The Sports Report

A Statistical Take on Sports and Politics

The Boots: 2008 MLB All-Star Edition

Boot Up: Consistent MLB Performers – Last year in my e-mail, I introduced the idea of runs created within Major League Baseball statistics. The theory behind this statistic is that the thing that most correlates to personal success in the major leagues is not batting average, on-base percentage, home runs or anything simple like that. A run created is an elaborate statistic that incorporates all of the different parts of an offensive game (such as stolen bases, sacrifices, double plays, strikeouts, walks, etc.) and can be measured per 27 outs, or per 100 plate appearances.

I recently created something I refer to as Runs Created per 100 Plate Appearances Over Average Level, which shows how many “runs created” a particularly player has been above average given his plate appearances on the season. For example, in 2008, the Major League average has 12.401 runs created per 100 plate appearances. If a batter has created 30 runs in 200 plate appearances, then on the year he has been 5.198 runs created per 100 plate appearances over average level (30 – 24.802). Using that idea, I located which players have been the most consistently above average in the major leagues over the last year and a half (the limit of my database).

The following 12 players were among the top 75 players in runs created over the average level last season, and thus far this season. From that point, I sorted out the 12 individuals that had been the most above average and came up with the following list:

First

Last

Team

rc100paOAL

OBP

rc27outs

PA

1

Chipper

Jones

Atlanta

79.64

0.444

10.02

913

2

Alex

Rodriguez

NY Yankees

78.92

0.399

9.53

1,019

3

Albert

Pujols

St. Louis

73.94

0.444

9.28

984

4

Matt

Holliday

Colorado

72.16

0.416

8.65

1,014

5

Lance

Berkman

Houston

68.54

0.413

8.56

1,001

6

Chase

Utley

Philadelphia

66.49

0.399

8.67

984

7

Magglio

Ordonez

Detroit

62.09

0.414

8.28

1,014

8

Hanley

Ramirez

Florida

59.26

0.384

7.69

1,081

9

David

Wright

NY Mets

57.54

0.404

7.84

1,088

10

Prince

Fielder

Milwaukee

57.52

0.383

7.86

1,031

11

Mark

Teixeira

Texas

48.71

0.402

7.76

916

12

Pat

Burrell

Philadelphia

48.30

0.405

8.02

936

As you can tell by looking at this lest, these are some of the biggest names in baseball minus a couple of surprises. For one, Pat Burrell and Hanley Ramirez are on the list while David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez are not. This is because in 2008, David Ortiz did not qualify for the top 75 in runs created above average level, and Manny Ramirez has been in the middle of the pack of 75 both years. These are the best of the best when in comes to producing offense, and have proven so in the last year and a half. When healthy, especially in 2008, Chipper Jones has neared historic levels. This season, he is currently batting .393 with an incredible 1.110 OPS and 12.17 runs created per 27 outs.

Boot Up: National League All-Stars – The National League is stacked with young, talented position players that are just beginning to blossom. From Dan Uggla to Hanley Ramirez to David Wright and even Russell Martin, the entire league has many players that are just beginning to show their full potential. The National League has been much more competitive this season with the American League, and despite illuminating stories of the brewing Rays and Red Sox rivalry over in the AL East, this may be the year the NL stands up on top in both the All-Star game and the World Series. The following players are my selections for the All-Stars at every single position, along with the most logical back-ups and then the projected starter based on recent fan vote tallies.

NL Catcher: Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves (.298 batting average, 14 home runs, 45 runs batted in, .366 on-base percentage, 6.93 runs created/27 outs and .539 slugging percentage)
NL Catcher Back-Ups: Geovanny Soto, Chicago Cubs (.284/13/48) or Russell Martin, Los Angeles Dodgers (.312/9/40)
Projected NL Starting Catcher: Soto

NL First Baseman: Lance Berkman, Houston Astros (.361 batting average, 22 home runs, 68 runs batted in, .465 on-base percentage, 11.69 runs created/27 outs and .692 slugging percentage)
NL First Baseman Back-Ups: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals (.355/17/47) or Mark Teixeira, Atlanta Braves (.272/16/63) or Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres (.288/21/68)
Projected NL Starting First Baseman: Berkman

NL Second Baseman: Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies (.298 batting average, 23 home runs, 65 runs batted in, .383 on-base percentage, 8.56 runs created/27 outs and .605 slugging percentage)
NL Second Baseman Back-Ups: Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins (.289/23/58) or Mark DeRosa, Chicago Cubs (.291/10/45)
Projected NL Starting Second Baseman: Utley

NL Third Baseman: Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (.393 batting average, 16 home runs, 46 runs batted in, .479 on-base percentage, 12.17 runs created/27 outs and .630 slugging percentage)
NL Third Baseman Back-Ups: David Wright, New York Mets (.288/16/65) or Aramis Ramirez, Chicago Cubs (.289/14/55)
Projected NL Starting Third Baseman: Jones

NL Shortstop: Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins (.298 batting average, 20 home runs, 41 runs batted in, .384 on-base percentage, 7.67 runs created/27 outs and 20 stolen bases)
NL Shortstop Back-Up: Jose Reyes, New York Mets (.291/9/34)
Projected NL Starting Shortstop: Ramirez

NL Outfielder #1: Pat Burrell, Philadelphia Phillies (.275 batting average, 20 home runs, 51 runs batted in, .414 on-base percentage, 9.07 runs created/27 outs and .584 slugging percentage)
NL Outfielder #2: Matt Holliday, Colorado Rockies (.337 batting average, 10 home runs, 39 runs batted in, .442 on-base percentage, 8.84 runs created/27 outs and 10 stolen bases)
NL Outfielder #3: Jason Bay, Pittsburgh Pirates (.280 batting average, 16 home runs, 43 runs batted in, .386 on-base percentage, 7.68 runs created/27 outs and 6 stolen bases)

NL Outfield Back-Ups: Nate McLouth, Pittsburgh Pirates (.282/15/53) or Ryan Ludwick, St. Louis Cardinals (.284/16/56) or Adam Dunn, Cincinnati Reds (.222/20/48) or Carlos Lee, Houston Astros (.287/18/64)
Projected NL Starting Outfield: Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs (.283 batting average, 15 home runs, 40 runs batted in, .332 on-base percentage, and 6.57 runs created/27 outs), Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs (.292 batting average, 6 home runs, 34 runs batted in, .398 on-base percentage, and 6.43 runs created/27 outs) and Ken Griffey, Jr., Cincinnati Reds (.240 batting average, 10 home runs, 36 runs batted in, .347 on-base percentage and 4.93 runs created/27 outs)

Boot Down: Consistent Under-Achievers in MLB – Just like the list above where I analyzed the best runs created above average performers in Major League Baseball over the past year and a half, I made a list for the worst players. The same criteria was made in selecting this fine list of offensive juggernauts, as I looked at the bottom 75 in runs created below average level given plate appearances for both years, then looked at which players had been the flat-out worst.

Something very important to note while looking at these players and these numbers, is that defense is not included at all. Defense is another important aspect of the game of baseball, and like pitching, is very difficult to specifically enumerate. On Baseball Prospectus, they have a statistic called defensive rating, which shows how many runs above or below average a certain fielder is, and how much that costs the team above or below the average level. This is very similar to the process I used in this look at the best and worst offensive players, but I hesitate to think that it would completely make all of these players even average. It seems incredibly difficult that over the course of a year and a half, one individual could possibly save 20 to 30 runs by being an above average fielder. That just does not make sense to me, and so here is my list of the worst offensive players in the Major Leagues:

First

Last

Team

rc100paOAL

OBP

rc27outs

PA

1

Tony

Pena Jr.

Kansas City

-42.48

0.254

2.40

713

2

Omar

Vizquel

San Francisco

-40.35

0.282

2.65

719

3

Felipe

Lopez

Cincinnati

-38.24

0.293

3.68

1,025

4

Jason

Kendall

Milwaukee

-37.46

0.289

3.44

855

5

Julio

Lugo

Boston

-32.62

0.296

3.87

969

6

Jason

Bartlett

Tampa Bay

-26.59

0.315

3.93

883

7

Juan

Pierre

LA Dodgers

-26.28

0.323

3.94

1,026

8

Adam

Kennedy

St. Louis

-24.96

0.296

2.93

517

9

Brad

Ausmus

Houston

-24.60

0.298

3.07

533

10

Bobby

Crosby

Oakland

-24.45

0.296

3.45

730

11

Cesar

Izturis

St. Louis

-24.12

0.305

3.19

554

12

Marco

Scutaro

Oakland

-23.71

0.316

3.81

694

Unlike the other list, where all of the players had 900+ plate appearances, this list is quite diverse in terms of regular and situational players. While Tony Pena Jr. and Omar Vizquel have been absolutely dreadful in just over 700 at bats, Felipe Lopez and Juan Pierre have been slightly under average while having over 1,000 at bats. Juan Pierre actually has not been that bad, as his on-base percentage of .323 is quite ordinary, but his average of 10.392 runs created per 100 plate appearances is enough below average to put him on this list. I find it somewhat ironic that Billy Beane and his Moneyball Oakland Athletics actually own two of the players on this list in Bobby Crosby and Marco Scutaro. Crosby had a sensational rookie season, but has just got down hill from there in his career path. Scutaro is a long-time farmhand who once played for the Akron Aeros, and in semi-regular work has been just barely below average a la Juan Pierre.

Boot Down: American League All-Stars – Unlike most years where the American League lineup is stacked with perennial stars, and future hall of fame players, this years lineup looks relatively weak. Scoring and home runs are both down in 2008, and the difference in offense between the American League and National League has shrunk. Without further ado, here are my 2008 All-Stars, back-ups and players that will most likely be starting in the game on July 15 at Yankee Stadium.

AL Catcher: Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (.323 batting average, 3 home runs, 34 runs batted in, .408 on-base percentage, 6.50 runs created/27 outs and strikes out every 14.36 plate appearances)
AL Catcher Back-Ups: Jorge Posada, New York Yankees (.292/3/20) or Rod Barajas, Toronto Blue Jays (.283/6/25)
Projected AL Starting Catcher: Mauer

AL First Baseman: Jason Giambi, New York Yankees (.264 batting average, 17 home runs, 46 runs batted in, .399 on-base percentage, 8.05 runs created/27 outs and .545 slugging percentage)
AL First Baseman Back-Ups: Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox (.308/13/50) or Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins (.314/12/63)
Projected AL Starting First Baseman: Youkilis

AL Second Baseman: Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers (.324 batting average, 13 home runs, 50 runs batted in, .376 on-base percentage, 7.44 runs created/27 outs and 23 stolen bases)
AL Second Baseman Back-Ups: Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles (.295/6/31) or Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox (.303/8/37)
Projected AL Starting Second Baseman: Pedroia

AL Third Baseman: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (.316 batting average, 16 home runs, 44 runs batted in, .347 on-base percentage, 8.81 runs created/27 outs, and .591 slugging percentage)
AL Third Baseman Back-Ups: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (.268/15/47) or Mike Lowell, Boston Red Sox (.299/12/47)
Projected AL Starting Third Baseman: Rodriguez

AL Shortstop: Michael Young, Texas Rangers (.287 batting average, 7 home runs, 44 runs batted in, .339 on-base percentage, 5.03 runs created/27 outs, and 48.10 runs created)
No other AL Shortstop is remotely All-Star worthy
Projected AL Starting Shortstop: Derek Jeter, New York Yankees (.280 batting average, 4 home runs, 35 runs batted in, .337 on-base percentage, and 4.44 runs created/27 outs)

AL Outfielder #1: J.D. Drew, Boston Red Sox (.299 batting average, 16 home runs, 50 runs batted in, .409 on-base percentage, 8.33 runs created/27 outs and .570 slugging percentage)
AL Outfielder #2: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (.308 batting average, 19 home runs, 80 runs batted in, .361 on-base percentage, 7.32 runs created/27 outs and .556 slugging percentage)
AL Outfielder #3: Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox (.284 batting average, 19 home runs, 61 runs batted in, .390 on-base percentage, 7.32 runs created/27 outs and .533 slugging percentage)

AL Outfield Back-Ups: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians (.261/19/45) or Jermaine Dye, Chicago White Sox (.301/18/50) or Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox (.283/16/52)
Projected AL Starting Outfield: Ramirez, Hamilton, and Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (.295 average, 3 home runs, 21 runs batted in, .351 on-base percentage and 5.02 runs created/27 outs)

AL Designated Hitter: Milton Bradley, Texas Rangers (.321 batting average, 16 home runs, 49 runs batted in, .438 on-base percentage, 9.77 runs created/27 outs and .605 slugging percentage)
AL Designated Hitter Back-Up: Aubrey Huff, Baltimore Orioles (.277/14/47)
Projected AL Starting Designated Hitter: David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox (.252 batting average, 13 home runs, 43 runs batted in, .354 on-base percentage, and 5.74 runs created/27 outs)

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July 5, 2008 - Posted by | The Boots | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. G’day!
    As an Australia-based Twins fan, I found your blog on google and read a few of your other Twins posts.
    I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Comment by Minnesota Twins Justin Morneau Throwback Jerseys | March 26, 2009 | Reply


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