What’s the single biggest play that got the Washington Nationals to the World Series?
You can make a solid argument for several of them at different points along the way this postseason. It’s certainly a subjective art to try to weigh how important any single play was in a series, given the implications beyond that one game.
There is one statistic that tries to answer these questions, though, called Win Probability Added, which has gained more widespread acceptance in the past few years. It’s designed to quantify the factor by which any individual outcome of a plate appearance affects its probable outcome. In other words, the list you’re about to see isn’t my opinion — it’s strictly by the numbers.
Below are the seven plays in the Nats playoff run, so far, that boosted their chances of winning the game they were in at the time. One play was left out: Juan Soto’s first inning home run off Hyun-Jin Ryu in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It had a WPA of 17 percent, but the Nats lost. This is a list exclusively from games they won.
Each event is listed with its Win Probability Added, followed by the Nats’ win expectancy.