Friday, May 22, 2009

Converting Base Runners

In response to a post by pablo on Mike Wilner’s blog, I looked at which of OBP, SLG or RC did the best job of predicting the winner of the Jays’ first 44 games. I’m not an enormous fan of the power game as too often it is feast or famine; I prefer teams and players that hit for average. I suppose that will be another analysis sometime in the future.

What surprised me was that the team with the higher OBP won 37 of the Jays first 44 games, whereas the higher SLG predicted 41 of the 44 game winners. Runs Created had a record of 36-8, differing from OBP on the outcome of three games. I was interesting to note that on the misclassified Jays losses the average Team LOB was 9.8 (9.2 for RC) and the total of the individual LOB averaged 20.7 (19.5 for RC). Conversely, in the games predicted as losses that the Jays actually won the averages were 4 for TLOB and 8 for the individual LOB. For the season, the Jays are averaging 7.7 and 16.4 on these measures, respectively.

When a player comes to the plate with runners on base, there are three principal things that can happen: he can drive them in, leave them on base, or erase them with a ground ball double play. (There can also be a run driven in with no RBI and there can also be double plays resulting from a runner being out after a fly ball. I don’t have the data on either of these, so I will ignore these. The Jays had scored 13 more runs than RBIs, so the first happens about once every 3.3 games)

I estimated the number of base runners (BR) by adding LOB, (RBI-HR) and GIDP. The base runners batted in (BR BI) is (RBI-HR).

Rod Barajas and Adam Lind have been cashing in the highest proportion of their base runners at 26.7% and 26.2%, respectively. Also over 20% are, in order, Lyle Overbay, Aaron Hill and Marco Scutaro. At the other extreme, among the regular starters Vernon Wells has batted in only 16 of his 126 base runners and Alex Rios only 16 of his 115 base rummers. Scott Rolen’s 12 of 78 is very low as well. The best OBP on the team belongs to Jose Bautista, but he has only batted-in 5 of 41 base runners.

What about erasing runners?

Not that he is a regular, but the worst on the team is Raul Chavez, who has 2 RBI and 2 GIDP, so he’s erased as many as he’s driven in, but he's not on the team for his bat. The others that have erased more than 5% of their base runners are Millar, Scutaro, Bautista, Hill, Wells and Rios. Snider, Lind, and Overbay are under 5%, while Rolen and Barajas has no GIDP to date.

Net Impact

The Net Impact can be computed by taking the difference between the number or percentage of base runners that scored and the number erased. Barajas stays on top with 26.7% followed by Lind, at 22.4% and Overbay at 19.7%. Rios and Wells are both under 10%, which is not what we should expect from the 3 and 4 hitters.

Two Outs

I didn’t do much analysis on the 2-out situation, but a few observations:
(1) Vernon Wells has left 23 runners in scoring position (RISP) with 2 out but has only 9 2-out RBIs.
(2) Rod Barajas – tops in the analysis above – is next worst with 15 RISP and 4 RBI with 2 outs.
(3) At the other extreme, Lyle Overbay has 11 2-out RBI and has stranded only 8 RISP with 2 outs and is the only Jay with more 2-out RBI than RISP with 2 out.
(4) Adam Lind is the team leader with 2-out RBI at 17, but he has also left 22 RISP with 2-out.

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