Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Players with the most WAR for their current club

MLB.com @williamfleitch

One of the great things about baseball is that history is always being made. Every hit, every pitch, every out, it's all documented, and it's all compared to everything that came before it and everything that will someday come. When you are watching your team, you are watching players you'll be thinking about, in one way or another, the rest of your life.

So, today we are looking at the players on each active roster who are making history for their franchises every time they step on the field. We're looking at the player who has compiled the highest WAR (per Baseball Reference) for his current team so far in his career. This doesn't mean the player who has the highest career bWAR in his entire career; Robinson Cano isn't the pick for the Mets, for example. It's the one who has provided the most value in his career for his current team. The great thing about this: They'll be adding to this every day, and, when they're done, they'll end up being a legend in their own town. And you were there to see it all.

One of the great things about baseball is that history is always being made. Every hit, every pitch, every out, it's all documented, and it's all compared to everything that came before it and everything that will someday come. When you are watching your team, you are watching players you'll be thinking about, in one way or another, the rest of your life.

So, today we are looking at the players on each active roster who are making history for their franchises every time they step on the field. We're looking at the player who has compiled the highest WAR (per Baseball Reference) for his current team so far in his career. This doesn't mean the player who has the highest career bWAR in his entire career; Robinson Cano isn't the pick for the Mets, for example. It's the one who has provided the most value in his career for his current team. The great thing about this: They'll be adding to this every day, and, when they're done, they'll end up being a legend in their own town. And you were there to see it all.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: Kevin Pillar, 14.3 WAR

Pillar is actually the 30th-best Blue Jay of all time, if you can believe that. He's also the biggest contributor left from the 2015-16 ALCS teams.

Orioles: Chris Davis, 15.6 WAR

The Orioles are going to have a lot of new faces this year, and Davis, like Pillar, is the main link to their playoff teams of a few years ago.

Rays: Kevin Kiermaier, 24.0 WAR

Kiermaier is already the fourth-best Ray ever, according to bWAR, behind only Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Carl Crawford.

Video: Kiermaier is Wilson Defensive POY in center field

Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia, 52.1 WAR

He only played three games last year -- he still gets a ring! -- but is hoping to be back for Opening Day this season.

Yankees: Brett Gardner, 37.5 WAR

This will be Gardner's 12th year in pinstripes. He ended up outlasting a lot of really big names and has had an underrated career. He has more WAR for the Yankees than Dave Winfield, Paul O'Neill, and Hideki Matsui, among many others.

AL CENTRAL

Indians: Corey Kluber, 33.6 WAR

He's been the subject of trade rumors, so if he is traded, Carlos Santana is next on the list (24.3) with Francisco Lindor (23.9) and Jose Ramirez right behind him (22.0).

Video: Kluber takes third place for 2018 AL Cy Young Award

Royals: Alex Gordon, 35.2 WAR

Yep, he's still here, and well ahead of Salvador Perez (22.2).

Tigers: Miguel Cabrera, 51.2 WAR

He never got the World Series title in Detroit that he got in Miami, but Cabrera will someday glide into the Hall of Fame wearing a Tigers cap.

Twins: Kyle Gibson, 9.3 WAR

Suffice it to say, the Twins thought someone on this roster would be ahead of Gibson by now.

White Sox: Jose Abreu, 18.7 WAR

His numbers have fallen off a little since his breakthrough rookie season, but he's still been a staple at first base for more than half a decade now.

AL WEST

Angels: Mike Trout, 64.3 WAR

Second place? Andrelton Simmons (17.4). Third place? Kole Calhoun (13.6).

Astros: Jose Altuve, 35.1 WAR

Altuve is on pace to be the second-best Astro of all time, and has an outside chance of passing Jeff Bagwell for the top spot, at 79.9.

Athletics: Matt Chapman, 11.7 WAR

Another year like the last one, and Chapman will surpass the value that both Josh Donaldson and Josh Reddick gave the A's in their entire runs in town.

Video: Chapman wins Wilson Defensive Player of the Year

Mariners: Felix Hernandez, 51.0 WAR

He's not the pitcher he once was, but let's remember that his career WAR is basically Hall of Fame-level. (Jack Morris, inducted in 2018, had 43.9 career WAR.) Note: Ichiro Suzuki will suit up for Seattle during the Japan Series against the Oakland Athletics on March 20-21. He owns a 56.3 WAR with the Mariners, although whether he plays for the club back on U.S. soil is still to be seen.

Rangers: Elvis Andrus, 30.0 WAR

Even though it seems like he's been here forever, he is still only 30 years old.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Freddie Freeman, 33.1 WAR

He'll pass Joe Torre (33.2) on the list this year, and is within striking distance of Dale Murphy (47.3).

Marlins: J.T. Realmuto, 13.0 WAR

If they trade him, the leader is Martin Prado at 7.7. After him? Would you believe Miguel Rojas (5.4)?

Mets: Jacob deGrom, 25.7 WAR

Among hitters, the leader is actually Juan Lagares (12.8). And Michael Conforto (9.1) is ahead of Yoenis Cespedes (8.4).

Video: Jacob deGrom wins 2018 NL Cy Young Award

Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman, 38.0 WAR

The original Nat would still be first even if Bryce Harper re-signs (27.4).

Phillies: Aaron Nola, 16.5 WAR

Even allotting for bWAR's notorious love for Nola, he'd still be in first if we rated him via Fangraphs' version of WAR.

NL CENTRAL

Brewers: Ryan Braun, 46.4 WAR

Braun is right behind Robin Yount (77.3) and Paul Molitor (60.0) as head and shoulders over anyone else who has ever played for the Brewers.

Cardinals: Yadier Molina, 38.9 WAR

And considering how much trouble bWAR has rating catchers, this is doubly impressive.

Cubs: Anthony Rizzo, 29.2 WAR

The longest-tenured Cub, he was a Cub before it was cool to be a Cub.

Pirates: Starling Marte, 26.2 WAR

His bounceback season gives him a chance to catch Andrew McCutchen at 39.3 someday down the line.

Reds: Joey Votto, 58.8 WAR

Remember, Votto is the answer to almost all Reds-related questions.

Video: SD@CIN: Votto slugs grand slam to give Reds 7-0 lead

NL WEST

D-backs: Zack Greinke, 12.5 WAR

The question here, of course, is how long he remains a Diamondback.

Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw, 62.1 WAR

A Dodgers legend already, with many years left to come after signing a new deal this offseason.

Video: Kershaw returning to Dodgers on three-year deal

Giants: Buster Posey, 41.3 WAR

The Giants are about to undergo many changes, but it's difficult to imagine Posey not a part of whatever they are going forward.

Padres: Wil Myers, 9.0 WAR

Second place is already Manuel Margot (4.6).

Rockies: Nolan Arenado, 33.1 WAR

Arenado is already the fourth-best Rockie of all time, and he might pass Troy Tulowitzki (39.4) this year, in what could be his final season in Colorado before hitting free agency. He has a long way to go to get to Todd Helton (61.2) and Larry Walker (48.3), though. If he re-signs, he has a chance.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.