Win Shares a valuable statistic

Win Shares is a fascinating stat, but it is not reliable in predicting the fantasy value of a player?

Updated: February 12, 2004, 12:15 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
Throughout the course of the season, people write me asking for advice about what they should do regarding fantasy transactions. I am always hesitant to speak with any kind of authority in these matters because I haven't had a lot of fantasy experience -- at least in the baseball realm. Last year -- my first playing fantasy in something like 10 seasons -- my team sucked chum off the bottom of the ocean floor for most of the season before rallying late to finish in the money. Given those circumstances, I didn't think I should be doling out advice too liberally. I can certainly handle big picture questions with authority, but telling someone which middle reliever with the 5.15 ERA to keep is a little beyond the limits of my advice giving.

Jason Varitek and Eric Byrnes
Win Shares measure a player's defensive value.
Having said that, over the course of the past week or so, we've been talking about Win Shares, the baseball metric Bill James introduced in the revised edition of the Historical Abstract and also in a book titled, oddly enough, Win Shares. I give a general outline of what the concept is all about here. Naturally, the active fan wants to know: what's in these Win Share things for me? Along these lines, reader Paul Linn of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania writes:

"Win Shares is a fascinating stat, but can it help predict the fantasy value of a player?"

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at