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The WAR impact of losing Jayson Werth


Considering that WAR has quickly become the handy, one-stop shop for comparing player values, I thought it might be fun to see how the Phils are impacted by the combination of a Werth-less lineup (see what I did there) and a full season of Roy Oswalt.

Read after the jump for fun with WAR.

JDub put up a hefty 5-WAR season in 2010, right in line with his career in a Phillies uniform. Let's assume he leaves in free agency and those 5 wins are replaced by 650 PAs of production from a pu-pu platter of BenFran, Domonic Brown, and whomever else the Phillies acquire.

BenFran put up 0.7 WAR in 197 PAs, which comes out as about 2 WAR over a full season. I think he would improve slightly with regular playing time, but we can say that he'll put up about 1 WAR over 300 PAs in LF and RF next year. Next is Domonic Brown, who I expect to get roughly 400 PAs next year and be slightly better than Francisco. I'd say a reasonable expectation for Dom is to be a 3-WAR type player next year over a full season of PAs, or a 2-WAR player in 400 PAs. So we have 3 WAR between the two players, and the Phillies net a minus-2 in RF for 2011 against 2010.

Now to the rotation. Roy Oswalt's rotation turn was (essentially) held by Jamie Moyer until he arrived. Moyer compiled 0.4 WAR in 19 starts until his late July injury. After the trade, Oswalt posted 2 WAR in 12 starts and one bullpen appearance. So that rotation spot put up 2.4 WAR over, essentially, a full season.

To project Oswalt's WAR production for 2011, I divided his career WAR (47.6) by his career starts (303) and then multiplied by 32 starts, his most common output of starts per season. That comes to exactly 5.0 WAR. but let's discount him a little bit for being at the back end of his career, as his WAR totals have trended downwards over the last few years. Let's say he puts up 4.5 WAR in 2011, similar to his 2010 line of 4.7 WAR.

Doing the math, the Phillies add 2 WAR in the rotation, which evenly offsets the 2-WAR loss of Werth in right. I'll grant that the math on the hitting side is a little sketchy, but given that players like Soriano, Stubbs, Pence, Span and Markakis all put up in the neighborhood of 3 WAR this year I think it's a reasonable if optimistic guess at how Brown might do.

When you add in a projected bounce-back year for Utley (5.2 WAR in 2010 against career norm of 7-8 WAR) and hope Jimmy Rollins can just stay healthy for a full season, there is actually a chance that the Phillies could be better, from a WAR standpoint, than they were in 2011.

While this doesn't make losing Werth an attractive option, it seems it's something the Phillies should be able to survive (outrageously lefty-heavy lineup notwithstanding).

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