FanGraphs: The Phillies are MLB’s second-most improved team

FanGraphs: The Phillies are MLB’s second-most improved team

Note: Formatting look weird? It’s a feature of the new website design. The header above is a direct link to the article I discuss below. We’ll be trying out some different styles throughout the year, so make sure to let us know what you think.

In a simple add-up-the-WARs operation, Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs sought to find baseball’s most- and least-improved teams. Surprisingly, the Phillies came in as the second-most improved team. He credits this to positive regression to the mean, the addition of some productive free agents, and the lack of actively harmful players who had significant playing time last year, such as the injured Roy Halladay and the terrible Delmon Young.

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8 comments

  1. AntsinIN

    February 26, 2014 12:24 PM

    Am I the only one who feels that this is lazy analysis? One of the biggest downsides of WAR (defensive measurement aside) is how writers can simply “add up the WARs” and believe they are doing serious analysis. This is by no means a wider critique of Jeff Sullivan as a whole (I loved him when he did LookoutLanding), nor is it limited to him. I just fear that WAR will become a crutch of the lazy analyst who makes too broad of conclusions based solely on a single good, but flawed, metric.

    • Bubba0101

      February 26, 2014 12:39 PM

      Without playing a game, all you can do is look at predictive stats. This happens to one of them that is widely used. I think it is a fair comparison at this point in the (pre)season to use to gauge how every team may or may not have improved.

    • Mike Lacy

      February 26, 2014 05:20 PM

      He wasn’t claiming to be doing anything else. If it was an article that claimed that he was doing predictions and all he did was add up WAR, then you might have a case.

  2. Finn44

    February 26, 2014 12:45 PM

    I don’t have a comment on the article, and I offer the following opinion in a constructive spirit and because you asked for feedback. The header above–”Fangraphs: The Phillies are MLB’s Second Most Improved Team”–is really distracting for me. I have two issues with this first. First, in terms of navigation, I automatically clicked the header to see the rest of the article when I’m on Crashburn. (I only saw the link icon afterward.) This is my site viewing habit, admittedly. When I see a short article, about the length of a stub, I always click the title because I know I’ll want to read all of it. The article with the new header was a short article, and I didn’t realize that until I clicked the header, which took me to Fangraphs. That was a bit confusing. I know I missed the fact that it didn’t have “continue reading” at the bottom, but having titles of articles perform two functions–link and a way to see the full article–might be a bit much. Just one person’s opinion. Love the site as always, and I can certainly adjust my viewing habits.

    • Bill Baer

      February 26, 2014 12:49 PM

      Thanks, Finn! I’ll try to think up some ways to make it less confusing. Hopefully, there’s a solution to it. Let me know if you have any other thoughts.

      • Ryan

        February 26, 2014 01:54 PM

        The link to fan graphs sort of looks like a banner ad and I wasn’t sure that I was supposed to click it at first to continue reading.

      • Dan

        February 26, 2014 03:23 PM

        Another problem is that I read the blog through Feedly, which doesn’t show links in post titles at all.

  3. jim

    February 26, 2014 10:40 PM

    I think the additions to the Phils were very good. I hope Abreu is able to comeback to add some depth and a good left handed bat off the bench. Byrd will be a steady right fielder and Hernandez will prove to be a capable #5.

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