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 West

Current Standings

fWAR Standings

bWAR Standings

Rangers (70-47)

Astros (12.9 fWAR)

Rangers (38.5 bWAR)

Astros (68-50)

Rangers (12.2 fWAR)

Astros (33.1 bWAR)

Mariners (63-53)

Mariners (11.1 fWAR)

Mariners (27.9 bWAR)

Angels (58-60)

Angels (9.7 fWAR)

Angels (25.8 bWAR)

Athletics (33-84)

Athletics (5.2 fWAR)

Athletics (-0.9 bWAR)

The Rangers and Astros are duking it out for the top of the division in all metrics. Meanwhile, the Mariners have found themselves in the top 10 in fWAR due to a strong second half of the season. The Angels have seen themselves fall across the board, as they have lost 8 of their last 10 games.


The Athletics would have a better team if they filled a roster in with all replacement-level players. A's pitchers have been worth -3.8 bWAR, while their batters are contributing a measly 3.0 bWAR. Only the Nationals and Rockies are worse than the Athletics according to fWAR.

The Rangers and Astros have been two of the most dominant teams in the entire league all year. Their WAR totals back up that notion as well. Both teams are in the top 6 in fWAR and top 4 in bWAR. The Angels and Mariners are in the top half of all baseball in bWAR totals, while only the Mariners join the Rangers and Astros in the top half according to fWAR.