FanPost

Brian Dozier = Brandon Phillips?

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

That's right: according to WAR, Brian Dozier is equal in value to Brandon Phillips. Both second basemen have 1.8 Wins Above Replacement.

But it gets better. Dozier has only 394 plate appearances, while Phillips has 458. If Dozier continues this pace and had 458 trips to the dish, his WAR would be higher than Phillips', at 2.1. Even though that isn't a major difference, Brandon Phillips is a perennial All-Star. So, why is he in the same conversation with the relatively unknown Dozier?

Firstly, Phillips is having a slightly off year. Not defensively, as his UZR/150 is currently at 8.8, basically equal to his career mark of 8.5. His slump lies in his offense, which can be seen from his wOBA .wOBA is converted into wRAA (which accounts to the offensive portion of WAR), which currently stands at .309. Phillips' wOBA with the Reds before this season (2006-2012) is .336

But Dozier is almost equal to Phillips in offensive performance, with the Twins second baseman currently putting at a .310 wOBA. Phillips' fielding is also, not surprisingly, better than Dozier's. In fact, it's more than twice as good, with Phillips' UZR at 5.7 and Dozier's at 2.8.

So what makes Dozier "better" than Phillips? Baserunning and league adjustments. Baserunning in WAR is quantified by wSB and UBR. To make a long statistical story short, Dozier and Phillips are about equal when it comes to runs produced by stolen bases, but Dozier is FAR more baserunning savvy that Phillips. When I say baserunning savvy, I mean being able to stretch a single into a double, or moving up a base on a fly ball. The fact that Dozier plays in the American League also helps him. Since 1972 the AL has had a higher WAR than the NL. It is, sabermetrically, a more competitive league. Because WAR is adjusted by league, the more challenging league that in which Brian plays adds to his value.

So there you have it. Brian Dozier is considered equal, maybe even better, to Brandon Phillips this season because of his great baserunning ability, his stiff competition in the AL, and Brandon Phillips' offensive funk of the 2013 campaign. Now just imagine how good Eddie Rosario will be!

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