How Good Was Monty Burns' Springfield Power Plant Team, Sabermetrically?

Sabermetrics don't just allow baseball fans to determine how good current players and teams are; they let people with time on their hands examine fictional all-star teams from The Simpsons.

Masters of WAR -- that's Wins Above Replacement, obviously -- put the Springfield Power Plant team under the microscope, and found a fairly unimpressive squad. Stunning, isn't it? A team constructed based on visibility rather than skill is less fearsome on the field than it could have been.

That's partly because of concessions to players like Mike Scioscia and Steve Sax. Both players posted negative numbers in WAR in 1992, the year "Homer At the Bat" aired, and were each outpaced by the best players at their positions (Darren Daulton and Ryne Sandberg, respectively) by more than 7.5 WAR.

But it's also because WAR sometimes asserts that players with less flashy baseball-card numbers (think RBI and batting average) are better than some of their more-renowned counterparts. Would you have guessed Andy Van Slyke (6.9 WAR) was better than Ken Griffey, Jr. (5.4 WAR) in 1992?

Of course, having great numbers across the board also helps: Barry Bonds' 10.0 WAR led the majors in 1992, and that was just the fifth-highest WAR he posted in a season for his career. (Smithers, who makes Dayton Moore look like Billy Beane, picked Darryl Strawberry to play left field.)

There's plenty more at the post itself, which is a fun nostalgia trip. And if you aren't familiar with the "Homer At the Bat" episode, I feel sorry for you. Go watch a clip or something.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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