FanPost

Fun with Sabermetrics! Or, WARrior in Woolworths

So, since it's been so long we've all probably forgotten, what does it take to compete for a playoff spot? How much talent does one need to amass? Using WAR as a handy means of assessment, here are the 1995-2009 averages for AL playoff teams, in Batters WAR/Pitchers WAR/Total WAR:

AL EAST     26/20     46
AL CENT     22/19     41
AL WEST    26/18     44
AL WC        28/18     46

AL Central WAR is about 90% that of the AL East.

Here are Cleveland's splits in Batter's WAR/Pitcher's WAR since 2002:

2002     14.6     7.4
2003     16.5     9.7
2004     26.7     6.6
2005     29.8   16.0 
2006     24.0    15.6
2007     18.5    25.5
2008     20.2    13.6
2009     21.3    -2.3
2010     14.2     1.2

Cleveland has had better batter WAR totals than the ALC champs in every year since 2003, until this year, but hasn't, save for 2007, been able to keep pace with pitching talent; 5 of the last 6 ALC champs have amassed 20+ pitching WAR, and Minnesota could get there again this year. Cleveland, meanwhile, fell off a Cliff.

How has the Tribe done in the last, post-glory days decade? Let's express Cleveland's total WAR as a percentage of the Central Division Champs' (or runner-up's) WAR, and as a percentage of the New York WAR, just for fun:

2002     59     40
2003     78     53
2004   100     76
2005   104   110 
2006   103     88
2007   107     91
2008     84     88
2009     47     39
2010     42     40

Ave       72     63

Cleveland ought to have been in the thick of things in the Central a lot, if you believe WAR. Whatever. At any rate, climbing back up this mountain is probably 10-15% easier against the ALC competition than if they had to deal with the East. Even if the Tigers have Jhonny. Or because they do.

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