As of the time of this post, Gio Gonzalez's WAR is 0.01 ahead of Max Scherzer. It's a pretty small difference, but when I look at the more traditional stats, it's really hard to see why they should even be close.

Gonzalez: 2.50 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 163 K's in 179 IP

Scherzer: 2.32 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 239 K's in 178 IP

I always thought that sabermetrics-oriented stats tended to favor pitchers who struck out more batters. Scherzer has way more strikeouts and far fewer baserunners allowed (as indicated by the WHIP). Can someone explain why their WARs are so similar despite this? In my view, there's a pretty huge difference in WHIP and K's. Also, there's a really big difference in their FIP values -- Gonzalez is at 3.89 while Scherzer is at 2.96. Why don't these differences show up in the WAR for each pitcher?

1 Answer 1


Well it's depends on the type calculation that being done and there is no one way to determine WAR.

As for FIP values, ESPN uses WAR data provided by Baseball Reference which doesn't use FIP values while calculating WAR. Instead, it uses runs allowed by the pitcher and compares that to the league average pitcher (adjusting for quality of opposition), parks pitched in, and quality of defense behind the pitcher.

But Fangraphs uses FIP values while calculating WAR and the result is different so Max Scherzer has WAR 5.2 as opposed to 6.86 in ESPN ranking while Gio Gonzalez has WAR of 3.0.

So, different variable used in calculating WAR will yield different result. And Gio Gonzalez who is ahead in one calculation may not be so in other calculation as data shows.

Other sources: calculating pitcher-war, wikipedia, sports.yahoo, war comparison


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