The Top 30 Hitting Seasons in the Last 25 Years
In baseball, we often run into one big problem when trying to compare the great hitting seasons: steroids.
Yes, we have to account for when that player did what he did? Was it in the steroid era or not? Was he rumored or proven to have been a user of steroids?
This is all true, but regardless of that, it's already quite difficult to judge which season is better than another or which season should have a place atop the best individual performances in recent years. That's what makes it so nice to have analytics.
Advanced statistics and sabermetrics allow us as fans, analysts and the like to look at players and seasons side-by-side. One of the main ones we see used today is Wins Above Replacement, or WAR.
WAR is a single number that summarizes a player's total contributions to their team. It is all-inclusive and truly represents a player's worth, based on their production.
Depending on where you're looking, WAR could be calculated in completely different ways. Here, we're going to use FanGraphs' formula because it takes into account weighted on-base percentage (wOBA), home park factor and the league-average wOBA, among others.
As you'll see, we will also be listing each player's weighted runs created plus, or wRC+, which is not taken into account in WAR. Basically, this attempts to credit a hitter for the value of each outcome (single, double, etc.) rather than treating them as just a hit is a hit.
Using WAR, though, we found exactly 31 players (including ties) with a WAR of 8.9 or higher, dating back to 1992. Of those players, which one had the single best season of the past 25 seasons?
Check it out.