Monday, February 22, 2010


* I should tell you upfront that what follows is offered tongue-in-cheek and is beyond lame.

WAR has really exploded in popularity thanks to its implementation at Fangraphs and Chone's site. The acronym is becoming fairly ubiquitous, and as such becomes somewhat stale. WAR sounded really cool at first; now it's overplayed.

Of course there are some minor differences out there--you have WARP, which adds "player" to the end, and VORP, which switches the metric name from what it is in baseball terms (wins) to what it is in asset terms (value). One could come up with any number of different twists on the same basic name.

How about getting away from the use of "replacement" and "average" though? You could use "freely available player" or "marginal" in place of "replacement", and of course "mean" can replace "average. The latter gives you Runs Above Mean (RAM) and Wins Above Mean (WAM), which are both great. RAM! WAM! Thank you ma'am.

One could also substitute in one of my favorite old baseball words for "replacement". I have been enthralled with this word ever since I first read it in Bill James' original Historical Baseball Abstract nearly fifteen years ago--yannigan. As Jim Baker explains:

The term "yannigan" was popular as a the name for any rookie, replacement or second-line player. It has a certain negative connotation to it, like the modern "scrubeenie"; it just *sounds* derogatory.

I see that someone else on the net was a big fan of this term as well. I never used it for a blog, but I've considered it as a user name for message boards and the like, and I named a team in my OOTP league the Miami Yannigans.

But now I've finally found the place to use it--in a sabermetric stat name. Runs Above Yannigan (RAY). Wins Above Yannigan (WAY). The latter is great, as it can take on a cult-like aura if you use it properly, which will drive the critics of sabermetrics crazy..."According to the WAY...", "I am the WAY, the truth..." It's as good as the names that Barry Codell comes up with for his stats.

Okay, I'm going to stop now before I either get struck down by lightning or taken away by the men in white coats.

* I have started posting guest scoresheet submissions on my scorekeeping blog, Weekly Scoresheet. So far, there have been two posted, and a third will follow next week. I realized shortly after I made my appeal for scoresheets that I should have waited until the season was in swing, so I'm hoping I'll get some more submissions at that time. The first three submitted scorecards have all had some interesting feature, and I can't wait to see what else is out there.

* Lee Panas of Tiger Tales has published a book called Beyond Batting Average. I had the opportunity to review the section on run estimators and offer feedback, so I can tell you that it is an intelligent and fairly comprehensive primer on sabermetric concepts and metrics. As such, its target audience is probably not most readers of this blog, but Lee's straightforward approach and knowledge will make it a good resource for those who are just getting into sabermetrics. The link to purchase the book is here.

1 comment:

  1. So...I suppose that means if we're in the process of valuing players, we're "FAPping."

    I don't think you were aiming to make a joke there, but that was hilarious.

    On a serious note, I agree that the acronym is becoming stale.


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