Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Sunday, August 21, 2011

LA Times: Bolch: Baseball by the numbers: Which statistics are the most telling?

Cowie-Zowie! I wonder if Colletti and Mattingly ever thought about flip-flopping their jobs?!

Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti endorsed OPS as a worthy tool for gauging offense because it takes into consideration power as well as the ability to reach base.

Don Mattingly, the Dodgers’ manager and a former American League batting champion, said he preferred runs scored.

“Think about it,” Mattingly said. “You have to be on base to do it; you have to be getting yourself in position [to score]. If you’re scoring 100 runs, you’re out there a lot, so it means your on-base [percentage] is up there, it probably means you have some extra-base hits or been a guy that can steal a bag.”

Colletti’s rebuttal: Runs scored are influenced by other hitters in the lineup, so they’re not the most valuable measurement.

Tim Wallach agrees with neither of his colleagues. The Dodgers third base coach, a former five-time All-Star third baseman, pointed to batting average with runners in scoring position as the most definitive offensive stat.

“It tells me if a guy’s a good hitter,” Wallach said, “because [opposing pitchers] are trying to make their best pitches when they have guys in scoring position.”

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, history, projections, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Tim Wallach was my Hero Posted: August 21, 2011 at 12:33 PM (#3905254)
[opposing pitchers] are trying to make their best pitches when they have guys in scoring position

And they don't when they don't?
   2. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:40 PM (#3905269)
Hits per innings pitched? I've never heard of that stat. Isn't opponent batting average more accurate anyway? why go out of the way to change what isn't broken. (of course I guess whip could be called opponent obp but it seems to have caught on)
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3905281)
having read the article now, not bad, not good, just a little conversation starting article. He does give the Beane count a little more validity than it deserves, it was never supposed to be a true analysis tool, just a fun little toy.

I think it's funny that of the three Dodgers interviewed, that Colleti seems the smartest and Mattingly is by far the dumbest on this subject. Wallach is a little out there(most important stat is avg with risp? I don't think so.)
   4. shoewizard Posted: August 21, 2011 at 02:21 PM (#3905290)
Tim Wallach Career B.A. .257.
Tim Wallach Career BA W/RISP .257

Got kick out of that.

Don Mattingly times scored 100 runs: Twice, 1985-86. No Soup for you in the Cooperstown Cafeteria Donnie.
   5. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 21, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3905299)
Don Mattingly, the Dodgers’ manager and a former American League batting champion, said he preferred runs scored.

“Think about it,” Mattingly said. “You have to be on base to do it; you have to be getting yourself in position [to score]. If you’re scoring 100 runs, you’re out there a lot, so it means your on-base [percentage] is up there, it probably means you have some extra-base hits or been a guy that can steal a bag.”


Frank Crosetti scored over 100 runs four times in his career (1936-1939 inclusive). His OPS+ those four seasons were 105 / 73 / 89 / 66.

In fairness to Mattingly, Crosetti did lead the American League in Stolen Bases one of those seasons (1938) with 27. However, Crosetti's stolen base totals the other three seasons were 13 / 11 / 14.

DB
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3905306)
His OBPs in those seasons were .387, .340, .382, .315. Mattingly was talking about the value of getting on base, and in two of those seasons Crosetti was very good at getting on base, and in a third he was pretty good.

And, of course, you picked a massive outlier, a high OBP low SLG hitter batting at the top of the lineup for four great offensive teams playing in the most extreme high offense era in baseball history.

Obviously runs scored is heavily dependent on team context, but I think that if you have to go to the sillyball era of the late-30s AL for counter-examples, you're really showing that runs scored is surprisingly good at identifying valuable players.
   7. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3905309)
I don't have a problem with Mattingly's pick, as a general rule any player that finishes among the league leaders in runs scored is going to be a good player, but there are so many things that go into getting a lot of runs that you are looking at the results and not the "method". I mean you are evaluating a player for the results and not looking at what got him there, it's like looking at wins for a pitcher and not considering era or run support.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:35 PM (#3905311)
Honest question: does OBP or Runs (per game, I suppose) correlate better with offensive value?

I was going to mock Mattingly's reasoning, but then I realized that he's using Runs scored as a kind of proxy for OPS (by correctly pointing out that it reflects power as well as OBPness). When I was an 9 year old free-thinking baseball fan I considered Runs to be the most important statistic.
   9. bobm Posted: August 21, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#3905319)
   10.   Posted: August 21, 2011 at 04:43 PM (#3905336)
Yeah, I think runs scored is probably a better metric than runs batted in. I have no idea when or why the latter took over the former to the point where ridiculous #### like this happens.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#3905349)
Yeah, I think runs scored is probably a better metric than runs batted in.


Yep, with runs scored you usually have to do something more positive than hit a fly ball with a man on third base, the weakest way to get on base that is the closest equivalent to a sacrifice fly is grounding into a force out and being on first, in that situation the guy who got on ahead of you did the majority of the work, but at least you avoided the dp(guess that could be said about sacrifice flies too) and of course the fact that you are on base generally helps the batters(batters as a general rule have better numbers with men on base)

I have no idea when or why the latter took over the former to the point where ridiculous #### like this happens.


Just looking at that and it's pretty funny, some basic numbers between Arod and Juan all dealing with rbi.

Juan Gonzalez
risp(203pa) .321/.424/.625/1.049----11hr, 93 rbi.
men on(341) .306/.378/.585/.963----20 hr, 117 rbi.

Actual Runners on Base: 470 (233-152-85)(1stbase-2nd-3rd),
ML Avg. Runners on Base: 378 (186-124-66)


Alex Rodriguez
risp(178).349/.402/.644/1.047------11 hr, 83 rbi.
men on (328) .389/.441/.721/1.162---------23hr, 110 rbi.

Actual Runners on Base: 435 (227-140-68),
ML Avg. Runners on Base: 432 (212-142-76)
It's not like they were comparable at the rate of driving in versus chances, Juan just got a shitton more chances. Although it is always impressive to see a guy with more rbi than games played and I think that is what won it for Juan.

The real difference is that Juan hit 27 solo homeruns(.325 obp with bases empty), and Arod hit 13(.390 obp with bases empty)
   12. The District Attorney Posted: August 21, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#3905392)
I consider this an acknowledgement by Mattingly that Rickey Henderson should have won the 1985 MVP. Thanks, Donnie!
   13. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:17 PM (#3905410)
Don Mattingly, the Dodgers' manager and a former American League batting champion, said he preferred runs scored.

"Think about it," Mattingly said. "You have to be on base to do it; you have to be getting yourself in position [to score]. If you're scoring 100 runs, you're out there a lot, so it means your on-base [percentage] is up there, it probably means you have some extra-base hits or been a guy that can steal a bag."


His pick of runs scored is silly, but his explanation is a little better. Now, why doesn't he just choose OBP instead?

His big error is that he doesn't seem to realize how much lineup position and the other hitters in the lineup affect runs scored.
   14. PreservedFish Posted: August 21, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#3905420)
Now, why doesn't he just choose OBP instead?


He considers Runs a more comprehensive number because it partially accounts for power and baserunning. The logic isn't bad.
   15. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: August 21, 2011 at 08:10 PM (#3905468)
Gee, Ned Colletti has heard of OPS and Don Mattingly has figured out that the number of runs scored for a player is a "worthy tool for gauging offense." The Dodgers are in good hands.
   16. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 21, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3905484)
Frank Crosetti scored over 100 runs four times in his career (1936-1939 inclusive). His OPS+ those four seasons were 105 / 73 / 89 / 66.

His OBPs in those seasons were .387, .340, .382, .315. Mattingly was talking about the value of getting on base, and in two of those seasons Crosetti was very good at getting on base, and in a third he was pretty good.


Not really. For example, take the best of Corsetti's OBP (.387) quoted above. That was his 1936 season. That season, in an eight team league, the top ten players in OBP in the American League were all .420 or higher (since I can't figure out how to get Baseball-Reference.com to show more than the top ten in a category for a season, I can't tell more than that. Anyway, an OBP of .387 really isn't anything special in that light, and really shouldn't be considered very good).

Or, to view it from another perspective, the American League's average OBP in those seasons (1936-1939 inclusive) were .363 / .355 / .358 / .352. So, in fact, in two of those four seasons Crosetti was below the league average (in one, way below league average). By the way, the league averages include pitcher batting, as this was (of course) well before the DH rule.

And, of course, you picked a massive outlier....


Of course. What's the fun otherwise?

8-)

DB
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: August 21, 2011 at 08:50 PM (#3905488)
(since I can't figure out how to get Baseball-Reference.com to show more than the top ten in a category for a season, I can't tell more than that. Anyway, an OBP of .387 really isn't anything special in that light, and really shouldn't be considered very good).


Two ways.

Go to the 1936 season, click on (standard)batting---this is a link to that result---, then scroll down a little bit past the team stats and you have the player register, click on obp(make sure option hide non-qualifiers is checked) and you get the listing of obp leaders. Crosetti was 20th.

You could also do it through PI if you have a subscription.
   18. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 21, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#3905495)
#17 - Thanks!

DB
   19. AJMcCringleberry Posted: August 21, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3905502)
Anyway, an OBP of .387 really isn't anything special in that light, and really shouldn't be considered very good

Yes, but that doesn't matter for his raw runs scored totals.
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 21, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#3905503)
Anyway, an OBP of .387 really isn't anything special in that light, and really shouldn't be considered very good).


Similarly, Crosetti's 109 runs scored in 1939 wasn't anything special; it was 30 behind the team (and league) leader in that category.

You're the one who decided that 100 runs was some sort of mark of excellence, even in 1939. Mattingly didn't say that.
   21. Downtown Bookie Posted: August 22, 2011 at 12:18 AM (#3905591)
Anyway, an OBP of .387 really isn't anything special in that light, and really shouldn't be considered very good).

Similarly, Crosetti's 109 runs scored in 1939 wasn't anything special; it was 30 behind the team (and league) leader in that category.

You're the one who decided that 100 runs was some sort of mark of excellence, even in 1939.


Excuse me, Tom, but your comment is rather unclear. Who exactly is the "You" that you are referring to in above? Since you lead your post with a quote from my #16, it implies that you are saying that I "decided that 100 runs was some sort of mark of excellence". I happen to know that I haven't made that decision; but, again, your post creates the impression that you believe that I have. If I am the "you" that you are referring to, I'd appreciate it if you would elaborate on how you came to the conclusion that I "decided that 100 runs was some sort of mark of excellence"; and if you were actually referring to someone else as "you", I wish you'd so state and clear up the confusion.

Mattingly didn't say that.


Well, let's take a look at what Mattingly did say. Quoting from the excerpt:

“Think about it,” Mattingly said. “You have to be on base to do it; you have to be getting yourself in position [to score]. If you’re scoring 100 runs, you’re out there a lot, so it means your on-base [percentage] is up there, it probably means you have some extra-base hits or been a guy that can steal a bag.


Indeed, Mattingly didn't say 100 runs scored was a mark of excellence; any more than I did.

But Mattingly did say:

If you’re scoring 100 runs, you’re out there a lot,


Which, for Crosetti, in 1939, definitely applies. The man played in 152 games for the Yankees (tied with Red Rolfe for the team lead that season). Crosetti had 743 Plate Appearances that year (leading the team) which indicates that he was playing full games, not just appearing as a definsive substitute or a pinch runner. So in 1939, Crosetti was definitely "out there a lot."

...so it means your on-base [percentage] is up there...


Whoops! This was the season Crosetti had an OBP of .315. That most certainly isn't "up there" in a league like the 1939 AL. Indeed, Crosetti's OBP of .315 that year ranks him 39th among the 41 individuals which enough Plate Appearances to qualify, ahead of only soap opera star Johnny Beradino and teammate Babe Dahlgren (by the way, thanks again to cardsfanboy for Post #17, showing how to get this info from the Baseball-Reference.com site).

But even if you move away from the "sillyball era of the late-30s AL" (to quote Post #6) and were to look at, say, the 2010 American League, .315 would still be a below league-average OBP, and not even get you into the top 50 among league leaders.

So, bottom line, contrary to what Mattingly stated, scoring 100 runs in a season isn't proof that your OBP is "up there".

...it probably means you have some extra-base hits...


Crosetti did, indeed, have some pop in his bat (unlike, say, an Al Weis or a Bud Harrelson). In 1939 Crosetti hit 29 Doubles, 5 Triples, and 10 Home Runs. Granted, his SLG of .332 that season ranks dead last among all AL qualifiers; but I think it's more than fair to say that, Crosetti in 1939 qualifies as having "some extra-base hits."

...or been a guy that can steal a bag.


While Crosetti had lead the league in stolen bases the previous season, in 1939 his SB total was down to 11; well behind league leader George Case's 51, and not even the highest total on his own team. Still, it was above league average (per 600 Plate Appearance, League Average in 1939 AL was 7). So I think a reasonable case can be made on either side of the statement that Crosetti in 1939 could be considered "a guy that can steal a bag".

Finally, because it bears repeating:

And, of course, you picked a massive outlier....


To which I again say:

Of course. What's the fun otherwise?

8-)


DB
   22. OCF Posted: August 22, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#3905601)
Back in the early days of the Hall of Merit, I used runs as an important part of the argument for Harry Stovey. The reasoning: in the 1880's, far more runs scored per game than can be accounted for from the OPS of the teams and batters. A very large part of that was errors, but there's also room to argue that baserunning (not recorded in any detail) also accounts for a share. And the fact that Stovey scored a large number of runs is consistent with the idea that he was an excellent baserunner.
   23. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: August 22, 2011 at 05:17 PM (#3906031)
Tope ten in career runs scored:
1. Rickey Henderson+ 2295 R
2. Ty Cobb+ 2246 L
3. Barry Bonds 2227 L
4. Hank Aaron+ 2174 R
Babe Ruth+ 2174 L
6. Pete Rose 2165 B
7. Willie Mays+ 2062 R
8. Cap Anson+ 1999 R
9. Stan Musial+ 1949 L
10. Lou Gehrig+ 1888 L

Top ten in career OPS:
Rank Player (age) On-Base Plus Slugging Bats
1. Babe Ruth+ 1.1636 L
2. Ted Williams+ 1.1155 L
3. Lou Gehrig+ 1.0798 L
4. Barry Bonds 1.0512 L
5. Albert Pujols (31) 1.0397 R
6. Jimmie Foxx+ 1.0376 R
7. Hank Greenberg+ 1.0169 R
8. Rogers Hornsby+ 1.0103 R
9. Manny Ramirez (39) .9960 R
10. Mark McGwire .9823

Anyway to find the best ever batters with RISP?
   24. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 22, 2011 at 05:30 PM (#3906043)
I happen to know that I haven't made that decision; but, again, your post creates the impression that you believe that I have.


You chose 100 runs as some sort of cutoff in your post 5. I suppose that upon further reflection, I don't know why you did that.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: August 22, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#3906058)
You chose 100 runs as some sort of cutoff in your post 5. I suppose that upon further reflection, I don't know why you did that.


Because Don Mattingly chose it as some cutoff in his initial quote.

“Think about it,” Mattingly said. “You have to be on base to do it; you have to be getting yourself in position [to score]. If you’re scoring 100 runs, you’re out there a lot, so it means your on-base [percentage] is up there, it probably means you have some extra-base hits or been a guy that can steal a bag.


It wasn't an arbitrary point that DB grabbed, he was providing a counter argument to Mattingly's original comment.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Phil Birnbaum
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 9-1-2014
(41 - 1:18pm, Sep 02)
Last: TerpNats

NewsblogRule change means more players to choose from for postseason roster
(3 - 1:18pm, Sep 02)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogTrevor Hoffman's Hall of Fame induction seems inevitable
(43 - 1:17pm, Sep 02)
Last: MNB

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-2-2014
(20 - 1:16pm, Sep 02)
Last: Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(168 - 1:15pm, Sep 02)
Last: A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose)

NewsblogKlapisch: Yanks need Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira to lead way to postseason
(12 - 1:15pm, Sep 02)
Last: Win Big Stein's Money

NewsblogBPP: Why do people still think Jack Morris pitched to the score?
(18 - 1:10pm, Sep 02)
Last: JL

NewsblogNo-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves
(25 - 1:00pm, Sep 02)
Last: Jim (jimmuscomp)

NewsblogOT August 2014:  Wrassle Mania I
(99 - 12:42pm, Sep 02)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogHBT: Jorge Soler with an extra-base hit in each of his first five games
(6 - 12:37pm, Sep 02)
Last: HMS Moses Taylor

NewsblogDoc Daugherty: Aroldis Chapman not necessary for Reds
(5 - 12:34pm, Sep 02)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogNitkowski: Wanted: Major League manager...sort of.
(12 - 12:29pm, Sep 02)
Last: SoSHially Unacceptable

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(7993 - 12:24pm, Sep 02)
Last: Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB)

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread August, 2014
(995 - 12:08pm, Sep 02)
Last: JuanGone..except1game

NewsblogSharp: Yankees chasing history down the stretch
(2 - 12:04pm, Sep 02)
Last: Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq.

Page rendered in 0.3810 seconds
52 querie(s) executed