I have thought that Wins Above Replacement is a useful idea, but I was suspicious about how it was calculated. Do these knuckleheads know not to overvalue stolen bases? Do the get it that CF's are much more valuable than 1B's?
The ESPN article that explains the statistic starts out very well, and I thought of linking to it even before it gave examples of how to compare across eras. But when it compared Carl Yastrzemski's 1968 season - the beating heart of the hitter-punishing era - to a great season in hitter-friendly Colorado in the 90's, they had me. They get it.
I thought their estimate of 50 wins for a team of replacement-level players a touch high - I would have guessed a little less. But they've done their homework, so I'm willing to take their word for it. On that score, poor Houston looks to be just about an entire time of AAA players. But that's true. They have a squad of young players pressed into service before their time who will likely improve over the next 2-3 years. A few are above replacement value already, but at a few positions they need somebody from somewhere, fast.