Dec 23, 2011, 6:10 PM EDT
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A healthy Stephen Strasburg is the biggest reason the Nats will improve in 2012.
No matter what you think about the Gio Gonzalez trade, whether Mike Rizzo gave up too much for the left-hander or not, you have to acknowledge it makes the Nationals a better team in 2012.
How much better? Ah, glad you asked. I'm about to do something I don't often do: Delve into sabermetrics. Specifically the all-everything stat known as WAR (Wins Above Replacement).
For the uninitiated, WAR attempts to quantify how many wins a particular player can add to his team beyond what a faceless, Class AAA call-up would produce himself. It's by no means a perfect stat, because it's calculated through all kinds of secret formulas people like you and me can't figure out on our own (unlike, say, on-base percentage or ERA). There is also more than one formula for WAR: one devised by baseball-reference.com and one devised by fangraphs.com (the latter of which gives more weight to defense).
But if nothing else, it's a fun way to try to project how much a team has or has not improved from one season to the next, so let's take aRead more »
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