It would be rather hard to discuss sabermetrics without involving the Oakland Athletics in the discussion. General manager Billy Beane has clearly used sabermetrics for a very long time to give his team an edge despite having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. Beane’s use of statistics to calculate in-game activity was made famous by the book Moneyball, as well as, the movie of the same name.
Oakland has clinched the American League West division and ready to make some noise in the postseason. The good news for fans is that by using sabermetrics, it is possible to prove why the Athletics have a legitimate shot at winning the World Series.
There is no team in the league that utilizes sabermetrics more than Oakland, which means every single statistic is up for grabs. With that being said, there is one player in particular that needs to be singled out for his tremendous performance in 2013, which has been determined by a sabermetrics statistic known as wins above replacement. WAR displays how many wins that specific player contributed to his team above what a replacement player would have added.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson is having a MVP season, which is a big reason why the Athletics have played so well. Donaldson currently ranks second in the AL in WAR (7.9), fifth in offensive WAR (6.5) and 10th in defensive WAR (1.8). Donaldson’s WAR did drop from 8.1 to 7.9 after last night’s game. However, an eight or higher is considered MVP quality, which means the 27-year-old could be in this year’s discussion.
Even though Donaldson’s WAR is an individual statistic, it still proves that having a player of his talent gives the team a shot at going the distance.
Another statistic that proves the Athletics have a shot at winning the World Series is team WHIP, which is the number of hits and walks allowed per inning. Oakland currently leads the AL with a 1.22 WHIP. This means that the pitchers on the team have limited base runners tremendously. Obviously, that is a huge reason why the Athletics have only surrendered 567 earned runs in 2013.
If Oakland does make a dream come true for many and reach the World Series, look no further than their ability to keep base runners at a minimum.