So, I introduce to you the "WAR Set".
WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement and was a stat developed for sabermetrics to use a numerical value to summarize how well a player performed over the average "replacement player". The formulas that these statisticians use boggle my mind but if you are interested you can read more about the WAR stat here
Here are the guidelines I've set for the WAR Set:
1. I am aiming for this set to be as large as I can make it
2. Only one card per card number
3. Base cards only. No parallels or inserts
4. Cards will be chosen based on the WAR rating of the depicted player for the season in which the set was printed.
5. All WAR stats will com from Baseball-Reference.com
6. No card is set in stone. Cards can be replaced after each season
7. I will do a blog post each time I add a card to the set.
8. No Braves cards unless I have a duplicate
9. No cards with multiple players featured
The purpose is to create a set highlighting the best individual seasons by card number.
Without further ado, lets start out with card #1:
2007 Topps #1 John Lackey
6.3 Wins Above Replacement
With the struggles that John Lackey has faced this season with the Red Sox, it's a wonder how he ever put together a good enough season to get a card in the WAR set. I'm sure the Red Sox were hoping for Lackey to put up 2007-like numbers when they signed him to a 5-year/$82.5 million contract in 2010.
Playing for the Anaheim Angels in 2007, John Lackey finished with 19-9 record and an AL best 3.01 ERA. He was the first pitcher in MLB to win 10 games in 2007 and was voted to his first and only All-Star game. Lackey finished the season 3rd in Cy Young voting and 17th in the AL MVP race.
John Lackey may not be #1 in the hearts of Red Sox nation but he is #1 in the WAR Set. (by card number of course)
Loves to pitch against Jim Thome: 0 for 18 with 7 strikeouts (.182 OPS)
Loathes to face Josh Hamilton: 11 for 23 with 3 home runs (1.469 OPS)
This year's cards still in the running for this spot:
2011 Topps #1 Ryan Braun (current WAR = 4.7)