Doubled Up 2010 Final Count: The Worst

Earlier this season, I posted about measuring how much a hitter costs his team by grounding into double plays, and ranked the best and the worst at doing so at that point in the season. You can look at those posts for methodological details; in short, each double play grounded into (or avoided) is worth about .35 runs, so by looking at a player’s double play rate on this table and comparing it to the league average (about 11% in 2010), and multiplying by .35, we can get the number of runs the hitter cost his team above or below average. Today, we’ll take a look at the five players who cost their teams the most by grounding into double plays in 2011. [Edit ~11:00 PM EST: Some observant readers found that I had mistakenly published only from the AL leaderboards. My apologies for the stupid mistake on my part. This should be the corrected version; for those craving the {inadvertant} AL-only version, I’m sure some web archive has recorded my “brilliance.”]

The ranking is by runs. The numbers are GiDPs vs. GiDP opportunities, percentage grounded into, rounded number of GiDPS below average, and runs below average.

There is three-way tie for fifth (or third?) worst between:

Adrian Beltre, 25-127, 20%, 11 worse than average, -3.85 runs
Pablo Sandoval, 26-137, 19%, 11 worse than average, -3.85 runs
Wilson Valdez, 20-83, 24%, 11 worse than average, -3.85 runs

Beltre is easily the best player on this list, and, as everyone knows, had a great overall season in 2010. Beltre has some of the attributes you’d expect from a player who has trouble with double plays: right-handed, a bit of a free swinger, and unexceptional speed, but it has only been since last season (18%) that he has really had trouble. It isn’t clear to me whether this has to do with a change in his plate approach, age and injuries hampering his speed, or random variation. In any case, his primary selling points are a revived bat and an awesome glove at third base, this shouldn’t effect his status as one of the the offseason’s premier free agents. I’ve written about Pablo Sandoval recently, so I won’t say much more than this being another reason the Giants are understandably concerned about him. It is acceptable when his wOBA is in the .390s or .360s, not so much when it is .314. As for Wilson Valdez, well, he didn’t “win,” but that’s an impressive performance given his limited playing time.

Second Worst:

Ivan ‘Pudge” Rodriguez, 25-88, 28%, 15 worse than average, -5.25 runs

Pudge’s .279 wOBA in 2010 was the worst of his career, but by one measure, he had a great year defensively. However, neither figure includes his dreadful performance in double play situations. He’s pretty much always had a problem with it, but this year’s 28& was the worst over a full season in his career.

The worst of 2010:

Billy Butler, 32-135, 24 worse than average, -5.95 runs

This is no surprise for anyone who has follows such things. If anything, it is a bit surprising that Butler didn’t supplant Jim Rice for the most double plays in a season, or even the second most (Rice hold both places). Butler had another good season offensively in 2010, but the double plays are nothing new; Butler is a big, slow guy who hits a lot of grounders. His power isn’t bad, but it isn’t what one would expect given his (ahem) body type. He’s still only 24, so that has time to develop. Despite his offensive skill and potential for growth, given his marginal defensive abilities at first base, it is hurts for Butler to be giving back half a win of his offensive value by grounding into double plays. This might sound crazy, but given his double play issue, good on-base percentage, and good-but-not-great power, the Royals should seriously consider having him hit leadoff.



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Matt Klaassen reads and writes obituaries in the Greater Toronto Area. If you can't get enough of him, follow him on Twitter.


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dustygator
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dustygator
5 years 10 months ago

How is Pablo Sandoval not on this list? He led the league in GIDP and according to that chart had 19% good for third worst.

phoenix
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phoenix
5 years 10 months ago

he led the NL right? is it just coincidence that all the worst GIDP-ers are in the AL?

Justa Name
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Justa Name
5 years 10 months ago

Wow, I would have thought Sandoval with 26 GIDPs would have made the list. Is he 7th?

phoenix
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phoenix
5 years 10 months ago

I know the old school thought about how the fastest guy should bat lead off and steal, but does this hold any water? as in, at what point does high OBP and low speed become better to lead off than average OBP and lots of speed? basically, how important (or not) is speed to the top of the order/ lead off spot?

Travis
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Travis
5 years 10 months ago

This study (looking at different skill sets) has been studied extensively here and elsewhere. The conclusions (someone correct me if I’m wrong) seem to indicate that batting order really only matters in the sense that you want your best hitters to get the most at bats in a season. Each spot in the lineup you drop costs something like 15-20 PA per season. Compared to getting 15-20 more PA for #2-#6 in the Yankee lineup, the “cost” of having a slow, high OBP guy in the leadoff spot is negligible.

I think outside of the “get your better players more PA” strategy, the studies found that the least optimal to most optimal lineup was something like the different of a couple of wins. Considering that nobody actually uses the least optimal lineup (most are fairly optimal, Jeter hitting leadoff notwithstanding), the difference between the actual lineup and optimal lineup is less than a win over a season.

phoenix
Guest
phoenix
5 years 10 months ago

so my question is then: should speed factor into the lineup at all? do you base every decision on wOBA and the triple slash, or do you consider that someone like gardner might get stuck behind someone like posada on the bases? probably thats negligible because of how often this scenario would occur, but idk.

I think about this stuff when I hear things like “the dodgers need a lead off man” and that they thought posednick could be that, even though his bat and OBP are nothing special. they just want him leading off because of his speed. is that a good choice over the player with the best OBP on the team?

zenbitz
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zenbitz
5 years 10 months ago

Math on pablo: 19% DP in 137 Opps

.08 X 137 X .35 = -3.86 runs, he should be second.

zenbitz
Guest
zenbitz
5 years 10 months ago

Actual list (took me 4 minutes in Excel given the link above):

Ryan Doumit# PIT -2.72
Kurt Suzuki OAK -2.75
Derek Jeter NYY -2.94
Ty Wigginton BAL -3.21
Michael Cuddyer MIN -3.58
Wilson Valdez PHI -3.78
Pablo Sandoval# SFG -3.84
Adrian Beltre BOS -4.00
Ivan Rodriguez WSN -5.24
Billy Butler KCR -6.14

Apparently the NL matters too.

And since I am here, here are the 10 best at DPR
Curtis Granderson* NYY 4.44
Carl Crawford* TBR 4.16
Jonny Gomes CIN 3.70
Carlos Pena* TBR 3.53
Roger Bernadina* WSN 2.97
Johnny Damon* DET 2.94
Rickie Weeks MIL 2.74
Chase Utley* PHI 2.60
Ichiro Suzuki* SEA 2.44
Brennan Boesch* DET 2.33

Apologies for formatting…

zenbitz
Guest
zenbitz
5 years 10 months ago

in case anyone wonders, I am sure the differences between my numbers and original poster are “fractional” DPs which my lazy math counts and OPs does not.

DPR = (DPrate – DPrate_avg)*DPopps*R_DP
Eg Billy Butler = (0.24 – 0.11) * 135 * 0.35 = -6.14

Original eq = DPrate_avg*135 – trueDPs * R_DP = -6.00
actually I think he also rounded off “estimated DPs”

Llewdor
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Llewdor
5 years 10 months ago

You had a bad edit somewhere in the Adrian Beltre paragraph that left this rogue phrase behind:

“but this was it has only been since last season ”

As such, that sentence makes no literal sense.

Choo
Member
5 years 10 months ago

What’s the deal with Jeter? All of these guys are slow, right-handed dead pull hitters. Jeter is more of a slow, right-handed improvisational flick hitter. For a guy who loves punching fastballs into the RCF alley, he must roll over on the off speed stuff a lot.

phoenix
Guest
phoenix
5 years 10 months ago

his bat is slowing down. not only is that causing him to fall behind on stuff instead of shooting it the other way, but it also has been forcing him to swing earlier to compensate, which has led to him swinging at stuff he shouldn’t, which of course leads to bad contact/ getting fooled.

pm
Guest
pm
5 years 10 months ago

How is Pudge Rodriguez not on the list considering he had 25 GIDP and a 28% GIDP rate? This list is invalid if he is not included.

Choo
Member
5 years 10 months ago

Not enough PA’s to make the cut, probably.

phoenix
Guest
phoenix
5 years 10 months ago

yet still he managed to ground into 25 DPs. that’s even worse for limited PA.

Bill
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Bill
5 years 10 months ago

No way Wilson Valdez doesn’t lead this list.

Mark
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Mark
5 years 10 months ago

20 GIDP’s in 333 AB’s. That would put him on pace to break Jim Rice’s all time record.

Dann M
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

For those asking why Pudge Rodriguez and Pablo Sandoval aren’t on the list, it’s pretty clear to me that the author simply forgot to mention that this is an AL-only list. Look at the rankings zenbitz came up with:
“Ryan Doumit# PIT -2.72
Kurt Suzuki OAK -2.75
Derek Jeter NYY -2.94
Ty Wigginton BAL -3.21
Michael Cuddyer MIN -3.58
Wilson Valdez PHI -3.78
Pablo Sandoval# SFG -3.84
Adrian Beltre BOS -4.00
Ivan Rodriguez WSN -5.24
Billy¬†Butler KCR -6.14”

Butler, Beltre, Cuddyer, Jeter and Wigginton are the worst-rated American League players. Rodriguez, Sandoval, Wilson Valdez, and Ryan Doumit are the 4 worst-rated National League players. A quick scan through the list for what I’d consider “qualifiers” based on opportunities, Yadier Molina’s 18% (19/103) translates to about -2.52, I think good for 5th-worst in the NL. For posterity’s sake, Bengie Molina, who spent time in each league, was 14/77 (=18%), while other brother Jose was 7/36 (=19%) in limited backup duty. Overall, the Molina brothers came in at 19.5% (40/216), or -5.68 runs. So even all three slow-as-molasses Molinas COMBINED are less damaging to a lineup than Billy Butler by way of double plays.

But here’s my favorite number from the B-R list: Cubs catcher Geovany Soto only grounded into 5 double plays in 69 chances, for a 7.2% rate. If we take the league rate to one decimal, 10.8%, Soto was worth +.869 runs. Worrisome, though, is that Starlin Castro grounded into double plays at a 16% clip (14/85), worth -1.687 runs. I think it’s time that everyone in the Cubs organization realizes that no, young Castro is not particularly fast on the bases. Part of it is that, like Derek Jeter, he’s a right-handed, flick-hitting guy who is able to make decent contact with just about anything close to the zone. Low BB and K rates, high GB and good LD rates.

I’d imagine the post just went up in a rough draft form, since there are also a handful of errors that weren’t proofread one final time, leaving a couple sentences unintelligible.

B N
Guest
B N
5 years 10 months ago

On Beltre: “it has only been since last season (18%) that he has really had trouble.”

That’s because last year was the last time in a while he actually had anybody on base when he got to the plate…

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