Baseball is a game of inches. It's also a game of numbers and statistics, and one of the primary metrics used to measure and evaluate player performance is wins above replacement—or WAR for short.
While WAR has its fair share of critics and certainly isn't a be-all, end-all statistic, there are plenty of reasons it has become arguably baseball's go-to metric in recent years. The biggest one? WAR allows us to roll all aspects of the sport—hitting, baserunning, defense and pitching—into one easy-to-use figure in order to compare players across positions, leagues and eras.
To prove that WAR actually does a pretty good job of telling us who's better and who's best, we highlighted the leaders in the statistic at each position dating back to the start of the 2013 season, according to Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, the primary providers of the metric. Beyond the top spot at every position, there are a few honorable mentions along the way, too.
Because when it comes to WAR, or any statistic for that matter, not everything is cut and dry.
Statistics come from Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, except where otherwise noted. WAR totals are accurate as of Friday, May 18. In cases where a player has played multiple positions, he is listed at the one where he's spent the most time across the 2013 and 2014 seasons.