Each team every year doesn’t make perfect personnel decisions and ends up playing several players that produce at below replacement level. The reasons for playing these players are many (i.e. a player’s talent has degraded since they last played, injuries devastating the team, inability to evaluate talent, etc). Today, I will look at team totals for negative WAR players (I ignored any negative WAR generated by pitchers hitting).
First here is a look at the number of players each team played that contributed negative WAR in 2010.
The real value that sticks out is that of the 6 teams with the lowest number of negative WAR players, 5 of them were playoff teams this past season. The other team was San Diego which exceeded the expectation of many people. These teams were able to correctly evaluate talent in order to not have to utilize below replacement level players.
Besides just looking at the number of negative WAR players, the total negative WAR players contributed is important. A team can quickly determine if one of its players is not playing up to replacement level standards and replace them. Here is how the MLB teams stacked up in 2010:
The difference between the team with the most negative WAR, the Mariners, and the least, the Reds, is over six WAR. It is very tough for teams to make up for that lack in talent in some players by others on a team and still be successful. The Rangers though were able to overcome the most negative WAR of any playoff team and make it to the World Series.
Now with the teams ranked and compared to each other, I will next try to break down the reasons why some teams put below replacement players on the field this past year.