Felix Day and Win Values

Felix made another strong case for being a top Cy Young candidate this season, going eight shutout innings for a win against the Angels Mariners Baseballdivision-leading Angels. On the season, his ERA stands at 2.65. Though a little of that is a product of luck, my estimate of his true ERA is still an impressive 3.22. This brings his Run Value on the season up to 35 runs, as of tonight.

But what does a 35 Run Value mean? How does some number of runs above an average player translate into wins? Good question. Years ago Bill James found a simple formula that predicts win-loss records from a team’s total runs scored and runs allowed. To guestimate his Win Value, let’s put Felix Hernandez onto a hypothetical, league-average team. This team would likely finish 81-81 with exactly the same number of runs scored as runs allowed. Enter Felix. Now that team gives up 35 less runs in a season. Computing the new win-loss record (based on the formula) with Felix on this team, we can see how many additional wins he is worth.

King Felix just so happens to be worth about 3.8 additional wins. At first glance that doesn’t sound like much. Hell, you probably did that for your slow-pitch team, right? But for one player – who only goes to work once a week, ONCE every five frickin’ games – to get a team 3 to 4 (maybe 5) more wins in a season, that’s impressive! I’ll bet he cheers really loud those other four days, too. Shucks, I’ll give him 5…

Be sure to check out the updated Mariners Run and Win Values!


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