Bases and Runs, etc. 2020

SWC75

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(This season I’ve decided to just make one report on the baseball statistics I like. I’ll probably just do season ending reports on this and on NBA Net Points at the end of the season rather than making monthly reports, which are a little labor intensive. I need more time for other projects and chores.)

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. (Last year), 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, (in 2019), 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, (in 2018), 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, then 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.

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Hitters

Bases Produced
Jose Ramirez, CLE 174 in 58 games (3.00) and 254 plate appearances (.685)
Jose Abreu, CWS 166 in 60 games (2.77) and 262 plate appearances (.634)
Mike Trout, LAA 156 in 53 games (2.94) and 241 plate appearances (.647)
Luke Voit, NYY 147 in 56 games (2.625) and 234 plate appearances (.628)
Cavan Biggio, TOR 140 in 59 games (2.37) and 265 plate appearances (.528)
D. J. LeMahieu, NYY 136 in 50 games (2.72) and 216 plate appearances (.630)
Nelson Cruz, MIN 135 in 53 games (2.55) and 214 plate appearances (.631)
Brandon Lowe, TB 135 in 56 games (2.41) and 224 plate appearances (.603)
Kyle Tucker, HOU 133 in 58 games (2.29) and 228 plate appearances (.583)
Eloy Jinimez, CWS 131 in 55 games (2.38) and 226 plate appearances (.580)

Runs Produced
Jose Abreu, CWS 84 in 60 games (1.40) and 262 plate appearances (.321)
Jose Ramirez, CLE 74 in 58 games (1.28) and 254 plate appearances (.291)
Luke Voit, NYY 71 in 56 games (1.27) and 234 plate appearances (.303)
Mike Trout, LAA 70 in 53 games (1.32) and 241 plate appearances (.290)
Kyle Tucker, HOU 66 in 58 games (1.14) and 228 plate appearances (.289)
Kyle Seager, SEA 66 in 60 games (1.10) and 248 plate appearances (.266)
Randal Grichuk, TOR 61 in 55 games (1.11) and 231 plate appearances (.264)
Nelson Cruz, MIN 60 in 53 games (1.13) and 214 plate appearances (.280)
Eddie Rosario, MIN 60 in 57 games (1.05) and 231 plate appearances (.260)

Clutch Hitting
Rougned Odor, TEX 30 RBI from 57 batting bases = .526
Stephen Piscotty OAK 29 RBI from 57 batting bases = .509
Matt Olson, OAK 42 RBI from 89 batting bases = .472
Kyle Seager, SEA 40 RBI from 88 batting bases = .455
Mark Canha, OAK 33 RBI from 78 batting bases = .423
Eddie Rosario, MIN 42 RBI from 100 batting bases = .420
Carlos Santana, CLE 30 RBI from 72 batting bases = .417
Evan White, SEA 26 RBI from 63 batting bases = .413
Miguel Cabrera, DET 35 RBI from 85 batting bases = .412
Jared Walsh, LAA 26 RBI from 64 batting bases = .406

Pitchers

On Base Percentage
Kenda Maeda, MIN 50 baserunners of 248 batters faced = .202
Zach Plesac, CLE 45 baserunners of 206 batters faced = .218
Shane Bieber, CLE 68 baserunners of 297 batters faced = .229
Gerrit Cole, NYY 72 baserunners of 288 batters faced = .250
Marco Gonzalez, SEA 70 baserunners of 277 batters faced = .253
Christian Javier, HOU 56 baserunners of 214 batters faced = .262
Lucas Giolito, CWS 77 baserunners of 288 batters faced = .267
Dallas Keuchel, CWS 69 baserunners of 257 batters faced = .268
Dylan Bundy, LAA 72 baserunners of 267 batters faced = .2696629
Brad Keller, KC 58 baserunners of 215 batters faced = .2697674
(J.A. Happ NYY 53 baserunners of 196 batters faced = .2704081)

Scoring Percentage
Dallas Keuchel, CWS 14 earned runs from 69 baserunners = .203
Shane Bieber, CLE 14 earned runs from 68 baserunners = .206
Chris Bassitt, OAK 16 earned runs from 75 baserunners = .213
Taijuan Walker, SEA/TOR 16 earned runs from 66 baserunners = .242
Hyun JIn Ryu, TOR 20 earned runs from 78 baserunners = .256
Brad Keller, KC 15 earned runs from 58 baserunners = .259
Carlos Carrasco, CLE 22 earned runs from 84 baserunners = .262
Dylan Cease, CWS 26 earned runs from 89 baserunners = .292
Justus Sheffield, SEA 22 earned runs from 75 baserunners = .293
Blake Snell, TB 18 earned runs from 60 baserunners = .300

Comments: From these stats, Cleveland and Chicago seem like the best teams. Too bad they didn’t make it to the World Series. That’s baseball, especially when you have 8 teams in each league in the playoffs. it looks to me like the MVP should go to one of their Joses. Shane Bieber with his 8-1 record will likely win the Cy Young.


NATIONAL LEAGUE

Hitters

Bases Produced
Freddie Freeman, ATL 184 in 60 games (3.07) and 262 plate appearances (.702)
Marcell Ozuna, ATL 183 in 60 games (3.05) and 267 plate appearances (.685)
Trae Turner, WAS 171 in 59 games (2.90) and 259 plate appearances (.660)
Fernando Tatis Jr., SD 166 in 59 games (2.81) and 257 plate appearances (.646)
Manny Machado, SD 162 in 60 games (2.70) and 254 plate appearances (.638)
Trevor Story, COL 161 in 59 games (2.73) and 259 plate appearances (.622)
Bryce Harper, PHI 160 in 58 games (2.76) and 244 plate appearances (.656)
Mookie Betts, LAD 157 in 55 games (2.85) and 246 plate appearances (.638)
Juan Soto, WAS 154 in 47 games (3.28) and 196 plate appearances (.786)
Corey Seager, LAD 142 in 52 games (2.73) and 232 plate appearances (.612)

Runs Produced
Freddie Freeman, ATL 91 in 60 games (1.52) and 262 plate appearances (.347)
Fernando Tatis Jr., SD 78 in 59 games (1.32) and 257 plate appearances (.304)
Marcell Ozuna, ATL 76 in 60 games (1.27) and 267 plate appearances (.285)
Trae Turner, WAS 75 in 59 games (1.27) and 259 plate appearances (.290)
Dansby Swanson, ATL 74 in 59 games (1.25) and 259 plate appearances (.286)
Mookie Betts, LAD 70 in 55 games (1.27) and 246 plate appearances (.285)
Charlie Blackmon, COL 67 in 55 games (1.22) and 246 plate appearances (.272)
Corey Seager, LAD 64 in 52 games (1.23) and 232 plate appearances (.276)
Mike Yastremski, SF 64 in 52 games (1.23) and 232 plate appearances (.276)
Juan Soto, WAS 63 in 47 games (1.34) and 196 plate appearances (.321)

Clutch Hitting
David Bote, CHI 29 RBI from 51 batting bases = .569
Eric Hosmer, SD 36 RBI from 74 batting bases = .486
Charlie Blackmon, COL 42 RBI from 99 batting bases = .424
Mike Moustakas, CIN 27 RBI from 65 batting bases = .415
Brian Anderson, MIA 38 RBI from 93 batting bases = .409
Eugenio Suarez, CIN 38 RBI from 93 batting bases = .409
Kole Calhoun, AZ 40 RBI from 100 batting bases = .400
Jesus Aguilar, MIA 34 RBI from 86 batting bases = .395
Travis d’Arnaud ATL 34 RBI from 88 batting bases = .3863636
David Peralta, AZ 34 RBI from 88 batting bases = .3863636
Marcell Ozuna, ATL 56 RBI from 145 batting bases = .3862068

Pitchers

On Base Percentage
Trevor Bauer, CIN 61 baserunners of 278 batters faced = .219
Clayton Kershaw, LAD 50 baserunners of 221 batters faced = .226
Tony Gonsolin, LAD 40 baserunners of 176 batters faced = .227
Dinelson Lamet, SD 63 baserunners of 267 batters faced = .236
Jacob DeGrom NYM 65 baserunners of 268 batters faced = .243
Yu Darvish, CUBS 75 baserunners of 297 batters faced = .253
Kyle Hendricks, CUBS 82 baserunners of 315 batters faced = .260
Brandon Woodruff, MIL 77 baserunners of 293 batters faced = .263
Corbin Burris, MIL 64 baserunners of 240 batters faced = .267
Zach Davies, SD 74 baserunners of 276 batters faced = .268

Scoring Percentage
Max Fried, ATL 14 earned runs from 65 baserunners = .215
Corbin Burris, MIL 14 earned runs from 64 baserunners = .219
Yu Darvish, CUBS 17 earned runs from 75 baserunners = .227
Trevor Bauer, CIN 14 earned runs from 61 baserunners = .230
Dinelson Lamet, SD 16 earned runs from 63 baserunners = .254
Zach Wheeler, PHI 23 earned runs from 90 baserunners = .256
Dustin May, LAD 16 earned runs from 62 baserunners = .258
Zac Gallen, AZ 22 earned runs from 82 baserunners = .268
Clayton Kershaw, LAD 14 earned runs from 50 baserunners = .280
Zach Davies, SD 21 earned runs from 74 baserunners = .284

Comments: Has anyone ever seen Dale Murphy, Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman in the same place at the same time? they seem like the same player to this Mets fan. The first two won MVPs and I think Freddie gets his this year. The Zac(h)s have had big years pitching the ball. But I think Yu Darvish will win the Cy Young.
 

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