Cardinals: Evaluating "WAR" and its reflection of team success

Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is a common stat used for player performance. Teams are also given a WAR total. Do WAR totals for teams reflect accuracy in the standings?
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals
St. Louis Cardinals v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
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American League Central

Current Standings

fWAR Standings

bWAR Standings

Twins (61-58)

Twins (10.9 fWAR)

Twins (30.2 bWAR)

Guardians (56-62)

Guardians (9.0 fWAR)

Guardians (23.1 bWAR)

Tigers (53-64)

Tigers (7.4 fWAR)

Tigers (12.3 bWAR)

White Sox (47-71)

White Sox (7.3 fWAR)

White Sox (11.5 bWAR)

Royals (38-81)

Royals (5.8 fWAR)

Royals (9.7 bWAR)

Thankfully, the AL Central shakes out the exact same across the board. The Twins have a commanding advantage over the Guardians in all three categories, while the White Sox are falling quickly after the deadline. The Royals have been at the bottom of the division all year, and they consequently find themselves at the bottom in both fWAR and bWAR.

According to bWAR, the Twins are actually having a better season than the Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, and Mariners. fWAR places the Royals above only the Athletics, barely edging them out. According to bWAR, the Tigers, White Sox, and Royals are 3 of the 5 worst teams in all of MLB. The AL Central is far and away the weakest division by all available metrics.

The AL Central is an example of WAR being an effective statistic to use when evaluating team performance in relation to their standings. It is also a case study of the need to trade for strong players and sign free agents. Having only one team in the top half of the league in all metrics shows how weak the AL Central is.