James Paxton's 4.6 Wins Above Replacement
and in the comments section, "Rewatchable Movies"


James Paxton blew down the Angels for 6 innings, with three hits and 9 whuffs.  This left him at 4.6 WAR on the season, which is #5-6 in the league tied with Chris Archer.  

We've noticed before that Zeus doesn't SHOW UP on the WAR chart unless you remove the requirements for being "qualified," like you gotta throw 162 innings to "qualify" for the ERA title.  Obviously you need a playing-time minimum for a batting average race; obviously you DON'T need one for HR and RBI.  It would be hilarious for somebody to finish 5th in RBI at 300, 350 at bats.

So here's the question.  If you could have 4.6 Wins Above Replacement -- about 43 runs saved over a Rainier -- from Paxton next year, would you rather have it be in 34 starts, or in 24 starts due to a sprained ankle and a torn fingernail?


With Rickey Henderson it was obvious.  Take his 50, 60 runs above AAA in the 125 games he gave you, and then try to get extra runs in the other 35-40 games.  Make sense?  That's why platoon hitters correlate with pennantwinners.

But with pitchers I'll cheerfully admit there is a stability problem.  Maybe it just saps the players' confidence too much for a #1 starter to be unreliable.  MAYBE!  You'll still take 125 games from Barry Bonds at a 1300 OPS, now won't you.

You have the decision right now:  40-50 runs saved from Paxton next year, and he can do it in 34 starts or 24.  Obviously the guy who does it in 34 won't be as nuclear, won't have as much chance of doing a Madison Bumgarner in the postseason.  But maybe the team will get into rhythm.


After the top 7 starters, the WAR drops off quick.  The #8 guy is Michael Fullmer at only 3.5 WAR.  There are 3 other starting pitchers at 3.0 WAR or above who are "unqualified," who were out part of the year.  All of them play for one team!  McCullers, Peacock, and Morton.


Justin Verlander had 4.1 WAR in 206 innings, a good contrast to James Paxton's 4.6 WAR in 136 innings.  Which would you rather?  Two nights ago I watched the movie Moneyball and was freshly reminded of all the scouts and their attitudes towards people who have never seen a pitch.  The movie starts with Hill and Pitt attempting to patch together a Jason Giambi out of Scott Hatteberg, David Justice and who else was it?  It's very easy to imagine the scouts voting 100% for Verlander's 200+ innings, and to imagine Jonah Hill voting for Paxton's 136.



In terms of WAR it's easy (or if it's not, SABRMatt can correct me if I'm wrong).  Paxton, in theory, added 4.6 wins to the Mariners' total; they were 78-84 with him and would have been 73-89 or 74-88 without him.

If you re-ran the situation in 2018, you'd get Paxton's 4.6 wins over 33 starts and be in the same place.  Or you'd get it in 24 starts -- and then his Rainiers sub would contribute (in theory) 0.0 WAR and you'd be at the same spot.  

No difference.


In terms of intuition, we'd say:

(1) The Mariners were 12-5 in Paxton's decisions but only 14-10 in his starts.  The blown leads are not typical of MLB teams or of the M's.  You assume to win half the games your SP gets no decision.  Clayton Kershaw's lifetime record is 144-64, a .692 clip.  He goes 18-4, 20-3 all the time.  For Paxton to go 12-5, in my view, is simply typical for a pitcher of his immense quality.

(2) You figure you split the games he doesn't get a decision.  A Paxton who is right next year, the over-under is about 16-7 for his record, which is saying a whale of a lot.  You split the other 10 games, you've won 22-23 of 33 games.

(3) Suppose he's hurt.  You win 15-16 of 24.  Then you win what, 3-4 of the 9 started by Marc-O?  (you have an offense and bullpen.)  That's 18-20 wins of 33.  Not as good as Full Season Paxton but...

(4) How many games does a Full Season VERLANDER OR ARCHER win?  SABRMatt can finish the math; I've hit my saturation point for the day.  :- )  Probably about 20 of 33.



I am all about James Paxton types because of this principle --- > it is not about WAR and a few extra runs for a buck.  It's not about cleverly winning 83 games instead of 79, with half the money an 89-win team uses.  Sabes live on that shtick, but that's not what GM'ing is about.

It is about pennants.  It's about the big season.  It's about the Brand and the pennant chase, things coming together for the Red Sox' 2004 season.  

Jerry Dipoto wants tiny successes to MERGE INTO a larger success - a pennant.  Whether or not a planet-busting talent is the best investment, he is still the best chance for a special season.

Ergo, the scouts would grouse and gripe and talk me into a 200-IP Opening Day starter in front of Paxton.  To them, a "serious" team MUST have a 200-innings Opening Day horse (contra what the actual record shows).  Fine.  Anybody around here rejecting that idea?



I happen to like being able to hope and dream.  I also flat-out enjoy watching some guys throw the ball.  No way in the world I give up such an exciting player.



:: shrug :: 4-5 WAR in part of a season or a whole season, it's probably about the same thing.


Your turn now,

Dr D




I think I'd rather get the 4.5 wins in a full season...here's why.

This particular Mariner team was like .850 when allowing fewer than four runs. Their offense was reasonably effective and consistent, their team defense was solid, and they had a decent bullpen for most of the season other than April/first half of May and September. This iteration of the club doesn't need nuclear to win.

Also...our replacement pitchers are sub-marginal. Our depth is actually quite poor.


The 116-win M's did that of course.  They knew they had the runs and Gillick knew for a fact he could get Rhodes and a lockdown bullpen.  He set about getting a rotation full of consistent SP's.  Seems to me your suggestion angles off in that direction.

It's a style that's been workin' for a hundred years, and maybe in 2018, it'll work then.  Like G-Money sez, with the M's this is the year, as it has been for the last fifteen years :- )


I take the upside of the more concentrated WAR just about every time.  If I'm talking about a team with an above average offense and major holes in the rotation, I could be persuaded to go with the Workhorse type instead of the Ferrari Ace.  But that's about the only scenario I can envision where I'd prefer the 2017 Verlander to 2017 Paxton.

And it was Jeremy Giambi, Jason's little brother, that would 'recreate' Jason Giambi in the aggregate when combined with David Justice and Scott Hatteberg.  Love that movie.  *Almost* as good/rewatchable as Revenge of The Nerds, for me, as an underdog/defying-the-status-quo film.


That would be another great thread, wouldn't it?  Moneyball's on there for you?

Groundhog Day is one of my faves.  Most of my others are slipping my mind but Bill Murray ... HIM I don't care for but his MOVIES are often very rewatchable.

Don't know how many times I watched the original Rocky - twenty times?  Come to think of it, a lot of things with 8-15 sequels on them, the original was pretty watchable :- )

I've seen Outlaw Josey Wales quite a few times...   My brother-in-law can quite literally quote the original Star Wars script from start to finish.


of our fellow denizens :-)  I fully approve of the notion.  I'll lead off with a few that I go back and watch just about every year:

Back To School (Rodney Dangerfield).

Revenge of The Nerds (probably watched it fifty times--I identify pretty strongly with a few of the main characters ::picks nose incessantly::)

The 13th Warrior (Not sure why, but this Michael Crichton take on the epic tale of Beowulf, told from the perspective of a total outsider to the group, does everything right and seems fresh every time I watch it)

Star Wars Ep IV (Had to have seen it a hundred times growing up; can quote it with my eyes closed)

Monty Python & The Holy Grail (used this as a sleep aid for about five years around my college days)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Ricardo Montalbon's immaculate riding-of-the-razor's-edge between campy Trek character and deadly serious villain, coupled with his excellent dialogue, make every scene he's in a show-stopper)

Three Kingdoms (2010) And here I've got one that the group's almost certainly not heard much of (except from me) which isn't a movie, but actually a 95 episode Chinese historical drama/fantasy.  It came out in 2010, and I've already re-watched the whole 60+ hour series six times.  It's. Just. That. Good.  Even my family, not a single one of whom was enthusiastic about watching it when I first told them about it, were hooked after the first few episodes and have gladly sat through three re-viewings with me.  It's available on YouTube--I HIGHLY recommend checking it out.  The Jiang Hu hard-coded English subtitled version is the cleanest translation, for sure, and to my knowledge there's not yet a quality English dubbing available--but you wouldn't want it, in my humble opnion, because the characters are so expertly portrayed and their voices so distinctive that to overdub them would be to erase half of their operatic performances.


Antonio Banderas was the outsider, right?  Haven't seen that in years.  You guys are going to give me a great list to On Demand!  :- D

Witty description of Khan.  :- )  You should write novels.  Perfect scene like that - he picks up Chekov with one hand, nods, "Whyyyy."   HEH!!


Three Kingdoms -- never heard of it.  95 episodes?  So you mean like a 5-year series?  Might have to check it out.  What I would INSTANTLY check out would be any House of Flying Daggers, or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon epics I haven't seen yet.  I feel enriched spiritually after those, much less art-appreciated and they're so great to watch.

Hero was great.  Movie #4 was some movie where Chow-Yun Fat was the emperor.  Those are the only 4 Chinese epics I've seen, I think; got any others?  What is even the term for that genre?


I'm not much for post-Bruce Lee movies but thought Birth of the Dragon was terrific.


That might be the one you're referring to with Chow Yun Fat as Emperor.  That one was so perfectly CHINESE in the portrayal of its characters (the noble (comparatively) son rising up against the tyrannical father, in a Chinese drama, rarely goes the way a Western audience would prefer).

And the term for that *type* of movie is 'wuxia' (literal translation: martial heroes), or 'epic wuxia,' though the four films you mentioned are all peak-form examples of the genre. 

Not really in the exact same genre, but adjacent to wuxia/epic wuxia films is Red Cliff (2008-2009), a two-part film which centers on the most important battle in the Three Kingdoms period (which, by some strange coincidence, is the same period that the 95 episode long series I mentioned above describes...).  It's more of a war film, but there is heroism aplenty, tortured alliances between former (and certain-to-be-yet-again) enemies, and other good stuff in there.  Definitely not as spiritually nourishing as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which is one of my favorite films; Ziyi Zhang was absolutely amazing in that one as the rebellious, talented youth around whom the entire world seemed to pivot with her every move) but it's a great example of Chinese historical fiction.


so they selected the 4 peak such movies for wide USA release.  Ah well.  Guess I'll re-watch.


for worldwide release, as a demonstration of Chinese cinema's competitive-with-Hollywood quality.  Then they tweaked and tailored them for better reception by Western audiences (with the obvious exception of Curse of the Golden Flower, which is about as prototypically Chinese as a major motion picture can get--virtue subordinated to pragmatism, tyranny portrayed as necessary for the survival of the state, etc..).

With Crouching Tiger, Hero, and Flying Daggers, the tweaks were subtle but there in the emphases placed on plot developments and characters' relative 'righteousness' or other worthy virtues.  You can find other wuxia stories that conform to a more Western-friendly constellation of sentiments, but the most popular Chinese stories are those which demonstrate that virtue, rather than being a saving grace, is usually a millstone that will sink you to the bottom of the pond if you're too rigid about clinging to it.

Very pragmatic culture, the Chinese have.  My sister is engaged to a (very intelligent) Chinese man, and we spent hours on end talking about the cultural differences between the West and China.  Some great insights to be had there, such as there being no hard-coded place for morality in Chinese culture.  Ethics?  Sure.  Morality?  Not so much.  Winning is more important to them, as a culture and civilization, than being a certain way.  In the West we sometimes lean the other way, and nearly *all* of our popular media/fiction features virtue as a saving grace or otherwise necessary component of success.


Khan: Ah, Kirk, my old friend. Do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold...in space.


Khan: There she is...there she is...not so wounded as we were lead to believe.  So much the better!


Khan: I've done far worse than kill you...I've hurt you.  And I wish to go on...hurting you.


Khan: Kirk? Kirk, you're still alive, my old friend?

Kirk: Still, "old friend"! You've managed to kill just about everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!

Khan: Perhaps I no longer need to try, Admiral.


Khan: These are 'pets,' of course...not quite domesticated.


That movie was an example of a villain being perfectly written and played.


Moana is the most recent addition.

Moneyball is very much on that list...just watched it on Saturday. :)

Star Trek: First Contract and Wrath of Khan

Clueless (I love the nineties humor)

Ghostbusters (the original)

Rudy (still makes me cry and I've seen it like ten times)

The replacements

The usual suspects

Any Pixar film except the Cars franchise and Monsters University

The ten commandments

The Prince of Egypt

Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Rescuers Down Under

A Land Before Time

My Girl

Forrest Gump

An American President

There are others...I'm sure I'll think of twenty more as soon as I submit the post


Have watched Forrest Gump quite a few times myself.  American President has the kind of easy quality that make for light watching...

Lot of animated movies on there.  Good plots, sharp dialogue and huge actors.  Gotta work harder when you're not taking the shock-talk shortcut :- )

Lakay's picture

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

Have watched it at least 50 times.

Lakay's picture



Not a fan of some of the gratuitous visual sensual stuff, but admit it's germaine to the movie.

Some absolutely fantastic exploration of theology and who Satan really is.  Al Pacino, of course, was perfect and his chilling monologue after the great reveal is astoundingly scary.  I'm a huge Pacino fan to begin with, not so much a Keanu Reeves fan, but Reeves nails his role as Pacino's character's lawyer.

"Vanity......it's my favorite sin!"


Yeah, the gratuitous visuals were a little much for me to put it in the 'will re-watch every year' queue, but it was a truly great film.

Side note, barely related to The Devil's Advocate: Anne Rice's novels are pretty bleak, twisted, and speak of a truly tortured mind.  But Memnoch The Devil, Book Five (?) in her Vampire Chronicles series, had one of the better portrayals of The Devil that I've ever encountered.  


Could easily take the plot and dialogue seriously from a Christian perspective.  Almost weird how pitch-perfect Pacino got it.  Or maybe that's not to Pacino's credit :- )


Blazing Saddles, of course. Have seen it a gazillion times.  Monty Python and the Holy Grail, of course.

Guilty pleasure comedies.

Like Doc, I'm a big The Outlaw Josie Wales,fan.  Big big fan.  Jaws.  big big fan.  Matt mentioned The Usual Suspects,  Sweet.

But my favorite movies are almost all older ones.

The Searchers (the best western ever made), Stagecoach, The Best Years of our Lives, Some Like it Hot (maybe the greatest comedy ever made), The Bridge on the River Kwai (maybe the best character study ever done), The Quiet Man, The Thomas Crown Affair (original), The Godfather, and on I could go.

I truly believe that Hollywood has mostly lost its way. 


Bridge On The River Kwai, a huge ditto.

I love epic historical dramas. My favorite movie of all time is Dr. Zhivago, but also Lawrence of Arabia. David Lean soundtracks are... (insert your favorite adjective for the best possible things).

Oh, and how can we not mention The Great Escape. Certainly one of the most rewatchable movies. 


Man Daddy, I completely forgot to mention Lawrence of Arabia.  I have no clue how I forgot it.  Can't get enough of the vastness of that movie.  Ooooooh, David Lean. Peter O'Toole is one of my favorites of all time.  Man, he even holds his own up against Kate Hepburn in Lion in Winter.  Egads, do they both roar in that one.  Oooooh.  Love that movie, too.

He was in a really neat/fun/cool/pleasant delight titled My Favorite Year.  Plays a has been Errol Flynn type come to do one of those Variety Hour TV shows of the 1950's.  It's a hoot.  Two thumbs WAY up.

And I nearly mentioned The Great Escape; Patton, too.  But I figured I had covered two WW II-themed movies in Bridge and Best Years.  Purposely left off Private Ryan and 12 O'Clock High for that  reason, too.  Best Years may be my favorite of that deep bunch.  Well, it surely is.  It's a powerful movie, way ahead of it's time.

Bonus Points to DaddyO for Lawrence of Arabia.  Within the last eyar I read a terrific new bio on Lawrence.  Look for it.


I concur with all the above. Some pre-war classics I love are His Girl Friday, which set the bar pretty high for snappy rapid-fire dialogue; The Maltese Falcon, which I think established film noir; and The Philadelphia Story. Doesn’t hurt that they have five of my favorite stars, Bogart, Cary Grant, K Hepburn Jimmy Stewart, and Rosalind Russell, and great screenplays. Oh, one more earlier one, It Happened One Night; I recall that the scene with Clark Gable munching on a raw carrot while imperiously talking opened mouth about how to hitchhike inspired the character Bugs Bunny.


I'd almost forgotten what a real tribute movie was, one coming from a director who didn't necessarily agree with the source material, but who respected it and understood it.

You a James Mattis fan?  ;- )


And ALL of the sequels, not including the recent remakes; all of Clint's spaghetti westerns; also will watch over and over How the West Was Won; Once Upon a Time in the West and The Magnificent Seven series; Apocalypse Now; Full Metal Jacket and all of The Mechanic movies with Charles Bronson.


The Graduate

Godfather I and II

Choose Me

Wedding Crashers

(and hat tip on His Girl Friday--great movie)


Star wars

Rogue One                             How the Star Wars universe is for everyone who isn't a ninja space wizard.  Villain Director Krennic was way to good to be killed after one movie.

Revenge of the Sith                I think Star wars shines the brightest in its darkest chapters.  I love how the relationship slowly evolves between the Emperor and Anakin.

The Empire Strikes Back         This is Star Wars.

The Force Awakens                 A worthy entry.  I like how Rey is a mean junkyard girl.  I knew some dogs like that.  Every scene is beautiful and perfect.

A new Hope                           The pacing is excellent, and the whiny farm boy to chosen one shtick is a little weak.  The special effects are also bad, especially the sword fight between Darth Vader and Obi Wan.

Return of the Jedi                   This movie isn't very interesting after Leia strangles Jabba, except for the Emperor's scenes but that is worth the price of admission.

The Phantom Menace              How Anakin wins a race and gets a cool apprenticeship.

Attack of the Clones                Complete trash.  

In that order

Lord of The Rings

The Fellowship of the Ring (The movie is better than the book because they erased the confusing and irrelevant character that is Tom Bombadil)

The Two Towers A perfect book and movie.

Return of the King (The movie is way too long)

In that order.

Hobbit 1, 3 and 2 in that order.

Am I the only nerd in here?


Because I'm gonna front-page that with my own one-line critiques and see how many people correct us :- )


My first note was the most universally liked movie of all time (men and women) Shawshank Redemption.  By IMDB voting, it's 9.2 tied with the Godfather.  I don't know many women who would even take the time to put their low vote on the Godfather...that's 1 million 871 thousand votes vs 1 million 270 thousand votes so almost half again as many votes for Shawshank. 

Pacino in Devils Advocate is one of my favorites to quote.  "Look but don't touch.  Touch.  But don't taste..."  So many good lines.

What about Bob is up there. Other quotable are: 

Any Monty Python but how about Life of Brian?  the Meaning of Life? 

Fight Club

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas


Good Morning Vietnam...I imagine we have all recently been down the road of thinking through all Robin Williams' great rewatchable movies.  It's a long list. 

True Romance (best supporting actor ever: Gary Oldman.  They should rename the award after him.  Sid and Nancy, Brahm Stoker's Dracula, Harry Potter, the Fifth Element, Murder in the First, Immortal Beloved, the Professional, Scarlet Letter, Best commissioner Gordon ever...even when he's the lead he's nominated for best supporting.)

Others I've watched many times

The original Haley Mills Parent Trap?  No clue how many times I've enjoyed watching it.

the Deer Hunter

the Sting


Die Hard...Nobody thought of Die Hard?

the Last Boy Scout

Beverly Hills Cop

48 Hours

American Psycho


Bull Durham

For Love of the Game

Major League

Cast Away


Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

High Fidelity (I contend it's still Jack Black's best performance and movie) 

Ethan Hawke Section (not that he's a particular favorite but it's significant) 

Before Sunrise/ Before Sunset/Before Midnight (all cowritten by him, director and costar) These movies are nearly unique in being mostly dialogue.  

Dead Poets Society

Reality Bites (So quotable, long time favorite movie) 





My favorite scene in that film is the one that first introduced me to it as I was channel-surfing during the 90s.  No idea what the movie is, I flip to the scene with Christopher Walken and his goons interrogating Dennis Hopper in his trailer.  I literally had no time to finish the film, so I had to get up and leave4 right after that scene concluded, but I put a HUGE mental asterisk beside the name in my head.  As a HUGE Walken fan, I honestly couldn't tell if I was elated or disappointed to discover that was the ONLY scene Walken was in in the entire movie.  The fight between James Gandolfini and Patricia Arquette at the end...brutal, defiant, epic, and incredibly memorable.  Brad Pitt as the honey-bear-toking pothead "Don't condescend ME, man..." that film is just PACKED with memorable moments.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas is another I've watched repeatedly.  Plenty of irreverent, memorable lines from that one--and seeing Johnny Depp as a balding Hunter Thompson, beside a nearly-unrecognizable Benicio Del Toro +80lbs, is enough to draw a grin every time you think about it.


easy to forget that Redford could act some.  For me Pitt's acting was pretty good in Joe Black and Money-ball.

those two being pretty clear generational comps :- )

dunno why, Joe Black for me had half a dozen memorable dialogue scenes.


as one of those 'destined to be an underrated classic' films even from the first time I saw it.  Its pacing isn't great (it's very deliberate, like something you'd expect from Kubrick but without the mind-bending undertones) but, as you say, there are a handful of really great scenes in it.

I also truly enjoy watching Old People in cinema behave like old people rather than clinging to the remnants of their youth.  Anthony Hopkins' graceful transition into roles where he could  'act his age' was a great point of that film for me, too.  Ooh!  Speaking of Hopkins: The Edge, starring he and Alex Baldwin, is a fun, simple story about deception, guile, and the dangers of toying with nature from a variety of angles.  Not a GREAT movie, but some memorable moments (like Hopkins using his gold ring as fish bait).


but I did love the characters portrayed by Charles Dance and Diana Rigg.  They had some killer scenes, even one of them together, where they demonstrated how one might age gracefully.

Judi Dench is another one who slays in her golden years.  Kathy Bates seems to only get better with age.  Patrick Stewart seems like he's been old since the early 80s, so my view of him is a little warped as a result of never really getting to know a 'young' version.  Ian McKellan is vastly better in his later years than he was in his youth. Peter O'Toole seemed to only gain gravitas as the years turned his voice to gravel and smoke.  Albert Finney's finest role (for me) was probably as the ailing father in Big Fish precisely because he was the old man in that film.

I appreciate actors and actresses embracing their evolving roles and nailing them.  I despise seeing actors and actresses who were Hot Stuff in the 80's still clinging to that role and station; more than breaking my suspension of disbelief, it makes me disconnect with them as people when they seem unwilling to accept that time ravages us all.

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