Forman: The relationship between WAR and team wins

From SABR member Sean Forman at Baseball-Reference.com on August 8, 2012:

This question came up on the SABR-L newsgroup for SABR members.

I'm almost reluctant to ask this seemingly obvious question, but I'm puzzled:

What does Wins Above Replacement Value mean in terms of team success? Or put another way, if a team consists of nothing but replacement players, or -0- value WAR players, how many games does that theoretical team win? Surely not -0- games. Nor 81.

Here was my reply:

We have a pretty exhaustive intro to the metric here.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/war_explained.shtml

A replacement level team is set on our site to win 52 games in the year, so there are about 30*162 * (.500-.320) = 875 wins above replacement available for the league as a whole.

Here is an example conversion of WAR to team wins. 

Read the full article here: http://www.sports-reference.com/blog/2012/08/the-relationship-between-war-and-team-wins/

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This page was last updated August 8, 2012 at 12:48 pm MST.