PAR update

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PAR update

Postby Kevin » Sat Apr 02, 2022 11:43 am

Before we get into the 2022 season, I want to mention the 2021 PAR update that I ran a couple weeks ago, shortly after the lockout ended. Usually, soon after the season ends, I run an update on the player PAR totals for the recently completed season. These updates incorporate adjustments to the league-wide totals that are part of the PAR formula. Those numbers include five seasons worth of data. During the season, it uses the five most recent full seasons. Then the post-season update replaces the oldest year with the recently completed season. The reason I do this is to make the numbers more reflective of the current statistical environment of the league.

I decided to wait on running this update following the 2021 season because I wanted to make sure the lockout wasn't going to cause 2022 to be another less than full 162 game season. Had that been the case, I was going to consider altering the formula to incorporate numbers from the pandemic shortened 2020 season, which to date has been completely excluded from these calculations due to the oddities of that season. But if we had been in a situation where two of the past three seasons were less than full, I may have altered this and retroactively adjusted both the 2020 and 2021 numbers accordingly.

Alas, barring additional unforeseen circumstances, it appears 2022 will be a full 162 game campaign. So, I am proceeding as planned, keeping 2020 out of the mix. This means that the update I ran on the 2021 numbers included league wide data from 2016-2019 and 2021. Those will also be the years that feed into the PAR calculations during the upcoming season.

Normally, the post-season PAR update causes very minor adjustments to players' PAR totals, and they are generally pretty consistent across all players. However, that was decidedly NOT the case this time, which is the reason I decided to make this post. Dropping 2015 and replacing it with 2021 had major implications. 2015 was the last year before the recent surge in offense, particularly in the home run department. Meanwhile, stolen bases cratered in this league in 2021, with the lowest total since the league expanded to 10 teams (excluding 2020). This means that prior to the PAR adjustment, power was being overvalued in the current environment while stolen bases, and to a lesser extent batting average, were being undervalued. The end result was major swings in both directions to individual players' 2021 PAR totals.

Exhibit A: In the immediate aftermath of the 2021 season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr was the league's Batting PAR champion at 9.5 PAR. He wound up losing more than a full point in this update, dropping to 8.4. That might be an unprecedented swing for one of these post-season updates. 15 other players, mostly power hitters with little speed, dropped by at least a half point. Yet, the overall league Batting PAR total actually *increased* by about 3 points. So there were even more players who received bumps, albeit not quite as dramatic as Guerrero's drop. Trea Turner is now the retroactive 2021 Batting PAR champ as his total bumped up about 0.3 points to pass Guerrero, who actually dropped behind Blue Jays teammate Bo Bichette as well.

On an individual player level, the changes for pitchers were far less dramatic and were more consistent across the board. Max Scherzer remains the Pitching PAR leader for 2021 as he and the other top pitchers all got bumps in the neighborhood of 0.3 points. The league wide Pitching PAR total increased rather significantly though, with a cumulative bump of 27 points. This still leaves 2021 as the lowest total league wide PAR (batting and pitching) in any of the full seasons I have calculated, by a wide margin. There are a number of reasons for this, which I won't go into detail at this time. But let's just say we are due for a bounce back in 2022.
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