RFrey — Sunday Notes 01/02 WAR

Robert Frey
2 min readJan 3, 2022


Happy new year to my readers and followers!

Formulating WAR in baseball is difficult. There’s no doubt about it.

Tom Tango, Sr. Data Architect at MLB, talked about leverage, runs, and wins in his coreWAR series. He brought up some interesting points of game leverage. Specifically, per the blog post, he states, “You can also decide that pitchers and batters get evaluated differently.” When formulating WAR, especially at the college level, this becomes monumental. While not pertaining to specific batter pitcher matchups per se, we can discuss leverage within the conference level. College baseball postseason bids weigh heavily on RPI, or Rating Percentage Index, which is a measure to attempt to quantify schools based on their strength of schedule. Meaning, an SEC school (they are the best, see below) that plays a SWAC school in non-conference play may be favored less than an SEC school that plays an OVC school.

How does this pertain to calculating WAR? Well, as Tango mentioned in his post, someone like Mariano Rivera’s talent allowed the Yankees to leverage him in high-pressure situations. In terms of college WAR, we should make an account of that. A 4–3 game in the 9th when a SWAC school plays an SEC schools has significantly more leverage than a 4–3 game in a SWAC v. MEAC non-conference game. A SWAC player who hits a go-ahead 2-run home run in this situation should get more “credit” than doing the same against a MEAC school. The talent level is significantly different.

RPI will view, if by chance a SWAC school beats an SEC school, as a big win for the SWAC school and a bad loss for the SEC school. How do we value that? Assign a value? Or, utilize the respective conference run differential per game and compute a value from there? Either way, Tom brought up some good points that requires further examination when looking at college WAR and calculating it at not just the D1 level, but the D2, D3, and NAIA level.

Side note: I will be in attendance at ABCA this week in Chicago. I would love to talk college baseball analytics and anything my readers are interested in talking about if any of you plan on being there. Looking forward to connecting and bounce ideas off of you!

Thanks for reading.