My solution is to add the batting bases a hitter produced, (1 for a single, 2 for a double, 3 for a triple and 4 for a home run), to the walks to the stolen bases and call that “bases produced”. It would be the leading contributory statistic to the production of runs. If you want to turn it into a percentage, you could divide it by total plate appearances. But I prefer an average per game statistic: the top players in the league tend to play whole games. You’ll find that great offensive player will produce around 3 bases per game. That’s easy to comprehend. And you can watch a game and just count the bases the players accumulate. If your favorite player is in the race for MVP and he walks twice, hits a double and steals a base, he’s increased his base production by 5 bases. What did the other guy do?

The obvious sister stat for bases production is “runs produced”, which has been around for decades: runs scored plus runs batted in minus home runs, (so you don’t count them twice: they are the same run, scored and driven in by the same guy). A top offensive player will produce about 1 run per game. 3 bases and 1 run per game. That’s easy to remember. If all nine guys in the line-up did that, you’d be pretty tough to beat.

This year I’ve decided to add a few other stats, one of which will allow me to evaluate pitchers, too. The first one I’m calling “clutch percentage”. I’m a Mets fan and noticed that Yoenis Cespedes was, by most measures, having a poor season:.233 batting average, .292 on base percentage, .437 slugging percentage, 43 strike-outs. But he was second in the league in RBIs in April with 25. Watching the games, I noticed that while he often made outs, when he did get a hit, it was always a big one and often produced runs. I decided to divide his RBIs by his total batting bases (45). The result was .556. The one guy with more RBIs in April was Javier Baez of the Cubs, who had 26 RBI but who had 63 TBB (.413). Cespedes seems to have been a much bigger ‘clutch’ hitter. Baez was hitting .280/.333/.630 with only 24 strike outs. But who was really having the better year?

I’m aware that many people in baseball don’t think there is such a thing as clutch hitting. I don’t agree: I watch the games and it is completely apparent that it’s not just what you do but when you do it that counts. It will be interesting to see how this stat evolves over the season. If it changes radically, that would suggest that it’s not a meaningful stat, at least beyond the short term. If the guys at the top remain somewhat stable, that would indicate that maybe there is such a thing as “clutch hitting”.

I’ve always wanted to do something to evaluate pitchers. When I look at a box score, (and I’ve had occasion lately to look at Mets box scores to try to figure out the pitching), I look at the innings pitches and multiply by 3, (and add the fraction: ‘.1’ = 1 more out; ‘.2’ = two more outs) to get the number of outs the pitcher recorded. Then I look at hits and walks to get the number of baserunners. I look at the ratio of outs to baserunners. Then I look at earned runs and compare that to the number of baserunners, (who are on by this and walks, not errors). What percentage of them scored? This season Jacob DeGrom, (before throwing his elbow out swinging the bat), had gotten 130 outs, given up 32 hits and 11 walks (for a total of 43 baserunners) and 9 earned runs. If you add the outs and the baserunners and divide the baserunners by that, you get the pitcher’s on-base percentage (130 + 43 = 173; 43/173 = .173). Then if you dive the earned runs by the baserunners, you get a percentage of baserunners that scored (9/43 = .209). That’s how you get a 2.06 ERA. Jason Vargas in his two starts, pitched 8.1 innings (he got 25 outs). He’s given up 20 hits, 5 walks (25 baserunners) and 15 earned runs. That’s an OBP of .500 and a ‘scoring percentage’ of .600. That’s how you get a 16.20 ERA.

Looking at the stats on Baseballreference.com, they have something the box scores don’t have: hit by pitch, (HBP). I don’t include that in base production because the hitter is not trying to get hit by a pitch: it’s the equivalent of a fielding error to him. But a pitcher is certainly trying to avoid hitting people, 9unless a grudge is involved), so it seems legitimate to include that in baserunners allowed: we are just trying to factor out fielding errors and HBP is not the equivalent of that for a pitcher. Baseballreference.com also gives “BF”, which is not “best friend” but rather “batter’s faced”, so I decided to make the formula H+BB+HBP/BF. DeGrom in April faced 155 batters, gave up 30 hits, 11 walks and hit 1 batter, (this doesn’t include his last partial start where he gave up 2 hits). That’s 42/155 = .271 OBP. He gave up 9 earned runs for a scoring percentage of (9/42 =) .214.

I looked at the top 50 batters in each league in RBIs and runs scored, (a total of 138 different batters in April) and the top pitchers in innings pitched in each league (a total of 100 pitchers) and came up with top tens in each league in bases produced, (and then averaged them per game and per at bat), in runs produced (ditto), and in “clutch percentage”, and the top ten pitchers in each league in OBP and “scoring percentage”.

(The bases and runs produced top tens are ranked in order of gross bases and runs produced with the per game average as the first tie-breaker and the per plate appearance percentage as the second tie-breaker. If still tied, they are listed alphabetically and if there is a tie for 10th, all those tied will be listed For clutch percentage the number of RBIs will be the tie breaker and for the pitchers the number of baserunners will be the tie breaker for OBP and earned runs for scoring percentage.).

FINAL FOR 2018

AL

Bases Produced

Jose Ramirez, Indians 461 in 157 games (2.94) and 698 plate appearances (.660)

Mookie Betts, Red Sox 444 in 136 games (3.26) and 614 plate appearances (.723)

Mike Trout, Angels 442 in 140 games (3.16) and 608 plate appearances (.727)

J. D. Martinez, Red Sox 433 in 150 games (2.89) and 649 plate appearances (.667)

Alex Bregman, Astros 422 in 157 games (2.69) and 705 plate appearances (.599)

Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees 389 in 158 games (2.46) and 705 plate appearances (.552)

Whit Merrifield, Royals 383 in 158 games (2.42) and 707 plate appearances (.542)

Khris Davis, Athletics 375 in 151 games (2.48) and 654 plate appearances (.573)

Mitch Haniger, Mariners 372 in 157 games (2.37) and 683 plate appearances (.545)

Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox 361 in 148 games (2.44) and 661 plate appearances (.546)

Nick Castelanos, Tigers 361 in 157 games (2.30) and 678 plate appearances (.532)

(The 66 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 294 bases produced.)

Runs Produced

J. D. Martinez, Red Sox 188 in 150 games (1.25) and 649 plate appearances (.290)

Francisco Lindor, Indians 183 in 158 games (1.16) and 745 plate appearances (.246)

Mookie Betts, Red Sox 177 in 136 games (1.30) and 614 plate appearances (.288)

Jose Ramirez, Indians 177 in 157 games (1.13) and 698 plate appearances (.254)

Alex Bregman, Astros 177 in 157 games (1.13) and 705 plate appearances (.251)

Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox 174 in 148 games (1.18) and 661 plate appearances (.263)

Khris Davis, Athletics 173 in 151 games (1.15) and 654 plate appearances (.265)

Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees 164 in 158 games (1.04) and 705 plate appearances (.233)

Mitch Haniger, Mariners 157 in 157 games (1.00) and 683 plate appearances (.230)

Nick Castelanos, Tigers 154 in 157 games (0.98) and 678 plate appearances (.227)

Jed Lowrie, Athletics 154 in 157 games (0.98) and 680 plate appearances (.226)

(The 66 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 131 runs produced.)

Comments: I’m a Mets fan but even I’ve got to admit that Mookie Betts is the best ‘Mookie’ ever. Mike Trout may be as good but he doesn’t play on a great team.

More names I’d never heard before this season of that I’ll have to get used to: Whit Merrifield, Mitch Haniger, Nick Castelanos and Jed Lowrie. (Whit Merrifield?)

Clutch Percentage

Edwin Encarncion, Indians 107 RBI from 237 batting bases = .451

Robinson Chirnos, Rangers 65 RBI from 151 batting bases = .430

Evan Gattis, Astros 78 RBI from 184 batting bases = .424

Carlos Correa, Astros 65 RBI from 163 batting bases = .399

Khris Davis, Athletics 123 RBI from 316 batting bases = .3892

Mitch Moreland Red Sox 68 RBI from 175 batting bases = .3886

Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox 103 RBI from 268 batting bases = .384

Yonder Alonso, Indians 83 RBI from 217 batting bases = .382

Gleyber Torres, Yankees 77 RBI from 207 batting bases = .372

Jed Lowrie, Athletics 99 RBI from 267 batting bases = .371

(The 66 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged .326, meaning they drove in a run for every three bases they produced with their bat.)

Comments: Indians, Astros, Astros, Red Sox, Indians, Athletics, Red Sox…. Nah, there’s no such thing as ‘clutch’ hitting. Except on the good teams.

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage

Justin Verlander, Astros 201 baserunners of 833 batters faced = .241

Chris Sale, Red Sox 150 baserunners of 617 batters faced = .243

Blake Snell, Rays 177 baserunners of 700 batters faced = .253

Corey Kluber, Indians 216 baserunners of 842 batters faced = .257

Gerrit Cole, Astros 214 baserunners of 799 batters faced = .268

James Paxton, Mariners 177 baserunners of 645 batters faced = .274

Sean Manaea, Athletics 181 baserunners of 654 batters faced = .277

Carlos Carrasco, Indians 222 baserunners of 784 batters faced = .283

Trevor Bauer, Indians 200 baserunners of 717 batters faced = .279

J. A. Happ, Blue Jays/Yankees 210 baserunners of 733 batters faced = .286

(The Top 50 AL pitchers in innings pitched averaged .306, meaning that they let 31% of the batters they faced got on base.)

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage

Blake Snell, Rays 38 earned runs from 177 baserunners = .2147

Trevor Bauer, Indians 43 earned runs from 200 baserunners = .2150

Chris Sale, Red Sox 37 earned runs from 150 baserunners = .

Brad Keller, Royals 48 earned runs from 185 baserunners = .259

Charlie Morton, Astros 58 earned runs from 210 baserunners = .276

Mike Clevinger, Indians 67 earned runs from 235 baserunners = .285

Jaimie Barria, Angels 49 earned runs from 170 baserunners = .288

CC Sabathia, Yankees 62 earned runs from 212 baserunners = .292

Justin Verlander, Astros 60 earned runs from 201 baserunners = .2985

Gerrit Cole, Astros 64 earned runs from 214 baserunners = .2990

(The top 50 AL pitchers innings pitched averaged .343, meaning that a third of the batters they let on base scored earned runs. )

NL

Bases Produced

Christian Yelich, Brewers 429 in 146 games (2.93) and 647 plate appearances (.663)

Bryce Harper, Nationals 416 in 159 games (2.62) and 695 plate appearances (.599)

Paul Goldschmidt, D-Backs 413 in 158 games (2.61) and 690 plate appearances (.599)

Trevor Story, Rockies 409 in 156 games (2.62) and 652 plate appearances (.627)

Nolan Arenado, Rockies 402 in 155 games (2.59) and 669 plate appearances (.601)

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals 401 in 156 games (2.57) and 677 plate appearances (.592)

Freddie Freeman, Braves 398 in 162 games (2.46) and 707 plate appearances (.563)

Trea Turner, Nationals 388 in 162 games (2.40) and 740 plate appearances (.524)

Javier Baez, Cubs 385 in 159 games (2.42) and 641 plate appearances (.601)

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies 382 in 155 games (2.46) and 692 plate appearances (.552)

(The 63 NL batters who finished in the top 50 for RBIs or run scored averaged 311 bases produced)

Runs Produced

Christian Yelich, Brewers 191 in 146 games (1.31) and 647 plate appearances (.295)

Javier Baez, Cubs 178 in 159 games (1.12) and 641 plate appearances (.278)

Nolan Arenado, Rockies 175 in 155 games (1.13) and 669 plate appearances (.262)

Bryce Harper, Nationals 169 in 159 games (1.06) and 695 plate appearances (.243)

Freddie Freeman, Braves 169 in 162 games (1.04) and 707 plate appearances (.239)

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies 160 in 155 games (1.03) and 692 plate appearances (.231)

Trevor Story, Rockies 158 in 156 games (1.01) and 652 plate appearances (.242)

Nick Markakis, Braves 157 in 162 games (0.97) and 705 plate appearances (.223)

Trea Turner, Nationals 157 in 162 games (0.97) and 740 plate appearances (.212)

Anthony Rendon, Nationals 156 in 136 games (1.15) and 597 plate appearances (.261)

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals 156 in 156 games (1.00) and 677 plate appearances (.230)

(The 63 NL batters who finished in the top 50 for RBIs or run scored averaged 132 runss produced)

Comments: In the last month of the season, Christian Yelich produced 101 bases and 41 runs in 26 games and 114 plate appearances. His averages were: base production 3.88/G and 0.885/PA; run production 1.58/G and 0.360/PA.

Clutch Percentage

Jesus Aguilar, Brewers 108 RBI from 264 batting bases = .409

Matt Kemp, Dodgers 85 RBI from 222 batting bases = .383

Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 100 RBI from 262 batting bases = .382

Ian Desmond, Rockies 88 RBI from 234 batting bases = .376

Eugenio Suarez, Reds 104 RBI from 277 batting bases = .375

Carlos Santana, Phillies 86 RBI from 232 batting bases = .371

Yadier Molina, Cardinals 74 RBI from 200 batting bases = .370

Bryce Harper, Nationals 100 RBI from 273 batting bases = .366

Travis Shaw, Brewers 86 RBI from 239 batting bases = .35983

Paul DeJong, Cardinals 68 RBI from 189 batting bases = .35979

(The 63 NL batters who finished in the top 50 for RBIs or run scored averaged .290)

Comment: As a Mets fan, I always get nervous when Rizzo is at the plate for the Cubs. Suarez of the Reds just seems to have “slugger” written all over him. Desmond and, (briefly) Harper are former Syracuse Chiefs.

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage

Jacob DeGrom, Mets 203 baserunners of 835 batters faced = .243

Max Scherzer, Nationals 213 baserunners of 866 batters faced = .246

Walker Buehler, Dodgers 133 baserunners of 517 batters faced = .257

Aaron Nola, Phillies 214 baserunners of 831 batters faced = .258

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 170 baserunners of 650 batters faced = .262

Patrick Corbin, D-Backs 215 baserunners of 800 batters faced = .269

Zack Greinke, D-Backs 230 baserunners of 839 batters faced = .274

Mike Foltynewicz, Braves 204 baserunners of 744 batters faced = .274

Miles Mikolas, Cardinals 222 baserunners of 808 batters faced = .275

Rich Hill, Dodgers 157 baserunners of 547 batters faced = .287

(The Top 50 NL pitchers in innings pitched averaged .301, meaning that they let 30% of the batters they faced got on base.)

Comments: DeGrom had been leading in the next category all summer. He finally pulled ahead in this one, too, cementing his bid for the Cy Young. Only Justin Verlander in the AL allowed a lowest percentage of his batters faced to reach base, (.241)

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage

Jacob DeGrom, Mets 41 earned runs from 203 baserunners = .202

Kyle Freeland, Rockies 64 earned runs from 258 baserunners = .248

Patrick Corbin, Yankees 70 earned runs from 215 baserunners = .259

Aaron Nola, Phillies 56 earned runs from 214 baserunners = .262

Noah Syndergaard, Mets 52 earned runs from 194 baserunners = .268

John Lester, Cubs 67 earned runs from 244 baserunners = .275

Anibal Sanchez, Braves 43 earned runs from 152 baserunners = .283

Miles Mikolas, Cardinals 63 earned runs from 222 baserunners = .284

Mike Foltynewicz, Braves 58 earned runs from 204 baserunners = .284

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 49 earned runs from 170 baserunners = .2882

Trevor Williams, Pirates 59 earned runs from 205 baserunners = .2878

(The Top 50 NL pitchers in innings pitched averaged .32522, meaning that they let 33% of the batters they let on base scored earned runs.)

Comments: This is the stat that makes DeGrom’s season historically great and which still gave him a shot at the Cy Young, despite his 10-9 record. No one in either league does a better job of preventing baserunners from scoring – and it’s not even close. Other famous pitching seasons from recent decades:

2014 Clayton Kershaw (21-3) 39 earned runs from 172 baserunners = .227

2013 Max Scherzer (21-3) 69 earned runs from 212 baserunners = .325

2011 Justin Verlander (24-5) 67 earned runs from 234 baserunners = .286

2008 Cliff Lee (22-3) 63 earned runs from 253 baserunners = .249

2002 Randy Johnson (24-5) 67 earned runs from 281 baserunners = .238

2001 Roger Clemens (20-3) 86 earned runs from 282 baserunners = .305

1999 Pedro Martinez (23-4) 49 earned runs from 206 baserunners = .238

1995 Greg Maddux (19-2) 38 earned runs from 174 baserunners = .218

1990 Bob Welch (27-6) 78 earned runs from 296 baserunners = .264

1986 Roger Clemens (24-4) 70 earned runs from 250 baserunners = .280

1985 Dwight Gooden (24-4) 47 earned runs from 269 baserunners = .175

All won the Cy Young.