It’s become fashionable amongst statheads to dismiss the RBI as useless. This view has become so commonplace, such unanimous dogma… you would think we should do away with it altogether. If a guy knocks in three runs in a game, he should be more concerned with the state of his OPS, and not celebrating.
Statheads love to rip Joe Morgan, a longtime proponent of the RBI… and hall of fame player. He contributed significantly to championship clubs. Morgan’s a hall of fame PLAYER and not a geek studying fictional numbers with no relationship to winning baseball games. He may have completely ###### up in criticizing Billy Beane for ‘writing Moneyball’, which Beane obviously didn’t do… but he’s not wrong about the RBI… or which teams win in the postseason… teams that can manufacture runs.
But the statheads know better. They know that RBI’s are ‘team dependent’ and aren’t a fair evaluator of talent. This means that RBI opportunities are not distributed equally amongst all hitters. Specifically, a hitter on a good team is going to get more RBI’s than a similar hitter on a bad one, right? The numbers should bare this out. Statheads love stats… and yet, the stats, the numbers… their love… tell us something different about the RBI. How disconcerting. The numbers tell us that the best hitters have the most RBI’s no matter where they play. A good hitter can have a bad year… and a bad player a hot one… but through the years, the best hitters collect the most RBI’s period… no matter where they play.
...A single baseball player cannot win entire games over fictional replacement players. There are no win shares in the standings. On offense, all a hitter can do to affect winning is to score or knock in RUNS. If I were evaluating acquisitions, I’d be looking at a guy’s runs+RBI’s average through the years.
Posted: February 19, 2008 at 12:56 PM | 375 comment(s)
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