Major League Record Book: WAR in a Season (Hitters)

Remember from earlier record book posts, WAR is “Wins Above Replacement,” a number that is intended to encapsulate a player’s net worth to his team, combining hitting, fielding, and baserunning. ATVL uses baseball-reference’s numbers. Eight or more is an MVP season, five and up is an All-Star, and two+ is a starter.

2006-2018
1 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2013 5.9
2 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2015 4.6
Dan Murphy Luray ’04-5 2016 4.6
4 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2016 4.1
5 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2012 4.0
6 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2012 3.4
7 Dan Murphy Luray ’04-5 2011 3.0
8 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2011 2.9
9 Jon Jay Staunton ’04 2014 2.8
Dan Murphy Luray ’04-5 2017 2.8
11 Collin Cowgill Covington ’05 2014 2.2

The top ten have been covered, so let’s look at Collin Cowgill‘s 2014 season with the Los Angeles Angels. Collin hit 250/330/354 in 106 games and 260 at-bats, with 10 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 37 runs scored, 21 RBIs, 4 stolen bases, and a 26/74 BB/K ratio. To date, this is Collin’s best major league season. (He spent 2018 at Lehigh Valley, the Phillies’ Triple-A team in the International League. He’s currently a free agent.)

All-Time
1 Brett Gardner New Market ’03-04 2010 7.3
2 Chris Hoiles Harrisonburg 1993 6.8
3 Reggie Sanders Winchester ’87 1995 6.6
4 Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2013 5.9
5 Steve Finley Harrisonburg ’85 1992 5.7
Steve Finley Harrisonburg ’85 1996 5.7
Aubrey Huff Staunton ’97 2010 5.7
8 Mo Vaughn Harrisonburg ’87 1996 5.6
Mo Vaughn Harrisonburg ’87 1998 5.6
10 David Eckstein Harrisonburg ’95-6 2002 5.2
11 Steve Finley Harrisonburg ’85 1991 5.1
12 Mike Lowell Waynesboro ’93 2007 5.0
13 Steve Finley Harrisonburg ’85 1999 4.9
Brandon Inge Waynesboro ’96 2006 4.9
Brett Gardner New Market ’03-04 2017 4.9
16 John Kruk New Market ’81 1991 4.7
John Kruk New Market ’81 1993 4.7
18 Gene Richards Harrisonburg 1980 4.6
Jason Kipnis Covington ’06-7 2015 4.6
Dan Murphy Luray ’05 2016 4.6

The 2nd best individual season in the Valley League’s major league history belongs to Chris Hoiles, who hit 310/416/585 in 1993 while catching for the Baltimore Orioles. He scored 80 runs, drove in 82, and hit 28 doubles, 29 home runs, and had a 69/94 BB/K ratio. He finished with a 162 OPS+ and 16th in the MVP vote. I may have seen him hit a home run that year in Baltimore…

 

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