FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. I demand that you give me a one-sentence blurb about Jorge Cantu, since he made the top 5!

    I can’t believe I forgot about this award, I saw it last year. Is there something else you’re giving away so that Ludwick can make it some sort of sweep?

    Comment by Michael — November 16, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  2. How about the best MLB player with the initials RAL? He’s sure to win that right?

    Comment by AxDxMx — November 16, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  3. Ludwick hit behind Pujols and Holliday a lot. Both OBP’d over .400 for the Cards this year. Per b-r, he had 16% more runners on base than average when he batted — and even more importantly, 29% more runners on second and 25% more on third.

    Comment by Al Dimond — November 16, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  4. Nice work. Amusing stuff.

    Comment by Fresh Hops — November 16, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

  5. Hanley batted leadoff before this season, right? Interesting.

    Comment by David — November 16, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  6. I think you left out a word in the paragraph after players 5-2 are listed….unless Jose Lopez assaulted Suzuki and I never heard about it.

    Comment by R M — November 16, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

  7. It really shows how bad a leadoff is Mr.Jimmy Rollins
    And how good Chase Utley is getting for base for Howard’s overrated RBIs

    Comment by Kampfer — November 16, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  8. I haven’t had time to go back and look at the longer explanation of the process and methodology, but does a value less than 1 imply that the hitter failed in opportunities that were likely there over the course of XHunder Plate Appearances to drive in as many runs as someone else?

    Does it imply that the batter regardless of hitting order in the lineup failed more often then others at driving in runners but was probably more successful than average at getting on base?

    And how is it that B. Molina has an average over 3 years of 1.45 yet doesn’t even show up in the top 5 this year (seems like an opportunity to weight the data differently)? Does a value that high over 5 years actually support someone’s claim that they do indeed perform better with RISP?

    Comment by Rolo — November 16, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  9. Mauer having a sub-300 OBP hitting directly in front of him (the genius of Gardenhire hard at work) the majority of the year probably didn’t do him any favors.

    Comment by Not David — November 16, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

  10. Matt, you’re vaulting into the Dave Cameron territory of writers whose articles I’d drop a newborn baby to pull up and read.


    Funny and pointed. Loved the “feigned indifference” bit. I still believe that deep down old curmudgeon Cameron cares that the BBWAA hasn’t moved into the 21st century yet. I know I do, even though I maintain that I have no respect for them.

    Also, the blurbs about the players was great. “Chase Utley (Naturally)”. FFS, will this man ever get his due??


    Interesting and enlightening, just like the averagest player awards.

    I eagerly await your situational hitting article. Bring on the funny!

    Comment by Logan — November 16, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  11. Pedro Feliz had a pretty empty 82 RBI this year, with only 61.3 wRC. His score would be 1.34, “better” than Ludwick.

    Comment by Werthless — November 16, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  12. During 2007-2009, Ryan Howard’s OPS with bases empty was .808, while his OPS with runners on was 1.045. Given that this split is (1) consistent and large each year, and (2) readily explainable by the fact that teams cannot employ their very effective shift against him with runners on, I think it’s likely that this split is real, and not just a statistical anomaly.

    As such, Howard’s RBI total is not purely the result of who else is in the lineup, but also a fact about what kind of hitter he is — one with a large bases-empty runners-on split.

    To the extent that your statistic is intended to capture the component of RBI-production that is correlated with team factors outside the specific player’s control, it overstates the contribution of the Phillies lineup to Howard’s RBI total.

    Comment by Jon — November 16, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  13. “The pool is qualified hitters with at least 90 RBI.”

    Reading the article is a key component when critiquing it.

    Comment by Logan — November 16, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  14. He did for a while. That almost makes the case by itself.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — November 16, 2009 @ 10:23 pm

  15. D’oh. I changed that sentence a few times and obviously never finished the job. Thanks.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — November 16, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

  16. Thanks. That’s high (and undeserved) praise. I’m glad you’re enjoying my stuff so far., but the well is about dry. A few more entries and I’ll be back to the ol’ “+3 offense -1 defense -7.5 position = value” thing.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — November 16, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

  17. Interesting stuff. Thanks for putting it out there. You might find tomorrow morning’s post interesting as well.

    I’m not claiming to establish anything definitive for each player, or at least I didn’t mean to claim that. I’m making a more general point that RBIs don’t necessarily = offensive production.

    As far as hitting with runners on, I”m agnostic about that as a skill — not denying it, but I’m not exactly a believer. I’d need to see a study that looked at factors like variation in the population of hitters, etc. and showed how much is skill and random variation. Maybe Howard has the skill — but if you ask me the interesting part of the post is more about the Bengie Molinas and Jeff Francoeurs of the world than the Ryan Howards and Mike Lowells.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — November 16, 2009 @ 10:30 pm

  18. I’ll work on something for Ludwick, but a sweep is out because of the Little Things.

    Here’s one for Cantu:

    “He’s a rich man’s Mike Jacobs.”

    How’s that?

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — November 16, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  19. Sweet can’t wait for the “+3 offense -1 defense -7.5 position = value” thing

    Comment by Jeff Zimmerman — November 17, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  20. Howard has 1521 PA’s with no one on and goes .269/.343/.545. Runners on? .290/.406/.628 in 1624 PA. In 1014 PA w/ RISP, he’s .278/.416/.587.

    His unintentional walk rate with no one on is (146-4)/1521 = 9.33%. For men on? 9.79%.

    How about strikeouts? 28.5% with no one on, 27.4% with men on.

    So a little better w/ men on in the two main areas, but 63 points of OBP and 83 of SLG better? His HR rate doesn’t spike, his BABIP increases slightly, but that’s expected with men on. And I doubt he’s phoning it in when no one’s on. But a RE24 – wRAA of 27.73 in his career is huge.

    Comment by Joe R — November 17, 2009 @ 9:45 am

  21. Anything with Mike Jacobs involved makes me feel sad.

    Comment by Michael — November 17, 2009 @ 9:48 am

  22. Simple math is what you do best!

    Comment by Michael — November 17, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  23. I don’t think anyone is saying Ryan Howard is that much better with runners on, simply that often the defensive team cannot employ a superior defensive shift against him with runners on.

    It’s especially true with w/ RISP, because often teams still shift with a runner on first.

    Comment by Bill — November 17, 2009 @ 11:01 am

  24. “Would be” is the operative phrase, otherwise, I “is” would have been the chosen word. It wasn’t a critique of the article, but a critique of Feliz. I should have added that 90 RBI was an odd, arbitrary benchmark. 100 is a round number, while 80 RBI represents almost an RBI per 2 games.

    Comment by Werthless — November 17, 2009 @ 11:19 am

  25. maybe teams will stop shifting on Howard if Utley gets on a few times and steals 2 bases on one pitch…

    if they need video on how to do this, i can point them to their website.

    Comment by Steve — November 17, 2009 @ 11:58 am

  26. alright, everyone, let’s chill. It’s all in fun, right?

    Any benchmark for RBI is “arbitrary” in the sense that “100″ as a number isn’t “statistically” significant. It’s just a social convention we have due to the .300/30/100 Triple Crown tradition. I would have preferred using 100, but not that many interesting people get it, I picked 90 as the next step down. I could have used 80, or not had any minimum,but just eyeballing it, 90 seemed to get the most interesting group of guys tending to hit in the middle of the order and stuff. BUt I also wanted to restrict the group — guys like Jason Kendall have extreme numbers, but does anyone really care?

    So, yeah, you could pick whatever benchmark you want. I was just try to find a medium between getting no one and getting everyone.

    Comment by Matt Klaassen — November 17, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  27. I (sort of) inspired something this awesome? Sweet.

    The Carter-Batista Award ranks well above the Ted Stepien Rule, The Bush Doctrine, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

    Comment by Jonah Keri — November 18, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

  28. LOL seriously made me laugh

    Comment by PhD Brian — November 18, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

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