How many WAR would I be worth if I got to play Little League again?
A whole bunch of WAR. It would probably be a record. The late, great comedian Mitch Hedberg once said, “I wish I could play little league now, I’d kick some f***** ass,” and everybody laughed. I didn’t think it was funny, though. It’s not a joke to wonder about just how well you would do if you were back in Little League with the size and smarts of an adult. They wouldn’t be laughing now, that’s for sure. Nobody would be laughing. Let’s start with the obvious: I’m much bigger and stronger than I used to be. I’m not saying I could bench press a car, but if you’re talking about hitting a baseball thrown by a 10-year-old? Uh, yeah, I think I could do that. Come at me, Cayden. Give me your best 45-mph fastball, oh, too late, it’s already drilled into the gap. Over and over again, if I’m not walking, I’m pounding baseballs into the outfield, one right after the other. Unless the line drives are coming right back up the box. And in the field, hot damn, I’m gobbling everything up. Put me at first, and my gigantic-to-them ass is stretching out for balls like you’ve never seen. Put me behind the plate, and I’m framing pitches and controlling the running game. Put me on the mound, and I won’t be able to throw strikes regularly, but I will scare the crap out of some kids, and that’s probably useful for an inning or two if they’re getting cocky. Put me at shortstop, and I can catch the ball and throw it and everything. I would be the best 10-year-old player you’ve ever seen, and the only problem is that I’m 41. But for the purposes of this exercise, I’ll be a second baseman. This way, I can get every ball that’s hit my way, but I can also sprint to first base and push a 10-year-old out of the way when someone actually fields a ball and throws it to first. Also, it’s worth more WAR for a second baseman to hit as well as I would, and I still think WAR underestimates the value of a great catcher. That’s why we’re really here. We need to calculate my WAR. Based on some research, it looks like a lot of little leaguers play 16-game seasons. That’s 16 chances for me to rack up stats and prove to everyone else — including Mr. Stendel, my sour-ass old coach — that I can play second base and hit like a monster now that I’m huge and focused. I wouldn’t make a single out against tiny adolescents who just want to go home and play Fortnite. There are some problems with me racking up these stats, though. For one, Little League games are usually seven innings, max, and that’s if there isn’t a time limit. Plus, there are usually rules about how much a team can score in an inning, and there are also limits about how many batters can come to the plate. It’s going to be hard for me to rack up more than three or four plate appearances every game, max. So even though I’m way better than everyone on the field, especially all of the stupid normal kids who aren’t wearing glasses, the lack of PAs will lower my statistical impact. There are other logistics to consider. These kids can’t throw a lot of strikes. Even if I had a great eye and took the walks they give me, everyone in the league would have a .300 OBP, minimum. Some of the kids who can barely hit might even have a .500 OBP. So it’s not as simple as I thought. On one hand, the way to make this up is by being a defensive juggernaut. In a league where the best fielders have something like an .800 fielding percentage, tops, there would be an opportunity for me to crush it in DRS and UZR. On the other hand, even if I make a sweet backhanded play on a play up the middle, there’s no guarantee that Ethan is going to run back to first like he should. All the YouTube videos these days are quick-cut-quick-cut-quick-cut like a damned strobe light, and it makes it impossible for any of these young twits to focus. Plus, there just aren’t a ton of balls put in play at this level. There are plenty of walks for everyone, which makes it harder for my superior eye and patience to be appreciated statistically. So here’s what we’re talking about: 40 plate appearances22 walks18 hits10 home runs that are, like, just crushed, no errors or anything8 doubles or triples that probably would have been doubles or triples if a regular kid hit them because these idiot 10-year-olds can’t field .950 fielding percentage 1 error8 DRS (at least) Now, I don’t know how Defensive Runs Saved is calculated, but I’m figuring that every game, I’m making at least two plays that other kids can’t, which is good for a half-run. And that’s erring on the side of caution, believe me, because I would be a total field general out there, telling kids where they need to go with the ball and everything. They would all respect me and listen to me now that I’m stronger than them and better at sports. It’s just a matter of me plugging this in this handy calculator, here, and figuring out my WAR. I’d be worth four wins above replacement. In a 16-game season. Think about that. That’s like a 40.5-WAR season over a 162-game season in the majors. Nobody has done that. Nobody could come even close. I would be like four Mike Trouts stacked on top of each other to get into an NC-17 movie, and everyone would fear and respect me. They wouldn’t sit me for two innings every game because there were 11 players on the team and they had to sit two of us in every inning because it’s not like the coach’s kid was ever going to sit, even though he wasn’t really that good, I mean, he wasn’t anything special. In conclusion, I would be awesome if I got to play Little League again. Just don’t put me in a league with any of those travel-ball kids. They’re big and throw too hard. Thank you.