Several days ago, I opened up my first pack of 2014 Topps baseball cards. I flipped over the cards to look over the stats written on the back, and next to traditional stats, such as home runs, RBIs, wins, and saves, I saw that WAR, a sabermetric, was listed for each player. I was so excited to discover that Topps has decided to include SABR on their cards.
For those of you who don't know, WAR is a statistic that stands for Wins Above Replacement. It shows the amount of wins or losses a player could bring to his team if he played instead of his backup. Last season, Mike Trout (9.23), Carlos Gomez (8.36), and Andrew McCutchen (8.19) led MLB in WAR. Clayton Kershaw (7.86) led pitchers in WAR last year, and he ranked fifth overall, behind Trout, Gomez, McCutchen, and Athletics third baseman Josh Donaldson (7.97).
At Yankees camp yesterday, I had the chance to speak with scout Cesar Presbott, team’s Area Scout and Supervisor, about stats and sabermetrics like WAR and how he uses them in his work.
Cesar explained that each scout has a different way of looking at things. He told me that many scouts keep the five tools (speed, power, hitting for average, arm, and glove) into mind. He added that he cares more about a pitcher’s accuracy than his speed. A pitcher could throw 100 miles an hour and have no accuracy and be less exciting to a scout than a guy who can throw in the 80s or low 90s and have tremendous accuracy.
Something else he looks at: A player's skill, not size. He used Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia as an example, and said that Pedroia is only 5 foot 8 inches but is taller when he is on the field because of his heart.