A Batter Game Score for the Regression-Minded

Since attempting (somewhat haphazardly) to identify the top performances of the Futures Game by way of game scores, I’ve been experimenting both with a pitcher and also batter version of same that might weight the relevant inputs in a manner that reflects the rate at which those various inputs become reliable.

Because it’s likely flawed — and also because the prospect of doing so is tedious — I won’t provide a particularly detailed explanation of my own methodology here. But what I’ve got seems to produce reasonable enough results, which is really my only concern.

What I did was to start with the FIP-based pitcher game score proposed by Tango Tiger in these same pages a few years ago — the formula for which starts at 40 (as opposed to 50) so as to reflect the idea of replacement level. What I did then was to weight strikeouts three time more heavily than in the normal FIP formula (because it becomes strikeout rate becomes reliable three times more quickly than home-run rate) and walks about a third more heavily. Hits of any sort are excluded from consideration, as BABIP requires far too large a sample to integrate meaningfully with the other three variables. Multiplying plate appearances by 3 centers the equation.

Below is the resulting equation:

Game Score: 3 * PA + (13 * HR + 4 * BB – 6 * K) + 40

Applying the formula to an “average” game — that is, league-average rates prorated to 4.5 plate appearances — results in a game score of 51. A player going 4-for-4 with four home runs produces a score of 104. To produce a 0, a player would need to strike out in about 13 of 13 plate appearances — which, that’s an unlikely result. Away from the margins, however, the scores are reasonable.

Here, for example, are yesterday’s 10-best players:

# Name Team PA BB SO HR Score
1 Mark Teixeira Yankees 5 3 0 1 80
2 Matt Kemp Dodgers 4 0 0 2 78
3 J.P. Arencibia Rangers 5 0 1 2 75
4 Jose Abreu White Sox 5 1 0 1 72
5 Jimmy Rollins Phillies 5 1 0 1 72
6 Josh Hamilton Angels 6 0 0 1 71
7 Yangervis Solarte Padres 4 1 0 1 69
8 Josh Harrison Pirates 4 1 0 1 69
9 Brett Gardner Yankees 5 0 0 1 68
10 Anthony Rizzo Cubs 8 1 0 0 68

And 10 worst:

# Name Team PA BB SO HR Score
1 Carlos Gomez Brewers 4 0 4 0 28
2 Logan Schafer Brewers 3 0 3 0 31
3 Mark Trumbo D-backs 4 0 3 0 34
4 Marc Krauss Astros 4 0 3 0 34
5 James Jones Mariners 4 0 3 0 34
6 Dillon Gee Mets 2 0 2 0 34
7 Tyson Ross Padres 2 0 2 0 34
8 Chris Iannetta Angels 2 0 2 0 34
9 Justin Ruggiano Cubs 7 0 4 0 37
10 Tyler Flowers White Sox 5 0 3 0 37


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Carson Cistulli has just published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.


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