Drawing the Line

There was big news in sabermetrics and overall baseball geekery today. I’ll let Rob Neyer fill us in:

Big news, most assuredly, and news that will forever affect how player value will be quantified.

Yet, with any new advanced metric, it needs a catchy name. Sure, it’s essentially Wins Above Replacement, but the new(ish) metric deserves a new coat of paint, so to speak.

We have the Mendoza Line already, thanks to Mario Mendoza, and his uncanny knack to be *just* not terrible enough batting average-wise to justify his playing time. Similar to what Mendoza did for batting average, the name for this new and comprehensive metric should reflect a player who truly epitomizes and embodies the concept of replacement level – a career WAR of 0.0.

Ladies and gentleman, with the help of Baseball Reference’s Play Index tool, I give you the man who is the true face of the replacement level player:

Gino Cimoli.

I will let you do your own research, but essentially, Cimoli’s 10 year career amounted to 0 rWAR; he amassed this dubious stat in 3358 plate appearances, the most of any player in history with a career 0 WAR.

As such, I feel that in the spirit of the Mendoza Line, the new WAR stat that will arise from the Baseball Reference/Fangraphs collaboration should be named in Cimoli’s honour. Now, barely adequate players can hold their heads high, knowing that they are playing above the Cimoli Line. Will Mike Trout be a 10 Cimoli player this year? In more ways than one, I am hoping so. Maybe now we can throw the phrase ‘WAR’ out of the baseball lexicon once and for all, and just call it Wins Above Cimoli.

At the least, a name change could quell all of the terrible WAR (What Is It Good For?) headlines. For that alone, the new metric has a promising future.

Cimoli? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. No, really. Nothing. Zero.

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