Stat of the Week: Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+)

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

After a break during the offseason, our Stat of the Week series returns today with an important offensive metric know as Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+). You can find this metric on Fangraphs with a full explanation here.

Last season I broke down wOBA which is OPS on steroids. The wOBA idea feeds into wRC. What wRC+ tells is how much better a player is than average when it comes to producing runs for his team. Simpler yet, it’s a catch all offensive metric that can be used for easy comparison between players.

Like WAR, this isn’t a perfect tool, but through some calculations based on the historical value of each plate appearance outcome, we can get an estimate of how much value a player brings to his team. League average wRC+ is scaled to 100, meaning that a player with a wRC+ of 120 is 20% better than a league average hitter. wRC+ is also adjusted for park and league effects, so if you play at Petco Park, you get a little boost because the park suppresses offense.

For reference, both Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout posted wRC+ of 166 in 2012. The most average players in 2012 by wRC+ were Brett Lawrie and Rickie Weeks. Let’s look at Lawrie’s line to illustrate. He hit .273/.324/.405 with 11 HR in 536 PA. That looks about right for league average. wRC+ tells us Cabrera was 66% better than that, which makes sense given a .330/.393/.606 line.

You’ll need a big enough sample for wRC+ to tell you anything meaningful in a predictive sense, but as the season wears on take a look at the wRC+ leaderboard to get a sense of who the best offensive contributors are.

I encourage you to go back and read my wOBA breakdown because it stresses the idea that OBP and SLG are improperly weighted when you add them together to get OPS because a double isn’t really worth twice as much as a single. wOBA gives you a better answer to the question OPS tries to answer, and wRC+ scales it to league and park averages.

Go explore wRC+ for yourself and feel free to post any questions you may have. We at New English D are big believers in sabermetrics, not because we want to boil the game down to a spreadsheet, but because we always want more information about the game. More stats and metrics are a great way to learn more about the game and evaluate what you watch.

Skeptical? Here are the best 8 players by wRC+ last season: Cabrera, Trout, Braun, Posey, McCutchen, Fielder, Encarnacion, and Cano. The math might scare you off, but don’t let it. Just learn how to read the output. You don’t have to buy into everything you see on a sabermetric site, but I think that if you try it, you’ll like it. There is a ton you miss by staying with the traditional stats. And who wants to miss baseball?

Calculate it yourself!

45 responses

  1. [...] team’s first 7 games and has 3 HR and a .500/.567/1.000 line to go with his .645 wOBA and 326 wRC+. If you had Jed Lowrie in the first to 1.0 WAR pool, come claim your prize. It’s a unicorn. [...]

  2. [...] wouldn’t recommend looking at ISO over wOBA or wRC+, but it I would look at it in addition to those two metrics. It can provide you a nice piece of [...]

  3. [...] races over the first two weeks. In 12 games, Upton has 7 HR, a .348/.415/.891 slash line, and a 242 wRC+, good for 1.1 WAR. Fielder only has 4 HR, but his .429/.527/.833 line and 250 wRC+ are no less [...]

  4. [...] slash line last year was indicative of the type of player most people expect him to be. His wRC+ last year was 79. He’s not a black hole type hitter, but he relies on his glove. This season? [...]

  5. [...] I’d like to highlight a weird early season set of statistics. Most would tend to consider wRC+ the best catch-all offensive metric, and as I sort the 2013 leaderboard by said metric a variety [...]

  6. [...] 26 games in April 2011. He hit 10 HR and posted a .367/.457/.724 line, good for a .496 wOBA and 220 wRC+. He would wind up hitting 33 HR over the course of the season with a 173 wRC+ and 7.3 [...]

  7. [...] are a list of the most average MLB players over the last decade (2004-present) as defined by wRC+. There were 10-20 players who have posted a 100 wRC+ during that time period, so to make The [...]

  8. […] 2004 to now, you are eligible. The list is based on the best single offensive catch all metric, Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) and does not control for position, sorry […]

  9. […] pace for fewer wins than the 2003 Tigers and currently have the league’s worst offensive by wRC+ and WAR and the 6th worst pitching staff by WAR. As a team they are hitting .221/.281/.316. That […]

  10. […] end May fourth in MLB offensively with a 108 wRC+ after hitting 110 wRC+ during the month of May. On the bump, the Tigers are far and away the best […]

  11. […] games, but on the whole they don’t look great. He’s hitting .230/.280/.319 good for 59 wRC+ in 225 PA. I don’t have to tell you that isn’t enough from a full time […]

  12. […] looking to catch up on sabermetrics, check out New English D’s posts on FIP, WAR, wOBA, wRC+, and […]

  13. […] are, but I can’t figure out what’s causing them. Entering 2013, Avila had a 115 wRC+ in his career with a very nice .261/.359/.432 line. He had 8.0 WAR in about 3 seasons worth of PA. […]

  14. […] we control for park and league average, Chris Davis tops Cabrera in wRC+ narrowly 194 to 189. In terms of overall offensive value, they have essentially been the same […]

  15. […] we talk about offensive statistics, the ones we usually talk about on New English D are wOBA and wRC+ which take the actual value of each offensive action and weight them properly, which OBP and SLG do […]

  16. […] Downs, Nick Castellanos’ big season, and various statistics surround offensive value such as wRC+, wRAA, and wOBA in addition to […]

  17. […] Cabrera is currently hitting .370/.462/.646. which is tied with Davis for the best wRC+ in baseball at 199. Now that isn’t the best offensive season ever, but it’s very good. […]

  18. […] Only 5 players have a higher wRC+ in June than Don Kelly (min 10 PA), if I gave you 100 guesses and no internet access, you […]

  19. […] one in baseball hits worse than the Marlins (71 wRC+) and despite a reasonably good defense (11.3 UZR), the 24th ranked pitching staff (5.1 WAR) […]

  20. […] look at his offensive production over time using wRC+ which compares a player to a league average hitter (100). I’ve dropped out his first season […]

  21. […] Martinez is crushing the baseball. In the last 30 days, Martinez has a very respectable 112 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?). In the last 14 days he has a 170 wRC+. In the last 7 days, it’s 209. That is what the […]

  22. […] is having an amazing season. He’s leading MLB in Wins Above Replacement (what is WAR?), wRC+ (what is wRC+), wOBA (what is wOBA?), batting average, on base percentage, and is 2nd in slugging percentage and […]

  23. […] didn’t turn in an historic first half, but they were excellent, posting an MLB best 114 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) and the fourth best position player WAR at […]

  24. […] Below, we have The Nine worst seasons by wRC+ since 1901 in which the player drove in 100 or more runs. wRC+ is a statistic that measures how a player stacks up to other players in the league and it factors in park effects. It’s easy to interpret the number. A wRC+ of 100 is league average and every point above 100 is a percent better than average a percent below average is a 99 wRC+. For example, an 85 wRC+ is a player who is 15% worse than a league average player. 115 wRC+ is 15% better than league average. You can read all about wRC+ here. […]

  25. […] This post is about his offense because that’s the interesting thing. Let’s start with the basic career trends before we get into the last two seasons. If we just look at his basic offensive rate, he’s aged pretty well (what’s wRC+?) […]

  26. […] PA can go up against Hank Aaron’s nearly 14,000. Next, I compared that RBI Rate to wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) which is a statistic that compares offensive value to league average while controlling for park […]

  27. […] the last few seasons but has been absolutely awful at the plate this season, posting a 59 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?). Escobar has done a nice job adding value on the bases and on defense so this pick wasn’t a […]

  28. […] had a full season of at bats, played great, and didn’t have many RBI. The ranking uses wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) which is an offensive rate statistic that compares a player to league average and park, meaning […]

  29. […] He was a solid defender who hit .271/.374/.488 with a .382 wOBA (what’s wOBA?) and 139 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) in his career. Overall, that offensive line is nearly 40% better than league average in his era. […]

  30. […] of seasons have happened before for Fielder. Let’s take a look at his single season wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) over his career. This is simply an offensive rate stat that measures how he compares to league […]

  31. […] Tigers led the AL in offense with a 122 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) in July and were second in the AL in position player wins above replacement (what’s WAR?) […]

  32. […] on what I’ve seen so far. Note that when discussing offensive rankings I will be using wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) and when discussing pitching rankings I will use wins above replacement (what’s […]

  33. […] plate appearances he posted an unimpressive .176/.234/.306 stat line which produced a 48 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?). In total, his career wins above replacement (what’s WAR?) was -1.1. That’s a small […]

  34. […] in all, for hitters I’d tell you to look at Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) because that is a park and league adjusted version of wOBA, meaning that you can compare players at […]

  35. […] If you correct for their ballpark advantage Angels were a better offensive club using wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) which is a statistic that measures a team compared to league average. The Angels were 8% better […]

  36. […] direct impact on the Tigers is clear. Peralta was having a great season, providing 126 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) and 3.7 WAR (what’s WAR?), essentially functioning as the team’s second best everyday […]

  37. […] some simple season by season comparisons of his AVG, OBP, and SLG and then we’ll use wRC+ (what’s wRC+?) to compare him to league average. Remember 100 is average and every point above or below is that […]

  38. […] dig into because we know the pitching matchups. The Tigers have one game against the Indians (108 wRC+) and then three against the Yankees (81 wRC+). The Indians have a good offense and the Yankees have […]

  39. […] If you drop a line at game 70 and split the numbers, he was not very good beforehand and is a borderline MVP after. The cutoff is arbitrary, but there are more than 200 PA on each side. Let’s check out his monthly splits by OPS, wOBA (what’s wOBA?), and wRC+ (what’s wRC+?). […]

  40. […] By Weighted Runs Created Plus or wRC+ (what’s wRC+?), Cabrera is having the 15th best offensive season in baseball history. Every player on the list […]

  41. […] to Butler and not to good hitters. Since 2009, Butler has turned in a very impressive 128 wRC+ (what’s wRC+?), good for 34th among qualifying hitters. He’s mostly a DH and this post is about hitting, so […]

  42. […] led the league in offense in a big way, leading the second place A’s in wRC+ 124 to 116 (what’s wRC+?) and in Wins Above Replacement (what’s WAR?) 7.0 to 6.8 over the Red Sox. Cabrera posted an […]

  43. […] start with the basics. When measuring offensive value, we tend to use two stats, wOBA and wRC+. The two stats contain very similar properties, but are presented differently with a couple of […]

  44. […] lifting has been done for us, courtesy Neil Weinberg over at New English D, where you can find a very nifty wRC+ calculator that you can use once you have the proper constants for a given metric and season, which you can […]

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