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 1.039. That’s better than Bryce Harper 0.986) but not as good as Christian Villanueva (1.103). But what does it mean? Trout didn’t do something 1,039 times. He didn’t do something 1.039 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 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.).

AFTER JULY

AL

Bases Produced

Mike Trout, Angels 350 in 108 games (3.24) and 478 plate appearances (.732)

Jose Ramirez, Indians 342 in 104 games (3.29) and 463 plate appearances (.739)

Francisco Lindor, Indians 307 in 104 games (2.95) and 486 plate appearances (.632)

Mookie Betts, Red Sox 294 in 89 games (3.30) and 405 plate appearances (.726)

Alex Bregman, Astros 287 in 106 games (2.71) and 479 plate appearances (.599)

J. D. Martinez, Red Sox 285 in 102 games (2.79) and 440 plate appearances (.648)

Aaron Judge, Yankees 278 in 99 games (2.81) and 447 plate appearances (.622)

Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox 270 in 102 games (2.65) and 452 plate appearances (.597)

Sin-Soo Choo, Rangers 264 in 102 games (2.59) and 472 plate appearances (.559)

Manny Machado, Orioles 263 in 96 games (2.74) and 413 plate appearances (.637)

(The 63 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 215 bases produced.)

Comments: Everybody talks about the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Astros but don’t overlook the Indians, who also have a lot of talent. Manny Machado won’t be able to stay on this list as he’s now been traded to the Dodgers and his remaining stats will be as a National Leaguer.

Runs Produced

J. D. Martinez, Red Sox 133 in 102 games (1.30) and 440 plate appearances (.302)

Francisco Lindor, Indians 132 in 104 games (1.27) and 486 plate appearances (.272)

Jose Ramirez, Indians 123 in 104 games (1.18) and 463 plate appearances (.266)

Andrew Benintendi, Red Sox 121 in 102 games (1.19) and 452 plate appearances (.268)

Alex Bregman, Astros 121 in 106 games (1.14) and 479 plate appearances (.253)

Khris Davis, Oakland 116 in 99 games (1.17) and 431 plate appearances (.269)

Mookie Betts, Red Sox 115 in 89 games (1.29) and 405 plate appearances (.284)

Jean Segura, Mariners 115 in 100 games (1.15) and 440 plate appearances (.261)

Eddie Rosario, Twins 114 in 104 games (1.10) and 451 plate appearances (.253)

Mike Trout, Angels 112 in 108 games (1.04) and 478 plate appearances (.234)

(The 63 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 92 runs produced.)

Comments: if you combine these first two lists on a 10 for first, 9 for second, 8 for third, etc. basis, the two top hitters in the American League are Lindor and Ramirez with 17 each. The next best is Martinez with 15, then Bregman with 12, Betts and Trout with 11 and Benintendi with 10.

Clutch Percentage

Edwin Encarncion, Indians 76 RBI from 169 batting bases = .450

Evan Gattis, Astros 66 RBI from 154 batting bases = .429

Khris Davis, Athletics 84 RBI from 207 batting bases = .406

Yonder Alonso, Indians 64 RBI from 159 batting bases = .403

Mitch Haniger, Mariners 69 RBI from 173 batting bases = .399

Carlos Correa, Astros 49 RBI from 129 batting bases = .380

Yuli Gurriel, Astros 54 RBI from 144 batting bases = .375

Joey Gallo, Rangers 59 RBI from 158 batting bases = .373

Wilson Ramos, Rays 53 RBI from 143 batting bases = .371

Salvador Perez, Royals 53 RBI from 145 batting bases = .366

(The 63 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged .316, meaning they drove in a run for every three bases they produced with their bat.)

Comments: More Indians and more Astros. But where are the Red Sox and Yankees?

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage (baserunners from hits, walks and hit by pitch)

Justin Verlander, Astros 139 baserunners of 578 batters faced = .240

Chris Sale, Red Sox 134 baserunners of 550 batters faced = .244

Corey Kluber, Indians 138 baserunners of 561 batters faced = .246

Gerrit Cole, Astros 144 baserunners of 554 batters faced = .260

Sean Manaea, Athletics 156 baserunners of 545 batters faced = .264

James Paxton, Mariners 134 baserunners of 505 batters faced = .265

Blake Snell, Rays 128 baserunners of 474 batters faced = .270

Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees 108 baserunners of 393 batters faced = .275

Jose Berrios, Twins 156 baserunners of 563 batters faced = .277

Luis Severino, Yankees 153 baserunners of 550 batters faced = .278

(The Top 50 AL pitchers in innings pitched averaged .300, meaning that they let 30% of the batters they faced got on base.)

Comments: Chris Sale ranks with everyone but what about the rest of the Red Sox staff? They aren’t bad but missed this list. Eduardo Rodriguez is at .297 and Rick Porcello and David Price are at .306. Cleveland is similar. Corey Kluber is excellent. Trevor Bauer is at .287, Carlos Carrasco .297 and Mike Clevinger .305.

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage

Blake Snell, Rays 30 earned runs from 128 baserunners = .234

Chris Sale, Red Sox 32 earned runs from 134 baserunners = .246

Kevin Gausman, Orioles 61 earned runs from 176 baserunners = .258

Justin Verlander, Astros 37 earned runs from 139 baserunners = .266

Trevor Bauer, Indians 40 earned runs from 182 baserunners = .270

Gerrit Cole, Astros 40 earned runs from 144 baserunners = .278

CC Sabathia, Yankees 41 earned runs from 144 baserunners = .285

Tyler Skaggs, Angels 42 earned runs from 146 baserunners = .288

Luis Severino, Yankees 45 earned runs from 153 baserunners = .294

Mike Clevinger, Indians 51 earned runs from 167 baserunners = .305

(The top 50 AL pitchers innings pitched averaged .333, meaning that a third of the batters they let on base scored earned runs. )

Comments: On the 10 points for first, 9 for second system, Sale is the best pitcher in the American league with 18 points to 17 for Verlander, 14 for Snell and 12 for Cole.

NL

Bases Produced

Nolan Arenado, Rockies 283 in 100 games (2.83) and 439 plate appearances (.645)

Paul Goldschmidt, D-Backs 278 in 107 games (2.60) and 474 plate appearances (.586)

Matt Carpenter, Cardinals 275 in 102 games (2.70) and 436 plate appearances (.631)

Freddie Freeman, Braves 275 in 104 games (2.64) and 464 plate appearances (.593)

Bryce Harper, Nationals 265 in 103 games (2.57) and 450 plate appearances (.589)

Trevor Story, Rockies 263 in 105 games (2.50) and 442 plate appearances (.595)

Javier Baez, Cubs 255 in 104 games (2.45) and 410 plate appearances (.622)

Charlie Blackman, Rockies 250 in 101 games (2.48) and 453 plate appearances (.552)

Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 248 in 98 games (2.53) and 428 plate appearances (.579)

Nick Markakis, Braves 245 in 104 games (2.36) and 462 plate appearances (.530)

(The 63 NL batters who finished in the top 50 for RBIs or run scored averaged 208 bases produced)

Comments: Three Rockies made the list. What are their home/road splits? As of August 8th, Arenado now has produced 162 bases and 70 runs at home and 136 bases and 57 runs on the road. But if you double the road totals, 272 bases and 114 runs is still among the league leaders. He’s had 54 road games with 245 plate appearances, so his averages are 2.52 bases and 1.06 runs per road game. His averages per plate appearance are .555 for bases and .233 for runs. So he’s a pretty good player anywhere he plays. The best? Maybe. Here are Story and Blackmon:

Story: 158 bases and 64 runs produced at home, 126 bases and 49 runs produced on the road. He’s played 58 road games and come to the plate 248 times. Averages: 2.17 bases and 0.845 runs per road game. 0.508 bases and 0.198 runs per plate appearance on the road. That’s significantly worse than his overall performance: 2.50 bases and 0.971 runs per game, 0.595 bases and 0.231 runs per plate appearance.

Blackmon: 128 bases and 57 runs produced at home, 131 bases and 54 runs produced on the road. He’s played 56 road games and come to the plate 262 times. Averages: 2.34 bases and 0.964 runs per road game. 0.500 bases and 0.206 runs per plate appearance on the road. Those are below his overall numbers: 2.48 bases and 1.069 runs per game and 0.552 bases and 0.238 runs per plate appearance.

Runs Produced

Javier Baez, Cubs 126 in 104 games (1.21) and 410 plate appearances (.307)

Nolan Arenado, Rockies 121 in 100 games (1.21) and 439 plate appearances (.276)

Nick Markakis, Braves 116 in 104 games (1.12) and 462 plate appearances (.251)

Freddie Freeman, Braves 115 in 104 games (1.11) and 464 plate appearances (.248)

Christian Yelich, Brewers 114 in 94 games (1.21) and 409 plate appearances (.279)

Ozzie Albies, Braves 114 in 100 games (1.14) and 455 plate appearances (.251)

Scooter Jennett, Reds 114 in 103 games (1.11) and 430 plate appearances (.265)

Eugenio Suarez, Reds 113 in 90 games (1.26) and 393 plate appearances (.288)

Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 110 in 98 games (1.12) and 428 plate appearances (.257)

Charlie Blackmon, Rockies 108 in 101 games (1.07) and 453 plate appearances (.238)

(The 63 NL batters who finished in the top 50 for RBIs or run scored averaged 90 runs produced)

Comments: Using the 10 for first, 9 for second system, Arenado is easily the best with 19 points. Freeman had 14 and Baez 10. Arenado has 5 Gold Gloves. Is it time to give the MVP to a Rockie?

The only current member of my New York Mets that finished in the top 50 in runs scored or batted in in the NL through July is Brandon Nimmo, who 39th in runs with 52 in 94 games, (although Asdrubal Carerra, now with the Phillies was #45 with 49 in 102 games). Brandon is hitting .252 with 13 home runs, which make him our ‘star’. Brandon has 190 bases and 79 runs produced. He supposed to be a strike zone whiz but he has 44 walks and 106 strike-outs. He just walks more than the other guys who strike out a lot. That’s why the Mets are the Mets.

Clutch Percentage

Adam DuVal, Reds/Braves 61 RBI from 132 batting bases = .462

Anthony Rizzo, Cubs 69 RBI from 134 batting bases = .434

Carlos Santana, Phillies 63 RBI from 150 batting bases = .420

Jesus Aguilar, Brewers 74 RBI from 178 batting bases = .416

Eugenio Suarez, Reds 81 RBI from 169 batting bases = .415

J. T. Realmuto, Marlins 53 RBI from 169 batting bases = .392

Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 70 RBI from 169 batting bases = .380

Johan Camaro, Braves 46 RBI from 121 batting bases = .380

Matt Kemp, Dodgers 63 RBI from 150 batting bases = .376

Jose Martinez, Cardinals 59 RBI from 158 batting bases = .373

(The 63 NL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged .310, meaning they drove in a run for every three bases they produced with their bat.)

Comments: DuVal was recently traded by the Reds to the braves for Lucas Sims, a pitcher with a 3-6 record for a good team and a 5.62 ERA, Matt Wisler, 1-1, 5.40 ERA and outfielder Preston Tucker, who has a lifetime clutch percentage of .277, (although he’s .423 this year: 22/52). DuVal is .371 lifetime. Maybe that’s why the Reds are the Reds.

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage

Max Scherzer, Nationals 142 baserunners of 582 batters faced = .244

Aaron Nola, Phillies 141 baserunners of 552 batters faced = .255

Jacob DeGrom, Mets 140 baserunners of 545 batters faced = .257

Patrick Corbin, D-Backs 146 baserunners of 542 batters faced = .269

Zack Greinke, D-Backs 148 baserunners of 548 batters faced = .270

Miles Mikolas, Cardinals 145 baserunners of 525 batters faced = .278

Ross Stripling, Dodgers 119 baserunners of 425 batters faced = .280

Alex Wood, Dodgers 140 baserunners of 487 batters faced = .287

Tyler Anderson, Rockies 151 baserunners of 518 batters faced = .292

Sean Newcomb, Braves 144 baserunners of 490 batters faced = .294

(The Top 50 NL pitchers in innings pitched averaged .304, meaning that they let 30% of the batters they faced got on base.)

Comments: The only teams with more than one pitcher on this list are in the West: the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers, the two teams that are battling it out for first place out there. Don’t under-estimate them. (And Clayton Kershaw isn’t on the list: he’d missed some starts and didn’t have enough innings pitched.)

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage

Jacob DeGrom, Mets 28 earned runs from 140 baserunners = .200

Ross Stripling, Dodgers 31 earned runs from 119 baserunners = .261

Aaron Nola, Phillies 37 earned runs from 141 baserunners = .262

Max Scherzer, Nationals 38 earned runs from 142 baserunners = .268

Kyle Freeland, Rockies 44 earned runs from 161 baserunners = .273

Jon Lester, Cubs 45 earned runs from 165 baserunners = .273

Mike Foltynewicz, Braves 38 earned runs from 137 baserunners = .277

Miles Mikolas, Cardinals 41 earned runs from 145 baserunners = .283

Jake Arrieta Phillies 44 earned runs from 152 baserunners = .289

Gio Gonzalez, Nationals 48 earned runs from 166 baserunners = .289

(The Top 50 NL pitchers in innings pitched averaged .326, meaning that they let 33% of the batters they let on base scored earned runs.)

Comments: DeGrom’s dominance in this category is amazing. He’s easily the best in the majors of not letting guys who get on base score – just 20% of them. Using the 10 for first system, he’s the best pitcher in the national league with 18 points to 17 for Scherzer and Nola and 13 for Stripling. He hasn’t thrown a wild pitch this season. He threw a shut-out today and his ERA is now 1.77, 0.27 better than any pitcher in either league. And yet, as they announced during today’s game, (which, therefore did not include today’s game), the Mets had a 4-12 record when he pitches since the beginning of May, the lowest winning percentage, (0.250) any team in the majors has behind a single starter in that time. Life isn’t fair and neither is baseball.