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ThatsAStrike
02-24-2006, 02:00 PM
I used to think RBI was a really cool and important stat. "Wow, he had over 100 RBI last year!" After reading some books and spending some time on this board, I realize that RBI is kind of a silly stat (thanks alot, guys!). Yet, like wins for a pitcher, I always see it listed in news articles and such. I makes me wonder if a more meaningful "runs batted in" stat exists. Something like, "percentage of runners on base who score as a result of your at-bat". Anyone know of anything like this? I wonder how hard it would be to compile such a stat.

Any thoughts?

big boy
02-24-2006, 02:02 PM
Tony Perez got in the hall of fame based mostly on his rbi number.

TeamBoone
02-24-2006, 02:54 PM
I too think it's highly overrated when used in a vacuum.

It's too dependent on other players... if no one is on base and the batter gets a hit, especially a multiple base hit, does it make his at bat less important? I don't think so; it's certainly not his fault no one is on base or that he is the leadoff hitter that inning so thus didn't have the opportunity to get a RBI.

westofyou
02-24-2006, 03:05 PM
I makes me wonder if a more meaningful "runs batted in" stat exists. Something like, "percentage of runners on base who score as a result of your at-bat".
Sometimes I like to gauge the percent of the teams RBI's that a player has, take Dunn, last year he had 14% of the Reds RBI's, Konerko 14%, Derek Lee 15.8%, Pujols 15.4%.

Generally the team leader has anywhere between 14%-17% of total RBI's on a team. Even the monster RBI years like Gehrigs 184 and Wilsons 191 were only 20% of the teams totals.

Does it mean anything?

Not really, but the elite hitters on the team generally produce the same amount of offense across the board, what increases the visibility and the increase in percentage often is the rest of the team and their ability to get on base.

dougdirt
02-24-2006, 04:01 PM
What I like to look at when talking about RBI, is how many RBI's he had per at bat with a runner on base.
Obviously some guys are going to get more chances to knock guys in, and in most cases, they will thanks to that chance.

RedsManRick
02-24-2006, 04:21 PM
Take this conversation a few steps further and you realize there's no reason to look at RBI at all. So what leads to RBI? Hits in situations with runners on base. But some hits are more likely to drive in runners, right? Abolutely. But, not all runners on base are created equal, right? Correct. A batter who has 1 at bat with a guy on third is more likely to drive in a run than a batter who has 2 at bats with a runner on first. So we need to account for this, right? Yup. Don't ask me how though.

The batter who is most likely to score a runner already on base is the one who himself is most likely to advance furtherst around the base path. It's called slugging percentage. You want to know who the best RBI guys are? Forgot trying to figure out all the RBI opportunities, weighting players on different bases, and runners of varying speed and skill. Look at who slugs the highest. Why are Juan Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, and Sammy Sosa great RBI guys? Well, they didn't hit for a real high average, or walk a bunch, but they did get a lot of extra base hits -- and that scores a lot of runs.

Maldonado
02-24-2006, 04:21 PM
RBI's are a good measure of the value of certain types of hitters. Lead off hitters with low RBI numbers are OK, since it's assumed the leadoff hitter won't be knocking in too many runs to begin with. However it's a very valuable statistical measure in the number 3-5 positions in the lineup. Would Adam Dunn really be Dunn with less than 100 RBI's a year?

ThatsAStrike
02-24-2006, 04:39 PM
Sometimes I like to gauge the percent of the teams RBI's that a player has, take Dunn, last year he had 14% of the Reds RBI's, Konerko 14%, Derek Lee 15.8%, Pujols 15.4%.I like this. Very easy to calculate, and yeah it does look like the elite hitters are often the ones with the highest percentage of RBI's.

ThatsAStrike
02-24-2006, 04:42 PM
Take this conversation a few steps further and you realize there's no reason to look at RBI at all. So what leads to RBI? Hits in situations with runners on base. But some hits are more likely to drive in runners, right? Abolutely. But, not all runners on base are created equal, right? Correct. A batter who has 1 at bat with a guy on third is more likely to drive in a run than a batter who has 2 at bats with a runner on first. So we need to account for this, right? Yup. Don't ask me how though.

The batter who is most likely to score a runner already on base is the one who himself is most likely to advance furtherst around the base path. It's called slugging percentage. You want to know who the best RBI guys are? Forgot trying to figure out all the RBI opportunities, weighting players on different bases, and runners of varying speed and skill. Look at who slugs the highest. Why are Juan Gonzalez, Miguel Tejada, and Sammy Sosa great RBI guys? Well, they didn't hit for a real high average, or walk a bunch, but they did get a lot of extra base hits -- and that scores a lot of runs.Very good points! I hadn't even taken this into consideration.

When reading your post I also thought that, even "percent RBI" would still have some "luck" factor involved. Let's say a player gets lucky during the season and always seems to have fast or good baserunners on base when he's up. His percent RBI would be much higher than a batter who is unlucky and always seems to have the catcher on first base.

RedsManRick
02-24-2006, 05:07 PM
Very good points! I hadn't even taken this into consideration.

When reading your post I also thought that, even "percent RBI" would still have some "luck" factor involved. Let's say a player gets lucky during the season and always seems to have fast or good baserunners on base when he's up. His percent RBI would be much higher than a batter who is unlucky and always seems to have the catcher on first base.

Exactly, all else being equal the guy batting third with a speedster on ahead of him is more likely to drive that guys in than a guy batting 6th with a lumbering slugger on base. You should measure the hitter on just those events which he can control.

Of course, you must also look at walk and contact rate. This partially why Dunn should be batting 3rd and not 5th. His skill set sees him put many fewer balls in play per at bat than other sluggers because he's walking so much. Batting him 5th doesn't take as much advantage of all his outcomes as batting him 3rd does. A guy like a Wily Mo Pena might slug the same percentage and thus drive in runs at a similar rate, but when he's not slugging he's not getting on base, so you should bat him ahead of hitters who are less likely to be "RBI" producers in the frist place.

Dunner44
02-24-2006, 05:19 PM
I like this. Very easy to calculate, and yeah it does look like the elite hitters are often the ones with the highest percentage of RBI's.

Just out of curiosity, how much of this has to do with where the "elite" hitters are slotted in the batting order? Obviously when you set up the order so that your speedy high on base percentage guys are right ahead of your big stick, they are going to get a high percentage of RBIs.... the lineup is designed with this in mind.... so I don't think percentage of RBIs is as signifigant as you make it out to be....

RedsManRick
02-24-2006, 05:25 PM
One more point regarding the commonly used "runner in scoring position". This bugs me quite a bit. A runner can score from any base during any at bat. Every runner, including the hitter are in scoring position. Their ability to score is dependent on the outcome of the at bat and their baserunning ability.

Sean Casey on 2nd vs. Scott Podsednik on 1st. Both are going to end up on 3rd base after a single and score on a double or better. Yet one is in scoring position and one is not. That's why stats based on RISP is just as flawed as RBI. You need to take the runner out of the equation completely when looking a hitter's ability to drive in runs. That is of course, unless you think you can prove that said hitter performs at a different rate with runners on base MORESO than other hitters do. You might find a guy do this in a particular season, but studies have yet to provde that a "clutch" ability actually does exist for hitters.

westofyou
02-24-2006, 05:46 PM
how much of this has to do with where the "elite" hitters are slotted in the batting order?Alot of it has to do with it, plus the percentage tends to rise when the "elite" hitter is BA driven in the run producing lineup.

But as I said above it really means nothing.

But guys on teams with on base skills get remembered for more than the guys who toil for teams who don't have good on base skills. Here's an example

In 1977 Johnny Bench had 109 RBI's, the last time he ever had over 100 in a season.

George Hendrick had 81 RBI's for the Padres, that accounted for 14.1% of the teams totals, a pretty good year that matches up RBI wise, but he played for the Padres.

Bench's 109 RBI's for the Reds was 14.5% of the Reds total that year.

70% of Hendricks RBI's came with RISP(149 ab's)

72% of Bench's RBI's came with RISP (152 ab's)

Bench batted mostly 5th and 6th in a lineup that had this lineup for the first 5 slots.


AVG OBP SLG
.317 .379 .435
.285 .343 .433
.303 .413 .466
.302 .387 .554
.299 .363 .544
Foster had 19.86 of the Reds RBI's that year.

Hendrick split his time between 4th and 5th spot for the Padres. Batting behind these guys.

AVG OBP SLG
.281 .358 .388
.223 .287 .300
.290 .349 .469
.292 .359 .474

TeamBoone
02-24-2006, 06:36 PM
Adam Dunn - 2005:

309 = ABs w/bases empty (20 HRs)
148 = ABs as lead-off batter (I'm not sure if this number is included in the 309)

114 = ABs/walked
168 = ABs/SO

And he still managed 101 RBIs. Not too shabby.

Hollcat
02-25-2006, 12:37 AM
The 148 lead off batter AB's is included in the 309 bases empty AB's. Surely he didn't have 457 AB's with no one on.

Two years ago during the season I looked up what % of runners on base had scored and Dunn was behind the league RBI leaders (Rolen, Beltre, I can't remember who else I compared him too.) not way behind but definately behind.

Hollcat
02-25-2006, 01:32 AM
Here's Dunn's 2005

...........ab/pa......bb....HR...rbi...runners on..runners scored*.....rbi%
Emt.....309/349....40....20...20..........0.................-
1b.......105/128....23.....9...19.........128..............10.. ............. 08%
2b........36/60......24.....3...11..........60................8 ................ 13%
3b........9/15.........3.....1....3...........15.............. ..2................ 13%
1&2......44/50.......6.....4....20.........100..............16 ................ 16%
1&3......14/21.......7.....1.....7...........42............... .6................ 14%
2&3......13/18.......5.....0.....5...........36............... .5................ 14%
load......13/19.......6.....2....16..........57..............14 ................ 25%

totals 543/657....114..40...101.........438.............61... ............ 14%

*runners scored was figured by taking rbi's - Hr's since the question was what % of runners on base were knocked in.

Plate app. are just AB's + bb's. I did not look up SAC's or HBP to include in PA since those #'s are so small they would barely affect the final %.

Dunn's total of 61 baserunners knocked in tied him for 20th in the NL with D Lee, Jenkins and A Ramirez and placed him 2nd on the Reds behind Lopez' 62 baserunners knocked in.