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How will Zobrist Fare Following the 7 Win WAR?

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Ben Zobrist is about to accomplish something that only 28 other  players have done since 2002, complete a 7+ WAR (Wins Above Replacement) season. Zorilla is the only Ray to accomplish this feat. The big question is what this means for Zobrist's future. The first, and least likely possibility is to have future 7+ Win Seasons. This is an elite club consisting of the following 9 players:

Player Years 7+ WAR
Albert Pujols

7

Alex Rodriguez

4

Chase Utley

4

Barry Bonds

3

Scott Rolen

3

Andruw Jones

2

Chipper Jones

2

David Wright

2

Hanley Ramirez

2

 

Clearly this is a difficult feat. So the next question is how big a drop-off can be expected? If we look at the 20 players who have achieved a single 7+ WAR season-to-date, how did they respond in the following year? In the case of players who achieved their 7+ WAR season after 30 years of age, we will use how they fared in the preceding year.

 

Name

Batting

WAR

Year

Year Before

Year After

Ben Zobrist

34

7.4

2009

 

?

Grady Sizemore

35.6

7.5

2006

 

5.8

Curtis Granderson

36.4

7.4

2007

 

3.8

Bret Boone

38.6

7.3

2003

3.8

 

Jorge Posada

43

7.1

2007

4.7

 

Carlos Beltran

44.4

7

2006

 

4.9

Matt Holliday

49.9

7.9

2007

 

6.2

Manny Ramirez

51.3

7.3

2003

6

 

Vladimir Guerrero

51.7

7.7

2002

 

4

Joe Mauer

54

7.7

2009

5.7**

 

Adrian Beltre

55.3

10

2004

 

2.5

J.D. Drew

55.4

8.3

2004

 

2.9

Jim Edmonds

56.4

8.1

2004

6.4

 

Gary Sheffield

60.1

7.4

2003

4.4

 

Ryan Howard

60.6

7

2006

 

4.3

Magglio Ordonez

61

8.9

2007

2.4

 

Brian Giles

63.2

7.5

2002

 

4.9*

Jason Giambi

65.5

7.3

2002

 

5*

Derrek Lee

66.4

7.4

2005

2.9

 

Jim Thome

68.3

7.2

2002

 

4.8*

 *Used the year after b/c no WAR available for 2001

**Used the year before b/c 2010 has not occurred

 

This gives the preceding/followup season of one-time 7+ Win seasons a distribution of:

2 WAR 4
3 WAR 1
4 WAR 7
5 WAR 3
6 WAR 3

 

The player with the lowest amount of Wins derived from offense seem to settle in nicely in the 4 Win range with limited volatility. Zobrist has the lowest amount of offensive runs on the list.

 

One final note, of all the players who have achieved a 7+ WAR season, Zo seems to have the most in common with Chase Utley.

 

Name Batting Fielding Replacement Positional WAR
Chase Utley 32.4 19 20.9 1.5 7.4 2005
Chase Utley 44.2 15.7 20.4 1.9 8 2007
Chase Utley 45.3 10.6 21.7 2.3 8 2009
Chase Utley 34.6 20.5 23.6 2.3 8.1 2008
Ben Zobrist 34 22.3 18.6 -0.8 7.4 2009

 

If Zo can maintain excellent defense at 2B in the range of 10<x<20, a 4.5-5.5 win season seems like anice starting point for expectations.