Runs and Bases 2019 - After June

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 JUNE

AL

Bases Produced
Mike Trout, Angels 247 in 81 games (3.05) and 361 plate appearances (.684)
Alex Bregman, Astros 224 in 83 games (2.70) and 371 plate appearances (.604)
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox 220 in 81 games (2.72) and 365 plate appearances (.603)
Carlos Santana, Indians 218 in 82 games (2.66) and 353 plate appearances (.618)
Mookie Betts, Red Sox 217 in 82 games (2.65) and 388 plate appearances (.559)
Matt Chapman, Athletics 216 in 84 games (2.57) and 365 plate appearances (.590)
Whit Merrifield, Royals 211 in 84 games (2.51) and 382 plate appearances (.552)
Domingo Santana, Mariners 207 in 84 games (2.46) and 375 plate appearances (.552)
Jorge Polanco, Twins 205 in 79 games (2.59) and 366 plate appearances (.560)
Marcus Siemen, Athletics 201 in 86 games (2.34) and 394 plate appearances (.510)



Comments: Trout may be on his way to another MVP. Maybe someday he’ll get to play on a team as good as he is.


Runs Produced
DJ LeMahieu, Yankees 111 in 76 games (1.46) and 343 plate appearances (.324)
Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox 104 in 81 games (1.28) and 365 plate appearances (.285)
Rafael Devers, Red Sox 100 in 81 games (1.23) and 348 plate appearances (.287)
Mike Trout, Angels 98 in 81 games (1.21) and 361 plate appearances (.271)
Domingo Santana, Mariners 92 in 84 games (1.10) and 375 plate appearances (.245)
Eddie Rosario, Twins 91 in 75 games (1.21) and 324 plate appearances (.281)
Mookie Betts, Red Sox 90 in 82 games (1.10) and 388 plate appearances (.232)
Whit Merrifield, Royals 90 in 84 games (1.07) and 382 plate appearances (.236)
Edwin Encarnacion, SEA/NY 89 in 76 games (1.17) and 339 plate appearances (.263)
Matt Chapman, Athletics 88 in 84 games (1.05) and 365 plate appearances (.241)
Marcus Siemen, Athletics 88 in 86 games (1.02) and 394 plate appearances (.223)

Comments: LeMahieu is as dominant in this stat as Trout is in base production. He is on a team as good as the way he’s playing. That will help him. But Trout is a much more famous player. And will DJ maintain these numbers with all those players coming back?


Clutch Percentage
Josh Phegley, Athletics 42 RBI from 93 batting bases = .452
Asdrubal Cabrera, Rangers 43 RBI from 103 batting bases = .417
Robinson Chirinos, Astros 39 RBI from 95 batting bases = .411
Hunter Pence, Rangers 48 RBI from 118 batting bases = .407
Albert Pujols, Angels 43 RBI from 107 batting bases = .402
Alex Gordon, Royals 52 RBI from 131 batting bases = .397
Gary Sanchez, Yankees 54 RBI from 140 batting bases = .386
Michael Chavis, Red Sox 44 RBI from 114 batting bases = .386
Edwin Encarnacion, SEA/NY 55 RBI from 145 batting bases = .3793103
Dwight Smith, Orioles 44 RBI from 116 batting bases = .3793103
(Encarnacion rates higher for maintaining the rate longer)

Comments: Phegley was also #1 at the end of May. Like Trout and Le Mahieu he has a big lead that could hold up.


Pitcher’s On Base Percentage
Justin Verlander, Astros 99 baserunners of 458 batters faced = .216
Shane Bieber, Indians 112 baserunners of 458 batters faced = .245
Lucas Golito, White Sox 101 baserunners of 379 batters faced = .266
Gerrit Cole, Astros 116 baserunners of 438 batters faced = .265
Yonny Chirinos, Rays 96 baserunners of 362 batters faced = .265
Domingo German, Yankees 79 baserunners of 291 batters faced = .271
Chris Sale, Red Sox 114 baserunners of 417 batters faced = .273
Jose Berrios, Twins 126 baserunners of 457 batters faced = .2757111
Charlie Morton, Rays 111 baserunners of 401 batters faced = .2768079
Matthew Boyd, Tigers 116 baserunners of 419 batters faced = .2768496

Comments: Old Man Verlander still has it: he’s averaging 11 strike-outs per 9 innings. He may not like the ball but he sure throws it well.


Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage
Mike Minor, Rangers 37 earned runs from 130 baserunners = .231
John Means, Orioles 21 earned runs from 88 baserunners = .239
Charlie Morton, Rays 27 earned runs from 111 baserunners = .243
Spencer Turnbull, Tigers 33 earned runs from 129 baserunners = .256
Frankie Montas, Athletics 27 earned runs from 105 baserunners = .257
Jake Ordoizzi, Twins 26 earned runs from 94 baserunners = .277
Marcus Stroman, Blue Jays 37 earned runs from 132 baserunners = .280
Jose Berrios, Twins 36 earned runs from 126 baserunners = .286
Lucas Golito, White Sox 29 earned runs from 101 baserunners = .287
Trevor Bauer, Indians 47 earned runs from 149 baserunners = .315

Comments: Who are these guys? By the way, Verlander has given up 38 earned runs from 99 baserunners = .384. if you can get on against, you can score against him.


NL

Bases Produced
Christian Yelich, Brewers 267 in 77 games (3.38) and 341 plate appearances (.783)
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers 265 in 82 games (3.23) and 351 plate appearances (.755)
Freddie Freeman, Braves 244 in 84 games (3.14) and 381 plate appearances (.640)
Josh Bell, Pirates 233 in 81 games (2.88) and 356 plate appearances (.654)
Pete Alonso, Mets 229 in 84 games (2.73) and 355 plate appearances (.645)
Ronald Acuna, Braves 224 in 84 games (2.67) and 386 plate appearances (.580)
Nolan Arenado, Rockies 223 in 83 games (2.69) and 362 plate appearances (.616)
Ketel Marte, Diamondbacks 218 in 82 games (2.66) and 361 plate appearances (.604)
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies 214 in 68 games (3.15) and 321 plate appearances (.667)
Max Muncy, Dodgers 205 in 83 games (2.47) and 334 plate appearances (.614)
Bryce Harper, Phillies 205 in 84 games (2.44) and 367 plate appearances (.559)

Comments: Cody Bellinger has cooled off a bit and Yelich is back at the top of this standing. He seems to have become what Bryce Harper was supposed to be.


Runs Produced
Josh Bell, Pirates 109 in 81 games (1.35) and 356 plate appearances (.306)
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers 107 in 82 games (1.30) and 351 plate appearances (.305)
Freddie Freeman, Braves 106 in 84 games (1.26) and 381 plate appearances (.278)
Anthony Rendon, Nationals 102 in 69 games (1.48) and 299 plate appearances (.341)
Charlie Blackmon, Rockies 101 in 68 games (1.49) and 321 plate appearances (.315)
Eduardo Escobar, D-Backs 101 in 84 games (1.20) and 367 plate appearances (.275)
Christian Yelich, Brewers 98 in 77 games (1.27) and 341 plate appearances (.287)
Trevor Story, Rockies 96 in 72 games (1.33) and 328 plate appearances (.293)
Ronald Acuna, Braves 96 in 84 games (1.14) and 386 plate appearances (.249)
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals 94 in 78 games (1.21) and 326 plate appearances (.288)
Bryce Harper, Phillies 94 in 84 games (1.12) and 367 plate appearances (.256)
Nick Markakis, Braves 94 in 85 games (1.11) and 342 plate appearances (.275)

Comments: Charley Blackmon and Anthony Rendon have actually been the best run producers in the league but they’ve missed time with injuries.


Clutch Percentage
Daniel Murphy, Rockies 42 RBI from 91 batting bases = .462
Colin Moran, Pirates 44 RBI from 105 batting bases = .419
Wilson Ramos, Mets 41 RBI from 98 batting bases = .418
Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals 62 RBI from 151 batting bases = .411
Bryce Harper, Phillies 59 RBI from 145 batting bases = .407
Howie Kendrick, Nationals 45 RBI from 112 batting bases = .402
Eric Hosmer, Padres 60 RBI from 152 batting bases = .395
Derek Dietrich, Reds 40 RBI from 102 batting bases = .392
Maikel Franco, Phillies 40 RBI from 104 batting bases = .385
Nick Markakis, Braves 48 RBI from 127 batting bases = .378

Comments: The Mets let Daniel Murphy go after his terrific playoff performance in 2015 thinking it was a fluke. But he’s been hitting ever since and the Mets have never found a permanent replacement.


Pitcher’s On Base Percentage
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers 94 baserunners of 394 batters faced = .239
Walker Buehler, Dodgers 95 baserunners of 382 batters faced = .2486910
Chris Paddack, Padres 76 baserunners of 305 batters faced = .2491803
Zach Greinke, D-Backs 111 baserunners of 439 batters faced = .253
Max Scherzer, Nationals 129 baserunners of 489 batters faced = .2638036
Mike Soroka, Braves 90 baserunners of 340 batters faced = .2647058
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 98 baserunners of 362 batters faced = .271
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals 122 baserunners of 442 batters faced = .2760180
Joey Lucchesi, Padres 102 baserunners of 369 batters faced = .2764227
Kenta Maeda, Dodgers 99 baserunners of 357 batters faced = .2773109

Comments: Why do the Dodgers have the best record in baseball? They don’t let anybody on base.


Pitcher’s Scoring Percentage
Mike Soroka, Braves 20 earned runs from 90 baserunners = .222
Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers 21 earned runs from 94 baserunners = .223
Luis Castillo, Reds 27 earned runs from 118 baserunners = .229
Dakota Hudson, Cardinals 33 earned runs from 135 baserunners = .244
Zach Davis, Brewers 33 earned runs from 130 baserunners = .254
Max Scherzer, Nationals 33 earned runs from 129 baserunners = .256
Cole Hamels, Cubs 33 earned runs from 123 baserunners = .268
Tanner Roarke, Reds 32 earned runs from 119 baserunners = .269
Zach Elfin, Phillies 36 earned runs from 125 baserunners = .288
Sandy Alcantara, Marlins 41 earned runs from 138 baserunners = .297

Comments: It’s interesting to compare Ryu’s 2019 season to DeGrom’s 2018 season. DeGrom led the league in both categories with a .243 on base percentage and a .202 scoring percentage. Ryu now leads with a .239 on base percentage and Is second with a .223 scoring percentage. That second number of DeGrom’s is hard to match.
 

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