A New Metric of High Unimportance: SCRAP

It’s something we hear all the time: “He’s a scrappy player” or “He’s always trying hard out there, I love his scrappiness.” Maybe chicks don’t dig the long ball anymore; maybe they’re into scrappiness. I’m not really in a position to accurately comment on what chicks dig though, so I don’t know.

Even from a guy’s perspective, scrappiness is great. It’s hard to hate guys that overcome their slim frames by just out-efforting everyone else and getting to the big leagues. It’s not easy to quantify scrappiness, though. Through the years it’s always been a quality that you know when you see, but there’s never been a number to back it up. Until now.

Scrap is a metric that is scaled on a similar scale to Spd, where 5 is average and anything above that is above average, and anything below 5 is below average. Here are the components that make it up (each component is factored onto a Spd-like scale, assigned a weight, and then combined with all of the other components to give a final number).

  • Infield hit% — Higher is better.
  • .ISO — Less power means more scrappiness.
  • Spd –The ability to change a game with legs.
  • balls in play% — (PA-BB-K)/PA — Go up there looking to fight.
  • zSwing%. — Higher is better. Measures willingness to defend the zone.
  • oSwing%. — Lower is better. These guys can’t hit the low and away pitch to deep center.
  • zContact%. — Higher is better. These guys swing for contact.

Without further ado, here are the Scrap rankings of all qualified batters in 2013.

# Name Scrap
1 Alcides Escobar 6.31
2 Eric Young 6.27
3 Leonys Martin 6.25
4 Jacoby Ellsbury 6.24
5 Starling Marte 6.23
6 Jean Segura 6.19
7 Ichiro Suzuki 6.13
8 Alexei Ramirez 6.13
9 Elvis Andrus 6.08
10 Denard Span 6.08
11 Jose Altuve 6.08
12 Erick Aybar 5.93
13 Adeiny Hechavarria 5.9
14 Daniel Murphy 5.9
15 Brett Gardner 5.89
16 Carlos Gomez 5.89
17 Gregor Blanco 5.87
18 Michael Bourn 5.8
19 Alex Rios 5.76
20 Will Venable 5.72
21 Norichika Aoki 5.7
22 Jimmy Rollins 5.64
23 Shane Victorino 5.63
24 Michael Brantley 5.63
25 Howie Kendrick 5.63
26 Gerardo Parra 5.61
27 Nate McLouth 5.58
28 Nolan Arenado 5.54
29 Torii Hunter 5.53
30 Austin Jackson 5.53
31 Chris Denorfia 5.52
32 Jon Jay 5.52
33 Brandon Phillips 5.5
34 Alejandro De Aza 5.48
35 Dustin Pedroia 5.45
36 Darwin Barney 5.45
37 Ian Desmond 5.42
38 Starlin Castro 5.42
39 A.J. Pierzynski 5.4
40 Eric Hosmer 5.39
41 Asdrubal Cabrera 5.39
42 Josh Hamilton 5.39
43 Alex Gordon 5.39
44 Adam Jones 5.38
45 Coco Crisp 5.35
46 Andrew McCutchen 5.34
47 Marco Scutaro 5.34
48 Ian Kinsler 5.33
49 Andrelton Simmons 5.33
50 Desmond Jennings 5.32
51 Jonathan Lucroy 5.32
52 Chase Utley 5.3
53 Brandon Belt 5.3
54 Hunter Pence 5.26
55 Jason Kipnis 5.22
56 Ben Zobrist 5.21
57 Alfonso Soriano 5.2
58 Pablo Sandoval 5.19
59 Manny Machado 5.18
60 Brian Dozier 5.18
61 Matt Holliday 5.17
62 Brandon Crawford 5.17
63 Allen Craig 5.15
64 Matt Carpenter 5.14
65 Michael Young 5.13
66 Yunel Escobar 5.12
67 Yoenis Cespedes 5.11
68 Yadier Molina 5.11
69 Nick Markakis 5.11
70 Zack Cozart 5.1
71 Mike Trout 5.1
72 Nate Schierholtz 5.08
73 Todd Frazier 5.07
74 Michael Cuddyer 5.07
75 Domonic Brown 5.06
76 Chase Headley 5.03
77 Salvador Perez 5.03
78 Marlon Byrd 5.02
79 James Loney 5.0
80 Neil Walker 5.0
81 Kyle Seager 4.97
82 Andre Ethier 4.97
83 Freddie Freeman 4.96
84 Mike Moustakas 4.95
85 Robinson Cano 4.95
86 Jed Lowrie 4.95
87 David Freese 4.92
88 Shin-Soo Choo 4.91
89 Adam LaRoche 4.91
90 Chris Johnson 4.88
91 Martin Prado 4.87
92 Carlos Beltran 4.86
93 Ryan Zimmerman 4.85
94 Victor Martinez 4.83
95 Justin Morneau 4.81
96 Adrian Gonzalez 4.8
97 Anthony Rizzo 4.79
98 Alberto Callaspo 4.79
99 Trevor Plouffe 4.79
100 Ryan Doumit 4.77
101 Brandon Moss 4.74
102 Mark Trumbo 4.74
103 Matt Wieters 4.7
104 Josh Donaldson 4.69
105 Adrian Beltre 4.69
106 Justin Upton 4.68
107 Daniel Nava 4.67
108 Paul Konerko 4.65
109 Billy Butler 4.65
110 Matt Dominguez 4.64
111 Jayson Werth 4.62
112 Russell Martin 4.62
113 Jay Bruce 4.62
114 J.J. Hardy 4.6
115 Joey Votto 4.59
116 Buster Posey 4.59
117 Dan Uggla 4.57
118 Nick Swisher 4.55
119 Kendrys Morales 4.52
120 Carlos Santana 4.51
121 Pedro Alvarez 4.49
122 Mark Reynolds 4.48
123 Jedd Gyorko 4.48
124 Paul Goldschmidt 4.47
125 Prince Fielder 4.47
126 Edwin Encarnacion 4.45
127 David Ortiz 4.45
128 Adam Lind 4.4
129 Jose Bautista 4.38
130 Justin Smoak 4.37
131 Miguel Cabrera 4.37
132 Mitch Moreland 4.36
133 Joe Mauer 4.34
134 Evan Longoria 4.24
135 Chris Carter 4.23
136 Giancarlo Stanton 4.1
137 Mike Napoli 4.09
138 Troy Tulowitzki 4.07
139 Chris Davis 3.94
140 Adam Dunn 3.81

That’s quite a bit to look at. Here are a few of my takeaways:

  • The general perception of a player’s scrappiness is pretty close to what this metric spits out.
  • There are some surprises, such as Tulo being near the bottom. In his case it’s caused by an extremely low speed rating and a low z-swing%.
  • Little dudes that run hard tend to be scrappy (duh).
  • Big oafy power guys tend not to be scrappy (duh).
  • Upon removing the qualified batter restriction the ‘Scrap’ leader is Hernan Perez. Tony Campana is a close second. I think we can all agree that Campana is more or less the definition of scrappiness.

This isn’t a stat that’s going to forever change how we view baseball. But this does give us a way of quantifying, however imperfectly, a skillset that we haven’t been able to before. Now we not only know that Jose Altuve is scrappy, we know just how scrappy he is. I’ll let you decide how important that is.

If you have any suggestions regarding different ways to calculate Scrap let me know in the comments. It’s a metric that requires a good amount of arbitrary significance since, well, what does it even mean to be scrappy? We’ve always had an idea, and now we have a number.


The idea for this metric was spurned on by Dan Syzmborksi on this episode of the CACast podcast, somewhere around the 75-minute mark.



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Brandon Reppert is a computer "scientist" who finds talking about himself in the third-person peculiar.


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Justin
Guest
Justin

Yet another thing that Neil Walker is extremely average at.

Sky Kalkman
Member

Ha, love it. How about including position? Up-the-middle guys are more scrappy, right? I mean, 1B’s and DH’s certainly aren’t. That would help Tulo…

Eric Garcia McKinley
Member
Member

Next up, measuring a pitchers’ craftiness. I think the measures can be low velocity, high ERA, a decent amount of wins, and a big plus if left handed.

Jonah Pemstein
Member

Reminds me of this community article from a little while ago:

http://www.fangraphs.com/community/an-introduction-to-grit/

The Stranger
Member

Height and weight need to be factored into this somehow. As an extreme example, Jose Altuve is only 1 Altuve tall – he could slug .600 and he’d still be scrappy, just on principle. If anything, it would make him seem scrappier if he somehow put up elite power numbers with that body.

Sosa
Member
Sosa

Brett Gardner!

BaseballONLY
Member
BaseballONLY

Isn’t good defense also a sign of being scrappy?

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