Weighted on-base average ("wOBA") is the statistic I talk about at parties. Simultaneously useful and accessible, an advanced math degree is not required to understand and appreciate probably the best* publicly available offensive statistic. It correlates with run scoring better than batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. Everything a batter does at the plate is factored in its calculation, as are stolen bases and caught stealings. The various outcomes are weighed based on run-scoring value. This is a great stat for saber-skeptics. wOBA recognizes that a walk isn't as good as a hit and efficient base stealers are credited for their achievements. The minor weaknesses of the triple slasher (BA/OBP/SLG) are assuaged.
Any aspiring True SABR in the audience should click here and here for the guts behind wOBA. For those who just want to know how fast the car can go and not how the engine works, understand that a wOBA at .300 or below is poor, .330 is around average, .380 is excellent and .400+ is elite. Just like on-base percentage.
*Baseball Prospectus's statistic True Average ("TAv") is similar to wOBA but is scaled to batting average. It is another leading statistic. I prefer wOBA, specifically the FanGraphs version, for various reasons. One of which is FanGraphs stats are easier to navigate. Note that FanGraphs wOBA is not park-adjusted. For an absolutely epic The Book Blog thread on wOBA vs. TAv, click here.
Here is the Mets' wOBA by position, with approximate NL average wOBA and the Mets' league rank also listed (through yesterday's games because I wanted to include Carlos Beltran's home run orgy):
- Stop me if you've heard this before -- the Mets have received strong production from positions manned by Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and David Wright. It's been a subpar season for Wright by his standards but he has still been above average.
- Is Jason Bay broken?
- Josh Thole is sub-Barajas right now. He should remain with the big club and receive at least half the playing time going forward. But expectations of Thole as everyday catcher for years to come need to be tempered. His complete lack of power becomes a larger problem when his plate discipline is down, as it is this season.
- Ronny Paulino has a .458 wOBA in 25 plate appearances. He reminds me of Ramon Castro. Physically, at least.
- According to rest-of-season ZiPS projections, the Mets should improve at catcher, second base, third base left field and center field (upon Angel Pagan's return). They should decline at first base, shortstop and right field.
- This isn't worthy of its own post so I'll mention it here. The Mets should do a better job giving their regulars days off. Reyes has started every game. Wright's first day off was yesterday. Beltran has started 33 of 37 games. It's a marathon, not a sprint.