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…

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.



  1. don says:

    Numbers,numbers, numbers....lets see
    Would you rather have BJ upton, Teixeira, or Jeter on your team, well let me think...
    Would you rather have Longoria(28.10) for 80 games or Zobrist(25.8) for 162 games, wait a min. I'm still thinking

  2. Dave L says:

    About a week ago during the TV game broadcast (I dont think it was the Rays pre game but possibly) They said Zobrist was #1 or #2 in AL WAR since 2008.

    Wonder how that differs from this in its metrics?

    BJ at #16, I wouldn't have expected that but that should help his negociations in the offseason.

    I'm guessing a 5 year deal for $12 mil per year avg. maybe?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      This is data from Fangraphs. They may have been using Baseball-Reference's data which uses a slightly different formula for WAR (something that is annoying and hurts the SABR stats).

  3. Matt says:

    To my knowledge, Fangraphs and Baseball Reference use different defensive metrics. The TV broadcast would have mentioned BBRef WAR from 2009-12, where Zobrist ranks second. It's been mentioned in the Rays game notes on occasion.

  4. Andy says:

    Nice numbers! Given what a trying offensive year this has been, the info here is a bit refreshing!! Given Longo & Zo as team cornerstones, it's a sad shame the rest of the assembled cast has been more like the Peanuts gang than a MLB team!!! Just a couple more reliable, established players could make a world of difference!!

    Just for kicks, where does Karlos rank in this chart?


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