What is WAA?

WAA means Wins Above Average. Over many years Cubs fans suffered below average teams. When Pat Hughes would exclaim the Cubs are only 3 games under 0.500 he meant that the Cubs lost 3 more games than they won. Each game won brings them closer to the ultimate goal at the time, being average or above 0.500.

A team that finishes a year 2 games over 0.500 ( average ), has a record of 82-80. WAA=2 is 2 games over. Being 2 games under or -2 WAA, means finishing 80-82. Wins Above Average is simply wins – losses. Five Teams with the highest WAA in each league make the playoffs.

Since for every win there must be a corresponding loss, the sum total of WAA across all teams in a league during each season must equal 0.

Real team WAA is rather straightforward. This model distributes team WAA to players. If a team finishes with a +4 WAA for a year, the sum total of all player WAA for time they played for that team must equal +4. Some players will be very positive, some very negative. But wins are conserved.

A team with completely average players where everyone has a 0 WAA will finish a season completely average at 81-81. This is better than half of MLB teams but far from enough to make the playoffs. Usually 90 wins or 90-72 or +18 WAA is a playoff contending season, sometimes less, sometimes more. In order to achieve +18 WAA, there needs to be a lot of top tier players pulling up the average.