Archer1979

12-03-06, 08:20 AM

This is from fellow forumer Groovitude who can't start new threads yet. After you're done pointing fingers and laughing at him for his newbieness, read the following, it's a good point of discussion:

Per Groovitude:

The results of the American League Most Valuable Player award has spurred quite a bit of backlash from many fans of baseball, far beyond the mere confines of Yankee fandom. Many people point to the Baseball Writers' Association of America looking foolishly at merely HR and RBI totals and base their decision solely off of that, when they feel there are much more important statistics to look at. Furthermore, some view RBIs as an entirely outdated institution altogether -- Rotoworld, in their short debunking of Morneau's win, stated that he was "leading the league in no significant categories" (November 21st, http://www.rotoworld.com/content/pla...t=MLB&id=3602) (http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_main.aspx?sport=MLB&id=3602)), despite that he was the AL RBI leader.

I, however, feel that a player's ability to drive in runs is a perfectly valid way to judge their worth. Solely looking at it as a matter of totals, however, does not give us a full picture of the player's ability to do so. For instance, Jeter's ability to drive in as many runs as Morneau is hindered by his normal spot in the lineup -- driving in lots of runs from the two hole is significantly harder than it is from the five or six hole. It is also arguable that Jeter's ability is not hindered significantly, as his supporting cast is generally stronger. How can we compare these two -- or any players, for that matter -- in a way that essentially ignores these factors?

As a matter of comparison, I will be using Justin Morneau and Derek Jeter in 2006. The stats I am using are from ESPN's site -- Morneau's stats from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/player...ting&year=2006 (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?statsId=7063&type=batting&year=2006) and Jeter's from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/player...ting&year=2006 (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?statsId=5406&type=batting&year=2006).

To try to gain a better insight as to what their RBI numbers mean, we should look at their total RBI opportunities. To do so, we should treat each at-bat with no one on as one possible RBI (a solo homerun), each at-bat with one man on as two possible RBIs, and so on and so forth. Looking at Jeter's chart, we see that he has 355 at-bats with one RBI opportunity, 189 at-bats with two RBI opportunities (113 with a man on first, 48 with a man on second, and 28 with a man on third), and so forth. In total, he has a total of 981 RBI opportunities. Formulaically,

RBI Opportunities = (AB with bases clear) + 2*(AB with one man on) + 3*(AB with two men on) + 4*(AB with bases loaded)

To get a ratio to compare, we simply need to divide total RBIs by total RBI opportunities, giving us an RBI to RBI opportunity ratio (which, for simplicity, I will refer to as RBIA, or RBI Average). Comparing Jeter and Morneau, Morneau still stands above Jeter considerably with an RBIA of .133 to .099. By multiplying the RBIA with a set number of RBI opportunities. Morneau and Jeter actually had 981 RBI opportunities apiece; thereby, it is perfectly comparable in this regard to compare Morneau's 130 RBIs to Jeter's 97.

It occured to me, however, that it might be valid to look at how many of their teammates they were able to bring home. This effectively changes the situation that we are measuring. For one, it measures a player's ability to hit in more "clutch" situations, certainly important when naming the Most Valuable Player. Secondly -- and this may be inadvertent Jeter favoritism -- it takes some of the power factor out of the equation, as we are no longer counting one RBI per home run, taking the players' ability to drive himself in -- only his teammates.

To measure this, we must first calculate Teammates Batted In (TBI). This is simple enough; simply subtract home runs from RBIs. Jeter's 97 RBI and 14 HR leaves him with 83 TBI.

Teammates Batted In = RBI - HR

In order to calculate the total number of TBI opportunities, we revise the RBI opportunities formula, disregarding at-bats with no one on, and subtracting one from each constant. For instance, rather than two RBI opportunities when there is a man on-base, there is one TBI opportunity; rather than three RBI opportunities when there are two men on, there are two TBI opportunities, and so forth. Jeter, for instance, has 358 TBI -- a considerably different number than his 981 RBI opportunities.

TBI Opportunities = (AB with one man on) + 2*(AB with two men on) + 3*(AB with bases loaded)

This changes the comparison between Morneau and Jeter considerably. While their RBI opportunity counts were the same, their TBI opportunity counts are not. Jeter's increased at-bat count from batting higher in the order added to his single RBI opportunities considerably; Morneau's batting later in the order allowed more men on base ahead of him, also increasing his RBI opportunties. With Jeter's added at-bats (and additional single RBI opportunities) eliminated, we see that Morneau had more than thirty more men on to possibly drive in -- Morneau's TBI opportunities stood at 389, while Jeter's stood at 358. In order to compare, we need to divide their TBI by their TBI opportunties -- the ratio leaving us with what I will call the Teammates Batted In Average, or TBIA for short.

Jeter and Morneau's TBIAs are much more comparable than their RBIAs are. Jeter stands at .232, while Morneau stands at .247. If you multiply Jeter's TBIA by Morneau's TBI opportunities, you get 90.25 TBI -- the amount of TBI Jeter would have earned if he had hit comparably with Morneau's chances. Comparitively, Morneau had 96 TBI.

This is by no means a complete look at an objective look at RBIs. I feel as though a number of factors have not been addressed. Some, I believe, are not addressable, like the speed of one's teammates on base -- for instance, having Jorge Posada on second base and having Jose Reyes on second base are two entirely different situations. Others, however, may be addressable; for instance, TBIA does not value batting in one man on first and one man on third the same way, nor does it value batting in one man on two separate occasions differently than two men at the same time. How this should be addressed, or how to value these situations are, I believe, out of my range of expertise, and I put it forth to other statistic-hungry baseball fans to suggest additions, changes, and other formulas to help take a fresh look at what many unfortunately see as a totally outdated stat.<!-- / message --><!-- Sig Was Here --><!-- edit note -->

Per Groovitude:

The results of the American League Most Valuable Player award has spurred quite a bit of backlash from many fans of baseball, far beyond the mere confines of Yankee fandom. Many people point to the Baseball Writers' Association of America looking foolishly at merely HR and RBI totals and base their decision solely off of that, when they feel there are much more important statistics to look at. Furthermore, some view RBIs as an entirely outdated institution altogether -- Rotoworld, in their short debunking of Morneau's win, stated that he was "leading the league in no significant categories" (November 21st, http://www.rotoworld.com/content/pla...t=MLB&id=3602) (http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_main.aspx?sport=MLB&id=3602)), despite that he was the AL RBI leader.

I, however, feel that a player's ability to drive in runs is a perfectly valid way to judge their worth. Solely looking at it as a matter of totals, however, does not give us a full picture of the player's ability to do so. For instance, Jeter's ability to drive in as many runs as Morneau is hindered by his normal spot in the lineup -- driving in lots of runs from the two hole is significantly harder than it is from the five or six hole. It is also arguable that Jeter's ability is not hindered significantly, as his supporting cast is generally stronger. How can we compare these two -- or any players, for that matter -- in a way that essentially ignores these factors?

As a matter of comparison, I will be using Justin Morneau and Derek Jeter in 2006. The stats I am using are from ESPN's site -- Morneau's stats from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/player...ting&year=2006 (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?statsId=7063&type=batting&year=2006) and Jeter's from http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/player...ting&year=2006 (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/splits?statsId=5406&type=batting&year=2006).

To try to gain a better insight as to what their RBI numbers mean, we should look at their total RBI opportunities. To do so, we should treat each at-bat with no one on as one possible RBI (a solo homerun), each at-bat with one man on as two possible RBIs, and so on and so forth. Looking at Jeter's chart, we see that he has 355 at-bats with one RBI opportunity, 189 at-bats with two RBI opportunities (113 with a man on first, 48 with a man on second, and 28 with a man on third), and so forth. In total, he has a total of 981 RBI opportunities. Formulaically,

RBI Opportunities = (AB with bases clear) + 2*(AB with one man on) + 3*(AB with two men on) + 4*(AB with bases loaded)

To get a ratio to compare, we simply need to divide total RBIs by total RBI opportunities, giving us an RBI to RBI opportunity ratio (which, for simplicity, I will refer to as RBIA, or RBI Average). Comparing Jeter and Morneau, Morneau still stands above Jeter considerably with an RBIA of .133 to .099. By multiplying the RBIA with a set number of RBI opportunities. Morneau and Jeter actually had 981 RBI opportunities apiece; thereby, it is perfectly comparable in this regard to compare Morneau's 130 RBIs to Jeter's 97.

It occured to me, however, that it might be valid to look at how many of their teammates they were able to bring home. This effectively changes the situation that we are measuring. For one, it measures a player's ability to hit in more "clutch" situations, certainly important when naming the Most Valuable Player. Secondly -- and this may be inadvertent Jeter favoritism -- it takes some of the power factor out of the equation, as we are no longer counting one RBI per home run, taking the players' ability to drive himself in -- only his teammates.

To measure this, we must first calculate Teammates Batted In (TBI). This is simple enough; simply subtract home runs from RBIs. Jeter's 97 RBI and 14 HR leaves him with 83 TBI.

Teammates Batted In = RBI - HR

In order to calculate the total number of TBI opportunities, we revise the RBI opportunities formula, disregarding at-bats with no one on, and subtracting one from each constant. For instance, rather than two RBI opportunities when there is a man on-base, there is one TBI opportunity; rather than three RBI opportunities when there are two men on, there are two TBI opportunities, and so forth. Jeter, for instance, has 358 TBI -- a considerably different number than his 981 RBI opportunities.

TBI Opportunities = (AB with one man on) + 2*(AB with two men on) + 3*(AB with bases loaded)

This changes the comparison between Morneau and Jeter considerably. While their RBI opportunity counts were the same, their TBI opportunity counts are not. Jeter's increased at-bat count from batting higher in the order added to his single RBI opportunities considerably; Morneau's batting later in the order allowed more men on base ahead of him, also increasing his RBI opportunties. With Jeter's added at-bats (and additional single RBI opportunities) eliminated, we see that Morneau had more than thirty more men on to possibly drive in -- Morneau's TBI opportunities stood at 389, while Jeter's stood at 358. In order to compare, we need to divide their TBI by their TBI opportunties -- the ratio leaving us with what I will call the Teammates Batted In Average, or TBIA for short.

Jeter and Morneau's TBIAs are much more comparable than their RBIAs are. Jeter stands at .232, while Morneau stands at .247. If you multiply Jeter's TBIA by Morneau's TBI opportunities, you get 90.25 TBI -- the amount of TBI Jeter would have earned if he had hit comparably with Morneau's chances. Comparitively, Morneau had 96 TBI.

This is by no means a complete look at an objective look at RBIs. I feel as though a number of factors have not been addressed. Some, I believe, are not addressable, like the speed of one's teammates on base -- for instance, having Jorge Posada on second base and having Jose Reyes on second base are two entirely different situations. Others, however, may be addressable; for instance, TBIA does not value batting in one man on first and one man on third the same way, nor does it value batting in one man on two separate occasions differently than two men at the same time. How this should be addressed, or how to value these situations are, I believe, out of my range of expertise, and I put it forth to other statistic-hungry baseball fans to suggest additions, changes, and other formulas to help take a fresh look at what many unfortunately see as a totally outdated stat.<!-- / message --><!-- Sig Was Here --><!-- edit note -->