This week, we take a look at the best hitter-pitcher combo in the American League.
I'm one who believes total value wins championships. Not pitching, not defense and not a power bat. If you have the overall balance and more total value, you're the best.
So, then, it would be important to have both a solid bat (who can play defense, but that's not factored in here) and an ace on the mound. A door slammer if you will.
There are a few things I valued highly when sorting these rankings. Some of them will be viewed as unconventional to some readers, and that's fine. I welcome any and all comments below.
For batters, I used an advanced metric called Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+). The link can explain this to you far better than I can. In a nut shell, though, wRC+ is a park and league adjusted stat that combines everything a player does to contribute to runs scored.
Why is this better than conventional stats? It's not Player A's fault no one is ever in scoring position when he gets a hit, so RBI is kind of sneaky in that it doesn't tell the whole story. Same with Player B who always gets stranded at third. His run total isn't revealing everything.
For pitchers, I went with Fangraph's version of WAR. Pretty much every way I looked at pitchers, they shook out in the same order. I put very little stock into stats like wins for pitchers, but having to defend that became a lot less likely now that Felix Hernandez won a Cy Young with such a low win total.
For both pitchers and hitters, I made some adjustments for expected regression due to age, luck etc.
Now that we have that stuff out of the way, let's get to the results.