Below is a look at the ten most valuable players in the American League since the start of the 2008 season, based on Wins Above Replacement (WAR). And despite missing a good chunk of this season, the Rays’ very own Evan Longoria (28.1 WAR) comes out on top. Ben Zobrist is not far behind, ranking as the fourth most valuable (data via Fangraphs.com)…
As you can see, both Longo and Zobrist score very high in FLD**, saving the Rays about ten runs each, per season, with their gloves. On the other hand, somebody like Miguel Cabrera, has a much more lethal bat (wOBA is like OPS, but better), but actually costs his team runs defensively.
And by the way, BJ Upton ranks 16th, with 18.7 WAR, just behind Mark Teixeira (19.2) and Derek Jeter (19.6).
* Wins Above Replacement measures a player’s all-around game and calculates how many wins that player has been worth to his team as compared to a freely available replacement.
**Fld = Fielding runs, the number of runs a player saves (positive numbers) or gives up (negative number) as compared to a replacement player.