By Bill James

February 17, 2021

**For a very quick-and-dirty way to estimate Win Shares: I take the average of Runs and RBI, and divide that by 5. Obviously it's not great and I prefer to use the proper numbers that you all worked so hard to calculate. But it's maybe almost as good as using pitcher wins.**

*Asked by: PeteRidges*

*Answered: 2/17/2021*

Thanks. Rather than taking the average and dividing by 5, it seems easier to take the total and divide by 10, since 10 is the easiest number to divide by. Let's see... .Roger Maris, 1961, had 132 Runs Scored and 141 or 142 RBI, so that would be 274, divided by 10 would be 27. He actually had 36.

I would bet you would be closer if you divided by 9, rather than 10, but. . . .it's worth a look anyway.

I decided to look at the issue. Using a subset of players, about 8,500 players, all position players since 1920 who had at least 5 Win Shares each. Using that set of players, if you follow Mr. Ridges method, you get an average error of 4.59 Win Shares, almost all of which is accounted for by the numbers being too low. The players in the study averaged 70 Runs Scored and 68 RBI, thus 13.77 Q&DWS (Quick and Dirty Win Shares). Their actual Win Shares averaged 17.61. so the expected average is 3.9 less than the actual Win Shares, thus almost every player was too low, and the average error was 4.59.

If we divide by 9, rather than 10, then the Q&DWS average increases to 15.30, and the average error drops to 3.80. But the actual ratio of runs&RBI to Win Shares is not NINE to one; it is actually a little less than EIGHT to one. So if we divide the R&RBI by 8, rather than 9 or 10, then the Q&DWS average increases to 17.22, and the average error drops to 3.38.

Now, 3.38 is still a fairly large error, and if you want, you can stop listening now because we’re not going to be able to improve it very much more. But I had the thought at that point that the ratio of Runs and RBI to Win Shares had to be different for a catcher than for a Designated Hitter, so maybe we could use that to improve the Q&DWS estimates.

I figured the ratio of R&RBI to Win Shares for players at each position:

C- 7.01 to 1

1B- 8.30 to 1

2B- 7.43 to 1

3B- 7.78 to 1

SS- 7.47 to 1

LF- 8.04 to 1

CF- 7.66 to 1

RF- 7.98 to 1

DH- 9.99 to 1

So let’s modify the Q&D estimates in consideration of the defensive position. For shortstops, second basemen and catchers, we’ll divide by 7. For Designated Hitters, we’ll divide by 10. For all other players, we’ll divide by eight.

That improves the estimates a little bit, reducing the average error (which was 3.38) to 3.33.

And then I had another thought. It must be true that Gold Glove Fielders outperform the average, right? Has to be true.

So I checked that out, and that turned out to be true. There were a little more than 700 Gold Glove fielders in the study. They had an average Q&DWS of 21.53, but an average actual Win Shares of 23.68. The Gold Glove was worth two Win Shares, on average. This was perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of this study. . . the fact that a Gold Glove scans out at about 2 Win Shares.

So I did one more run. The Q&DWS were:

Runs Scored + RBI

Divided by the Position Ratio Number

+2 if the player won the Gold Glove

That’s still a pretty simple method, but it still has an average error of 3.32.

Of course there are many other things that we could do to further refine the estimates, but the point of a Quick and Dirty Estimate is that it is Quick. We’re stretching the meaning of "Quick" here; we can’t really stretch it any further. I would guess that, if you just use "8" rather than "10", the estimate is about the same as the rule that Wins=Win Shares for pitchers. Over and out.

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## COMMENTS (5 Comments, most recent shown first)

Brock HankeI noticed a couple of Quick and Dirty things about the list. 1) The list mirrors the Defensive Spectrum, and 2) The lower the number on the list, the less chance the player was hitting in the middle of the lineup. These are no doubt related.

2:11 AM Mar 5thJohn-Q“CharlesSaeger

Does dividing R+RBI-HR give better or worse results“

It depends what you use as a divisor. You’re making the dividend smaller by subtracting HR from r+rbi.

I was thinking Total Bases/10 might be an easier way. That probably wouldn’t work for high Walk-low power guys.

1:16 PM Feb 19thCharlesSaegerDoes dividing R+RBI-HR give better or worse results?

9:00 AM Feb 19thabiggoofI understand Win Shares as essentially Runs Created taken further to account for fielding, pitching, and team success -- a huge accomplishment, but at its heart the same idea magnified and tied to wins. The Q&D RC I grew up with is R+RBI-HR. I had a pen and dice simulation league where I chose position player all stars based on what you could say was a Q&D WS or slightly more advanced RC -- R+RBI-HR, then figuring out the number of WS for the team's hitters as a total, and the % of RC for each hitter on the team. So if a guy had 15% of his team's RC, and the team's WS for hitters was 80 at that point, he'd have 12 WS. It passed the smell test. Sure, you had Killebrew types whose fielding and running didn't hurt them enough, and others who didn't get enough credit, but the best leadoff hitters did just fine, with more PA and tons of runs. Pitching was a little trickier, but then, it usually is... I think I calculated each pitcher's predicted share based on innings, and adjusted it based on their ERA compared to the team's ERA.

11:06 AM Feb 18thJohn-QHow about if you add Walks to the equation and then divide by 10?

(R+RBI+BB)/10

R. Maris had (132+141+94)=367. Divide that by 10 and it gives you 37 if you round up. R. Maris had 36 win shares in 1961.

I would think you’d want a lager dividend so you can make it easier by dividing that number by 10. I was thinking that adding hits would make the dividend too large

It works in Maris’ case but I don’t know how accurate it is with other players. I don’t think it works for high batting average low walk guys like D. Parker. D. Parker ‘78 had (102+117+57)=276. Parker had 37

Win shares so that doesn’t work. I was thinking of adding D. Parker’s hits instead of walks. That gives you (102+117+194)=413/10. That gives you 41. Closer to 37 but high.

I was thinking Total Bases/10 might be another quick and easy estimate. Maris had 366 Total Bases in 1961. Divide that by 10 and you get 37 if you round up. D. Parker ‘78 Total Bases were 340. 340/10 is closer to 37 win shares.

10:45 AM Feb 18th