Where would the Oakland Athletics be without Ramón Laureano? As it turns out, they might not be in first place, as they currently are, even after starting the season 0-6.
The A’s dynamic center fielder makes it obvious, even to casual observers, that he helps Oakland win — he hits timely home runs, grabs crucial, highlight-reel catches and also makes plays with a high degree of difficulty appear routine.
But here’s some actual data, courtesy of High Heat Stats. Over the previous 162 games, Laureano leads Major League Baseball in Win Probability Added.
Check out the details here via a tweet from High Heat Stats.
Laureano is No. 1, and the super high-priced Bryce Harper is No. 2. Now that’s prime Moneyball. Harper signed a 13 year deal for $330 million in 2019, and Laureano is on a 1-year deal for $580,500.
Plus, the Athletics are two games ahead of the Astros in the American League West, and that’s the team Oakland acquired Laureano from, back in 2017 via trade. That’s not quite “prime Moneyball Part 2,” but it’s close.
But what I love most about this stat is that it confirms the obvious. It’s not that the data is a waste of time — far from it. While it’s clear that Laureano makes a huge impact, it wasn’t clear that he’s a larger difference maker than any other player. That’s special, and it definitely gives Laureano something to bring to the negotiation table when he hits arbitration in the offseason.
(Photo credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports)