Top Ten MLB Players 5/27/2017

We haven’t done this in 12 days.  Here are the top ten MLB players as of all games up to and including yesterday.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 4.47 Ervin_Santana_MIN PITCH
+002+ 4.14 Bryce_Harper_WAS RF
+003+ 3.44 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH
+004+ 3.44 Charlie_Blackmon_COL CF
+005+ 3.36 Mike_Leake_SLN PITCH
+006+ 3.36 Paul_Goldschmidt_ARI 1B
+007+ 3.23 Chris_Sale_BOS PITCH
+008+ 3.23 Dallas_Keuchel_HOU PITCH
+009+ 3.17 Jake_Lamb_ARI 3B
+010+ 3.02 Mark_Reynolds_COL 1B

Washington only has 1 player in the top ten now.  Clayton Kershaw has taken his usual place in the top 3 somewhere.  Ervin Santana is back on top and will have a historic year if he keeps up this pace but there is 3/4 of a season left.  Players usually jump out of the gate in Spring and rack up some big numbers.  Doing that for an entire season is very very difficult which is why players like Cy Young and Babe Ruth still hold the top two best seasons.

Let’s provide some context to the above WAA numbers by showing the top players in the last two years:

2016

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos 5/27/2016
+001+ 4.43 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH
+002+ 3.82 Jake_Arrieta_CHN PITCH
+003+ 3.11 Noah_Syndergaard_NYN PITCH
+004+ 3.04 David_Ortiz_BOS DH
+005+ 2.92 Robinson_Cano_SEA 2B

2015

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos 5/27/2015
+001+ 4.30 Bryce_Harper_WAS OF
+002+ 4.01 Max_Scherzer_WAS PITCH
+003+ 3.93 Zack_Greinke_LAN PITCH
+004+ 3.53 Shelby_Miller_ATL PITCH
+005+ 3.40 A.J._Burnett_PIT PITCH

The top number this day the last two years is very similar to the current top ranking WAA  number yet none of these players had historic years at the end of the season.  Let’s look at the top player at the end of season last three years.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 9.55 Nolan_Arenado_COL 3B 2016
+001+ 11.97 Zack_Greinke_LAN PITCH 2015
+001+ 8.97 Clayton_Kershaw_LAN PITCH 2014

In recent years the top WAA for a season has hovered around 10.   WAA can go down just as fast as it goes up.  If a player gets into a slump or has a bad streak it’s easy to play below average for awhile.  These flat lines and fluctuations are normal which is why we do not use WinPct as a ranking measure because that represents rate and rates never stay the same.  It’s the accumulated value that ranks a player.

Here is a post made in 2013 listing the top 25 greatest seasons for an individual player.  This data is still valid and provides context as to the top range of WAA for a season.  Pedro Martinez in 2000 pitching for BOS was the last player to break into the top 25 with a WAA=+15.9.