Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, is a useful, all-inclusive stat that helps us understand how much better (or worse) a player is in comparison with his hypothetical replacement.
Well, not necessarily how much better he is, but instead, how much more (or less) he has contributed to his team over a specific timeframe.
WAR includes hitting, defense, and baserunning contributions, so it’s a pretty good tool to evaluate how a player has fared in a season.
In this case, the 2022 St. Louis Cardinals have the National League leaders in WAR when it comes to position players.
Yes, you read that right: Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt rank first and second in the NL in WAR.
“2022 NL Batting WAR Leaders: Nolan Arenado (7.7); Paul Goldschmidt (7.6); Manny Machado (6.6); Austin Riley (6.1),” Baseball Reference tweeted.
2022 NL Batting WAR Leaders:
Nolan Arenado (7.7)
Paul Goldschmidt (7.6)
Manny Machado (6.6)
Austin Riley (6.1)
All Leaders: https://t.co/LGY21QYTmj pic.twitter.com/eaZEer9M1a
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) September 26, 2022
The Top Two NL Producers
Not only do they both lead the league, but they are also doing so with a comfortable margin.
Not surprisingly, they are the primary favorites to win the NL MVP award.
In fact, Goldschmidt is.
The first baseman has contributed more with his bat than with the glove, but he is a very good fielder nonetheless.
In his best season as a pro (which is impressive, since he is 35) Goldschmidt is slashing .317/.404/.584 with 35 home runs.
Arenado, who earns a bigger grade with his glove, is also a terrific hitter.
He is hitting a cool .295/.358/.540 with 30 long-balls to his name.
Both players have been extremely influential in the Cards’ 2022 success.
The team is 89-65 and close to wrapping up the NL Central title.
They have a 6.5-game cushion over the Milwaukee Brewers, and they have Arenado and Goldschmidt to thank.