Bases and Runs, etc. 2018 - After April

SWC75

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#1
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 1.039. 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 APRIL

AL

Bases Produced
Didi Gregorious, Yankees 92 in 28 games (3.29) and 121 plate appearances (.760)
Manny Machado, Orioles 92 in 28 games (3.29) and 125 plate appearances (.736)
Mike Trout, Angels 90 in 28 games (3.21) and 125 plate appearances (.720)
Aaron Judge, Yankees 86 in 28 games (3.07) and 128 plate appearances (.672)
Mookie Betts, Red Sox 82 in 24 games (3.42) and 107 plate appearances (.766)
Mitch Haniger, Mariners 81 in 27 games (3.00) and 112 plate appearances (.723)
Jed Lowrie, Athletics 78 in 28 games (2.79) and 126 plate appearances (.619)
Yoan Moncada, White Sox 73 in 26 games (2.81) and 120 plate appearances (.608)
Mike Moustakas, Royals 73 in 28 games (2.61) and 122 plate appearances (.598)
Carlos Correa, Astros 72 in 29 games (2.48) and 123 plate appearances (.585)
(The 64 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 58 bases produced.)

Comment: I thought the Yankees were all about Judge, Stanton and Sanchez but here comes Gregorious. Stanton has 61 bases in 28 games (2.18) and 128 plate appearances (.476).

Runs Produced
Didi Gregorious, Yankees 44 in 28 games (1.57) and 121 plate appearances (.364)
Mookie Betts, Red Sox 39 in 24 games (1.625) and 107 plate appearances (.364)
Jean Segura, Mariners 39 in 27 games (1.44) and 120 plate appearances (.325)
George Springer, Astros 37 in 30 games (1.23) and 137 plate appearances (.270)
Carlos Correa, Astros 37 in 29 games (1.28) and 123 plate appearances (.301)
Gary Sanchez, Yankees 36 in 25 games (1.44) and 108 plate appearances (.333)
Aaron Judge, Yankees 35 in 28 games (1.25) and 128 plate appearances (.273)
J. D. Martinez, Red Sox 34 in 26 games (1.31) and 112 plate appearances (.304)
Mitch Haniger, Mariners 34 in 27 games (1.26) and 112 plate appearances (.304)
Marcus Semien, Athletics 34 in 28 games (1.21) and 134 plate appearances (.254)
Jed Lowrie, Athletics 34 in 28 games (1.21) and 126 plate appearances (.270)
(The 64 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 27 runs produced)

Comment: Stanton has produced 30 runs, which is 1.07 per game and .234 per plate appearance.

Clutch Percentage
Denard Span, Rays 21 RBI from 35 batting bases = .600
Gary Sanchez, Yankees 24 RBI from 49 batting bases = .490
Rafael Devers, Red Sox 21 RBI from 45 batting bases = .467
Miguel Cabera, Tigers 21 RBI from 47 batting bases = .447
Yonder Alonso, Indians 21 RBI from 48 batting bases = .438
Victor Martinez, Tigers 13 RBI from 30 batting bases = .433
Khris Davis, Athletics 23 RBI from 54 batting bases = .426
Steve Pearce, Blue Jays 13 RBI from 31 batting bases = .419
Didi Gregorius, Yankees 30 RBI from 72 batting bases = .417
Jean Segura, Mariners 21 RBI from 51 batting bases = .412
(The 64 AL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged .336)

Comment: Span is batting .256 with 3 home runs but has driven in 21 runs 24 games. That’s 142 RBIs for a full 162 games.

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage
Sean Manaea, Athletics 20H + 7W + 1HBP = 28BR/ 157BF = .178
Justin Verlander, Astros 26H + 9W + 3HBP = 35BR/ 176BF = .199
Chris Sale, Red Sox 31H + 10W + 3HBP = 44BR/ 167BF = .206
Corey Kluber, Indians 26H + 9W + 0HBP = 35BR/ 167BF = .210
Gerrit Cole, Astros 25H + 8W + 2HBP = 35BR/ 155BF = .226
Rick Porcello, Red Sox 30H + 4W + 2HBP = 36BR/ 157BF = .229
Bartolo Colon, Rangers 24H + 3W + 1HBP = 28BR/ 118BF = .237
Jose Berrios, Twins 26H + 6W + 1HBP = 33BR/ 137BF = .241
Luis Severino, Yankees 23H + 11W + 1HBP = 35BR/ 144BF = .243
Blake Snell, Rays 23H + 11W + 0HBP = 34BR/ 137BF = .248
(The average baserunners allowed per batters faced of the top 50 AL pitchers in innings is .295)

Comment: Bartolo Colon will be 45 years old on May 24th!

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage
Reynaldo Lopez, White Sox 6 earned runs from 35 baserunners = .154
Justin Verlander, Astros 6 earned runs from 35 baserunners = .171
Sean Manaea, Athletics 5 earned runs from 28 baserunners = .179
Charlie Morton, Astros 7 earned runs from 38 baserunners = .184
Chris Sale, Red Sox 10 earned runs from 44 baserunners = .227
Gerrit Cole, Astros 8 earned runs from 35 baserunners = .229
Trevor Bauer, Indians 11 earned runs from 48 baserunners = .229
Michael Fullmer, Tigers 9 earned runs from 39 baserunners = .231
Matthew Boyd, Tigers 8 earned runs from 33 baserunners = .242
Dylan Bundy, Orioles 12 earned runs from 49 baserunners = .245
(The average earned runs allowed per baserunners of the top 50 AL pitchers in innings is .337)

Comment: Reynaldo Lopez is 0-2 with a 1.78 ERA!

NL

Bases Produced
Bryce Harper, Nationals 88 in 29 games (3.03) and 131 plate appearances (.672)
Ozzie Albies, Braves 85 in 27 games (3.15) and 127 plate appearances (.669)
AJ Pollock, D-Backs 84 in 27 games (3.11) and 114 plate appearances (.737)
Freddie Freeman, Braves 80 in 27 games (2.96) and 126 plate appearances (.635)
Lorenzo Cain, Brewers 76 in 28 games (2.71) and 121 plate appearances (.628)
Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 74 in 28 games (2.64) and 116 plate appearances (.638)
Trea Turner, Nationals 74 in 29 games (2.55) and 134 plate appearances (.552)
Javier Baez, Cubs 72 in 26 games (2.77) and 108 plate appearances (.667)
Starling Marte, Pirates 72 in 29 games (2.48) and 126 plate appearances (.571)
Paul Goldschmidt, D-Backs 70 in 28 games (2.50) and 119 plate appearances (.588)
(The 74 NL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 58 bases produced)

Comment: I continue to be impressed with all the new names that show up in the standings each year. It appears there’s a tremendous influx of talent going into the big leagues in this era, even more than in the past: 21 year old Ozzie Albies, 25 year old Rhys Hoskins, 25 year old Javier Baez…..

Runs Produced
Ozzie Albies, Braves 40 in 27 games (1.48) and 127 plate appearances (.315)
Javier Baez, Cubs 39 in 26 games (1.50) and 108 plate appearances (.361)
AJ Pollock, D-Backs 35 in 27 games (1.30) and 114 plate appearances (.307)
Freddie Freeman, Braves 34 in 27 games (1.26) and 126 plate appearances (.270)
Bryce Harper, Nationals 34 in 29 games (1.17) and 131 plate appearances (.260)
Asdrubal Cabera, Mets 32 in 25 games (1.28) and 112 plate appearances (.286)
Yoenis Cespedes, Mets 32 in 26 games (1.23) and 113 plate appearances (.283)
Yasmani Grandel, Dodgers 31 in 24 games (1.29) and 102 plate appearances (.304)
Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 31 in 28 games (1.11) and 116 plate appearances (.267)
Charley Blackmon, Rockies 30 in 25 games (1.20) and 109 plate appearances (.275)
Nick Markakis, Braves 30 in 27 games (1.11) and 116 plate appearances (.259)
Cody Belligner, Dodgers 30 in 28 games (1.07) and 118 plate appearances (.254)
Josh Bell, Pirates 30 in 29 games (1.03) and 123 plate appearances (.244)
(The 74 NL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged 24 runs produced)

Comments: …..22 year old Cody Bellinger, 25 year old Josh Bell, etc. But there are some names I wasn’t that familiar with that have been around for a while: 34 year old Nick Markakis, 30 year old AJ Pollock29 year old Yasmani Grandal, 31 year old Charlie Blackmon, (who I remember frrm last year but thought he had kind of just showed up.)

Clutch Percentage
Adrian Gonzalez, Mets 17 RBI from 26 batting bases = .654
Maikel Franco, Phillies 22 RBI from 37 batting bases = .595
Aaron Alther, Phillies 17 RBI from 29 batting bases = .586
Yoenis Cespedes, Mets 25 RBI from 45 batting bases = .556
Preston Tucker, Braves 18 RBI from 35 batting bases = .514
Eugenio Suarez, Reds 14 RBI from 28 batting bases = .500
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals 17 RBI from 36 batting bases = .472
Jason Heyward, Cubs 14 RBI from 30 batting bases = .467
Francisco Cervelli, Pirates 20 RBI from 44 batting bases = .455
Josh Bell, Pirates 16 RBI from 36 batting bases = .444
(The 74 NL players who were in the top 50 in RBIs or runs scored averaged .329)

Comments: It was Cespedes that got me interested in this stat but his teammate Adrian Gonzalez is the one leading the majors.

Pitcher’s On Base Percentage
Patrick Corbin, D-Backs 23H + 7W + 2HBP = 32BR/ 150BF = .213
Johnny Cueto, Giants 16H + 6W + 3HBP = 25BR/ 117BF = .214
Alex Wood, Dodgers 28H + 3W + 0HBP = 31BR/ 140BF = .221
Max Scherzer, Nationals 26H + 11W + 2HBP = 39BR/ 174BF = .224
Jarlin Garcia, Marlins 15H + 13W + 0HBP = 28BR/ 124BF = .226
Miles Mikolas, Cardinals 30H + 2W + 1HBP = 33BR/ 132BF = .250
Aaron Nola, Phillies 27H + 10W + 1HBP = 38BR/ 147BF = .259
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals 31H + 10W + 2HBP = 43BR/ 160BF = .269
Jacob DeGrom, Mets 30H + 11W + 1HBP = 42BR/ 155BF = .271
Tanner Roark, Nationals 26H + 13W + 2HBP = 41BR/ 150BF = .273
(The average baserunners allowed per batters faced of the top 50 NL pitchers in innings is .296)

Comments: The lack of Mets starters on these lists is depressing. They say DeGrom won’t miss a start but you have to wonder. Harvey is gone. Matz and Wheeler have never lived up to the Hype. Syndergaard is at .284 and .292 for the list below.

Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage
Johnny Cueto, Giants 3 earned runs from 25 baserunners = .120
Carlos Martinez, Cardinals 6 earned runs from 48 baserunners = .125
Jarlin Garcia, Marlins 4 earned runs from 28 baserunners = .143
Gio Gonzalez, Nationals 10 earned runs from 48 baserunners = .209
Tyler Chatwood, Cubs 9 earned runs from 42 baserunners = .214
Jacob DeGrom, Mets 9 earned runs from 42 baserunners = .214
Mike Foltynewicz, Braves 9 earned runs from 40 baserunners = .225
Trevor Williams, Pirates 9 earned runs from 40 baserunners = .225
Jon Lester, Cubs 10 earned runs from 44 baserunners = .227
Max Scherzer, Nationals 9 earned runs from 39 baserunners = .231
(The average earned runs allowed per baserunners of the top 50 AL pitchers in innings is .329)

Comments: More names I never heard of, even though I follow the Mets. Tyler Chatwood? Mike Foltynewicz? Trevor Williams? I guess I’d better get used to them.
 
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