Daily Distractions: Going to WAR over the Dodgers’ worst position.

Nick Punto

Is infielder Nick Punto part of the Dodgers’ solution or part of the problem? (Getty Images)

What has been the least productive position for the Dodgers this season? Third base? Shortstop?

Guess again.

FanGraphs.com recently calculated the WAR (wins above replacement) for every team by position. (For an explanation of the frequently misunderstood statistic, which is calculated differently by FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com and has gained popularity in recent years, click here.) According to FanGraphs’ WAR, second base has been the least productive position for the Dodgers this year.

In fact, only five teams have gotten less out of the position than the Dodgers, in terms of offense, baserunning and defense. Mark Ellis (17), Nick Punto (10) and Skip Schumaker (6) are the only three Dodgers who have started games at second base this season.

The Dodgers’ best position, relatively speaking, is first base. Only the Reds and Tigers have gotten more WAR out of the position this season.

The chart has its limits. Take the Angels, for example. Add up their position-by-position WAR, and they should have the fourth-best team in baseball. In reality the Angels are 10 games under .500. The Baltimore Orioles are tied for first place in the American League East, yet their combined WAR ranks 21st in the majors.

This is why you play the games.

More bullet points for a Thursday morning:
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