Explaining one of baseball's best all-encompassing metrics for analyzing hitters, wRC+.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 15: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies in action during a game against the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park on August 15, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

What Is wRC+?

wRC+ is an all encompassing summary of hitting performance. wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus puts a weighted value on each outcome for a hitter as it relates to run creation, meaning that a single has a run value associated with it, as does a double and so on and so forth.

Weighted Runs Created Plus is a scaled statistic meaning 100 is league average and allows us to compare across seasons and eras. Every point above and below 100 is a percentage point better or worse than league average. In 2021, Bryce Harper led the league with 170 wRC+, meaning he was 70% better than average at creating runs.

In order to calculate wRC+, first Weighted Runs Created (wRC) is calculated. Notice that there isn’t a plus sign in wRC because that is not a scaled statistic. wRC is calculated using the linear weighted run values, so for example, Vlad Guerrero Jr. compiled 110 singles, 29 doubles, one triple, 49 home runs, 93 walks, six HBP, four SB and one CS. This all adds up to 145 Weighted Runs Created, which led the league in 2022. 

How Is wRC+ Calculated?

The full table of 2022 linear weighted run values for each outcome can be found below courtesy of Fangraphs:

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Weighted Linear Values show the run value of each outcome

wRC is a counting stat and is useful for quantifying a player’s full offensive value over a season, but wRC+ allows us to compare a player with 500 plate appearances to one with 300 plate appearances. It is of note that Vlad Guerrero Jr. led baseball in wRC, but Bryce Harper led in wRC+, meaning he was better at the plate when on the field.

wRC+ is park adjusted as well, so the effect of hitting at Coors field or Yankee Stadium is accounted for in the equation. wRC+ takes every piece of a hitters offensive profile into account and for that reason it is my go-to hitting metric. Hitters with high wRC+ tend to walk more, strikeout less, and produce high slugging percentages.