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Using dFAWARP to Evaluate the Mets

Traditional sabre-hater language includes taunts about basements, spreadsheets, watching the game... and yes, having fun. I'd hate to lump number-lovers all into one category, but they might just be human beings that enjoy this thing called fun (at least, until the next definitions come out, the lack of affect may push 'em towards 'cyborg' any year now).

In that vein, the inestimable DanUpBaby at Viva El Birdos dropped this nerdbomb the other day:

A player's relative funness is a difficult concept to measure, in part because it's not a real concept but also because a team can accumulate fun-points—hereafter Fun-ness Above Wins Above A Replacement Player, or FAWARP—and still end up being a terrible team to watch. To a certain extent, as with Brendan Ryan, I'm willing to trade wins because I'm watching baseball to enjoy it, and he makes baseball more enjoyable to watch.

Quantifying fun with made-up statistics - that's something any sabreist can get behind. Let's steal this idea and analyze the Mets, eh? At the very least, we might learn something about the perception of these players.

For the purposes of this wild ride, we'll call our estimation of a players' FAWARP by the 'eFAWARP' title - and then, because, as DanUpBaby noted, we need to have an expected FAWARP number, we'll add that one too (xFAWARP in our case). Because what would a sabreist idea be if it didn't have tiny little differences that spawned a whole slew of confusing monikers? Science for the win.

C Josh Thole 1.5 eFAWARP
You might as well call this grade an incomplete. Wikibrain tells us that he learned to hit in a barn, and any major league player that chokes up in order to make contact gets some major xFAWARP love, but he's been in the majors too short to see how this will develop in total overall fun-ness. His struggles with catching do add a dash of Rudy to the whole thing - his xFAWARP is begging for more playing time, and his potential for the joy of watching him play far outstripping his actual usefulness is great.

1B Ike Davis 5.0 eFAWARP
Speaking of a chasm between actual usefulness and eFAWARP goodness, Davis' gap compares favorably to Dr. Andre's teeth (had to get The League in here somehow). He's Jewish in perhaps the most Jewish of cities, has a name that seems born for tight T-Shirts stretched across well-portioned chesticles, and owns an uppercut swing that may produce just enough power to make his flashy glove grow near and dear to our hearts. He earnestly wants to get better, has a knack for timely hitting so far in his career, and is a homegrown talent, so he even has a little xFAWARP upside in him.

2B Luis Castillo -2.0 eFAWARP
It's not his fault that he's aged to the point where watching him in the field is no longer any fun. His take-everything approach at the plate is, however, his 'fault.' Though it may have led to the only part of his game that was ever distinctly above average, it has never been much fun to watch. The xFAWARP at this position, though, is just short of boiling. Walking injury risk Reese Havens? A resurgent Daniel Murphy learning yet another position? Underdog, fresh-faced Ruben Tejada? There's some fun-ness to be enjoyed in the future, but present fun value isn't really there.

SS Jose Reyes 2.5 eFAWARP
xFAWARP says the fundamental tools are there. A Dominican-born shortstop who has led the league in triples and stolen bases three times? Yes. When he came up, he had all the athleticism, all the smiles, and all the tough times of a young, flashy player. But the days of the Professor Reyes bits are over, and we're getting a little less of Reyes with each passing year. Will he let us in? Will his old spark return? Will his legs hold up? The dugout salsa dances alone are worth a couple points of eFAWARP, but to really cash in on his xFAWARP potential, we'll need a little more fun out of Reyes this year.

3B David Wright ?? eFAWARP
Let's make this a comment battle. I personally enjoy watching him play, but the eyeliner look, the every-interview-needs-to-be-serious attitude, the strikeouts, and the whole connection with The Situation... well, they make me a little wary, too. What do you guys think?

LF Jason Bay 0.5 eFAWARP
Bay had a bad year, this much we know. His real-life game will see better days. But how much xFAWARP does he have? It's been a year, and many fans aren't sure they know him any better. Jerry Manuel spent all year telling us that he didn't know who Jason Bay really was. He's Canadian - that much we know - but what that means for his FAWARP is unclear. Many would argue that it accentuates his blandness some (apologies to Jonah Keri and other fine Canadians, but it's part of the perception, eh?), and that poor showing at the Home Run Derby did not do him any favors. Being a former Expo draftee is a plus, and being traded so often also is kind of quirky, but that was all so long ago. Now all that Mets fans see when he comes to the plate is that contract. A better year, full of line drives and runs-batted-in may push the needle some, but xFAWARP is suspicious at best.

CF Carlos Beltran 1.0 eFAWARP
This time it's a better player, but the fun is also lacking in Beltran's case. Even when he was diving for majestic catches and blasting bombs, there was always a little reticence to embrace Beltran in the New York area, perhaps based on his poor stretches with the Batting Average, or the odd quad injury. Now, with #BlameBeltran in full effect, the tide has gone the other way, and many a fan would clamor for negative eFAWARP values. Certainly, he's seemed standoffish at times and has eschewed interviews, so he takes some of the fun out himself. But there are his charitable foundations, his strong play in the outfield, and his good approach at the plate. Those should be fun to watch, if only we could erase the memory of that frozen moment, that Adam Wainwright curveball, and all the woulda-coulda-shouldas to last us a lifetime.

RF Angel Pagan 4.5 eFAWARP
Homegrown hero that struggled elsewhere and came back to give the team cheap goodness in a time of need? That's the sort of xFAWARP underpinnings that prime a fanbase for fun-ness. Add in excellent outfield defense and games like the one in May 2010, when he started a triple play and hit an inside the park home run, and xFAWARP is off the charts. The only thing holding Pagan back from superstar FAWARP status are the injuries. Almost every part has busted in this machine - from strained groins and shoulders to colitis - and the threat of losing him to the DL is the kind of threat that makes a Mets fan shiver at night. Prevention and recovery, prevention and recovery, prevention and recovery....

SP R.A. Dickey 7.5 eFAWARP
This one is just too easy. Not only is Dickey an older dude (36) that came to the knuckle-piece after losing his arm ligaments in the Great Chicago Fire, but he's got TWO SPEEDS on that fated pitch. He pitches with great face, he was cheap, he refutes reports that he's a nerd, but was an English major, reads books (!), and uses words like 'cogitate.' Be still my fluttering heart. R.A. Dickey is what FAWARP is all about.