WAR – all uppercase – isn’t the end-all, but it has its place. It’d be better, of course, if there were just one. There’s at least two, and we wouldn’t stand for that with any other statistic, of which there are plenty. More than plenty. What’s a few more?
The rankings (records through Wednesday’s games):
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (91-40; Previous: 1): PDP, or Puig Dependent Polarity. Ratio of “play the game the right way-ers” to “the game was better with wool uniform-ers.” Usually 1:1.
2. Washington Nationals (81-51; Previous: 3): DHAI. Dusty Has An Idea. Bullpen management and the men who fuss over it.
3. Houston Astros (79-53; Previous: 2): TUVE. Tools and Ultimate Value Equation. Complicated formula calculates player worth and height requirement to ride Dragon Coaster.
4. Cleveland Indians (76-56; Previous: 5): TITO. Thanks, I’ll Take One. World Series probability.
5. Boston Red Sox (76-57; Previous: 4): WWJDD. What Would Johnny Damon Do. Just a reasonable way in which to conduct oneself.
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (75-58; Previous: 6): SSSS. Some Saves Sour Stomachs. Measures the consistency of the tension before arrow is launched.
7. Chicago Cubs (72-60; Previous: 8): PFP. Parade Fatigue Principle. Measured, apparently, in months.
8. New York Yankees (70-62; Previous: 9): JOE. Judgment Of Endurance. Establishes realistic statistical range for young players, often laying between their best and worst of times.
9. Colorado Rockies (72-61; Previous: 7): NNNNOG. No No No No Oh God. Captures facial expressions of opposing pitchers and assigns a comedic value.
10. Milwaukee Brewers (69-64; Previous: 10): BS. Bombs and Strikeouts. Studies wear on shoe heels.
11. Minnesota Twins (69-63; Previous: 13): UBR. What to call after a night on the town.
12. Miami Marlins (66-66; Previous: 20): SHIFT. Stanton Hits It Far Too. Defensive alignments and their relative effectiveness against baseballs that carry 480 feet.
13. St. Louis Cardinals (66-66; Previous: 11): FIP Plus. Fundamentals Independent Production. Um, Plus. They’re workin’ on it.
14. Los Angeles Angels (69-65; Previous: 12): TROUT. The Rest Of Us Try. Confidence indicator while standing beside best player in game.
15. Baltimore Orioles (68-65; Previous: 19): CAP. Crimson Appearance Projection. Predicts color of Buck’s cheeks upon second trip to mound in third inning.
16. Texas Rangers (66-66; Previous: 16): G. Games played. Also, expression of wonder.
17. Tampa Bay Rays (67-68; Previous: 18): OOZ. That stuff the guy skims off fish tank.
18. Seattle Mariners (66-68; Previous: 15): BACON. Self explanatory. As the players say, let it eat.
19. Kansas City Royals (65-67; Previous: 14): WHIP. What Ned’s gotta go to.
20. Pittsburgh Pirates (63-71; Previous: 17): TZL. No clue.
21. Toronto Blue Jays (61-72; Previous: 21): BFD. Bat Flip Dynamic. Velocity over hang time measured in minutes.
22. Atlanta Braves (59-72; Previous: 24): ISO. Pretty much how a team feels when it moves out of the city.
23. New York Mets (58-74; Previous: 23): THUD. The Hurt, Usually Disabled. Games lost to injury. Also the sound of Terry Collins’ head falling dolefully against dugout rail.
24. Oakland Athletics (58-75; Previous: 26): TAWUG. The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. Old-school stuff.
25. Detroit Tigers (58-74; Previous: 25): GASP. Game After Starting Pitchers. Bullpen effectiveness analysis.
26. San Diego Padres (59-74; Previous: 22): cFIP. Just like FIP, only with a small c in front of it.
27. Cincinnati Reds (56-77; Previous: 27): ERA. This new thing the Reds are working on.
28. Chicago White Sox (52-79; Previous: 29): YOAN. Youth, Organizations And Next. These guys better work out.
29. San Francisco Giants (53-82; Previous: 28): BABIP. Bochy And Bullpen’s Innings Pitched. Establishes most likely amount of wine consumed postgame.
30. Philadelphia Phillies (49-83; Previous: 30): PhLURC. Phillies Lose Under Regular Conditions. Game outcome predictor. Also the sound Phanatic’s tongue makes.