly better despite having much less support. On one occasion, Kershaw even had to hit his own home run while throwing a shutout to win.