Daily Notes: May’s WAR Leaders, Almost Definitively

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. May’s WAR Leaders, Almost Definitively
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

May’s WAR Leaders, Almost Definitively
Introduction
Insofar as (a) it is now June and (b) the most recent weekly UZR update was conducted at the time of day when the present author’s parties most frequently conclude (i.e. around dawn), what follows are the complete WAR leaderboards for May. Insofar, however, as the seasonal baseline for UZR changes by small increments over the course of the season, altering perhaps players’ monthly WAR figures by a tenth of a win here or there, what follows are not the entirely definitive, but just mostly definitive, WAR leaderboards for May.

Almost Definitive WAR Leaderboard: May Hitters
Here are almost certainly the top-10 field players, by WAR, for May:

Rank Name Team PA AVG OBP SLG BABIP wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
1 Miguel Cabrera Tigers 132 .379 .455 .767 .381 224 -3.8 0.2 2.2
2 Mike Trout Angels 127 .327 .409 .664 .359 191 0.3 1.9 2.1
3 Joey Votto Reds 124 .388 .492 .631 .436 207 0.0 1.1 1.9
4 Chris Davis Orioles 113 .364 .442 .768 .400 218 -0.8 0.1 1.8
5 Manny Machado Orioles 130 .355 .380 .556 .387 152 5.4 -1.1 1.8
6 Joe Mauer Twins 121 .371 .455 .571 .507 179 0.5 0.0 1.7
7 Jose Bautista Blue Jays 130 .337 .446 .548 .361 169 2.2 0.1 1.7
8 Paul Goldschmidt D-backs 106 .376 .434 .699 .389 205 1.0 0.1 1.6
9 Marco Scutaro Giants 111 .420 .473 .560 .427 197 -0.7 0.2 1.6
10 Troy Tulowitzki Rockies 109 .360 .413 .630 .390 174 2.4 -0.7 1.6

Almost Definitive WAR Leaderboard: May Pitchers
And now here are almost certainly the top-10 pitchers, by WAR, for May:

Rank Name Team IP K% BB% GB% BABIP ERA- FIP- xFIP- WAR
1 Derek Holland Rangers 39.0 27.0% 5.5% 46.8% .389 52 50 64 1.6
2 Chris Sale White Sox 31.0 27.7% 4.5% 51.3% .200 20 47 65 1.3
3 Matt Harvey Mets 37.2 26.2% 3.5% 44.0% .242 58 59 73 1.3
4 Felix Hernandez Mariners 40.2 26.7% 5.6% 56.9% .336 74 60 57 1.3
5 Anibal Sanchez Tigers 37.1 31.0% 5.8% 44.6% .347 98 55 56 1.3
6 Doug Fister Tigers 34.2 24.3% 3.3% 56.3% .400 99 51 64 1.3
7 Cliff Lee Phillies 45.0 19.3% 4.7% 40.8% .244 47 72 95 1.2
8 Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 45.2 19.8% 6.2% 43.7% .231 54 69 93 1.2
9 Max Scherzer Tigers 45.0 27.6% 6.8% 35.5% .165 71 72 80 1.2
10 Shelby Miller Cardinals 31.2 26.2% 4.9% 35.4% .284 54 58 90 1.1

Almost Definitive WAR Leaderboard: Brief Comments
And finally, here are some brief comments regarding the leaderboards above.

• As is always the case, the editors of FanGraphs do not intend to suggest that a leaderboard merely sorted by WAR represents the best players from a particular interval (be it month or year or career) in that precise order. Rather, it is probably best to say that a case could be made for any player above, so far as which of them had the best May — probably a better case, that is, than for the players who don’t appear on either top-10 board.

• It is difficult to ignore that the top two field players by WAR in May were the ones most deserving of last season’s AL MVP award. Of note regarding Trout: the highest batter WAR ever produced in an age-21 season is Rogers Hornsby‘s 9.4 mark in 1917. Trout, who already holds the best mark for age-20 seasons, is a about third of the way to Hornsby’s figure about a third of the way through the season.

• San Francisco shortstop second baseman* Marco Scutaro struck out three times in May.

*Although, importantly, Scutaro plays shortstop for the author’s very impressive ottoneu fantasy team.

• As per usual, calculating pitcher WAR with runs allowed, as opposed to FIP, would generate a different table than the one seen above, in this case one topped by Chicago Americans left-hander Chris Sale (2.1 RA9-Wins). San Diego’s Jason Marquis posted the best figure by that measurement relative to his FIP-based WAR (-0.6 WAR, 0.4 RA9-Wins). Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta posted the worst mark relative to his FIP-based WAR (0.2 WAR, -1.2 RA9-Wins)

• The best reliever of May by WAR was Pittsburgh’s Jason Grilli (13.2 IP, 0.9 WAR).

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Oakland at Milwaukee | 20:10 ET
Tommy Milone (69.0 IP, 100 xFIP-, 0.8 WAR) faces Marco Estrada (65.1 IP, 102 xFIP-, 0.2 WAR). Of note regarding Oakland outfielder Coco Crisp: he’s posted walk and strikeout rates of 15.0% and 8.6%, respectively. The closest any qualified batter comes to Crisp’s walk/strikeout differential is Milwaukee’s Norichika Aoki (7.5% BB, 5.0% K).

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Milwaukee Radio.

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 4.7.

Note: the following table is entirely sortable.


Away SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Justin Masterson CLE 7 9 6 5 5 NYA Andy Pettitte 19:05
Tom Koehler MIA 6 0 3 2 2 PHI Kyle Kendrick 19:05
Tyler Chatwood COL 8 9 6 6 4 CIN Bronson Arroyo 19:10
A.J. Burnett PIT 8 6 6 8 4 ATL Kris Medlen 19:10
Tommy Milone OAK 5 6 6 5 6 MIL Marco Estrada 20:10
Trevor Cahill AZ 5 4 5 2 7 STL Lance Lynn 20:15
Erik Bedard HOU 0 3 3 5 5 LAA Joe Blanton 22:05
John Danks* CHA 6 0 3 6 1 SEA Joe Saunders 22:10
Eric Stults SD 4 7 4 3 2 LAN Chris Capuano 22:10

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

18 Responses to “Daily Notes: May’s WAR Leaders, Almost Definitively”

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  1. Pat says:

    Joe Mauer was BABIP’ing .500, that is all.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Eminor3rd says:

    You missed SUCH a great opportunity to use “thrice” when speaking of Marco Scutaro’s May strikeouts.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Hurtlockertwo says:

    As much as I love the Giants, it’s still odd to see Scutaro have so much success at age 36-37. His fielding is starting to go though.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. thirteenthirteen says:

    Marco Scutaro is the Giants’ second baseman.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Leighton says:

    Athletics @ Brewers is free today.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Record Keeper says:

    Of note in the A’s/Brewers game: it is the first time in the history of Miller Park that the Oakland Athletics will visit it, despite Miller Park having been open for several years, and interleague play a constant in those years.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Owen says:

    “It is difficult to ignore that the top two field players by WAR in May were the ones most deserving of last season’s AL MVP award.”

    I think you have confused Miguel Cabrera with Robinson Cano. Easy mistake.

    -8 Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Boomer says:

    And I think you have confused Robinson Cano with Don Kelly. Easy mistake

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. It’d seem more Daily Notes-ish if the leaderboard spanned Ides of April to Ides of May. Or appear fortnightly. Or with the lunar month, published at full moon when Dear Author is at his nuttiest-cookiest.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. G_Funk_J says:

    Let’s talk about Manny Machado.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. chief00 says:

    I notice that there are no Blue Jays pitchers on the May leaders table. Is your WAR calculator busted? I’m pretty sure that several of them had a good inning or two at some point in May. I can’t remember exactly when, but…

    Seriously though, I remember listening to some commentators talking about Mike Trout in early May. They were saying that he’s not as good as last year, but better than he showed in April. In a landmark decision they concluded that he’s a good player and fits somewhere ‘in between’. Silly commentators. Who do they think he is, Fred Lynn?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Josh says:

    I’m certainly surprised that Dom Brown isn’t on the leaderboard after his super-slugging May. Positional adjustments really hurting his value that much?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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