Mets History: Edgardo Alfonzo would have benefited from existence of WAR
Most New York Mets fans will agree Edgardo Alfonzo is one of the franchise greats. Others may have realized this too if WAR came around sooner.
WAR is the modern-day baseball statistic often referenced, rarely fully understand, and usually the tie-breaker in any argument about a player’s skills. For New York Mets great Edgardo Alfonzo, it arrived a little too late.
I think Mets fans appreciate Alfonzo appropriately. It’s everyone else who may have let his career slip from their memories.
A reason for it—we didn’t know what his WAR was.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets Monday Morning GM: The middle is no place you want to be
- NY Mets News: Marcus Stroman sees “potential fit” with the Angels
- NY Mets were too “seek” and not enough “destroy” last winter
- NY Mets: 1 trade target to consider from each 100-loss team
- NY Mets: Top 12 free agents the team should look to sign this winter
According to Baseball-Reference, Alfonzo finished with a 28.8 WAR for his career. By no means a legendary total, it’s what he did in individual seasons that caught my eye.
Back in 2000, when the Mets famously made it to the World Series, Alfonzo was an All-Star and a huge reason why they were able to overcome the obstacles from the previous year. The second baseman slashed .324/.425/.542. His offensive numbers were slightly less than what he posted in 1999, but still quite fantastic with 109 runs scored, 25 home runs, and 94 RBI headlining the stat sheet.
Alfonzo received only 1% of the MVP vote share for a 15th place finish. In an era where 25 home runs would barely register and six Hall of Famers (plus multiple should-be HOFers) finished above him in the vote, it’s all very understandable.
However, if we’re going to look at WAR, it seems like Alfonzo may have been overlooked. He was actually tied for seventh in WAR among the vote-getters. Because he didn’t have the same power numbers, he didn’t get much credit for such a productive year.
This was only the second time Alfonzo ever received MVP consideration. He finished 8th one year earlier. Oddly enough, he had only the 10th best WAR among those who received votes. I’m curious how much this may have changed if voters had WAR to lean on.
What really impresses me about Alfonzo was what he could do on defense. I knew he was good with the glove. I also appreciated how he could play a full year at second base or third base. I didn’t realize what a consistent fielder he was.
Fielding statistics are still improving. Back in the 1990s, there wasn’t much other than the number of errors and fielding percentage. With a WAR for defense, we can see and appreciate Alfonzo’s work more.
In his eight seasons with the Mets, Alfonzo never had a WAR on defense below 0.2. His best year was in 1997 when he ended the year as a 2.1 WAR player on defense.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Alfonzo never won a Gold Glove in his career which is quite unfortunate for such a talented all-around player. Although Mets fans will always hold him in esteemed regard, the late arrival of WAR may have prevented others from noticing.