Bases and Runs - After April

SWC75

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I’ll continue this season to make monthly reports on the top ten batters in each league in “bases produced” and “runs produced”.

The first stat is something I invented in preference to “OPS” or “production”. I like the idea of combining the two basic percentages: on base percentage and slugging percentage, (both of which are better measures of a player’s offense than batting average), but I have a few problems with it. You are adding together two percentages with different divisors: total plate appearances and “official” at bats. You are counting hits on both sides of the equation and thus counting them twice. You are including something the hitter is not actually trying to do: get hit by a pitch. And you are excluding something he is trying to do, something that turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples: steal a base. Also, you wind up with a stat that, while it serves as a ranking isn’t directly translatable into something you can understand. It looks like a percentage but it isn’t. Mike Trout as of May 1st has an OPS of 1.052. That’s better than Bryce Harper 0.878) but not as good as Ryon Healy (1.082). But what does it mean? Trout didn’t do something 1,052 times. He didn’t do something 1.052 percent of the time. Finally, I like gross numbers more than percentages. Gross numbers are what actually happened. Percentages are a rate of production, which will produce higher gross numbers if they are better unless there are fewer games played or at bats. And, in that case you don’t know that the rate of production would have continued had there been more games and at bats. It’s only the bases and runs that were actually produced that show up on the scoreboard and determine the outcome of actual games.

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 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. I’m a Mets fan and noticed that Wilson Ramos was, by most measures, having a poor season:.247 batting average, .313 on base percentage, .303 slugging percentage. But he had 17 RBIs compared to 27 total bases. Divide the RBIs by total bases and his bat is driving in 63% as many runs as it’s procuring based. Mike Trout has 16 RBIs on 48 batting bases, 33%. It’s very early and the numbers can change greatly but so far Ramos would seem to be a better clutch hitter than Trout.

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 ‘BF’ (batters faced) on Baseball Reference.com. Then I look at hits, walks and hit batsmen to get the number of baserunners that were the pitcher’s fault. I divide that by the BF to get the percentage of batters that get on base off the pitcher. Then I look at earned runs and compare that to the number of these ‘earned’ baserunners. What percentage of them scored? Last year Jacob DeGrom faced 835 batters, 203 of whom reached base from hits, walks or being plunked. That’s 24.3%, or .243. That was best in the national league and second best in the majors to Justin Verlander of the Astros who had .241. Jake allowed 421 earned runs from those 203 earned baserunners, or .202, the best in the majors, (Blake Snell and Trevor Bauer led the AL .215.

My data base is the top 50 players in each league in runs scored and runs batted in and the top 50 pitchers in innings pitched. For the batters, ties are broken first by games played, the n by plate appearances, (the fewer of each you have, the more impressive your gross bases and runs produced are. The more you have the more impressive a clutch percentage is: you’ve maintained it longer). Pitching ties are broken by innings pitched, (the more innings you’ve pitched, the more impressive a low rate of giving up baserunners and runs is.) If there is a tie for 10th place all those tied will be listed.

AFTER APRIL

AL

Bases Produced
George Springer, Astros 85 in 30 games (2.83) and 135 plate appearances (.630)
Mike Trout, Angels 81 in 27 games (3.00) and 119 plate appearances (.681)
Joey Gallo, Rangers 80 in 25 games (3.20) and 109 plate appearances (.734)
Mitch Hanniger, Mariners 80 in 30 games (2.67) and 142 plate appearances (.563)
Elvis Andrus, Rangers 79 in 27 games (2.93) and 120 plate appearances (.658)
Trey Mancini, Orioles 78 in 28 games (2.79) and 121 plate appearances (.645)
Mookie Betts, Red Sox 78 in 30 games (2.63) and 132 plate appearances (.591)
Matt Chapman, Athletics 78 in 32 games (2.44) and 131 plate appearances (.595)
Marcus Semien, Athletics 75 in 32 games (2.34) and 139 plate appearances (.540)
Luke Voit, Yankees 75 in 29 games (2.59) and 130 plate appearances (.577)

Comments: Joey Gallo has figured out that it does matter what happens when you don’t hit a home run. Coming into this season he had a lifetime batting average of .203. He’d hit 88 home runs in 346 games but had a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 196-479. He’s produced 825 bases, (2.38 per game), and 284 runs (0.82 per game.) This year he’s hitting .264 with 12 home runs in 31 games. His walk-to-strikeout ratio is 21-38. He’s produced 80 bases and 35 runs in 31 games, (2.58/1.13). Maybe it will start a trend away from the all-or-nothing-at-all approach of recent years in baseball.

Runs Produced
Mitch Hanniger, Mariners 40 in 30 games (1.33) and 142 plate appearances (.282)
Dominigo Santana, Mariners 40 in 31 games (1.29) and 146 plate appearances (.274)
Chris Davis, Athletics 39 in 31 games (1.26) and 130 plate appearances (.300)
Luke Voit, Yankees 38 in 29 games (1.31) and 130 plate appearances (.292)
Adalberto Mondesi, Royals 37 in 28 games (1.32) and 126 plate appearances (.294)
Yoan Moncada, White Sox 36 in 26 games (1.38) and 115 plate appearances (.313)
George Springer, Astros 36 in 30 games (1.20) and 135 plate appearances (.267)
Ryon Healy, Mariners 36 in 32 games (1.125) and 130 plate appearances (.276)
Joey Gallo, Rangers 35 in 25 games (1.40) and 109 plate appearances (.321)
Alex Gordon, Royals 35 in 28 games (1.25) and 124 plate appearances (.282)

Comments: Khris Davis is now officially the ‘real’ Khris Davis and Chris Davis is now the ‘other’ Chris Davis.

Clutch Percentage
Asdrubal Cabrera, Rangers 19 RBI from 39 batting bases = .487
Domingo Santana, Mariners 30 RBI from 63 batting bases = .476
Jose Abreu, White Sox 24 RBI from 52 batting bases = .462
Gary Sanchez, Yankees 18 RBI from 40 batting bases = .450
Luke Voit, Yankees 25 RBI from 57 batting bases = .439
Tommy LaStella, Angels 18 RBI from 41 batting bases = .439
Nomar Mazara, Rangers 20 RBI from 46 batting bases = .435
Justin Smoak, Blue Jays 18 RBI from 42 batting bases = .429
Joey Gallo, Rangers 25 RBI from 59 batting bases = .424
Adalberto Mondesi, Royals 24 RBI from 58 batting bases = .414

Comments: Asdrubal Cabrera was the Mets’ best hitter last year. Naturally, we traded him away. Robinson Cano now plays his positon, (second base) and has 11 RBI from 52 batting bases = .212. He’s three years older and makes 1/3 the money.

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage
Domingo Germain, Yankees 27 baserunners of 124 batters faced = .218
Yonny Chirlinos, Rays 26 baserunners of 115 batters faced = .226
Justin Verlander, Astros 41 baserunners of 173 batters faced = .237
Matt Shoemaker, Blue Jays 26 baserunners of 108 batters faced = .241
Tyler Glasnow, Rays 34 baserunners of 137 batters faced = .248
Blake Snell, Rays 26 baserunners of 104 batters faced = .250
Mike Minor, Rangers 39 baserunners of 156 batters faced = .250
Jose Berrios, Twins 40 baserunners of 155 batters faced = .258
Gerrit Cole, Astros 45 baserunners of 173 batters faced = .260
Matthew Boyd, Tigers 40 baserunners of 151 batters faced = .265

Comments: Why are the Rays off to such a good start? Look at this list.

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage
Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays 6 earned runs from 41 baserunners = .146
Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays 8 earned runs from 44 baserunners = .182
Matt Shoemaker, Blue Jays 5 earned runs from 26 baserunners = .192
Spencer Turnbull, Tigers 9 earned runs from 44 baserunners = .205
Tyler Glasnow, Rays 7 earned runs from 34 baserunners = .206
Frankie Montas, Athletics 11 earned runs from 45 baserunners = .244
Charlie Morton, Rays 10 earned runs from 41 baserunners = .244
Trevor Bauer, Indians 13 earned runs from 53 baserunners = .245
Marco Gonzalez, Seattle 14 earned runs from 54 baserunners = .259
Justin Verlander, Astros 12 earned runs from 41 baserunners = .293

Comments: Somehow the Blue Jays are only 15-22 despite having the three best pitchers in the league at preventing players from scoring. Stroman has a 1.443 ERA but only a 1-3 record. Sanchez and Shoemakers are 6-1 between them, (or were on May 1st).


NL

Bases Produced
Cory Bellinger, Dodgers 121 in 31 games (3.90) and 132 plate appearances (.917)
Christian Yelich, Brewers 108 in 29 games (3.72) and 129 plate appearances (.837)
Paul DeJong, Cardinals 83 in 29 games (2.86) and 129 plate appearances (.643)
Pete Alonso, Mets 82 in 29 games (2.83) and 123 plate appearances (.667)
Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 82 in 28 games (2.93) and 128 plate appearances (.641)
Jamie Baez, Cubs 80 in 27 games (2.96) and 123 plate appearances (.650)
Michael Conforto, Mets 78 in 29 games (2.69) and 129 plate appearances (.605)
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals 77 in 27 games (2.85) and 114 plate appearances (.675)
Christian Walker, D-Backs 77 in 28 games (2.75) and 113 plate appearances (.681)
Freddie Freeman, Braves 76 in 29 games (2.62) and 133 plate appearances (.571)
Trevor Story, Rockies 76 in 30 games (2.53) and 131 plate appearances (.580)

Comments: Bellinger is putting up Ruthean numbers, almost obscuring that Yelich looks even better than he was last year when he won the MVP.

Runs Produced
Cory Bellinger, Dodgers 55 in 31 games (1.77) and 132 plate appearances (.417)
Christian Yelich, Brewers 54 in 29 games (1.86) and 129 plate appearances (.419)
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals 42 in 27 games (1.56) and 114 plate appearances (.368)
Pete Alonso, Mets 37 in 29 games (1.28) and 123 plate appearances (.301)
Jamie Baez, Cubs 36 in 27 games (1.33) and 123 plate appearances (.293)
Nick Markakis, Braves 36 in 29 games (1.24) and 121 plate appearances (.298)
Freddie Freeman, Braves 36 in 29 games (1.24) and 133 plate appearances (.271)
Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 35 in 28 games (1.25) and 128 plate appearances (.273)
Nolan Arenado, Rockies 35 in 29 games (1.21) and 129 plate appearances (.271)
David Peralta, D-Backs 35 in 29 games (1.21) and 132 plate appearances (.265)

Comments: It’s nice to see at least one met in the hitter’s rankings. Pete Alonso looks like he’s going to be a good one for years to come.

Clutch Percentage
Wilson Ramos, Mets 17 RBI from 27 batting bases = .630
Eric Thames, Brewers 16 RBI from 31 batting bases = .516
Derek Dietrich, Reds 14 RBI from 29 batting bases = .483
Yadier Molina, Cardinals 20 RBI from 42 batting bases = .476
Kevin Pillar, Giants 18 RBI from 38 batting bases = .474
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals 28 RBI from 61 batting bases = .459
Juan Soto, Nationals 22 RBI from 49 batting bases = .449
Dansby Swanson, Braves 22 RBI from 50 batting bases = .440
Eugenio Suarez, Reds 16 RBI from 37 batting bases = .432
Yasiel Puig, Reds 15 RBI from 35 batting bases = .429

Comments: Things can change quickly early in the season and in this stat specifically. The stats I’m reporting are through April 30. I’m putting this together as of May 9th. On May 1st, Wilson Ramos was hitting .247. He’s now down to .227. But not hitting and not driving in runs has put his “clutch percentage” in the icebox: He now has 18 RBI off of 31 batting bases: .581. So he’s still “clutch” in that he’s gotten his hit in run scoring situations. He just isn’t hitting in any situations at the moment. He’d have to get hits that don’t drive in runs to see his percentage decline. But when he get ‘em the ducks are on the pond.

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage
Chris Paddock, Padres 24 baserunners of 122 batters faced = .192
Caleb Smith, Marlins 24 baserunners of 109 batters faced = .220
Zach Greinke, D-Backs 42 baserunners of 169 batters faced = .249
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals 38 baserunners of 151 batters faced = .252
Joe Musgrave, Pirates 34 baserunners of 135 batters faced = .252
Sonny Gray, Reds 30 baserunners of 119 batters faced = .252
Kevin Gausman, Braves 32 baserunners of 120 batters faced = .267
Germain Martinez, Rockies 49 baserunners of 183 batters faced = .268
Patrick Corbin, Nationals 41 baserunners of 152 batters faced = .270
Cole Hamels, Cubs 41 baserunners of 152 batters faced = .270

Comments: How well is Chris Paddock pitching? Jacob DeGrom was only .243 in this stat last year.

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage
Zach Davis, Brewers 5 earned runs from 44 baserunners = .114
Luis Castillo, Reds 7 earned runs from 46 baserunners = .152
Max Fried, D-Backs 8 earned runs from 35 baserunners = .229
Joe Musgrove, Pirates 8 earned runs from 34 baserunners = .235
Jeff Samardzija, Giants 9 earned runs from 34 baserunners = .265
Jake Arrietta, Phillies 15 earned runs from 52 baserunners = .288
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals 13 earned runs from 45 baserunners = .289
Chris Paddock, Padres 7 earned runs from 24 baserunners = .292
Caleb Smith, Marlins 7 earned runs from 24 baserunners = .292
Germain Martinez, Rockies 15 earned runs from 49 baserunners = .306
Nick Margevicius, Padres 11 earned runs from 36 baserunners = .306

Comments: Paddock top last year’s DeGrom in preventing baserunners but he’s well behind that version of Jake (.202) in preventing those baserunners from scoring.
 

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