Advanced stats find way onto baseball cards

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 2, 2014 at 2:34 am •  Published: June 2, 2014
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The advanced-stats movement is making headway in another area: baseball cards.

Topps added WAR (wins above replacement) to its cards last year in a sign that the oft-debated metric is becoming more accepted by the mainstream.

"As a company that's been making baseball cards since 1951, we always want to be in line with the evolution of the game," Clay Luraschi of Topps said in an email.

Luraschi said the first time Topps ventured beyond a more traditional stat line was in 2004, when it introduced OPS to the back of cards.

Numbers like batting average, RBIs and ERA aren't about to disappear, but the baseball world is increasingly welcoming additional stats. The scoreboard at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, now routinely displays statistics like on-base percentage, slugging percentage and WHIP. The key, of course, is to present different forms of information — while acknowledging that not all fans are familiar with some of the newer ways of measuring a player's performance.

"We want to be in a position as a company to chronicle all sides of the game, including stats," Luraschi said. "In addition, we want to help usher in new concepts and expose fans as well."

Here are five things to watch around the majors this week:

RED-HOT AND HEADED HOME: Baltimore's Nelson Cruz is off to terrific start with his new team, batting .315 and leading the majors with 20 homers and 52 RBI's. The Orioles open a three-game series at Texas on Tuesday night, but the slugger's status for a highly anticipated first meeting against his former team is up in the air after Cruz was hit in the left hand by a pitch during Baltimore's 9-4 victory over Houston on Sunday. X-rays were negative and Cruz, a two-time All-Star who has eight homers and 15 RBIs over his last 13 games, is day to day.