Last month I took a stab at creating a way to evaluate front offices using the economic principle of gross domestic product. Out of that concept came the measure “gross domestic wins” (GDW), which uses the WAR stat as a form of currency to look at the impact, both real and potential, of acquisitions and departures.
In that previous post I explained how general managers are often times only judged based on their team’s wins and losses each season. While I do agree that ultimately they are responsible for the overall performance of the team, I do not believe the team’s winning percentage should be the only way the front office is critiqued. GDW may provide a slightly clearer picture of which front offices are making good moves and which ones aren’t.
This week we will use WAR projections for the 2015 season to calculate a forecasted version of GDW. I will not be attempting to project team wins or anything of the sort, but by calculating projected GDW we might be able to understand which GMs have been making the best moves so far, at least according to the Steamer projection system. Once we have these numbers, we can also use them to compare against their respective end-of-season stats. It is the end-of-season GDW stats that will, in the end, tell us how well each team made personnel decisions this year.
I must emphasize that this form of evaluation is based solely on the WAR stat and assumes this is the best all-encompassing statistic currently available. I used the Steamer projections because it is available to the public and seems to be reputable. Steamer was also chosen because of its inclusion of predictive stats for call-ups. For instance, Kris Bryant started in the minors this year, but Steamer had a forecast for his 2015 major league stats based on the assumption he would be called up at some point in the season. This is by no means an exact science so I am sure some call-ups, such as Javier Baez, will be over-valued and others, like Addison Russell, will be under-valued. (I apologize for all the Cubs references.)
Without further ado, let’s take a look at who might have the highest gross domestic wins this year. Just to clarify, GDW is calculated as follows:
GDW = (WAR of Call-ups + WAR of Imports) – WAR of Exports
Previously we used end-of-season WAR values to assess team moves in a historical sense. For this post we are dealing with 2015 projected WAR values.
We have to assume in this type of evaluation that all teams are analyzing players in the same fashion, but we know this is not true. In fact it is widely known that there are core differences amongst teams in how they view analytics as a way to evaluate players. I say this because I would assume that the 2015 projected GDW chart would be a little biased towards teams that rely heavily on sabermetrics. These types of teams might be more likely to use a forecasting system similar to Steamer to help them make roster moves and thus making them more likely to rise to the top of the chart.
To see if this notion rings true, I took a look at ESPN’s “Great Analytic Rankings” to brush up on which teams purportedly use advanced statistics more than others. Below, I matched ESPN’s rankings with their respective team while keeping our GDW chart in the same order.
According to ESPN, the “All-In” teams use sabermetrics the most. The “Believers” are teams that use sabermetrics, but might not have as many resources allocated to analytics as teams who are “All-In”. Organizations who are labeled “One Foot In” are dabbling in the use of advanced statistics. The “Skeptics” have not quite seen the light, but are at least open to using analytics and the “Nonbelievers” are……well, nonbelievers.
Overall, the chart seems a little scattered, but there are a few trends that can be seen as well. A good majority of the “All-In” teams project to have a high gross domestic wins value. The “Nonbelivers” and “Skeptics” show the lowest predicted GDW numbers on the chart. These two categories also contain 3 out of the 4 lowest predicted GDW values.
Remember, GDW is trying to help us evaluate general managers by parsing out team winning percentage and only looking at each team’s controlled moves. Based on Steamer’s 2015 projected WAR numbers it would seem that up to this point analytic friendly teams are making better moves then teams who are not. Of course, the true test will be whether these projected values hold up.
So far these predictions are proving to be reasonably accurate. The top six teams on the list of projected GDW are currently at or near the top of their division. It is still way too early for this to mean anything and it is most likely just a coincidence. At the end of the season we can look back and determine which teams really made the best moves and as I stated before we can also discern if there is a relationship between the predicted and final numbers. For the time being let’s just agree that everyone’s team still has a chance…even Milwaukee.Next post: Write-Up For Yesterday: April 30th, 2015 (and a Weekend Preview)
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