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Northwoods League All-WAR Team


While Major League Baseball’s greatest stars travelled west for the 2022 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, the Northwoods League’s best and brightest competed in the league’s annual All-Star Game Tuesday in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. The squads were selected through league-wide vote, and although each all-star has shined on the field, some of the league’s best players were left out of the festivities.

All-Star snubs are a common occurrence. St. Louis Cardinals’ second baseman Tommy Edman has enjoyed a breakout season, putting up 4.5 rWAR, the third highest total of all major league position players. Dylan Cease has twirled an MLB leading 150 strikeouts to go along with a 2.15 ERA. Due to the nature of Northwoods League voting, many players have flown under the radar, lacking flashy numbers but putting up strong advanced metrics.

In observance of this, I have created brand new All-WAR teams, using the same roster size and structure as the Northwoods League, just with my created Win Above Replacement as the only factor in selection.

 

 

Great Lakes Division

All-WAR All Stars – These players have made both the Northwoods League All-Star team and my honorary All-WAR team.


C Matthew DePrey – Lakeshore Chinooks via Xavier University

.357/.419/.531, 5 HR 29 RBI, 1.5 WAR


C Josh Caron – Madison Mallards via University of Nebraska

.288/.389/.466, 6 HR 28 RBI, 1.5 WAR


1B Brendan Bobo – Wisconsin Rapids Rafters via CSU Fullerton

.282/.422/.530, 11 HR 37 RBI, 2.0 WAR


SS Ben Ross – Wisconsin Rapids Rafters via Notre Dame College

.421/.502/.649, 10 HR 39 RBI, 3.7 WAR


SS Griffin O’Ferrall – Kalamazoo Growlers via University of Virginia

.343/.452/.448, 1 HR 23 RBI, 1.5 WAR


OF Nick Mitchell – Fond du Lac Dock Spiders via Western Illinois University

.379/.417/.516, 1 HR 36 RBI, 2.4 WAR


OF Patrick Mills – Battle Creek Battle Jacks via Indiana University Kokomo

.291/.402/.445, 2 HR 35 RBI, 1.7 WAR


OF Garrett Martin – Lakeshore Chinooks via Oklahoma State University

.295/.461/.562, 8 HR 29 RBI, 1.7 WAR


RHP Clark Candiotti – Kenosha Kingfish via Wichita State University

50 IP, 2.70 ERA 1.32 WHIP 3.43 FIP, 1.5 WAR


LHP Eric Chalus – Lakeshore Chinooks via Kent State University

38 IP, 1.89 ERA 0.82 WHIP 2.77 FIP, 1.4 WAR


LHP Aren Gustafson – Traverse City Pit Spitters via Olivet Nazarene University

45 IP, 3.00 ERA 1.24 WHIP 3.30 FIP, 1.4 WAR


RHP Ty Rybarczyk – Rockford Rivets via University of Illinois

44.2 IP, 1.61 ERA 0.90 WHIP 3.56 FIP, 1.3 WAR


LHP Kyle Seebach – Rockford Rivets via Northern Illinois University

44.2 IP, 2.42 ERA 1.34 WHIP 3.52 FIP, 1.3 WAR


LHP Derek Clark – Traverse City Pit Spitters via Northwood University

41.2 IP, 2.38 ERA 0.79 WHIP 3.19 FIP, 1.2 WAR


RHP Dylan Carter – Green Bay Rocker via University of Arkansas

53.2 IP, 2.85 ERA 1.01 WHIP 4.44 FIP, 1.1 WAR


 

All-WAR Snubs

C Hunter Dorraugh – Wausau Woodchucks via San Jose State University

.320/.463/.523, 6 HR 22 RBI, 1.9 WAR

–to replace–

1B Jacob Igawa – Wisconsin Rapids Rafters via University of Hawaii

.279/.355/.394, 4 HR 36 RBI, 0.6 WAR


2B Fisher Pyatt – Battle Creek Battle Jacks via San Diego State University

.241/.418/.353, 2 HR 23 RBI, 1.1 WAR

–to replace–

2B Sam Kirkpatrick – Kalamazoo Growlers via Belmont University

.291/.415/.355, 1 HR 23 RBI, 0.9 WAR


3B Liam Moreno – Madison Mallards via Missouri State University

.321/.467/.381, 1 HR 9 RBI, 1.1 WAR

–to replace–

3B Grant Broussard – Wisconsin Rapids Rafters via Utah Valley University

.235/.321/.347, 3 HR 30 RBI, 0.1 WAR


OF Trey Lipsey – Kalamazoo Growlers via Ohio State University

.340/.489/.490, 1 HR 18 RBI, 2.0 WAR

–to replace–

OF Ty Crittenberger – Rockford Rivets via Western Kentucky University

.278/.424/.424, 3 HR 27 RBI, 1.2 WAR


OF Parker Stinson – Kenosha Kingfish via Indiana State University

.302/.442/.487, 4 HR 24 RBI, 2.0 WAR

–to replace–

3B Matthew Mebane – Rockford Rivets via South Georgia State College

.251/.303/.425, 7 HR 40 RBI, -0.3 WAR


OF Ryan Dykstra – Kalamazoo Growlers via Oakland University

.268/.455/.362, 0 HR 28 RBI, 1.7 WAR

–to replace–

3B Brent Widder – Wausau Woodchucks via University of Evansville

.291/.392/.404, 2 HR 20 RBI, 0.9 WAR


1B Owen Jackson – Green Bay Rockers via University of Toledo

.346/.470/.593, 4 HR 20 RBI, 1.4 WAR

–to replace–

1B Grant Hussey – Fond du Lac Dock Spiders via West Virginia University

.263/.327/.444, 4 HR 24 RBI, 0.3 WAR


RHP Dan Wright – Madison Mallards via Iowa Western Community College

37 IP, 1.46 ERA 0.89 WHIP 2.36 FIP, 1.5 WHIP

–to replace–

RHP Mitch Mueller – Lakeshore Chinooks via Parkland College

21 IP, 0.86 ERA 0.86 WHIP 2.56 FIP, 0.6 WAR


RHP Ross Thompson – Rockford Rivets via Heidelberg University

48.1 IP, 5.03 ERA 1.39 WHIP 3.35 FIP, 1.5 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Grant Manning – Wisconsin Rapids Rafters via Chapman University

29 IP, 1.86 ERA 0.86 WHIP 3.59 FIP, 0.7 WAR


RHP Caleb Lanoux – Battle Creek Battle Jacks via Middle Georgia State University

38 IP, 2.61 ERA 1.18 WHIP 2.51 FIP, 1.1 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Grayson Thurman – Kenosha Kingfish via Lynchburg University

26 IP, 0.69 ERA 1.19 WHIP 3.00 FIP, 0.6 WAR


RHP Mason Patel – Traverse City Pit Spitters via Georgia State University

32.1 IP, 3.62 ERA 1.27 WHIP 3.38 FIP, 1.0 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Bryce Woody – Madison Mallards via Lincoln Memorial University

24.2 IP, 2.19 ERA 1.14 WHIP 2.66 FIP, 0.7 WAR


RHP Scott Rouse – Lakeshore Chinooks via Ohio Dominican University

35 IP, 2.57 ERA 1.29 WHIP 3.66 FIP, 1.0 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Steven Lacey – Madison Mallards via Delta State University

23.1 IP, 1.93 ERA 0.73 WHIP 3.61 FIP, 0.4 WAR


 

Finally, the Great Lakes Division has one additional pitcher, Richard Kiel, in order to represent the Kokomo Jackrabbits. Instead of just removing this player, I will replace him with Kokomo’s leader in WAR, Hector Garcia, who was on pace to make the All-WAR team before his summer ended early.


RHP Hector Garcia – Kokomo Jackrabbits via Hope International University

25.2 IP, 2.81 ERA 1.87 WHIP 2.40 FIP, 0.8 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Richard Kiel – Kokomo Jackrabbits via Menlo College

36.1 IP, 5.70 ERA 1.46 WHIP 4.70 FIP, 0.3 WAR


 

Great Plains Division

All-WAR All Stars – These players have made both the Northwoods League All-Star team and my honorary All-WAR team.


C Drey Dirksen – Willmar Stingers via Augustana University

.295/.396/.508, 7 HR 31 RBI, 1.0 WAR


3B Trevor Austin – St. Cloud Rox via Mercer University

.326/.453/.404, 1 HR 29 RBI, 1.4 WAR


SS Kristian Campbell – Duluth Huskies via Georgia Institute of Technology

.351/.461/.481, 2 HR 36 RBI, 2.1 WAR


OF Sean Ross – Mankato MoonDogs via Indiana State University

.406/.500/.631, 7 HR 43 RBI, 3.2 WAR


OF John Nett – St. Cloud Rox via St. Cloud State University

.383/.505/.521, 3 HR 23 RBI, 2.8 WAR


OF Ryan Guardino – Waterloo Bucks via Tennessee Tech University

.343/.459/.540, 8 HR 35 RBI, 2.3 WAR


OF Nico Regino – Rochester Honkers via Charleston Southern University

.339/.461/.435, 1 HR 22 RBI, 1.4 WAR


OF Landon Wallace – La Crosse Loggers via West Virginia University

.315/.420/.508, 4 HR 24 RBI, 1.2 WAR


RHP Jack Habeck – Willmar Stingers via St. Cloud State University

54.1 IP, 1.33 ERA 0.98 WHIP 4.14 FIP, 1.3 WAR


RHP Sam Malec – Willmar Stingers via University of Minnesota

43.2 IP, 4.95 ERA 1.51 WHIP 4.54 FIP, 0.8 WAR


 

All-WAR Snubs


C Michael Carico – Rochester Honkers via Davidson College

.263/.482/.447, 3 HR 18 RBI, 1.4 WAR

–to replace–

C Eduardo Rosario – Duluth Huskies via University of Nebraska Omaha

.333/.409/.404, 0 HR 30 RBI, 0.7 WAR


1B Will Hodo – Willmar Stingers via University of Alabama

.294/.423/.505, 4 HR 26 RBI, 1.2 WAR

–to replace–

1B Charlie Condon – St. Cloud Rox via University of Georgia

.274/.356/.486, 7 HR 49 RBI, 0.8 WAR


2B Brice Matthews – St. Cloud Rox via University of Nebraska

.286/.470/.504, 5 HR 22 RBI, 2.0 WAR

–to replace–

2B Boston Merila – Mankato MoonDogs via University of Minnesota

.308/.415/.375, 1 HR 15 RBI, 0.8 WAR


SS A.J. Barraza – Bismarck Larks via CSU San Bernadino

.255/.474/.292, 0 HR 13 RBI, 1.4 WAR

–to replace–

SS Cameron Cromer – Waterloo Bucks via University of Northern Colorado

.305/.396/.336, 0 HR 11 RBI, 0.5 WAR


2B Jonathan Vastine – Duluth Huskies via Vanderbilt University

.305/.491/.451, 1 HR 10 RBI, 1.3 RBI

–to replace–

2B Ben Vujovich – Minnesota Mud Puppies via University of St. Thomas

.325/.418/.429, 1 HR 16 RBI, 0.7 WAR


OF Carson Hornung – La Crosse Loggers via University of South Carolina

.311/.435/.481, 2 HR 25 RBI, 1.4 WAR

-to replace–

OF Tai Walton – Waterloo Bucks via University of Hawaii

.281/.360/.461, 2 HR 10 RBI, 0.4 WAR


OF Ethan Mann – St. Cloud Rox via Dallas Baptist University

.261/.430/.500, 5 HR 31 RBI, 1.13 WAR

–to replace–

OF Joey Walls – Willmar Stingers via University of Nevada Las Vegas

.267/.340/.474, 5 HR 26 RBI, 0.6 WAR


RHP Donovan Schultz – Mankato MoonDogs via University of Evansville

38.1 IP, 2.11 ERA 1.04 WHIP 2.94 FIP, 1.4 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Hunter Day – St. Cloud Rox via Tarleton State University

36 IP, 2.75 ERA 1.28 WHIP 5.87 FIP, 0.3 WAR


RHP Drew Buhr – Mankato MoonDogs via Bellarmine University

36.1 IP, 4.21 ERA 1.21 WHIP 3.37 FIP, 1.2 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Thaniel Trumper – Rochester Honkers via Doane College

19.2 IP, 3.20 ERA 1.17 WHIP 2.92 FIP, 0.5 WAR


RHP Jake Hamilton – Duluth Huskies via Oklahoma Baptist University

30 IP, 2.70 ERA 1.23 WHIP 2.97 FIP, 1.1 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Jake Christianson – Duluth Huskies via Feather River College

21.2 IP, 0.83 ERA 0.69 WHIP 1.87 FIP, 0.76 WAR


RHP Joseph Battaglia – St. Cloud Rox via Southern University and A&M College

33.1 IP, 1.89 ERA 1.14 WHIP 3.37 FIP, 1.1 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Tyson Neighbors – Mankato MoonDogs via Kansas State University

17 IP, 1.06 ERA 1.00 WHIP 2.98 FIP, 0.4 WAR


RHP David Rodriguez – Rochester Honkers via San Joaquin Delta College

32 IP, 3.66 ERA 1.34 WHIP 2.53 FIP, 1.1 WAR

–to replace–

LHP Edwin Colon – Bismarck Larks via Northwestern Oklahoma State University

18.2 IP, 2.41 ERA 1.82 WHIP 4.95 FIP, 0.1 WAR


RHP Devin Dodson – Duluth Huskies via Friends University

43 IP, 3.77 ERA 1.26 WHIP 4.24 FIP, 1.0 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Matt Helwig – Eau Claire Express via Lewis University

22 IP, 0.00 ERA 0.68 WHIP 2.99 FIP, 0.5 WAR


LHP Connor Harrison – La Crosse Loggers via University of Hawaii

40 IP, 4.73 ERA 1.35 WHIP 3.93 FIP, 1.0 WAR

–to replace–

RHP Chase Grillo – St. Cloud Rox via Washington State University

13.2 IP, 1.32 ERA 0.73 WHIP 3.01 FIP, 0.3 WAR


RHP Pat Miner – Duluth Huskies via Arkansas Tech University

44 IP, 4.70 ERA 1.41 WHIP 4.06 FIP, 0.9 WAR

–to replace–

LHP Chase Chatman – La Crosse Loggers via Florida Southwestern State College

35.2 IP, 4.29 ERA 1.40 WHIP 4.96 FIP, 0.5 WAR


RHP Ryan Jares – Willmar Stingers via Augustana University

23 IP, 2.74 ERA 1.17 WHIP 2.82 FIP, 0.9 WAR

–to replace–

RHP John Klein – Willmar Stingers via Iowa Central Community College

29 IP, 3.72 ERA 1.48 WHIP 5.24 FIP, 0.3 WAR


LHP Owen Boerema – Mankato MoonDogs via Kansas State University

23 IP, 0.78 ERA 0.74 WHIP 2.73 FIP, 0.834 WAR

–to replace–

LHP Nathan Culley – St. Cloud Rox via Minnesota State University Mankato

28.2 IP, 2.51 ERA 1.36 WHIP 3.65 FIP, 0.829 WAR


 

Similar to Kokomo in the Great Lakes division, my All-WAR team has left out a couple Great Plains teams: Minnesota Mud Puppies (6-17) and Eau Claire Express (28-18). Minnesota only plays a 36 game road schedule to account for the dormant Thunder Bay Border Cats (Canadian COVID restrictions), making it difficult for players to accumulate enough WAR to keep up with the rest of the league. Surprisingly, Eau Claire did not have a representative despite their record, although their 24-22 expected Pythagorean record (+4 xLuck) gives reason to be bearish.

In fairness, I will mention each team’s current WAR leader.


OF Cadyn Schwabe – Eau Claire Express via North Dakota State University

.294/.436/.353, 2 HR 12 RBI, 1.05 WAR

1B Jackson Hauge – Minnesota Mud Puppies via Minnesota State University Mankato

.329/.438/.487, 2 HR 13 RBI, 0.8 WAR


 

 

So, what creates the divide between All-WAR and All-Star? The league’s best players have no issue making it on to both teams, but that was not the case for 31 of the 54 All-WAR players.

The first cause is player availability. In summer ball, by nature, players will come and go all season, often seeing their season cut short for personal reasons or at their collegiate coach’s desire. This is seen most often in pitchers, as Madison’s Dan Wright and Mankato’s Donovan Schultz are two of the many inactive players on the All-WAR team.

Park factors are certainly overlooked in the voting process, and the most extreme example of this can be found in Ty Crittenberger of the Rockford Rivets. Rockford is by far the most hitter friendly ballpark, with an offensive factor of 118.8 and defensive of 120.3. (100 is league average, with higher values indicating increased offense, likely due to park dimensions, elevation, weather, etc.). Let’s take a look at how Crittenberger’s WAR would change if he put up the exact same numbers in a neutral ballpark.


OF Ty Crittenberger – Rockford Rivets via Western Kentucky University

.278/.424/.424, 3 HR 27 RBI, 1.2 WAR -> 1.7 WAR (All-WAR level!)


 

For position players, voters may also be looking at the wrong metrics. Batting average is very prominent in the eyes of most fans, leading them to overlook players with a high on-base percentage. A strong example of this can be seen in the Great Lakes division with Fisher Pyatt and Grant Broussard.


2B Fisher Pyatt – Battle Creek Battle Jacks via San Diego State University

.241/.418/.353, 2 HR 23 RBI, 1.1 WAR (155 PA)

3B Grant Broussard – Wisconsin Rapids Rafters via Utah Valley University

.235/.321/.347, 3 HR 30 RBI, 0.1 WAR (194 PA)


The two players have near identical batting average, slugging percentage, home run rates (Pyatt 1.3%, Broussard 1.5%), weighted stolen bases (Pyatt -0.79, Broussard -1.25), home park factors (Pyatt 92.6, Broussard 94.9). Broussard has played a longer season, with 39 more plate appearances, allowing him more opportunities to accumulate WAR. Despite all of this, Pyatt looks like an all-star while Broussard is near replacement level. This has everything to do with each player’s ability to draw walks. Pyatt’s elite 20% walk rate is 8th in the entire Northwoods League among qualified hitters, while Broussard’s 7.7% is 99th (out of 108). To further prove my point, 7 of the top 10 players in BB% are on the All-WAR team.

Finally, my metric may be negatively affecting relief pitchers. Following the methodology of Fangraphs, the replacement adjustment for starting pitchers is more generous than it is for relievers. This is because an injury to a starting pitcher may result in a new starter being called up from Triple A, which can be a drastic difference in quality. An injury to a closing pitcher does not result in a new closer from Triple A, instead the 8th inning man will likely assume the role. While the Northwoods League does not have a minor league, there are new players being called in as replacements daily. Fangraphs aids relivers slightly with Leverage Index, but the collection of that data would be tiresome and potentially inaccurate. Instead, workhorse starting pitchers have taken their spot on the All-WAR team after throwing 40+ quality innings.

After all, WAR doesn’t always measure a player’s skill, it measures how many wins their contributions on the field add to a team’s total. Naturally, batters with more plate appearances and pitchers with more innings will produce higher WAR totals.

Check back later for in-depth articles on how I calculated WAR for the Northwoods League, as well as other metrics such as Expected Pythagorean Standings and Win Probability Added.

 

 

Jack Banks is the Head Statistician and Analyst for the Battle Creek Battle Jacks and a student at the University of Illinois.

To view this post on Jack’s website, click here.

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