Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.
Prince Fielder’s RBI Total with Every Team
On Monday, during the SportsTime Ohio broadcast of the Detroit-Cleveland game, Indians color commentator Rick Manning referred to Detroit first baseman Prince Fielder as a “good RBI man.” Nor is Manning mistaken in this assessment, at all. Indeed, entering play on Monday, Fielder had recorded the ninth-highest RBI total (76) in the major leagues this season — and is fourth overall by that same measure since his rookie season in 2006.
FanGraphs readers, of course, will harbor a natural suspicion about the value of a player’s RBI total as a tool for assessing his value. Nor are they (i.e. those readers) mistaken for doing so: RBIs are reliant not only on a specific batter’s skills, but also on the opportunities he’s afforded by his teammates (as baserunners) for producing those RBIs. In point of fact, a brief inspection of the data reveals that Fielder’s RBI totals this season, at least, are likely influenced more by the latter factor than former. To wit: while Fielder’s 117 wRC+ places him at only about the 60th percentile among the league’s qualified batters by park-adjusted offense, no batter has benefited from a greater number of baserunners aboard this season than Fielder, whose total figure of 373 is first in the majors*.
*As of Monday.
“What,” one wonders — or is being forced to wonder, at least, for the sake of advancing this narrative — “what would be Fielder’s RBI total were he to play for a different team?” The answer, naturally, is one that only a wizard or very smart child in a wizard costume is actually capable of answering. With a view towards estimating the answer, however, the author has prepared the following — namely, a table of Fielder’s hypothetical RBI totals were he to play on every different major-league club.
So far as methodology is concerned, there are limitations, of course. What the author has done is to begin by finding Fielder’s RBI rate per baserunner aboard. As Fielder has recorded 76 RBI while benefiting from 373 baserunners aboard during his plate appearances, his RBI rate is 76 divided by 373, or 20.4%. Next, the author identified the batters from every major-league club who’d made the most starts as their respective teams’ cleanup hitters (i.e. Fielder’s most common spot in the Detroit lineup). For each cleanup hitter, the author calculated his rate of baserunners per plate appearance. Cincinnati’s Brandon Phillips, for example, has recorded 454 plate appearances with a total of 358 runners aboard, or 0.79 per plate appearance; Kansas City’s Billy Butler, on the other hand, has recorded 436 plate appearances with just 251 baserunners board, or 0.58 per plate appearance. Finally, the author used those baserunner/plate appearance rates to calculate how many baserunners Fielder would have driven in for each team had he recorded his actual total of 485 plate appearances for that team and maintained the same 20.4% RBI rate in every case.
Below are the results of those calculations.
Using the methodology described above, here are Prince Fielder’s hypothetical RBI totals for each team in the majors. Team represents the relevant team; Cleanup indicates the player who’s recorded the most starts at the cleanup spot in that team’s batting order; PA indicates how many plate appearances that batter has recorded overall; BR indicates the number of total baserunners aboard while that player has batted; BR/PA is the rate of baserunners relative to plate appearances; and, finally, Fielder is the estimate of RBIs Fielder would have recorded batting cleanup for the relevant team over his actual total of 485 plate appearances.
• As the table indicates, Fielder would have a higher RBI total were he batting cleanup for only one other club (Cincinnati) — this, likely due to the influence both of Shin-Soo Choo and Joey Votto‘s excellent on-base skills.
• Kansas City’s Billy Butler has seen the lowest rate of baserunners aboard among all of the sport’s cleanup hitters — this figure likely due to the .298 on-base percentage recorded by all of Kansas City’s number-two hitters
• Alfonso Soriano‘s baserunner rate includes not only his plate appearances with the Cubs, but also the Yankees — mostly because the author lacks the combination of know-how and can-do spirit required for separating them (i.e. those plate appearances).
Data from Baseball Reference was essential to this brief study.
Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Oakland at Cincinnati | 19:10 ET
Dan Straily (96.0 IP, 107 xFIP-, 1.2 WAR) faces Mat Latos (138.2 IP, 87 xFIP-, 3.1 WAR). A brief inspection of the latter’s player page here at the site reveals that he (i.e. Latos) has now recorded four consecutive season with three-plus wins. Even further inspection reveals that Latos presently owns the fourth-highest swinging-strike rate among all qualified starters at 11.9%.
Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Oakland Radio.
Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire. The average NERD Game Score for today is 6.3.
Note: the following table is entirely sortable.
|Julio Teheran||ATL||8||7||7||3||7||WAS||Gio Gonzalez||19:05|
|Edwin Jackson||CHN||5||5||4||0||3||PHI||Kyle Kendrick||19:05|
|Justin Verlander||DET||6||8||7||7||8||CLE||Justin Masterson||19:05|
|Hen. Alvarez||MIA||6||2||5||7||3||PIT||Jeff Locke||19:05|
|Tyler Chatwood||COL||7||7||9||6||12||NYN||Jenrry Mejia*||19:10|
|Dan Straily||OAK||6||6||7||3||9||CIN||Mat Latos||19:10|
|Steven Wright*||BOS||10||8||7||4||5||HOU||Jordan Lyles||20:10|
|Andrew Albers*||MIN||6||3||5||6||5||KC||James Shields||20:10|
|Hiroki Kuroda||NYA||5||3||6||1||10||CHA||Chris Sale||20:10|
|Clayton Kershaw||LAN||10||3||7||4||5||STL||Joe Kelly||20:15|
|Jeremy Hellickson||TB||5||10||6||2||6||AZ||Wade Miley||21:40|
|Yu Darvish||TEX||10||3||8||8||7||LAA||Garrett Richards||22:05|
|Bud Norris||BAL||3||8||4||6||3||SD||Edinson Volquez||22:10|
|Josh Johnson||TOR||7||6||8||5||10||SEA||Felix Hernandez||22:10|
|Wily Peralta||MIL||6||4||5||5||5||SF||Matt Cain||22:15|
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