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Why Is There No Version of wRC+ Including Baserunning?

Would someone be so good as to please implement this for me? This statistic can and should definitely exist and would be easily derivable from the stats FanGraphs already has. Yes, there is the offensive runs above average figure, but this is not a rate stat, and is not scaled to 100. What the people want is a wRC+ rate stat for offense that includes baserunning — for why should baserunning be excluded if what we want to know is who are the best offensive players on our team, which certainly includes their contributions on the bases or the lack thereof? (I’m looking at you Wilmer Flores; I saw you thrown out three times on the bases in a single game last week.)

I think the argument is clear for adding a baserunning-included linear weights rate stat, and one which is park- and league-adjusted, and one on the intuitive, familiar, and non arbitrary 100 point scale. (I prefer wRC+ because the scale of wOBA seems entirely arbitrary and unintuitive in meaning.) I don’t think the user should need to try to cobble together figures on their own and perform division to determine various players’ offensive contribution per plate appearance, if they have a simple question, such as “Who are the best 8 or 10 or 12 or 14 offensive players on our team, in their careers, or this season?” Despite all the stats given to us, I don’t really see one that answers this without my performing calculations.

That’s right; I have figured out how to calculate this myself, but it would be nice to have it automatically calculated. Here’s how you do it. (There is probably an easier way than this, but this is the way I figured from the materials available.)

Take the Players (Park/League Adjusted) Batting Runs above Average (listed at the bottom of the page under Value, or subtract baserunning runs from offense runs) and divide by wRC+ the percentage above average, converting wRC+ to a percentage and subtracting 100 (i.e. for a wRC+ of 104, divide by .04). This will give you the League Average Batting Runs in the player’s plate appearances. Now that you have this figure, simply add back in the Offensive runs above average (or the Batting Runs above average + Baserunning runs above average) to get the total park- and league-adjusted linear weights runs for the player including baserunning and hitting. And of course, to get our wRC+ baserunning-included statistic, we simply now divide by the league-average runs (which we already calculated, and which has the park and league adjustments built into it because of how it was calculated) and we arrive at the desired baserunning adjusted wRC+. Voila.

As an illustration, take Curtis Granderson, who I have down, as of September 15 having a career 117 wRC+, and a sum total of 192.9 Offense Runs, and 50.9 Baserunning Runs. By the way, we should immediately see that his career wRC+ is going to be seriously under-rating his overall offensive contribution since roughly 1/4 of his career offensive runs above average derive from his good works on the bases.

1) We start by subtracting the Baserunning runs from the Offense runs to get the Batting Runs above average (You can skip this step if you look down under value, where this stat is listed, though you can probably calculate it faster than you can scroll if you’re like me):

192.9 – 50.9 = 142

2) Next, since a wRC+ simply means his batting was 17 percent above league average for his career (park-adjusted), we divide the batting runs only by .17 to get the league-average batting runs, park-adjusted:

142 / .17 = 835.29

3)  Next, we add back the player’s total offensive runs above average, to the league-average figure over that span, park-adjusted for where the player played already, to get the player’s total park- and league-adjusted runs, including baserunning.

835.29 + 192.9 = 1028.19

4) Last, but not least, simply divide by the figure we arrived at in step 2 (the park-adjusted league-average runs a player would have produced in however many plate appearances) to arrive at your magnificently complete new baserunning-included wRC+:

1028.19 / 835.29 = 1.2307, or 123 on the 100 point wRC+ scale.

Thus, in the case of Granderson, his ostensible wRC+ of 117 is significantly under-playing how much better than average he’s been over his career on offense, relative to his opportunities, since his “true” wRC+, including baserunning, is actually 123, not 117.

I can’t see what the argument for baserunning not being included would even be; I understand why one would also want the batting-only figure, but the batting + baserunning figure is surely also important to know, and if I had to only have one, to my mind, I’d unequivocally take the figure that gives total offensive contribution relative to opportunities and adjusted by context, rather than a partial figure that tells me only about batting. Luckily, there’s no real reason to choose; we can and should have both.

You might now be thinking, wait, what about below-average players? (I momentarily had this trivial thought, but the negative runs above average, and the percentage wRC+ below 100 will cancel out, of course.)

A demonstration, using the aforementioned lead-footed Wilmer Flores as our exemplar. Flores, has -7.0 batting runs above average for career, -2.8 Baserunning above average, -9.8 offense above average, and a 95 career wRC+. Here I’ve skip step 1 by just finding Batting Runs on the bottom of the page.

  1. -7/.05=140 (which represents league average runs in Flores’s career plate appearances, including adjustments)
  2. 140-9.8=130.2 (the number of offensive runs Flores actually contributed, including his base-running miscues.)
  3. 130.2/140=.93 or a wRC+ of 93, once we appropriately dock Flores for his base-running.

 

Now, while this isn’t that complicated for me to calculate, I propose this, or something like it be implemented for a total wRC+ that includes baserunning. Obviously it could be calculated for season stats too just as easily. If you have baserunning runs, Offensive total runs, and wRC+, the figure I’m looking for can easily be implemented. Thanks for reading.