But, as I said, it just hasn't looked ... right to me. WAR frequently tells me that Player X is better than Player Y, when a review of their stats tells me that just can't be right. I have tended to be content to let other people fight the battle when I say things like "meh, WAR doesn't tell the whole story." Mostly because there are only so many hours in the day, and the vast majority of mine are spent obsessing about the Cubs' roster and GM search. I don't like writing about things that I don't understand to the nth degree.
Well, someone took up the cause and laid out a beautiful discussion and take-down of WAR, based on an even more disliked advanced stat: UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). The latter is supposed to be the best of the advanced fielding stats, but is wildly, wildly prone to inexplicable swings - Marlon Byrd was one of the worst defensive center fielders in 2009 in Arlington, and then suddenly (at age 32), he was one of the best defensive center fielders in 2010 in Chicago. I just don't buy those kind of absurd, inexplicable swings in something that, by age 32, is a relative constant.
Ok, enough throat-clearing. Here's the post from It's About the Money. Warning: it's long and dense. Totally worth it if you're wading into the advanced metric stuff, though.
An exemplary conclusion paragraph:
While I admit the difficulty of building a model that accounts for the effect a pairing like Braun/Fielder or Pujols/Holliday has on the rest of the lineup, this is one area in which I find the conventional wisdom to be irrefutable. While I applaud WAR (and other metrics) for aiding in our appreciation of defense and baserunning, it’s beyond asinine to conclude that Ellsbury is twice as valuable as Fielder. Too often WAR is used as a means of comparing oranges to apples. One of the things that makes baseball great is the diversity of the fruit basket. WAR give incredible weight to scarcity of shortstops, but no weight to the scarcity of pitcher-intimidating, strategy-altering cleanup hitters, which I see as a form of reverse discrimination.