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 East

Current Standings

fWAR Standings

bWAR Standings

Orioles (72-45)

Blue Jays (12.4 fWAR)

Rays (37.0 bWAR)

Rays (71-48)

Rays (11.9 fWAR)

Blue Jays (32.6 bWAR)

Blue Jays (65-54)

Red Sox (11.4 fWAR)

Orioles (30.0 bWAR)

Red Sox (61-56)

Yankees (11.4 fWAR

Red Sox (29.4 bWAR)

Yankees (60-57)

Orioles (10.0 fWAR)

Yankees (21.7 bWAR)

The AL East has the most shakeup among the three metrics above. There are not many instances in which a team occupies the same place in the standings in multiple metrics. The Orioles see the most volatility in their standings, while the Yankees get a slight boost in fWAR due to a weak Red Sox pitching total.

The Orioles find themselves in first place currently in the division, but they are last according to fWAR and third according to bWAR. Their fWAR total is so low due to their bottom-10 pitching WAR total and their middle-of-the-pack offense. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays see a jump in fWAR standings due to a top-5 offense.

All AL East teams are in the top half of the league according to fWAR and records. This alone makes them the toughest division in the league. While the Yankees are ranked 21st in bWAR, the remaining 4 teams in the division are all in the top 10 in bWAR.