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texasdave
10-25-2006, 01:25 PM
It has been mentioned that RBI is a team-dependent statistic, and for the most part that is probably true. I stumbled across a site that gave RBI%. It is actually a pretty neat site. It is called www.baseballmusings.com.
I listed their RBI% and then decided to figure out three other ways of looking at RBI totals. I looked at the Reds' regulars (for the most part), and also most of the better NL hitters. I averaged out all the categories. This way you can compare how the Reds' hitters did against the better hitters in the NL did.
Here is a brief explanation of the four categories:
1)RBI% (RBI-HR)/ROB This is the percentage of runners that were on-base that a hitter drove in.
2)RBI%HR RBI/ROB+HR I wanted to see if power hitters were punished in any way by not counting home runs as RBI. If you count a home run as an RBI I figure you have to also count it as a runner on-base.
3)RBI/PA This is fairly self-explanatory. You simply divide the number of RBI by the number of PA to see how many runs a hitter drove in per each PA.
4)RBI/CN RBI/PA-K-BB This is to see how many RBI per PA a hitter drove in when they actually put the ball into play. I didn't have time to include HBP, but most of these hitters had roughly the same number of HBP. So, relatively, it did not affect the numbers in a meaningful manner.

A couple of things struck me while doing this.

First, was the number of runners-on-base that each hitter had during the season. The average for the hitters looked at was 374. Yikes. I never would have guessed it was so high. A couple players had over 500. Ryan Howard leading the way with 509. Small surprise that he led the league in RBI.
Second, the RBI percent was lower than I might have thought. The NL leader in 2006 Miguel Cabrera with just over 21%. This means that he drove in one out of every five runners that was on base when he was up. As far as the Reds were concerned Edwin Encarnacion led the way with nearly 17%. This still translates to only about one out of every six baserunners. Yet he led the way. Adam Dunn about one out of every eight baserunners. Ryan Freel and Jason Larue fared worse. They drove in runners at a rate of less than one out of every ten.

I'm sure a more practiced eye can glean some worthwhile information out of here so that is the reason it is being posted. I hope this is not just a waste of time to too many folks out there. Draw your own conclusions.

Johnny Footstool
10-25-2006, 01:57 PM
Nice piece of work! I'd rep you if I could, but the system says I have to spread it around. Maybe someone else can pick up the slack.

The next step would be to run those same numbers for past seasons and see if there is a trend for certain players to drive in the same percentage of runs each year.

Red Leader
10-25-2006, 02:05 PM
I got him for you, Johnny.

Nice work texasdave.

Handofdeath
10-25-2006, 03:06 PM
It has been mentioned that RBI is a team-dependent statistic, and for the most part that is probably true. I stumbled across a site that gave RBI%. It is actually a pretty neat site. It is called www.baseballmusings.com.
I listed their RBI% and then decided to figure out three other ways of looking at RBI totals. I looked at the Reds' regulars (for the most part), and also most of the better NL hitters. I averaged out all the categories. This way you can compare how the Reds' hitters did against the better hitters in the NL did.
Here is a brief explanation of the four categories:
1)RBI% (RBI-HR)/ROB This is the percentage of runners that were on-base that a hitter drove in.
2)RBI%HR RBI/ROB+HR I wanted to see if power hitters were punished in any way by not counting home runs as RBI. If you count a home run as an RBI I figure you have to also count it as a runner on-base.
3)RBI/PA This is fairly self-explanatory. You simply divide the number of RBI by the number of PA to see how many runs a hitter drove in per each PA.
4)RBI/CN RBI/PA-K-BB This is to see how many RBI per PA a hitter drove in when they actually put the ball into play. I didn't have time to include HBP, but most of these hitters had roughly the same number of HBP. So, relatively, it did not affect the numbers in a meaningful manner.

A couple of things struck me while doing this.

First, was the number of runners-on-base that each hitter had during the season. The average for the hitters looked at was 374. Yikes. I never would have guessed it was so high. A couple players had over 500. Ryan Howard leading the way with 509. Small surprise that he led the league in RBI.
Second, the RBI percent was lower than I might have thought. The NL leader in 2006 Miguel Cabrera with just over 21%. This means that he drove in one out of every five runners that was on base when he was up. As far as the Reds were concerned Edwin Encarnacion led the way with nearly 17%. This still translates to only about one out of every six baserunners. Yet he led the way. Adam Dunn about one out of every eight baserunners. Ryan Freel and Jason Larue fared worse. They drove in runners at a rate of less than one out of every ten.

I'm sure a more practiced eye can glean some worthwhile information out of here so that is the reason it is being posted. I hope this is not just a waste of time to too many folks out there. Draw your own conclusions.

Actually it looks to me that Brandon Phillips led the way.

1. Phillips
2. Encarnacion
3. Aurilia
4. Ross
5. Griffey
6. Dunn
7. Hatteberg
8. Freel
9. Larue

Edd Roush
10-25-2006, 03:11 PM
That was some fantastic work, Tex. Those are some very good stats.

terminator
10-25-2006, 03:33 PM
Interesting. Following up I did a little straightforward chart of the percentage of RBIs that each N.L. team leader had as a percent of his team's total RBIs. If you consider the extreme case where a total stud is put on a team of zeros, you'd have a guy hit 50 HRs, have 50 RBIs and have 100% of his team's RBIs. If you have a team where everyone is exactly equal and they all play 162 games, everyone should drive in 11.1% (one-ninth) of the runs. Obviously with shared playing time and injuries, that doesn't happen. In fact, the Diamonbacks RBI team leader only had 10.8% of his team's RBIs. It's not a perfect stat/methodology, but it does let you look a bit at who is a relative stud for teams. After all, driving in 100 runs for the worst team offense (the Pirates) is a much bigger accomplishment than driving in 100 runs for the Yankees.

The biggest N.L. stud was Berkman with 19.2% of his team's RBIs followed by Pujols with 18.4%. The arithmetic mean for the team leaders was 15.1% of his team's RBIs. Dunn was at 12.8%.

TOBTTReds
10-25-2006, 05:12 PM
1)RBI% (RBI-HR)/ROB This is the percentage of runners that were on-base that a hitter drove in.


In my opinion, this is the most telling stat. In reading the book Mind Game, they mentioned that Hideki Matsui had 106 RBI one year, but only drove in about 18% of his baserunners so it really wasn't that impressive. Can't find it right now though.

EDIT:

Here is the part of the book


In 03, Matsui came to the plate with 507 runners on base, third most in the game. He drove in 18% of them, a strong, but unexceptional number...Matsui became a marked ground-ball hitter, pounding 2.2 balls into the dirt for every one hit into the air. He hit into 25 DP’s, second most in the league, and his HR total shrank to 16.

gonelong
10-26-2006, 12:33 AM
If I had the time I would write a program to take every Plate Appearance for each player and map it to WPA or similar (http://www.walkoffbalk.com/). I'd set this to Visitor, 1st inning. I think this would give the fairest comparision from one player to the next.

%tage of RBI with runners is interesting, but doesn't tell me enough of what I want to know. All RBI opportunities are not the same, and all outcomes that don't immedietely produce and RBI are not the same either. In general a player is much more likely to drive in a guy from 3rd than he is from 1st, and a guy with a lot of walks won't always drive the guy in, but he will allow the next guy to have the opportunity. That is worth something, and I think WPA gives us an idea of what that is worth in each situation.

GL

TOBTTReds
10-26-2006, 01:57 AM
%tage of RBI with runners is interesting, but doesn't tell me enough of what I want to know. All RBI opportunities are not the same, and all outcomes that don't immedietely produce and RBI are not the same either. In general a player is much more likely to drive in a guy from 3rd than he is from 1st, and a guy with a lot of walks won't always drive the guy in, but he will allow the next guy to have the opportunity. That is worth something, and I think WPA gives us an idea of what that is worth in each situation.

GL

That's a great point. Maybe we need % for times a runner from 3,2,1 scores seperately.

Johnny Footstool
10-26-2006, 10:22 AM
If I had the time I would write a program to take every Plate Appearance for each player and map it to WPA or similar (http://www.walkoffbalk.com/). I'd set this to Visitor, 1st inning. I think this would give the fairest comparision from one player to the next.

%tage of RBI with runners is interesting, but doesn't tell me enough of what I want to know. All RBI opportunities are not the same, and all outcomes that don't immedietely produce and RBI are not the same either. In general a player is much more likely to drive in a guy from 3rd than he is from 1st, and a guy with a lot of walks won't always drive the guy in, but he will allow the next guy to have the opportunity. That is worth something, and I think WPA gives us an idea of what that is worth in each situation.

GL

True, but RBI% is a decent shorthand method. I'm interested in seeing if there is consistency from year to year, or if it fluctuates.

texasdave
10-26-2006, 11:57 AM
In my opinion, this is the most telling stat.


1)RBI% (RBI-HR)/ROB This is the percentage of runners that were on-base that a hitter drove in.

Baseball Musings has a neat little device that allows you to track this stat from 2000 to the present. If you set it to track the time period 2000-2006 and set the minimum runners on base to 1,000 the result is pretty interesting. There are 303 such players in the majors that qualify. Just click on the link http://www.baseballmusings.com/cgi-bin/RBIPCT.py?StartDate=03%2F29%2F2000&EndDate=10%2F09%2F2006&SortField=1.0*%28OnRBI.RBI-OnRBI.HRs%29%2FOnRBI.RunnersOn&SortDir=desc&MinPA=1000 and look for your favorite player. Of particular interest is Adam Dunn. He ranks 285th out of 303. Check out the names of the players he is grouped with. Of course, as was already mentioned, players that walk alot are going to be somewhat penalized.

westofyou
10-26-2006, 12:12 PM
Of course, as was already mentioned, players that walk alot are going to be somewhat penalized.Bill James wrote about the same affect when studying Mickey Tetteltons RISP data, Tettelton walked 1 every 6 at bats with bases empty and 1 every 3 at bats with runners on. James stated that the fear of his power plus Mickey's good eye would inflate his on base skills (+ .50 with RISP for his career) and decrease his RBI and BA numbers compared to a BA driven guy with little BB recognition.

While the RBI totals tend to drift the Runs Scored data rises - Tettelton - 2.69 at bats = 1 run scored with RISP, With Bases empty it was 1 run scored for every 19 at bats for Dunn it's 1 run scored every 2 at bats with RISP and 1 run scored for every 14 at bats with the bases empty.

texasdave
10-26-2006, 01:47 PM
If I had the time I would write a program to take every Plate Appearance for each player and map it to WPA or similar (http://www.walkoffbalk.com/). I'd set this to Visitor, 1st inning. I think this would give the fairest comparision from one player to the next.

%tage of RBI with runners is interesting, but doesn't tell me enough of what I want to know. All RBI opportunities are not the same, and all outcomes that don't immedietely produce and RBI are not the same either. In general a player is much more likely to drive in a guy from 3rd than he is from 1st, and a guy with a lot of walks won't always drive the guy in, but he will allow the next guy to have the opportunity. That is worth something, and I think WPA gives us an idea of what that is worth in each situation.

GL
I stumbled across this from Baseball Prospectus. It gives the percentage of runners driven in from first, second and third base all the way back to 1960.
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=99965

texasdave
10-26-2006, 02:12 PM
Here is one last RBI chart that attempts to adjust for walks. The logic is as follows:Say a certain player has 500PA for the year and 250 runners on base. Of these he has driven in 50 runners. An RBI% of .20 (50/250). But this batter is feared and walks a lot, 100 times this year. Reasonably, he considers it more advantageous to the team to not swing at bad pitches. But by doing this he is actually sacrificing RBI opportunities. He is sacrificing them at the rate of
.50 runners per PA (250/500). You multilply 100 x .50 to get the number of runners sacrificed. In this case it is 50 runners. Effectively, he had the opportunity to drive in only 200 runners then. (250-50). So his effective RBI% is really .25 (50/200). The attached chart shows the Reds and the top NL hitters for 2006 with their effective RBI%. I hope that explanation made sense. Check out the first two players. Adam Dunn, who frequently walks, had his RBI% increase almost 2.5 points. Whereas Brandon Phillips, who doesn't walk much, had his RBI% increase just less than 1 point.

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 02:14 PM
1)RBI% (RBI-HR)/ROB This is the percentage of runners that were on-base that a hitter drove in.

Baseball Musings has a neat little device that allows you to track this stat from 2000 to the present. If you set it to track the time period 2000-2006 and set the minimum runners on base to 1,000 the result is pretty interesting. There are 303 such players in the majors that qualify. Just click on the link http://www.baseballmusings.com/cgi-bin/RBIPCT.py?StartDate=03%2F29%2F2000&EndDate=10%2F09%2F2006&SortField=1.0*%28OnRBI.RBI-OnRBI.HRs%29%2FOnRBI.RunnersOn&SortDir=desc&MinPA=1000 and look for your favorite player. Of particular interest is Adam Dunn. He ranks 285th out of 303. Check out the names of the players he is grouped with. Of course, as was already mentioned, players that walk alot are going to be somewhat penalized.

And that right there is why I dont want Dunn in the middle of a line up for my team. He has 198 Home runs since 2000 and is grouped with these guys:
Cesar Izturis, Henry Blanco, Adam Everett, Jose Cruz, then Adam Dunn followed by, David Eckstein, Royce Clayton and Tony Womack.

Now the next guy on the list with 125 HR or more over the last 7 season, which is not a lot really, is Craig Biggio at 129 Hr and is 34 spots ahead of Adam Dunn. The next guy with 125 or more HR is Richard Hidalgo, 59 spots ahead of Adam Dunn. The next guy with 125 or more HR is 89 spots ahead of Adam Dunn, Reggie Sanders sits there. He just doesnt drive in enough runners, plain and simple.

RedsManRick
10-26-2006, 02:21 PM
Put a credible power threat behind Dunn and I bet those percentages go up. When you have Rich Aurilia behind Dunn, no pitcher in his right mind is going to give Dunn a pitch he can drive.

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 02:33 PM
It may go up slightly, but its not going to go up a lot. A pitcher may pitch around him at times, but you think they dont pitch around Manny Ramirez? He hits behind Ortiz and well, he is 8th on the list. Not 285th. He had Trot Nixon and Kevin Youkilis hitting behind him. I really think sometimes people have to search deep and hard to make an excuse for Adam Dunn. Look at the list. There are good hitters and the top, and not good hitters at the bottom. Where is Dunn? At the bottom with a bunch of guys who cant hit. Just like Dunn. Dunn may be a good batter, but he is not a good hitter. Good batters can take walks, good hitters can walk and hit. Dunn cant hit enough. I am sure someone will find a reason why, be it he has no protection (Barry Bonds gets no protection and is walked 140 times a year, but he is way ahead of Dunn), not getting pitches to hit, he walks a lot, whatever. He isnt a middle of the order type of guy, simple as that.

texasdave
10-26-2006, 02:37 PM
Put a credible power threat behind Dunn and I bet those percentages go up. When you have Rich Aurilia behind Dunn, no pitcher in his right mind is going to give Dunn a pitch he can drive.

Who protects Lance Berkman? He seems to do quite nicely.

mole44
10-26-2006, 03:11 PM
Ensberg

RedsManRick
10-26-2006, 03:47 PM
But what differentiates Dunn from the rest of the people at the bottom of the list is that when he's not driving in those runs on base, he's often taking a walk. With Runners on base the last three years, Dunn has put up a .243/.412/.520 line. Compare this to his line with nobody on: .253/.352/.543. The difference here? With nobody on base, Dunn puts a lot more balls in play and is less productive for it, making many more outs in the process. The only problem with Dunn avoiding and out instead of driving runs in is when the guy(s) behind him are unable to capitalize on the AB Dunn just passed to them.

I agree, Dunn is not a prime RBI guy. He doesn't hit for a high average (singles drive in lots of runs) and is willing to take a walk. Purely from an RBI Percentage perspective, Dunn will score low. This reinforces the idea that Dunn should be batting 2nd or 3rd in the order as a lot of his value is in his ability to be a run scored, not necessarily driving in other people. Sure, Raul Ibanez converts a greater percentage of RBI opportunities than Dunn, but is he creating RBI opportunities for guys behind him? The list could just as easily be a list of batting average as it is RBI %.

Complaining that Dunn doesn't drive in enough runs is like complaining that Ryan Freel doesn't hit enough homers. Sure, we'd all like Dunn to hit like Albert Pujols or Travis Hafner and bat .330 while hitting 40 homers. But he's not those guys and doesn't have their contact ability. You can't fault Dunn for not being an RBI guy anymore than you can fault Ryan Freel or Scott Hatteberg. They do what they do. What's interesting here, is that it highlights a major inefficiency within the Reds current offense. Dunn is not optimally used in the middle of the order, but at the top. Unfortunately, he also fits the generic profile for a clean-up hitter, so that's the role he's asked to take.

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 05:22 PM
But what differentiates Dunn from the rest of the people at the bottom of the list is that when he's not driving in those runs on base, he's often taking a walk. With Runners on base the last three years, Dunn has put up a .243/.412/.520 line. Compare this to his line with nobody on: .253/.352/.543. The difference here? With nobody on base, Dunn puts a lot more balls in play and is less productive for it, making many more outs in the process. The only problem with Dunn avoiding and out instead of driving runs in is when the guy(s) behind him are unable to capitalize on the AB Dunn just passed to them.
I see where you are coming from, but the problem with Dunn isnt he makes more outs when no one is on, its that he still cant get good wood on the ball becuase he isnt a good hitter.


I agree, Dunn is not a prime RBI guy. He doesn't hit for a high average (singles drive in lots of runs) and is willing to take a walk. Purely from an RBI Percentage perspective, Dunn will score low. This reinforces the idea that Dunn should be batting 2nd or 3rd in the order as a lot of his value is in his ability to be a run scored, not necessarily driving in other people. Sure, Raul Ibanez converts a greater percentage of RBI opportunities than Dunn, but is he creating RBI opportunities for guys behind him? The list could just as easily be a list of batting average as it is RBI %.

Dunn however isnt used in that role, and until he is, I expect him to be better at driving in runs. If he is hitting 3-4-5, he needs to perform better.


Complaining that Dunn doesn't drive in enough runs is like complaining that Ryan Freel doesn't hit enough homers. Sure, we'd all like Dunn to hit like Albert Pujols or Travis Hafner and bat .330 while hitting 40 homers. But he's not those guys and doesn't have their contact ability. You can't fault Dunn for not being an RBI guy anymore than you can fault Ryan Freel or Scott Hatteberg. They do what they do. What's interesting here, is that it highlights a major inefficiency within the Reds current offense. Dunn is not optimally used in the middle of the order, but at the top. Unfortunately, he also fits the generic profile for a clean-up hitter, so that's the role he's asked to take.

Actually its not even a close comparison. Adam Dunn hits in the middle of the line up, where its his job to drive in runs. Ryan Freel on the otherhand has a job of getting on base. He hits leadoff, not 3-4-5.
As for not being like Pujols or Hafner, thats fine. However is it honestly an unreasonable expectation to aska guy who hits 40 home runs to hit .260? I dont think so. Every guy who has hit 40 home runs between 2000-2005 hit .260 or better all but 3 times out of 64. Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus and Jason Giambi are the only ones who didnt. This year, there were 11 guys who hit 40 home runs, and again, Adam Dunn was the guy who didnt get close to hitting .260. This season the average player who hit 40 home runs (11 guys) had a batting average of .291. That number includes Dunn, if you take him out, the other 10 guys average was .297. Adam Dunn falls WAY below that, consistantly.

RedsManRick
10-26-2006, 05:35 PM
I see where you are coming from, but the problem with Dunn isnt he makes more outs when no one is on, its that he still cant get good wood on the ball becuase he isnt a good hitter.

Dunn however isnt used in that role, and until he is, I expect him to be better at driving in runs. If he is hitting 3-4-5, he needs to perform better.


Actually its not even a close comparison. Adam Dunn hits in the middle of the line up, where its his job to drive in runs. Ryan Freel on the otherhand has a job of getting on base. He hits leadoff, not 3-4-5.
As for not being like Pujols or Hafner, thats fine. However is it honestly an unreasonable expectation to aska guy who hits 40 home runs to hit .260? I dont think so. Every guy who has hit 40 home runs between 2000-2005 hit .260 or better all but 3 times out of 64. Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus and Jason Giambi are the only ones who didnt. This year, there were 11 guys who hit 40 home runs, and again, Adam Dunn was the guy who didnt get close to hitting .260. This season the average player who hit 40 home runs (11 guys) had a batting average of .291. That number includes Dunn, if you take him out, the other 10 guys average was .297. Adam Dunn falls WAY below that, consistantly.

18 players stole 30 or more bases last year. Those players had an average OBP of .351. Dunn had an OBP of .365. I guess he should've stolen 30+ bases last year too...

We'd all love Dunn to hit .265 and still do every thing else he does. Unfortunately it just doesn't work like that. Players can't change what they're capable of doing just because the manager chooses to put them in a certain spot in the lineup or because other players who share some skills can do something. If you want Dunn to start making more contact, I'm sure he can swing more often. But that doesn't mean he's going to start hitting for a higher average. It means instead of walking with a guy on 2nd and 2 outs, he'll hit a nubber to 3rd base for out #3. Sure, it also means an additional sac fly or RBI single here and there, but it doesn't make Dunn a more productive player. If Dunn could hit for a higher average, I'm sure he would. He doesn't try to hit .235. But suddenly becoming a .270 hitter isn't just a matter of swinging at more pitches.

I wish Ryan Freel were Alfonso Soriano. I wish Scott Hatteberg were Frank Thomas. I wish Brandon Phillips were Roberto Alomar. But they're not. They are doing what they can to maximize their abilities. Adam Dunn is not Mike Sweeney and just because Narron bats him 4th doesn't mean he can morph into him.

I'm not a Dunn apologist by far. I think he could alter his appraoch, particularly in regards to situtational hitting. However, at some point, Dunn's abilities are what they are. It's not about "asking him" to hit anything. I promise you Dunn is trying to bat 1.000. We'd all love for him to be a better player than he is. But asking him to hit .265 is no different to asking him to be an above average defensive LF.

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 05:45 PM
Well, I guess I've decided that I want Ryan Freel to hit 30 homers next year and I'm going to bat him 3rd. If he doesn't hit 30 homers, he should fix it. After all, other players hit 30 homers, why can't he? It's not unreasonable to ask him to hit 30 homers.

It is actually quite unreasonable. Ryan Freel has never hit 10 home runs in a season. However, how many leadoff hitters hit 30 home runs? None.


We'd all love Dunn to hit .265 and still do every thing else he does. Unfortunately it just doesn't work like that. Players can't change what they're capable of doing just because the manager chooses to put them in a certain spot in the lineup. If you want Dunn to start making more contact, I'm sure he can swing more often. But that doesn't mean he's going to start hitting for a higher average. It means instead of walking with a guy on 2nd and 2 outs, he'll hit a nubber to 3rd base for out #3. Sure, it also means an additional sac fly or RBI single here and there, but it doesn't make Dunn a more productive player. If Dunn could hit for a higher average, I'm sure he would. He doesn't try to hit .235. But suddenly becoming a .270 hitter isn't just a matter of swinging at more pitches.

I dont want Dunn to swing more often, I want him to make contact when he swings more often. Dunn has a good idea of the strike zone, he has a bad problem with making contact when he swings though.


I wish Ryan Freel were Alfonso Soriano. I wish Scott Hatteberg were Frank Thomas. I wish Brandon Phillips were Roberto Alomar. But they're not. They are doing what they can to maximize their abilities. Adam Dunn is not Mike Sweeney and just because Narron bats him 4th doesn't mean he can morph into him.
Doesnt mean Dunn needs to be Mike Sweeney, but when Adam Dunn is grouped with the likes of Royce Clayton and Tony Womack in an offensive study, there are big big problems.
The problem with Dunn is that he isnt suited to hit at the top of the line up, but he isnt suited to hit in the middle of it either. You cant really let a guy who hits 40 home runs hit 7-8 either though.

Johnny Footstool
10-26-2006, 06:39 PM
Why isn't Dunn suited to hit at the top of the lineup? He works the count like crazy and has fantastic OB skills.

Highlifeman21
10-26-2006, 06:45 PM
I see where you are coming from, but the problem with Dunn isnt he makes more outs when no one is on, its that he still cant get good wood on the ball becuase he isnt a good hitter.

Dunn however isnt used in that role, and until he is, I expect him to be better at driving in runs. If he is hitting 3-4-5, he needs to perform better.


Actually its not even a close comparison. Adam Dunn hits in the middle of the line up, where its his job to drive in runs. Ryan Freel on the otherhand has a job of getting on base. He hits leadoff, not 3-4-5.
As for not being like Pujols or Hafner, thats fine. However is it honestly an unreasonable expectation to aska guy who hits 40 home runs to hit .260? I dont think so. Every guy who has hit 40 home runs between 2000-2005 hit .260 or better all but 3 times out of 64. Adam Dunn, Troy Glaus and Jason Giambi are the only ones who didnt. This year, there were 11 guys who hit 40 home runs, and again, Adam Dunn was the guy who didnt get close to hitting .260. This season the average player who hit 40 home runs (11 guys) had a batting average of .291. That number includes Dunn, if you take him out, the other 10 guys average was .297. Adam Dunn falls WAY below that, consistantly.

I thought Dunn's job was to not make outs. Driving in runs is just a biproduct of not making outs. I guess I fail to see what's so wrong with Adam Dunn's production 2001 to the present. Granted, he doesn't hit for high average, but he gets on base at a well above average clip, and I'm pretty sure that's in his job description. I guess I forgot that BA is the ultimate metric to deem value to a player.

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 09:32 PM
I thought Dunn's job was to not make outs. Driving in runs is just a biproduct of not making outs. I guess I fail to see what's so wrong with Adam Dunn's production 2001 to the present. Granted, he doesn't hit for high average, but he gets on base at a well above average clip, and I'm pretty sure that's in his job description. I guess I forgot that BA is the ultimate metric to deem value to a player.

While not making an out is goal, driving in a run is also a goal. As for Dunn not hitting for a high average, I think you stated that wrong. Adam Dunn doesnt hit for a mediocre average. As for puting words into my mouth about batting average, I never said any such thing about BA deeming the value of a player. However, batting average is something worth bringing up when said player has an average below .250. Due to his average dipping to .234, his slugging percentage also dipped below .500. At that point, I dont see the value that some place on him. If he isnt going to slug over .500, he surely better hit at least .250, regardless of his .370 on base percentage. I get the whole concept of avoiding outs, and I like it. However I also like people getting the bat on the ball and getting on base that way as well. Especially someone with the power Dunn has, becuase fairly often when he hits the ball its going to result in more than 1 base, where a walk only awards him that one base.

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 09:33 PM
Why isn't Dunn suited to hit at the top of the lineup? He works the count like crazy and has fantastic OB skills.

Doesnt make enough contact/too slow. Have to love and respect his walking skills, but until he makes more contact he isnt suited for the 1 or 2 spot.

Cyclone792
10-26-2006, 10:07 PM
While not making an out is goal, driving in a run is also a goal.

All hitters have the goal of helping their offense score more runs. To achieve that goal, they must concentrate on two specific offensive events:

1) Avoid outs
2) Acquire bases

That's it, those are the two factors in run production.

If you avoid outs and/or acquire bases, you are helping your team score runs. It doesn't matter if your RBI total is exceptionally low or exceptionally high, if you avoid outs and acquire bases, you help produce runs. This is the basic fundamental aspect of run production.

Consider this sequence of events:

Player A singles
Player B singles, moving Player A to third
Player C singles, driving Player A in to score

Which of the above players is most responsible for the actual run that scored? If you answered Player C, you're wrong. In fact, if you answered any one of them, you're wrong. The correct answer is they are all equally responsible for producing that actual run.

RBI are a by-product of avoiding outs and acquiring bases, but they are also heavily dependent on, 1) the caliber of batters hitting around an individual player, and 2) the unique lineup dynamics that surround each individual player. When figuring out a player's offensive production, you must isolate that individual player's contribution to an offense, but if you utilize factors that are worlds apart from isolating that production, you're going to arrive a highly inaccurate conclusion. RBI do not isolate an individual player's production; they mix it up with the production and lineup dynamics that surround each player, and that's bad news for determining value.

In the case of RBI, an individual player has absolutely zero control both the caliber of batters hitting around them and their specific lineup dynamics, and thus, using RBI in any manner to determine the value of any hitter is nothing short of an awful metric to use.

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 10:31 PM
Using RBI alone is a bad metric, using RBI's along with chances to produce an RBI is not so awful. That gives you plenty more to deal with, like how many chances one had. Obviously someone who had 500 attempts and drove in 110 did not do nearly as well as someone who had 450 attempts and drove in 110. However, RBI numbers alone wont tell you that. The fact that Dunn drove in just 12.16% of the runners on base when he was at the plate is not good. Some of those numbers come from the fact that he walks a lot. However, I just did a check of guys who walked 350 or more times since the start of the 2001 season. The list is 28 players deep. Below are the 28 players in the list, in order of highest to lowest % of runners they drive in.


Albert Pujols - 18.81
Manny Ramirez - 18.46
Carlos Delgado - 18.16
Todd Helton - 18.11
Gary Sheffield - 17.95
Lance Berkman - 17.42
Bobby Abreu - 17.28
Alex Rodriguez - 17.12
Jason Giambi - 16.81
Chipper Jones - 16.48
Luis Gonzalez - 16.35
Ryan Klesko - 16.19
Sammy Sosa - 16.11
Jeff Bagwell - 15.98
Jim Edmonds - 15.92
Brian Giles - 15.77
Jorge Posada - 15.62
John Olerud - 15.59
Jim Thome - 15.55
Rafael Palmeiro - 15.43
Bernie Williams - 15.43
Pat Burrell - 15.15
Barry Bonds - 15.05
Troy Glaus - 14.79
Shawn Green - 14.63
Derrek Lee - 14.47
Brad Wilkerson - 13.28
Adam Dunn - 12.16


These guys all walked at a similar rate to Adam Dunn, some a little more, some a little less. However Adam Dunn was significantly lower than all of them in RBI %.

Cyclone792
10-26-2006, 10:43 PM
Using RBI alone is a bad metric, using RBI's along with chances to produce an RBI is not so awful. That gives you plenty more to deal with, like how many chances one had. Obviously someone who had 500 attempts and drove in 110 did not do nearly as well as someone who had 450 attempts and drove in 110. However, RBI numbers alone wont tell you that. The fact that Dunn drove in just 12.16% of the runners on base when he was at the plate is not good. Some of those numbers come from the fact that he walks a lot. However, I just did a check of guys who walked 350 or more times since the start of the 2001 season. The list is 28 players deep. Below are the 28 players in the list, in order of highest to lowest % of runners they drive in.


Albert Pujols - 18.81
Manny Ramirez - 18.46
Carlos Delgado - 18.16
Todd Helton - 18.11
Gary Sheffield - 17.95
Lance Berkman - 17.42
Bobby Abreu - 17.28
Alex Rodriguez - 17.12
Jason Giambi - 16.81
Chipper Jones - 16.48
Luis Gonzalez - 16.35
Ryan Klesko - 16.19
Sammy Sosa - 16.11
Jeff Bagwell - 15.98
Jim Edmonds - 15.92
Brian Giles - 15.77
Jorge Posada - 15.62
John Olerud - 15.59
Jim Thome - 15.55
Rafael Palmeiro - 15.43
Bernie Williams - 15.43
Pat Burrell - 15.15
Barry Bonds - 15.05
Troy Glaus - 14.79
Shawn Green - 14.63
Derrek Lee - 14.47
Brad Wilkerson - 13.28
Adam Dunn - 12.16


These guys all walked at a similar rate to Adam Dunn, some a little more, some a little less. However Adam Dunn was significantly lower than all of them in RBI %.

Doug, trust me, any study that uses RBI is awful. I don't mean to sound harsh, but there's zero room for debate here. Offensive production revolves around avoiding outs and acquiring bases; that's just the way it is, and it's the way the game's designed.

Here's the custom linear weights values of offensive events by teams via BaseRuns, and this is 80+ seasons of data for each team. Notice how each weight is almost identical for every single team in that list:

http://www.tangotiger.net/bsrlwts.html

And here's a study showing how simple lineup dynamics and teammate production can skew RBI totals:

http://www.stathead.com/bbeng/fontaine/invisoff.htm

dougdirt
10-26-2006, 10:58 PM
Cyclone, I understand where its all coming from, but I am not argueing that. I am argueing that Adam Dunn the hitter, is not good for the middle of the line up. Avoiding an out is very good. Getting that base is good. Getting a hit is much better than getting a walk. I dont want anyone swinging at non strikes, but Adam Dunn swings and misses a crapload of strikes. What I am saying is if Adam Dunn walking a lot did not skew his RBI % enough that it is a vlid arguement as for why his RBI % is horrible. As for any study that uses RBI is awful, I will respectfully disagree. There is a reason some of the best hitters in baseball are toward the top of that list, while guys who hit leadoff and guys named Womack and Clayton are at the bottom. Good hitters produce RBI's, bad hitters dont.

Cyclone792
10-26-2006, 11:07 PM
Cyclone, I understand where its all coming from, but I am not argueing that. I am argueing that Adam Dunn the hitter, is not good for the middle of the line up. Avoiding an out is very good. Getting that base is good. Getting a hit is much better than getting a walk. I dont want anyone swinging at non strikes, but Adam Dunn swings and misses a crapload of strikes. What I am saying is if Adam Dunn walking a lot did not skew his RBI % enough that it is a vlid arguement as for why his RBI % is horrible. As for any study that uses RBI is awful, I will respectfully disagree. There is a reason some of the best hitters in baseball are toward the top of that list, while guys who hit leadoff and guys named Womack and Clayton are at the bottom. Good hitters produce RBI's, bad hitters dont.

Good hitters avoid outs and acquire bases. Bad hitters don't. As I stated, RBI is a by-product of those events, but they are heavily dependent on other factors. Adam Dunn walking a lot produces runs for this offense. That's a plain fact; whether it provides him RBIs or takes away RBIs isn't the point. When he walks, he avoids outs, therefore he produces runs for his offense.

GL was absolutely correct in his earlier post when he stated that if you want to know what you seem to be looking for, you're going to have to tie each event to WPA. Any RBI study won't give you the accurate data you're looking for.

RedsManRick
10-26-2006, 11:18 PM
Dougdirt, why isn't Dunn a fit at the top of the lineup? (top meaning 2nd or 3rd, not leadoff)

Kc61
10-26-2006, 11:30 PM
Dougdirt, why isn't Dunn a fit at the top of the lineup? (top meaning 2nd or 3rd, not leadoff)


Let me answer. Economics.

Hitting Dunn second is turning him into a table setter. It is saying that his prime value to the team is his ability to walk, to get on base, to be driven in by others. It is also saying that he is not as valuable in an RBI slot.

Ok with me. If Dunn has a .370 OBP, he can hit second on my team.
But not at $10 or $13 mill a year. The Reds can't afford to pay Dunn's salary to be a tablesetter.

If you want to use Dunn as a table setter, you need lots more money to sign true middle-of-the order guys.

Personally, I'd prefer speedier guys as my table setters. But Dunn would be ok -- if I could afford Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado as my main RBI guys.

If my 3-4-5 guys are K Griffey (at this stage), EE, and ???, I have a problem paying Dunn to hit second.

RedsManRick
10-26-2006, 11:58 PM
That's fine KC, maybe you can make the argument that Dunn isn't worth 12 million as a #2 hitter. However, my point was that Dunn is quite valuable from a baseball perspective, even if he doesn't drive in 120 runs. That management isn't using him properly in the lineup is not Dunn's fault and asking him to try to be a player he's not because of it is folly.

Kc61
10-27-2006, 12:16 AM
That's fine KC, maybe you can make the argument that Dunn isn't worth 12 million as a #2 hitter. However, my point was that Dunn is quite valuable from a baseball perspective, even if he doesn't drive in 120 runs. That management isn't using him properly in the lineup is not Dunn's fault and asking him to try to be a player he's not because of it is folly.

Yeah, I think a lot of the problem with Dunn is expectations. If you envision Dunn in a complimentary position (say, hitting second or sixth) with a Yankee type lineup, he suddenly becomes a more attractive player. For the Reds, as I said before, it's hard to justify him in a complimentary lineup spot given his current salary.

Still, forgive me if I am disappointed with Dunn being relegated to a slot as a number 2 hitter. It's not what I envisioned when the guy came up. Many of his staunchest supporters seem to feel that that's his best role at this stage.

SteelSD
10-27-2006, 03:46 AM
Good hitters produce RBI's, bad hitters dont.

Horrible premise. Good hitters produce Runs. Bad hitters don't. At his worst, Dunn produced more Runs for the Reds than all but 19 NL hitters this season. And that's after being jerked around in the lineup while being told by Narron to swing at pitches out of the strike zone.

Kc61
10-27-2006, 10:59 AM
Horrible premise. Good hitters produce Runs. Bad hitters don't. At his worst, Dunn produced more Runs for the Reds than all but 19 NL hitters this season. And that's after being jerked around in the lineup while being told by Narron to swing at pitches out of the strike zone.

I would like to understand this concept better. You say Dunn produced all these runs, and I'm sure you are right.

I assume this includes RBIs, in part, but Dunn didn't excel in that area.

Is it also a function of getting on base and scoring runs, being knocked in by others?

Because if this "producing runs" concept includes runs scored, then it is largely another way of saying: "guy walks a lot; people knock him in."

When you get a chance, perhaps you can go through it (as I'm sure you have done in other threads somewhere).

Johnny Footstool
10-27-2006, 10:59 AM
Let me answer. Economics.

Hitting Dunn second is turning him into a table setter. It is saying that his prime value to the team is his ability to walk, to get on base, to be driven in by others. It is also saying that he is not as valuable in an RBI slot.

Ok with me. If Dunn has a .370 OBP, he can hit second on my team.
But not at $10 or $13 mill a year. The Reds can't afford to pay Dunn's salary to be a tablesetter.

If you want to use Dunn as a table setter, you need lots more money to sign true middle-of-the order guys.

Personally, I'd prefer speedier guys as my table setters. But Dunn would be ok -- if I could afford Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado as my main RBI guys.

If my 3-4-5 guys are K Griffey (at this stage), EE, and ???, I have a problem paying Dunn to hit second.

You're getting caught up in predefined roles. Who cares if Dunn is making money hitting second as long as he is producing runs?

When he hit second this season, Dunn earned his money:



AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
123 20 39 7 0 9 23 16 5 42 2 0 .317 .417 .593 1.010

So what if Dunn isn't a "prototype" #2 hitter? Don't let inside-the-box thinking prevent you from recognizing what a player can do.

Kc61
10-27-2006, 11:02 AM
You're getting caught up in predefined roles. Who cares if Dunn is making money hitting second as long as he is producing runs?

When he hit second this season, Dunn earned his money:



AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB HBP SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
123 20 39 7 0 9 23 16 5 42 2 0 .317 .417 .593 1.010

So what if Dunn isn't a "prototype" #2 hitter? Don't let inside-the-box thinking prevent you from recognizing what a player can do.

I care. Because, if "producing runs" means he is walking a lot and getting knocked in by others, there's only so much I'm willing to pay for such a player.

Some of these stats require further analysis -- like OBP, for example, which is by no means a perfect measure.

I'm not willing to agree that "producing runs" as you define it is the measure of a hitter's value. It has a nice sounding name, but I would like to understand it better. As per my post a bit earlier in response to Steel.

Johnny Footstool
10-27-2006, 11:14 AM
I care. Because, if "producing runs" means he is walking a lot and getting knocked in by others, there's only so much I'm willing to pay for such a player.

Some of these stats require further analysis -- like OBP, for example, which is by no means a perfect measure.

I'm not willing to agree that "producing runs" as you define it is the measure of a hitter's value. It has a nice sounding name, but I would like to understand it better. As per my post a bit earlier in response to Steel.

It's not just how I define "producing runs."

BTW - did you even look at the stats I showed? His walk rate was DOWN and his BA was UP when he hit second. And if you project those numbers over a full season, he would have scored 100 runs and knocked in 110 from the #2 spot. Put a decent #3 hitter (Griffey ain't it) behind him, and those numbers could have gone up by another 15% or so.

texasdave
10-27-2006, 11:45 AM
I should know better than to get into a discussion with someone who obviously knows more about this subject than I do. But there must be something that eludes me here because there are a couple of points that I do not totally agree with.

All hitters have the goal of helping their offense score more runs. To achieve that goal, they must concentrate on two specific offensive events:

1) Avoid outs
2) Acquire bases

That's it, those are the two factors in run production.

Those are the two major factors. Agreed. But isn't 'when' also a factor? It seems to me that 'when' you avoid outs, and 'when' you acquire bases also determines how many runs are produced.

If you avoid outs and/or acquire bases, you are helping your team score runs. It doesn't matter if your RBI total is exceptionally low or exceptionally high, if you avoid outs and acquire bases, you help produce runs. This is the basic fundamental aspect of run production.

Consider this sequence of events:
Player A singles
Player B singles, moving Player A to third
Player C singles, driving Player A in to score
Which of the above players is most responsible for the actual run that scored? If you answered Player C, you're wrong. In fact, if you answered any one of them, you're wrong. The correct answer is they are all equally responsible for producing that actual run.

Consider this sequence of events:
Player A singles
Player B singles, moving Player A to third
Player C hits a sacrifice fly.
Player D strikes out.
Player E strikes out.
Does Player C get any credit here? He didn't avoid an out and he didn't acquire a base, but the run does not score without him.

RBI are a by-product of avoiding outs and acquiring bases, but they are also heavily dependent on, 1) the caliber of batters hitting around an individual player, and 2) the unique lineup dynamics that surround each individual player.

I agree that RBI are heavily dependent upon the factors you state. I just feel that RBI aren't totally dependent upon these factors. The part of RBI that isn't dependent is what I think of as RBI%. Once again I think 'when' plays a factor. And this 'when' is what RBI% attempts to measure. Whether it measures it successfully or not can be debated.

When figuring out a player's offensive production, you must isolate that individual player's contribution to an offense, but if you utilize factors that are worlds apart from isolating that production, you're going to arrive a highly inaccurate conclusion. RBI do not isolate an individual player's production; they mix it up with the production and lineup dynamics that surround each player, and that's bad news for determining value.

I don't agree that a player's contributions should be isolated and then evaluated. Players are part of a lineup and have to be judged accordingly. This link explains this better than I ever could. It is something written by Bill James. It could be that I am misinterpreting what he says. It is a long article. The part I am referring to is the last 4 or 5 paragraphs. http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/btf/pages/essays/jameserp.htm

In the case of RBI, an individual player has absolutely zero control both the caliber of batters hitting around them and their specific lineup dynamics, and thus, using RBI in any manner to determine the value of any hitter is nothing short of an awful metric to use.

RBI and RBI% are not interchangeable terms. Maybe that is what is leading to some confusion here. You are absolutely correct when you state that a player does not control how many RBI opportunities he has. He can not put men on base in front of him. Having said that, I do believe that once a player comes up with men on base that he does have some control over whether those runners score or not. That is what RBI% attempts to measure.
__________________

Highlifeman21
10-27-2006, 12:08 PM
Cyclone, I understand where its all coming from, but I am not argueing that. I am argueing that Adam Dunn the hitter, is not good for the middle of the line up. Avoiding an out is very good. Getting that base is good. Getting a hit is much better than getting a walk. I dont want anyone swinging at non strikes, but Adam Dunn swings and misses a crapload of strikes. What I am saying is if Adam Dunn walking a lot did not skew his RBI % enough that it is a vlid arguement as for why his RBI % is horrible. As for any study that uses RBI is awful, I will respectfully disagree. There is a reason some of the best hitters in baseball are toward the top of that list, while guys who hit leadoff and guys named Womack and Clayton are at the bottom. Good hitters produce RBI's, bad hitters dont.

What's the reasoning/logic behind getinng a hit much better than getting a walk? They both avoid outs, and they both acquire bases. The hit has the potential to acquire more bases than the walk, but the walk typically will eat up more pitches in a PA, thus in my mind being a more productive PA. Any hitter can go up and swing at the first thing he sees, and through luck get a hit. Taking a walk is moreso an indication of talent and skill of being selective, thus being rewarded for your efforts with first base.

If you want to look at production, use a metric like RC, RC/27, Winshares, maybe even OPS. RBI is quite possibly the worst metric to use to gauge production.

SteelSD
10-27-2006, 12:45 PM
Those are the two major factors. Agreed. But isn't 'when' also a factor? It seems to me that 'when' you avoid outs, and 'when' you acquire bases also determines how many runs are produced.

Players can't control "when".


Consider this sequence of events:
Player A singles
Player B singles, moving Player A to third
Player C hits a sacrifice fly.
Player D strikes out.
Player E strikes out.
Does Player C get any credit here? He didn't avoid an out and he didn't acquire a base, but the run does not score without him.

Sure, Player C gets some credit. However, the event in question (Sac Fly) is a random occurrence so Players A and C deserve far more credit for producing that Run.


I agree that RBI are heavily dependent upon the factors you state. I just feel that RBI aren't totally dependent upon these factors. The part of RBI that isn't dependent is what I think of as RBI%. Once again I think 'when' plays a factor. And this 'when' is what RBI% attempts to measure. Whether it measures it successfully or not can be debated.

The only RBI numbers a player is personally responsible for are his own Home Runs. Players can't control the number of Runners on base ahead of them, nor can they control where they are on base, or how fast those runners are. RBI, in any form- either gross or rate- is a junk statistic.


I don't agree that a player's contributions should be isolated and then evaluated. Players are part of a lineup and have to be judged accordingly. This link explains this better than I ever could. It is something written by Bill James. It could be that I am misinterpreting what he says. It is a long article. The part I am referring to is the last 4 or 5 paragraphs.

That article is from 1985. Since then we've seen dramatic leaps forward in the ability to evaluate player performance. Even the RC formula has become more accurate in addition to EQA, EQR, Win Shares, Linear Weights, etc.

Players are part of a lineup, but their position in that lineup isn't within their control. It's unfortunate that many people don't understand that lineup position is meaningless when evaluating a hitter. Each hitter, regardless of lineup position, has two jobs- avoid Outs and acquire Bases.


RBI and RBI% are not interchangeable terms. Maybe that is what is leading to some confusion here. You are absolutely correct when you state that a player does not control how many RBI opportunities he has. He can not put men on base in front of him. Having said that, I do believe that once a player comes up with men on base that he does have some control over whether those runners score or not. That is what RBI% attempts to measure.

If preceding hitters score due to a player's efforts at the plate, then great. But it's a random side-effect of a hitter performing his primary functions rather than the achievement of some goal. That's the primary reason that anything involving RBI is an awful measuring stick- non-HR RBI are random performance residuals rather than controllable performance events.

That ties in directly to the rampant misunderstanding of lineup dynamics. For example, cleanup hitters aren't slotted in the 4 slot because they can, at will, plate runners. They're slotted there because their skill set offers the chance for more runners to randomly score as a result of how they perform their primary functions. In this case, the base acquisition is what a manager is looking for and players who do better at it than others tend to get slotted at cleanup. And that's fine as long as the Manager understands that he's working with probability rather than slotting a hitter due to some imagined RBI "skill set".

When the latter happens, bad things can occur. If a Manager considers RBI acquisition a "job", that misinterpretation can completely screw up a hitter because they'll start instructing the hitter to focus on achieving a goal (RBI acquisition) rather than understanding that the "goal" is actually a residual.

Johnny Footstool
10-27-2006, 12:47 PM
Consider this sequence of events:
Player A singles
Player B singles, moving Player A to third
Player C hits a sacrifice fly.
Player D strikes out.
Player E strikes out.
Does Player C get any credit here? He didn't avoid an out and he didn't acquire a base, but the run does not score without him.

Yes, he gets credit -- an RBI.

But consider this -- A batter makes a flyball out, but is lucky enough to have a runner on third at the time, so he gets an RBI. The next batter hits one out of the park, so he gets an RBI as well.

If both player get awarded the same stat, is that stat really all that telling?

Of course this is extremely simplified. But still, I put RBI in the same category as batting average -- it's there, but it doesn't tell you a lot.

Cyclone792
10-27-2006, 12:49 PM
I should know better than to get into a discussion with someone who obviously knows more about this subject than I do. But there must be something that eludes me here because there are a couple of points that I do not totally agree with.

All hitters have the goal of helping their offense score more runs. To achieve that goal, they must concentrate on two specific offensive events:

1) Avoid outs
2) Acquire bases

That's it, those are the two factors in run production.

Those are the two major factors. Agreed. But isn't 'when' also a factor? It seems to me that 'when' you avoid outs, and 'when' you acquire bases also determines how many runs are produced.

In the grand scheme of run production, "when" holds some importance, but it is exceptionally small compared to the overall goal of avoiding outs and acquiring bases. We know this because of the correlation of certain isolated statistics to actual run scoring, and I'll use OPS as an example here. OPS is simple: on-base plus slugging. It simply adds the two factors of avoiding outs and acquiring bases, and the result is a correlation to actual run scoring of close to 95 percent. That's nothing short of an amazing correlation, and there is no "when" factored in to OPS at all. If the "when" factor held as much importance as conventional wisdom dictates, then OPS would not correlate anywhere near 95 percent to actual run scoring.

As an aside, OPS is not perfect, and other metrics are better for analyzing offensive production. But it fits the example since it only includes the two massive factors in run production, avoiding outs and acquiring bases.


If you avoid outs and/or acquire bases, you are helping your team score runs. It doesn't matter if your RBI total is exceptionally low or exceptionally high, if you avoid outs and acquire bases, you help produce runs. This is the basic fundamental aspect of run production.

Consider this sequence of events:
Player A singles
Player B singles, moving Player A to third
Player C singles, driving Player A in to score
Which of the above players is most responsible for the actual run that scored? If you answered Player C, you're wrong. In fact, if you answered any one of them, you're wrong. The correct answer is they are all equally responsible for producing that actual run.

Consider this sequence of events:
Player A singles
Player B singles, moving Player A to third
Player C hits a sacrifice fly.
Player D strikes out.
Player E strikes out.
Does Player C get any credit here? He didn't avoid an out and he didn't acquire a base, but the run does not score without him.

The run value of a sacrifice is ~0.10 runs. Sacrifices achieve the goal of advancing one or more baserunners by one base, but the cost of the advancement is an out. For reference here, the run value of a walk is ~0.30 runs, and the run value of a single is ~0.45 runs. In your example above, Player A and Player B did the most work in producing that run, and Player C did some work, but considerably less.

A simple test, again, is correlation. Runs created correlates ~97 percent to actual runs scored, and runs created factors in everything isolated event that occurs in an offense, including sacrifices and sacrifice flies. If the run value of each offensive event was not accurate (i.e. sacrifices ~0.10 runs), then the correlations would not be anything close what they actually are.


RBI are a by-product of avoiding outs and acquiring bases, but they are also heavily dependent on, 1) the caliber of batters hitting around an individual player, and 2) the unique lineup dynamics that surround each individual player.

I agree that RBI are heavily dependent upon the factors you state. I just feel that RBI aren't totally dependent upon these factors. The part of RBI that isn't dependent is what I think of as RBI%. Once again I think 'when' plays a factor. And this 'when' is what RBI% attempts to measure. Whether it measures it successfully or not can be debated.

See above about the "when" factor.


When figuring out a player's offensive production, you must isolate that individual player's contribution to an offense, but if you utilize factors that are worlds apart from isolating that production, you're going to arrive a highly inaccurate conclusion. RBI do not isolate an individual player's production; they mix it up with the production and lineup dynamics that surround each player, and that's bad news for determining value.

I don't agree that a player's contributions should be isolated and then evaluated. Players are part of a lineup and have to be judged accordingly. This link explains this better than I ever could. It is something written by Bill James. It could be that I am misinterpreting what he says. It is a long article. The part I am referring to is the last 4 or 5 paragraphs. http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/btf/pages/essays/jameserp.htm

I've read that essay before, and two things jump out at me. First, it was written in 1985, and the runs created formula James was using in 1985 was much more flawed than the updated, current formulas. It was flawed, and corrections have been made. It's still flawed, and corrections may still be made yet again.

But the key is it's still quite a bit better than methods that incorporate non-isolated events such as RBI. I'll flip to the other side and use pitcher statistics as an example. Voros McCracken created his Defense Independent Pitching Stats (DIPS) formula as a way to isolate the factors that help pitchers prevent runs. As a result, DIPS ERA is much more valuable as a predictor of future performance than regular ERA. The production is isolated so we have a much better idea of an individual pitcher's production level.

I would like to point out one thing about the runs estimated formula listed in that article:

(2 x (TB + BB + HP) + H + SB - (.605 x (AB + CS + GIDP - H))) x .16 = Runs

Look at the factors listed: total bases, walks, hit by pitches, stolen bases, at bats, caught steals, ground into double plays, and hits. Interestingly enough, RBI is not among the factors within the actual formula.


In the case of RBI, an individual player has absolutely zero control both the caliber of batters hitting around them and their specific lineup dynamics, and thus, using RBI in any manner to determine the value of any hitter is nothing short of an awful metric to use.

RBI and RBI% are not interchangeable terms. Maybe that is what is leading to some confusion here. You are absolutely correct when you state that a player does not control how many RBI opportunities he has. He can not put men on base in front of him. Having said that, I do believe that once a player comes up with men on base that he does have some control over whether those runners score or not. That is what RBI% attempts to measure.

Of course a hitter has some control over whether runners on base score when he's at the plate. But just as Steel stated, the premise of whether or not that hitter actually drove those runs in is not an accurate way to measure actual run production; instead, it's how many bases that player acquires and if he was able to avoid an out or not.

Players can play key roles in run production without actually being the players who score the runs or drive the runs in. This is what's termed "invisible offense." When using factors such as runs scored, RBI, RBI %, etc., that type of offense is ignored. The problem is that "invisible offense" isn't really invisible; it's very real and plays a massive role in actual run production.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 01:04 PM
Horrible premise. Good hitters produce Runs. Bad hitters don't. At his worst, Dunn produced more Runs for the Reds than all but 19 NL hitters this season. And that's after being jerked around in the lineup while being told by Narron to swing at pitches out of the strike zone.

Ok, let me rephrase, good hitters drive in runs, bad hitters dont. Adam Dunn has had 1321 runners on over the last 3 years, and has driven in a grand total of 12.79% of them. Royce Clayton in all of his offensive ineptitude has driven in 12.96% of his. Adam Dunn may score a ton more runs than other guys, but as someone you rely on to drive guys in, which is what a middle of the order guy is supposed to do, he is not good at it. Spare me the "he avoids outs and gives others chances to drive in runs", if he is hitting 3-4-5, his job isnt to give others chances, he is not a table setter. His job as a 3-4-5 hitter is to drive in the runners that are on the bases, and he fails miserably at it, consistantly.

SteelSD
10-27-2006, 01:09 PM
Ok, let me rephrase, good hitters drive in runs, bad hitters dont. Adam Dunn has had 1321 runners on over the last 3 years, and has driven in a grand total of 12.79% of them. Royce Clayton in all of his offensive ineptitude has driven in 12.96% of his. Adam Dunn may score a ton more runs than other guys, but as someone you rely on to drive guys in, which is what a middle of the order guy is supposed to do, he is not good at it. Spare me the "he avoids outs and gives others chances to drive in runs", if he is hitting 3-4-5, his job isnt to give others chances, he is not a table setter. His job as a 3-4-5 hitter is to drive in the runners that are on the bases, and he fails miserably at it, consistantly.

Outside of avoiding Outs and acquiring Bases, hitters have no "job". Hitters who do better at both than other hitters are worth more Runs to their teams.

Pretty simple really, but first you have to let go of the idea that RBI are controllable results and realize they're random residuals of a player performing his only real primary functions.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 01:22 PM
What's the reasoning/logic behind getinng a hit much better than getting a walk? They both avoid outs, and they both acquire bases. The hit has the potential to acquire more bases than the walk, but the walk typically will eat up more pitches in a PA, thus in my mind being a more productive PA. Any hitter can go up and swing at the first thing he sees, and through luck get a hit. Taking a walk is moreso an indication of talent and skill of being selective, thus being rewarded for your efforts with first base.

If you want to look at production, use a metric like RC, RC/27, Winshares, maybe even OPS. RBI is quite possibly the worst metric to use to gauge production.

A hit acquires more bases and in most cases will advance a runner on base further than 1 base, and said runner also only advances if they are on 1st, or a runner is on first and they are on second. As for me, I will take a hit over a 7 pitch strikeout every day of the week. I will also take a hit on the first pitch over a walk every day of the week. Yeah, its nice to get a pitch count up, but its also nice to move runners faster. As for any hitter can go up and swing at the first pitch and get a hit through luck, uhh no, they cant. Taking a walk takes a certain skillset, but getting a hit is a better skillset. Why you ask? Becuase no one walks more than they hit (well except Bonds the past half decade, but he is the only exception). As for looking at production, I know what to look for. As for RBI being the worse metric to gauge production, RBI alone yes is pretty bad. RBI when also used with chances is not so much. That tells you how often a guy had a chance to knock someone in.

RedsManRick
10-27-2006, 01:34 PM
Cyclone, I understand where its all coming from, but I am not argueing that. I am argueing that Adam Dunn the hitter, is not good for the middle of the line up. Avoiding an out is very good. Getting that base is good. Getting a hit is much better than getting a walk. I dont want anyone swinging at non strikes, but Adam Dunn swings and misses a crapload of strikes. What I am saying is if Adam Dunn walking a lot did not skew his RBI % enough that it is a vlid arguement as for why his RBI % is horrible. As for any study that uses RBI is awful, I will respectfully disagree. There is a reason some of the best hitters in baseball are toward the top of that list, while guys who hit leadoff and guys named Womack and Clayton are at the bottom. Good hitters produce RBI's, bad hitters dont.

I think this is where the confusion lies Doug. I don't think you'll find a single person on this board who, in a given at bat, would prefer a walk over a hit. We all believe that hits are better than walks. However, the inference you go on to make is where the problem lies. Dunn cannot simply convert walks to hits. If he were to try and do that, he would primarily convert those walks to outs. The hits he would get from swinging more, would likely come at a lower rate than the 24% of the time he's getting now. That is, his batting average would be LOWER because the balls he's putting in to play would be of a lower quality.

Dunn simply isn't very good at making contact with the ball. That's why he hits for a low average. If he starts swinging at pitches he current takes in an attempt to get more hits, he'll just strike out even more and put more balls weakly in to play.

Your basic premise is right on. Hits with runners on base produce RBI. Adam Dunn doesn't get very many hits. Therefore, Adam Dunn doesn't convert as many RBI opportunities. However, in my opinion your conclusion & solution are flawed. Dunn is what he is. Perhaps he'll grow in to a better contact hitter and convert more RBI opportunties. However, asking him to do so at the expense of his current approach is likely to lead to lower run production in the big picture.

Garrett Anderson drove in 100+ RBI regularly in his prime. He's #6 on that RBI conversion list with an RBI% of 18.50. However, he also averaged 35 more outs per season than Adam Dunn. This matters.

I haven't really thought this through at all. But let's look at both runs and RBI. (this does not exclude Homers, like the previous numbers do). This doesn't account for opportunity either. I'm just trying to quickly illustrate a point.

Garrett Anderson (Since 2000)
RBI/PA: .169
R/PA: .102
Total (RBI + R)/PA: .271

Adam Dunn (Since 2000)
RBI/PA: .137
R/PA: .152
Total (RBI + R)/PA: .289

So, using this EXTREMELY flawed measurement, you can see that RBI conversion percentage misses a bunch of what a player really does. Yes, I'm aware that there may be oppotunistic differences here. But consider that Adam Dunn was 50% more likely to score a run every time he came to the plate than was Garrett Anderson. I'm not arguing that Dunn is better, that RBI% is completely irrelevant.

I am saying, as are others, that it tells an extremely incomplete picture about overall run generation. Would Dunn be more productive if he could turn walks in to hits. Of course. Would his RBI% go up in that event, probably. Is that something can will himself to do. Probably not. Is Dunn a "bad" player, or somehow less valuable, because of his RBI%? Well, that depends on how the market is pricing RBI%. Sean Casey has a pretty good RBI% and I didn't see too many people happy with the money he was getting....

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 01:37 PM
Players can't control "when".

The only RBI numbers a player is personally responsible for are his own Home Runs. Players can't control the number of Runners on base ahead of them, nor can they control where they are on base, or how fast those runners are. RBI, in any form- either gross or rate- is a junk statistic.

Players cant control the number of runners on base ahead of them, or when they are. However, when looking at the total of 1000+ chances to knock guys in, compared to everyone else in baseball, over the same time period gives you a pretty good indication of how successful or unsuccessful someone is at driving runs in. It tells you how often a guy gets a hit when he needs it.


Players are part of a lineup, but their position in that lineup isn't within their control. It's unfortunate that many people don't understand that lineup position is meaningless when evaluating a hitter. Each hitter, regardless of lineup position, has two jobs- avoid Outs and acquire Bases.

Lineup position is not meaningless when evaluating a hitter. Lets say a guy has this line .285/.375/.390 and he is hitting cleanup, but the guy hitting leadoff for a team has the line of .270/.375/.515, its going to completely change the dynamics of that line up. The guy hitting cleanup now is going to fail to drive in the leadoff hitter more often than if the two roles were switched, and player cleanup is going to be evaluated as a cleanup hitter, and a poor one.


If preceding hitters score due to a player's efforts at the plate, then great. But it's a random side-effect of a hitter performing his primary functions rather than the achievement of some goal. That's the primary reason that anything involving RBI is an awful measuring stick- non-HR RBI are random performance residuals rather than controllable performance events.
I dont think its random at all. If it were random, the best hitters in baseball wouldnt be at the top of that list, while the worst one at the bottom.


That ties in directly to the rampant misunderstanding of lineup dynamics. For example, cleanup hitters aren't slotted in the 4 slot because they can, at will, plate runners. They're slotted there because their skill set offers the chance for more runners to randomly score as a result of how they perform their primary functions. In this case, the base acquisition is what a manager is looking for and players who do better at it than others tend to get slotted at cleanup. And that's fine as long as the Manager understands that he's working with probability rather than slotting a hitter due to some imagined RBI "skill set".
Steel, base acquisition isnt why players hit cleanup. Otherwise you wouuld see a lot of leadoff hitters who hit .300/.390/.390 hitting clean up over a guy who hits .275/.330/.520. Players hit cleanup because of their ability to get extra bases and in turn move runners extra bases.


Outside of avoiding Outs and acquiring Bases, hitters have no "job". Hitters who do better at both than other hitters are worth more Runs to their teams.

Pretty simple really, but first you have to let go of the idea that RBI are controllable results and realize they're random residuals of a player performing his only real primary functions.
RBI are controllable stats. Better hitters drive in more runs than worse hitters when given similar chances. You cant argue that.
As for hitters not having a job, I completely disagree. Ryan Freels job as a leadoff hitter is to get on base. He has a skillset as a leadoff hitter. If you had Ryan Freel batting 4th in the lineup, a .390 slugging percentage would not cut it.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 01:49 PM
I think this is where the confusion lies Doug. I don't think you'll find a single person on this board who, in a given at bat, would prefer a walk over a hit. We all believe that hits are better than walks. However, the inference you go on to make is where the problem lies. Dunn cannot simply convert walks to hits. If he were to try and do that, he would primarily convert those walks to outs. The hits he would get from swinging more, would likely come at a lower rate than the 24% of the time he's getting now. That is, his batting average would be LOWER because the balls he's putting in to play would be of a lower quality.

I dont expect Dunn to convert walks to hits, I have said it before. I want Dunn to make contact on good pitches that he consistantly swings at and misses. When Adam Dunn puts the ball in play, he does good things. Problem is, he sucks at puting the ball in play.


Dunn simply isn't very good at making contact with the ball. That's why he hits for a low average. If he starts swinging at pitches he current takes in an attempt to get more hits, he'll just strike out even more and put more balls weakly in to play.

No, I just want him to hit more of the good ones he swings at.


Your basic premise is right on. Hits with runners on base produce RBI. Adam Dunn doesn't get very many hits. Therefore, Adam Dunn doesn't convert as many RBI opportunities. However, in my opinion your conclusion & solution are flawed. Dunn is what he is. Perhaps he'll grow in to a better contact hitter and convert more RBI opportunties. However, asking him to do so at the expense of his current approach is likely to lead to lower run production in the big picture.
I dont want him to change anything about his approach, I want him to hit the ball more when he chooses to swing. I dont have a problem with him walking, he knows the strikezone fairly well.


Garrett Anderson drove in 100+ RBI regularly in his prime. He's #6 on that RBI conversion list with an RBI% of 18.50. However, he also averaged 35 more outs per season than Adam Dunn. This matters.
Are you willing to give up 35 outs a season, roughly 1 extra out per week for 6.25% more runners scoring per year, which works out to 27 RBI over a year with 433 chances, which is what Adam Dunn averaged roughly between 04-06. I am willing to do that. I will take 35 extra outs per season for 27 RBI.


I haven't really thought this through at all. But let's look at both runs and RBI. (this does not exclude Homers, like the previous numbers do). This doesn't account for opportunity either. I'm just trying to quickly illustrate a point.

Garrett Anderson (Since 2000)
RBI/PA: .169
R/PA: .102
Total (RBI + R)/PA: .271

Adam Dunn (Since 2000)
RBI/PA: .137
R/PA: .152
Total (RBI + R)/PA: .289

I get it. Adam Dunn has a skillset where he gets on base a lot and scores more runs than most....dont put him in the middle of the line up then. That is Narrons, Mileys, Boones fault. But if he is batting in the middle of the lineup, I want him driving in runs at a better rate than Royce Clayton (which he didnt between 2004 and 2006)


I am saying, as are others, that it tells an extremely incomplete picture about overall run generation. Would Dunn be more productive if he could turn walks in to hits. Of course. Would his RBI% go up in that event, probably. Is that something can will himself to do. Probably not. Is Dunn a "bad" player, or somehow less valuable, because of his RBI%? Well, that depends on how the market is pricing RBI%. Sean Casey has a pretty good RBI% and I didn't see too many people happy with the money he was getting....
I am not, nor have I ever been arguing anything about run generation, I am arguing about driving in runs, which Adam Dunn is horrible at.

RedsManRick
10-27-2006, 01:49 PM
Texasdave, to your point about "when". The order and timing in which things happen ABSOLUTELY matters in terms of the outcome of the event. The point Cyclone and Steel are making is that players cannot control the "when" aspect of things. Adam Dunn can't decide to start hitting his homers only when men are on base and take walks when the bases are empty. Albert Pujols doesn't have such a high RBI% because he's a certain type of hitter with men on base. He has a high RBI% because he's a certain type of hitter period.

This is quite similar to the discussion on clutch. It's been studied over and over and nobody has yet to show that there are players who can predictably perform better in given "when" situations. Sure, there will be variations from season to season about how a player ended up performing in those situations. But that's just how things shook out based on the random distribution of his standard abilities. Players who hit for a high average and high slugging percentage will have a high RBI%. Why even look at RBI? Just look at average and slugging.

It's 100% reasonable to say that Adam Dunn tends to convert fewer RBI opportunties than other power hitters. But that's just an outcome resulting from his skill set, not an actual measurement of a given skill. Furthermore, it's a quite incomplete measurement of a player's overall ability to create runs, which at the 30,000 foot view is all a batter is trying to do.

Given that a player can't really control a given "when" of how he does the things he does, all you can ask is that a player advance as many bases as possible while avoiding getting out. Do that, and runs will follow.

SteelSD
10-27-2006, 01:53 PM
Players cant control the number of runners on base ahead of them, or when they are. However, when looking at the total of 1000+ chances to knock guys in, compared to everyone else in baseball, over the same time period gives you a pretty good indication of how successful or unsuccessful someone is at driving runs in. It tells you how often a guy gets a hit when he needs it.

No, it doesn't tell us that at all; which is common with junk metrics.


Lineup position is not meaningless when evaluating a hitter. Lets say a guy has this line .285/.375/.390 and he is hitting cleanup, but the guy hitting leadoff for a team has the line of .270/.375/.515, its going to completely change the dynamics of that line up. The guy hitting cleanup now is going to fail to drive in the leadoff hitter more often than if the two roles were switched, and player cleanup is going to be evaluated as a cleanup hitter, and a poor one.

Yeah, lineup position is completely meaningless and I've told you why.


I dont think its random at all. If it were random, the best hitters in baseball wouldnt be at the top of that list, while the worst one at the bottom.

Yeah, it's random and you're confusing correlation with causality. The RBI and/or RBI% is a residual- not a controllable performance metric.


Steel, base acquisition isnt why players hit cleanup. Otherwise you wouuld see a lot of leadoff hitters who hit .300/.390/.390 hitting clean up over a guy who hits .275/.330/.520. Players hit cleanup because of their ability to get extra bases and in turn move runners extra bases.

Base acquisition= Slugging Percentage, doug.


RBI are controllable stats. Better hitters drive in more runs than worse hitters when given similar chances. You cant argue that.

RBI are NOT controllable events outside a hitter's own Home Runs. They are performance residuals. Always have been, always will be. And, again, you're using faulty logic- i.e. your leap that more RBI= better hitter. Instead, you should be substituting "more Runs Created" for "more RBI".


As for hitters not having a job, I completely disagree. Ryan Freels job as a leadoff hitter is to get on base. He has a skillset as a leadoff hitter. If you had Ryan Freel batting 4th in the lineup, a .390 slugging percentage would not cut it.

Ryan Freel's Out avoidance (good) and Base acquisition (not so good) skill sets make him a prime candidate for the leadoff slot because of what he does well and what he doesn't do well. Slotting Freel at leadoff is an attempt to maximize the probability that he'll score ahead of hitters who are more likely to acquire more Bases. But the interaction between Freel reaching base and plating due to events following aren't controllable. They're random. And like all hitters, Freel has no "job" outside of avoiding Outs and acquiring Bases.

RedsManRick
10-27-2006, 02:09 PM
Fair enough Doug. Adam Dunn is not good at driving in runs. You are correct. I also agree that it would be nice if he could make more contact. Heck it would be nice if everybody could make more contact. We all wish he would make more contact. But so what? Isn't that stating the obvious? Do you think Dunn is doing something that is causing him to miss instead of make contact? What can Dunn do to make more contact? It's not like he's choosing to miss. I argue that he's making as much good contact as he can and that if he could make more contact when he swings, he would.

However, given what he IS able to do, it's Narron's job to figure out what to do with that. Narron needs to get over his bias that guys who hit homers should bat 4th or 5th and do a better job at realizing that the skills Dunn does have are better utilized higher in the order. Like Steel's point about Freel, he bats leadoff because it maximizes the usefullness of the things he can do and can control. Dunn is going to make contact as often as he makes contact. If he can't do it well, than don't bat him in a position where making contact is your top priority.

To your point on batting order, it seems you have the cause and effect backwards. Dunn is not a "clean up hitter" by definition. Dunn is a guy who hits .240/.370/.530. That's what he can control. If he hits first in the lineup, he's still a .240/.370/.530 hitter. You can call him a "poor clean-up" hitter because he doesn't drive in runs, but that doesn't make it his fault. If my boss made the COO, I'd be a pretty crappy one. But I still be a good data processor (when not slacking off and posting on RedsZone).

If all you want the discussion to be is "Who are the best RBI guys in baseball", your point is made. Because of his skill set, Dunn is not good at converting RBI opportunities. If he were able to make contact more often, he would be better at converting RBI opportunities. I don't think anybody disagrees with you on those points. However, if the discussion is about the value of a player in terms of his contributions towards run creation in general, well, then you have to get outside the box of RBI. RBI are not a good measurement of a player's overall contribution to run generation.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 02:12 PM
No, it doesn't tell us that at all; which is common with junk metrics.
Yes it does. We are going to have to agree to disagree.


Yeah, lineup position is completely meaningless and I've told you why.

Again, see above.


Yeah, it's random and you're confusing correlation with causality. The RBI and/or RBI% is a residual- not a controllable performance metric.
If it werent a controllable thing, then seperate players would be at the top of the league in RBI every year, instead its mostly the same guys. They dont get more chances than everyone else (while I will admit they do usually have more than most, but most 3-4-5 hitters get roughly the same amount of chances). Adam Dunn had 1321 chances from 04-06, Manny Ramirez had 1356 and Brian Giles had 1362 chances. Adam Dunn had a significantly lower number of RBI there. Why? Becuase the other guys are better hitters.


RBI are NOT controllable events outside a hitter's own Home Runs. They are performance residuals. Always have been, always will be. And, again, you're using faulty logic- i.e. your leap that more RBI= better hitter. Instead, you should be substituting "more Runs Created" for "more RBI".
Yes they are. When runners are on, get hits. Pretty simple. Yeah, Adam Dunn only gets a hit 23.4 times out of 100, pretty indicative as to why he doesnt drive in runs at the rate of most other middle of the order hitters. I never said more RBI=better hitter. Look at the top of that list. Hafner, Ortiz, Ramirez, Guerrero etx, all better hitters than Adam Dunn. Keep going down the list, better hitters keep showing up. You dont see bad hitters at the top of that list.


Ryan Freel's Out avoidance (good) and Base acquisition (not so good) skill sets make him a prime candidate for the leadoff slot because of what he does well and what he doesn't do well. Slotting Freel at leadoff is an attempt to maximize the probability that he'll score ahead of hitters who are more likely to acquire more Bases. But the interaction between Freel reaching base and plating due to events following aren't controllable. They're random. And like all hitters, Freel has no "job" outside of avoiding Outs and acquiring Bases.
Then why is it not a good idea to bat Freel 4th, if his job is to avoid outs and acquire bases? He avoids outs decently well, and he gets his bases when he does so. Add in the fact that he can steal second or third pretty often....
Its not a good idea becuase he doesnt have any power. He isnt going to knock in a runner on first with a hit, heck he might not knock in the guy from second. Middle of the order guys need good slugging percentages and need decent batting averages. I know someone is going to go off about batting average being meaningless and to look at on base or slugging, but I disagree to a small point. A walk from my cleanup guy is fine, but a sub .260 batting average isnt. Not in my mind its not. You arent puting the ball in play enough, and allowing your slugging percentage to help the team as much as you should be if you are hitting below .260.

SteelSD
10-27-2006, 02:12 PM
Are you willing to give up 35 outs a season, roughly 1 extra out per week for 6.25% more runners scoring per year, which works out to 27 RBI over a year with 433 chances, which is what Adam Dunn averaged roughly between 04-06. I am willing to do that. I will take 35 extra outs per season for 27 RBI.

doug, the game doesn't work like that. You're acting as if those 27 RBI equal lost Runs. They don't. Because Innings don't always end after a hitter completes a PA (regardless of what he does with it), a goodly portion of those Runners are plated anyway. Furthermore, nothing but a triple or HR is going to score a massive number of those runners as many of them are standing on 1st base when a hitter comes to the plate.

It appears that you really don't care about how many Runs the team scores, but rather how many RBI are assigned to a single hitter. And that just doesn't make sense.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 02:19 PM
Fair enough Doug. Adam Dunn is not good at driving in runs. You are correct. I also agree that it would be nice if he could make more contact. Heck it would be nice if everybody could make more contact. But so what? Isn't that stating the obvious? Do you Dunn is doing something that is causing him to swing and miss? What can Dunn do to make more contact? It's not like he's choosing to miss. I argue that he's making as much good contact as he can and that if he could make more contact when he swings, he would. We all wish he would make more contact.

You are probably right, it would be nice. Problem is Adam Dunn makes less contact than anyone in the history of baseball. I dont have a solution for him. I am not a hitting coach. There may not be one that will help him keep his power. Problem is, with his skillset and lack of hitting skills, he doesnt belong in the middle of a line up, which is my entire problem with it.


However, given what he IS able to do, it's Narron's job to figure out what to do with that. Narron needs to get over his bias that guys who hit homers should bat 4th or 5th and do a better job at realizing that the skills Dunn does have are better utilized higher in the order.
You are right, but I dont know if Dunn is fit for a #2 spot in the line up either, but I think its better than him 3-4-5.


To your point on batting order, it seems you have the cause and effect backwards. Dunn is not a "clean up hitter" by definition. Dunn is a guy who hits .240/.370/.530. That's what he can control. If he hits first in the lineup, he's still a .240/.370/.530 hitter. You can call him a "poor clean-up" hitter because he doesn't drive in runs, but that doesn't make it his fault. If my boss made the COO, I'd be a pretty crappy one. But I still be a good data processor (when not slacking off and posting on RedsZone).
If Ryan Freel hit leadoff all year, he would be considered a bad player by most. As a leadoff hitter though, he is good. Adam Dunn is being misused severely and while its not completely his fault, he still is going to catch crap for it, becuase he is the guy doing said job, regardless.


If all you want the discussion to be is "Who are the best RBI guys in baseball", your point is made. Because of his skill set, Dunn is not good at converting RBI opportunities. If he were able to make contact more often, he would be better at converting RBI opportunities. I don't think anybody disagrees with you on those points. However, if the discussion is about the value of a player in terms of his contributions towards run creation in general, well, then you have to get outside the box of RBI.
I never brought up, at least purposely that Adam Dunn wasnt good at creating runs. My point has been, at least what I meant to say, that Adam Dunn is horrible at driving in runs. I think once I stated he was bad at producing runs, but I meant producing RBI and not poor at producing runs for a team.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 02:22 PM
doug, the game doesn't work like that. You're acting as if those 27 RBI equal lost Runs. They don't. Because Innings don't always end after a hitter completes a PA (regardless of what he does with it), a goodly portion of those Runners are plated anyway. Furthermore, nothing but a triple or HR is going to score a massive number of those runners as many of them are standing on 1st base when a hitter comes to the plate.

It appears that you really don't care about how many Runs the team scores, but rather how many RBI are assigned to a single hitter. And that just doesn't make sense.

No, I am not. As a middle of the order guy, as it goes along, ideally the hitter behind you is not as good a hitter as you are. I am not worried about what runs Adam Dunn scores, I am worried about the ones he knocks in as a middle of the order guy. I know that Adam Dunn will score a very high amount of runs thanks to his on base skillset. I also know that due to his poor batting average, his RBI's will not be as high as a normal middle of the order hitter, becuase his slugging percentage is not put to use as often and he is not acquiring bases as often.
I also think I am done with this thread, becuase I feel like I have to keep repeating everything I am saying and I have covered almost everything I can think of in regards to Adam Dunn.

SteelSD
10-27-2006, 02:35 PM
Yes it does. We are going to have to agree to disagree.

I don't need to agree to disagree. I know we disagree. I also know which is the correct take and which isn't.


If it werent a controllable thing, then seperate players would be at the top of the league in RBI every year, instead its mostly the same guys. They dont get more chances than everyone else (while I will admit they do usually have more than most, but most 3-4-5 hitters get roughly the same amount of chances). Adam Dunn had 1321 chances from 04-06, Manny Ramirez had 1356 and Brian Giles had 1362 chances. Adam Dunn had a significantly lower number of RBI there. Why? Becuase the other guys are better hitters.

It's not controllable. RBI are a residual of how well a hitter performs his secondary function (Base Acquisition). Hitters can't acquire RBI at will. Doesn't happen that way. But couple opportunity with overall performance and you'll find a guy who's likely to acquire a lot of RBI. But if it were controllable, guys like Tony Batista wouldn't have had to scurry off to Japan a couple years ago after finishing 14th in MLB in RBI. And let's face facts, doug, Tony Batista was not and is not a "good hitter".


Yes they are. When runners are on, get hits. Pretty simple. Yeah, Adam Dunn only gets a hit 23.4 times out of 100, pretty indicative as to why he doesnt drive in runs at the rate of most other middle of the order hitters. I never said more RBI=better hitter. Look at the top of that list. Hafner, Ortiz, Ramirez, Guerrero etx, all better hitters than Adam Dunn. Keep going down the list, better hitters keep showing up. You dont see bad hitters at the top of that list.

And yet SLG- not hit rate- correlates most highly with RBI acquisition. Base Hit volume simply doesn't matter nor does Base Hit rate. And it appears you've glommed onto a junk list that tells you what you think you already know. My question would be, "With so many more accurate ways of evaluating performance, why would you care about a far less accurate evaluation tool?"


Then why is it not a good idea to bat Freel 4th, if his job is to avoid outs and acquire bases? He avoids outs decently well, and he gets his bases when he does so. Add in the fact that he can steal second or third pretty often....Its not a good idea becuase he doesnt have any power. He isnt going to knock in a runner on first with a hit, heck he might not knock in the guy from second. Middle of the order guys need good slugging percentages and need decent batting averages. I know someone is going to go off about batting average being meaningless and to look at on base or slugging, but I disagree to a small point. A walk from my cleanup guy is fine, but a sub .260 batting average isnt. Not in my mind its not. You arent puting the ball in play enough, and allowing your slugging percentage to help the team as much as you should be if you are hitting below .260.

God. The Batting Average fallacy again. Please stop it. We know what correlates most highly with Runs and that's not even close. You're at the point of arguing about aesthetics or preference rather than performance. I know what you prefer, but what you prefer doesn't actually correlate with actual Run value. Nor does contact rate. In fact, very little of what you're using to evaluate performance actually correlates with real live performance.

And the reason you don't bat Freel fourth is that Freel isn't very good at acquiring Bases at high rates (read: SLG). That means that runners on in front of him will most likely score at lower rates than if a high SLG hitter is slotted there. But that's all about SLG and has nothing to do with whether or not a hitter is "good" at acquiring RBI. Those hitters don't exist because hitters cannot control their performance situationally. That's a key point and it's really where your position crumbles.

SteelSD
10-27-2006, 02:41 PM
No, I am not. As a middle of the order guy, as it goes along, ideally the hitter behind you is not as good a hitter as you are. I am not worried about what runs Adam Dunn scores, I am worried about the ones he knocks in as a middle of the order guy. I know that Adam Dunn will score a very high amount of runs thanks to his on base skillset. I also know that due to his poor batting average, his RBI's will not be as high as a normal middle of the order hitter, becuase his slugging percentage is not put to use as often and he is not acquiring bases as often.

I also think I am done with this thread, becuase I feel like I have to keep repeating everything I am saying and I have covered almost everything I can think of in regards to Adam Dunn.

You keep repeating it but it's just argumentum ad nauseum. You think that Batting Average and contact has some extreme correlation with RBI production. It doesn't. You think that hitters can control their performance situationally. They can't. You want to use lineup position as a variable in performance evaluation, but it doesn't matter. You want to equate many RBI with "good hitter" and less RBI with "bad hitter" but neither are accurate conclusions.

In short, you keep saying it but none of it's actually true.

Highlifeman21
10-27-2006, 02:42 PM
A hit acquires more bases and in most cases will advance a runner on base further than 1 base, and said runner also only advances if they are on 1st, or a runner is on first and they are on second. As for me, I will take a hit over a 7 pitch strikeout every day of the week. I will also take a hit on the first pitch over a walk every day of the week. Yeah, its nice to get a pitch count up, but its also nice to move runners faster. As for any hitter can go up and swing at the first pitch and get a hit through luck, uhh no, they cant. Taking a walk takes a certain skillset, but getting a hit is a better skillset. Why you ask? Becuase no one walks more than they hit (well except Bonds the past half decade, but he is the only exception). As for looking at production, I know what to look for. As for RBI being the worse metric to gauge production, RBI alone yes is pretty bad. RBI when also used with chances is not so much. That tells you how often a guy had a chance to knock someone in.

Hitting is an exercise in luck. How many hitters can control where the ball ends up off their bat? Hitters can attempt to hit the ball to certain fields, but they can't 100% of the time control the velocity off the bat, nor the angle of trajectory, nor the spin of the ball. All these factors determine where the ball ultimately ends up. There is far too much luck involved in the outcome of a PA.

Taking a walk also has elements of luck (umpire strike zone, pitcher command, etc), but the skillset to take a walk is far more valuable than the skillset to hit the ball. Plate patience/discipline is harder to perfect than say finding a better/more efficient way to get your bat thru the zone.


I think this is where the confusion lies Doug. I don't think you'll find a single person on this board who, in a given at bat, would prefer a walk over a hit. We all believe that hits are better than walks. However, the inference you go on to make is where the problem lies. Dunn cannot simply convert walks to hits. If he were to try and do that, he would primarily convert those walks to outs. The hits he would get from swinging more, would likely come at a lower rate than the 24% of the time he's getting now. That is, his batting average would be LOWER because the balls he's putting in to play would be of a lower quality.

Dunn simply isn't very good at making contact with the ball. That's why he hits for a low average. If he starts swinging at pitches he current takes in an attempt to get more hits, he'll just strike out even more and put more balls weakly in to play.

Your basic premise is right on. Hits with runners on base produce RBI. Adam Dunn doesn't get very many hits. Therefore, Adam Dunn doesn't convert as many RBI opportunities. However, in my opinion your conclusion & solution are flawed. Dunn is what he is. Perhaps he'll grow in to a better contact hitter and convert more RBI opportunties. However, asking him to do so at the expense of his current approach is likely to lead to lower run production in the big picture.

Garrett Anderson drove in 100+ RBI regularly in his prime. He's #6 on that RBI conversion list with an RBI% of 18.50. However, he also averaged 35 more outs per season than Adam Dunn. This matters.

I haven't really thought this through at all. But let's look at both runs and RBI. (this does not exclude Homers, like the previous numbers do). This doesn't account for opportunity either. I'm just trying to quickly illustrate a point.

Garrett Anderson (Since 2000)
RBI/PA: .169
R/PA: .102
Total (RBI + R)/PA: .271

Adam Dunn (Since 2000)
RBI/PA: .137
R/PA: .152
Total (RBI + R)/PA: .289

So, using this EXTREMELY flawed measurement, you can see that RBI conversion percentage misses a bunch of what a player really does. Yes, I'm aware that there may be oppotunistic differences here. But consider that Adam Dunn was 50% more likely to score a run every time he came to the plate than was Garrett Anderson. I'm not arguing that Dunn is better, that RBI% is completely irrelevant.

I am saying, as are others, that it tells an extremely incomplete picture about overall run generation. Would Dunn be more productive if he could turn walks in to hits. Of course. Would his RBI% go up in that event, probably. Is that something can will himself to do. Probably not. Is Dunn a "bad" player, or somehow less valuable, because of his RBI%? Well, that depends on how the market is pricing RBI%. Sean Casey has a pretty good RBI% and I didn't see too many people happy with the money he was getting....

Count me as the lone member of the board who would prefer a walk over a hit in any PA. A walk takes at least 4 pitches for the PA. A hit can take as little as 1 pitch. I want my hitters being selective and patient, working counts, forcing pitchers to have higher pitch counts. That offensive philosophy should have a trickle down effect where each hitter in the lineup will see more of the pitcher's stuff, see more pitches per PA, and in turn force the pitcher to find new and creative ways to get hitters out.

Walks acquire bases and avoid outs. Hits do the same. Walks typically require more pitches to obtain, which is a better way to wear down pitchers and get to the next arm.

Kc61
10-27-2006, 02:46 PM
It's not just how I define "producing runs."

BTW - did you even look at the stats I showed? His walk rate was DOWN and his BA was UP when he hit second. And if you project those numbers over a full season, he would have scored 100 runs and knocked in 110 from the #2 spot. Put a decent #3 hitter (Griffey ain't it) behind him, and those numbers could have gone up by another 15% or so.

I did look at the stats you provided.

I think we do have a point of agreement here. I believe, as you do, that if the Reds want to get Dunn to reach his potential he needs to hit in front of a real threat. I agree Griffey ain't it right now.

As much as we can debate how good or bad Dunn was last year, I am a strong believer that a baseball lineup is more than the sum of its parts; if you string together strong hitters they will all benefit.

If the Reds keep Dunn and want him to succeed I still want a major offensive addition next year.

I don't really think the key is what number Dunn hits in the batting order. If the lineup was, for example, Freel, EE, Beltran, Dunn, Delgado, Aurilia, etc., I think Dunn would benefit. I agree that he suffered from an overall weak lineup, particularly after the trade (although I think an outfield trade was necessary since Griff, Dunn, Kearns was too slow).

RedsManRick
10-27-2006, 02:52 PM
Question Steel. Given Dunn's career SLG, and that "SLG- not hit rate- correlates most highly with RBI acquisition", why do you think he is so low on the RBI% list? Give those facts, it would seem that given his better than average SLG, his RBI conversion rate would be higher.

Now, in 2006, Adam Dunn slugged .490, 55th overall in baseball. His slugging percentage was mediocre, as was his RBI total. If Adam Dunn had a higher SLG, potentially due to a higher BA, he would likely drive in more RBI.

I'm curious, what is the distribution of runs scores from base of origin? That is, what percentage of runners who score started the play on 1B, 2B, 3B. This would give us some insight in to the balance between batting average and slugging percentage, aside from simply correlation coefficients which are somewhat confounded by an uncontrolled opportunity component, right?

RedsManRick
10-27-2006, 02:57 PM
Hitting is an exercise in luck. How many hitters can control where the ball ends up off their bat? Hitters can attempt to hit the ball to certain fields, but they can't 100% of the time control the velocity off the bat, nor the angle of trajectory, nor the spin of the ball. All these factors determine where the ball ultimately ends up. There is far too much luck involved in the outcome of a PA.

Taking a walk also has elements of luck (umpire strike zone, pitcher command, etc), but the skillset to take a walk is far more valuable than the skillset to hit the ball. Plate patience/discipline is harder to perfect than say finding a better/more efficient way to get your bat thru the zone.



Count me as the lone member of the board who would prefer a walk over a hit in any PA. A walk takes at least 4 pitches for the PA. A hit can take as little as 1 pitch. I want my hitters being selective and patient, working counts, forcing pitchers to have higher pitch counts. That offensive philosophy should have a trickle down effect where each hitter in the lineup will see more of the pitcher's stuff, see more pitches per PA, and in turn force the pitcher to find new and creative ways to get hitters out.

Walks acquire bases and avoid outs. Hits do the same. Walks typically require more pitches to obtain, which is a better way to wear down pitchers and get to the next arm.

Well, if I know the outcome of an AB is either a hit or a walk, I'll take the hit every single time. I don't know the average number of pitches before a hit, but I'd gladly take the chance of multiple base advancement for both the batter and runners on base over the pitch or two gained. It takes four walks to score a run. It can take as little as 1 hit. I understand your point. I want hitters working the count too, but given a situation where you're guaranteed to be on base, give me the hit.

Johnny Footstool
10-27-2006, 04:52 PM
I agree that he suffered from an overall weak lineup, particularly after the trade (although I think an outfield trade was necessary since Griff, Dunn, Kearns was too slow).

Immediately before the trade and for several weeks following the trade, Dunn was bumped up to the #2 spot in the order. During that time he was more productive than pretty much any other point in the season. Maybe it was "Griffey fear" on the part of opposing pitchers, or maybe Dunn just liked the idea of "being a #2 hitter", but it seemed to work.

I like him there simply because there are fewer guys in front of him to mess around and make outs. Batting him second also lets the leadoff hitter steal more often, since Dunn takes so many pitches. But most importantly, it lets him get slightly more ABs, and when I have a guy who doesn't make outs, I want him up to bat as often as possible.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 06:26 PM
blah blah blah, Adam Dunn is infallible.

*got frustrated for a second. was going to erase, but WOY already quoted it, so no need. just lost my cool for a second.*

westofyou
10-27-2006, 06:36 PM
blah blah blah, Adam Dunn is infallible.

One for the archives!!

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 06:43 PM
WOY, I got frustrated for a second.

westofyou
10-27-2006, 06:46 PM
WOY, I got frustrated for a second.

We all do.

Cyclone792
10-27-2006, 06:59 PM
blah blah blah, Adam Dunn is infallible.

To me, this whole thread has nothing to do with Adam Dunn, but instead has everything to do with actual offensive production and understanding really how an offense works. We could be talking about Al Simmons' run production with the Philadelphia A's from the late 20s and early 30s and you'd hear the same framework of how to accurately judge his offensive value.

You're a baseball fan, doug, and by your posts on this forum, I can wager that you're probably a pretty darn big baseball fan. You can choose to believe what you want as far as how players produce runs, prevent runs, provide value, etc. Makes no difference to me, really.

I'll just toss out a friendly suggestion to consider digesting the wealth of available objective baseball research that is out there and approaching it with the mindset that the conventional wisdom may in fact be inaccurate, and this includes the value garnered from RBI. You'd learn more about the game than you ever thought imagineable by doing that.

Every day I learn more about the game, and I continue to seek out more infomation; it's just a constant state of evolution. There's always more knowledge and data out there to swallow. The end result is I actually continue to gain appreciation for the game as I continue to learn more. In short, I fall deeper in love with baseball as time goes on mostly because I continue to learn more.

Maybe I'm a freak, who knows.

Anyhow, I would encourage anybody who loves baseball to dive straight into all the objective research that's been done. Probably what confuses me most is when people actually fight to not take in the research, but that occurs with baseball fans more than any other group of people I've ever associated with. The game is their passion and hobby, but they fight new information surrounding it. I've never fully understood their reasoning for that, but hey, such is life.

Highlifeman21
10-27-2006, 07:08 PM
To me, this whole thread has nothing to do with Adam Dunn, but instead has everything to do with actual offensive production and understanding really how an offense works. We could be talking about Al Simmons' run production with the Philadelphia A's from the late 20s and early 30s and you'd hear the same framework of how to accurately judge his offensive value.

You're a baseball fan, doug, and by your posts on this forum, I can wager that you're probably a pretty darn big baseball fan. You can choose to believe what you want as far as how players produce runs, prevent runs, provide value, etc. Makes no difference to me, really.

I'll just toss out a friendly suggestion to consider digesting the wealth of available objective baseball research that is out there and approaching it with the mindset that the conventional wisdom may in fact be inaccurate, and this includes the value garnered from RBI. You'd learn more about the game than you ever thought imagineable by doing that.

Every day I learn more about the game, and I continue to seek out more infomation; it's just a constant state of evolution. There's always more knowledge and data out there to swallow. The end result is I actually continue to gain appreciation for the game as I continue to learn more. In short, I fall deeper in love with baseball as time goes on mostly because I continue to learn more.

Maybe I'm a freak, who knows.

Anyhow, I would encourage anybody who loves baseball to dive straight into all the objective research that's been done. Probably what confuses me most is when people actually fight to not take in the research, but that occurs with baseball fans more than any other group of people I've ever associated with. The game is their passion and hobby, but they fight new information surrounding it. I've never fully understood their reasoning for that, but hey, such is life.

Maybe?

:beerme: :KoolAid:

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 07:08 PM
Cyclone, I get how and why runs are produced. To me, a player can control their RBI numbers to an extent. Nearly every time there is a runner on second base, the batter can control whether they get that RBI. The times they cant are if they are walked, hit by a pitch, have to sacrafice or get a single where the runner just doesnt have the wheels to score for whatever reason. Any time one of those do not happen, the batter controls whether that RBI can happen. If you get a hit, odds are in your favor you get an RBI. Getting a hit is not a luck type thing, its a skill.
Nearly everything you, rick or steel have said in this post, I have read prior to reading it today. I understand where it all comes from. I just think there is more to the game of baseball than the luck of a guy swinging a bat at a ball and he got lucky that it fell in. There is a reason a guy like Tony Gwynn got so many hits, and I am sure its not becuase he was lucky.

Cyclone792
10-27-2006, 07:20 PM
Cyclone, I get how and why runs are produced. To me, a player can control their RBI numbers to an extent. Nearly every time there is a runner on second base, the batter can control whether they get that RBI. The times they cant are if they are walked, hit by a pitch, have to sacrafice or get a single where the runner just doesnt have the wheels to score for whatever reason. Any time one of those do not happen, the batter controls whether that RBI can happen. If you get a hit, odds are in your favor you get an RBI. Getting a hit is not a luck type thing, its a skill.
Nearly everything you, rick or steel have said in this post, I have read prior to reading it today. I understand where it all comes from. I just think there is more to the game of baseball than the luck of a guy swinging a bat at a ball and he got lucky that it fell in. There is a reason a guy like Tony Gwynn got so many hits, and I am sure its not becuase he was lucky.

Problem is if you build an offense around your theories, you're not going to be very successful since it's well-known that hit rate doesn't correlate well at all with how runs are actually produced.

You can test this yourself, and it's actually very easy. I've tested it; others here have tested it. Many others not here have tested it. Nobody here is making anything up about run production, and what you're claiming goes against loads of research for how runs are actually produced.

Question for you: what do you think the correlation of BA w/RISP is to actual runs?

Toss out a percentage range for that question, and we'll go from there. I've already explained the correlations of OPS and RC in an earlier post so I'm curious what you think the correlations are for BA w/RISP.

BTW, Tony Gwynn and Reggie Jackson were polar opposites as hitters. However, through their entire careers - for both peak and career - they produced a strikingly similar amount of runs, wins and value for their team. They each did it in different forms, but the end results of their run production were amazingly similar.

It isn't how you produce runs that matters, but rather, what matters is do you produce runs.

Highlifeman21
10-27-2006, 07:29 PM
Cyclone, I get how and why runs are produced. To me, a player can control their RBI numbers to an extent. Nearly every time there is a runner on second base, the batter can control whether they get that RBI. The times they cant are if they are walked, hit by a pitch, have to sacrafice or get a single where the runner just doesnt have the wheels to score for whatever reason. Any time one of those do not happen, the batter controls whether that RBI can happen. If you get a hit, odds are in your favor you get an RBI. Getting a hit is not a luck type thing, its a skill.
Nearly everything you, rick or steel have said in this post, I have read prior to reading it today. I understand where it all comes from. I just think there is more to the game of baseball than the luck of a guy swinging a bat at a ball and he got lucky that it fell in. There is a reason a guy like Tony Gwynn got so many hits, and I am sure its not becuase he was lucky.

Absolute fallacy.

Hitters have no control over scoring that runner from 2B. They can start a chain reaction of events at the plate that influence an outcome, but there are too many independent variables to say matter of factly that hitters control their RBIs. You even brought some of them up. Say that the hitter makes contact. There are 3 results from that contact: foul ball resulting in next pitch, making an out in fair or foul territory, hit. If the hitter makes an out in fair territory in the infield, chances are that runner on 2B is only going to 3B not withstanding a fielding error of some sort. If the out is made in fair territory in the OF, then we're looking at a proximity to 3B for that runner to advance from 2B. Only if there is an out in foul territory deep in the RF corner would you expect that runner to advance to 3B. Say the hitter hits it where they ain't. We now have a chain of events of the fielders trying to get the ball to home before the runner on 2B. Throwing strength and accuracy vs. the speed and decisions of the runner on 2B. It's a race. The only influence the hitter has on this race is where the ball starts for the fielders. If it's in the gap, I like the runner's chances of scoring. If it's in front of any of the OF, then it's a crap shoot. Just putting the ball in play with a runner on 2B does not guarantee a RBI, thus the hitter doesn't determine his RBI fate.

Baseball is one of the luckiest games around. It goes both ways dealing with pitchers and hitters. You can determine pitcher luck by BABIP. Hitter luck is a little more difficult to define, but you can't discount that it exists.

As for Tony Gwynn, he had a better plate approach, and put himself in a better situation to have a more desireable outcome. He had a good swing, got the bat thru the zone efficiently, and had good mechanics. Tony Gwynn, however, did not have much power (blatant understatement). Power hitters have much less room for error to get hits as opposed to Gwynn-type hitters that have plenty of room for error to slap the ball thru somewhere to get on base.

RedsManRick
10-27-2006, 08:06 PM
Jason, I asked a question earlier hopefully you can clarify and gets to Doug's point a little more directly. (Not about overall run production value --- that's been covered many times over)

Adam Dunn slugs better than the average major leaguer. Given that, in light of Steel's comment about the correlation between SLG and RBI, why does he convert such a relatively small proportion of his RBI opportunities?

I don't think Doug needs to be convinced that there is value in what Dunn does do. However, specifically to the RBI statistic, surely there is a given skill set which lends itself to the greatest RBI conversion %. Similarly, there is a skill set which leads to a low RBI conversion %. Apparently what Dunn does is the latter and this should inform his usage.

I would argue that any time Dunn steps up to the plate in an RBI situation, he produces an outcome likely to drive in a run less often than other "sluggers" who hit for a higher average. Furthermore, a player like Mike Sweeney or Sean Casey in his prime, is likely to show up at the top of that RBI% list due to the amount of doubles and singles they hit. In terms of non-self RBI, a double or better is usually all it takes and often a single is enough to drive in the runner(s). Therefore, while Dunn's SLG is high due to lots of homers, his actual RBI conversion percentage is fairly low due to fewer RBI producing events (i.e. hits).

If we set aside sacrifices and bases loaded walks, Dunn produces an RBI capable event only 24% of the time he bats where as Mike Sweeney produces an RBI capable event 30% of the time.

I'm still curious about the percent of runners who score from each base during each kind of event. In terms of non-self RBI, isn't a double about 80-90% as effective as a HR? That is, most of the runners who score on a homer would've scored on a double. And some of the runners who would've scored on a double would've scored on a single. Therefore, SLG is somewhat devalued when looking at it's non-self RBI causation, because the extra bases advanced by the batter, as captured in SLG, are not always necessary to advance the would be RBI. I suppose this would be reflected in a lowered correlation, but anyways...

Two AB: one with a man on 1st, one with a man on 3rd.

Dunn homers for the first one and walks for the second one for a line of 1.000/1.000/4.000. 1 non-self RBI.

Mike Sweeney doubles on the first one and singles on the 2nd for a line of 1.000/1.000/3.000. 2 non-self RBI. Lower SLG, more non-self RBI. Multiply over 650 PA and control for opportunity. Suddenly Mike Sweeney drives in 144 runs despite not hitting 30 homers in 2000, slugging a good, but not great .523.

Perhaps what I'm getting at is that each event has 2 components: self-advancement and base-runner advancement. The value in terms of runner advancement is not necessarily weighted properly by classic SLG. A triple and a homer both clear the bases of every runner, but that won't show up in SLG. Anyways, don't know where I'm going with this. I know RBI is a flawed "performance" statistic for a bevy of reasons. I just think there's something to be said for the concept that low BA, high SLG guys like Dunn are better served batting higher in the lineup because of the diminishing base runner advancement value of homers over other types of hits, in the context of many fewer hit events.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 08:17 PM
Absolute fallacy.

Hitters have no control over scoring that runner from 2B. They can start a chain reaction of events at the plate that influence an outcome, but there are too many independent variables to say matter of factly that hitters control their RBIs. You even brought some of them up. Say that the hitter makes contact. There are 3 results from that contact: foul ball resulting in next pitch, making an out in fair or foul territory, hit. If the hitter makes an out in fair territory in the infield, chances are that runner on 2B is only going to 3B not withstanding a fielding error of some sort. If the out is made in fair territory in the OF, then we're looking at a proximity to 3B for that runner to advance from 2B. Only if there is an out in foul territory deep in the RF corner would you expect that runner to advance to 3B. Say the hitter hits it where they ain't. We now have a chain of events of the fielders trying to get the ball to home before the runner on 2B. Throwing strength and accuracy vs. the speed and decisions of the runner on 2B. It's a race. The only influence the hitter has on this race is where the ball starts for the fielders. If it's in the gap, I like the runner's chances of scoring. If it's in front of any of the OF, then it's a crap shoot. Just putting the ball in play with a runner on 2B does not guarantee a RBI, thus the hitter doesn't determine his RBI fate.

Come on, seriously. If a hitter gets a single with a runner on second, unless Cecil Feilder is on second, the odds are he is going to score. Sure a chain reaction occurs that starts with the batter. Get a hit, the runner goes from second to third and more than likely to home because the batter got a hit. Its fairly simple.

westofyou
10-27-2006, 08:30 PM
Believing that RBI's are a constant led to the Reds dumping Frank Robinson, they saw Deron Johnson's 1965 season

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=139829

They failed to:

A. recognize the huge amount of runners he had had on base

B. They thought that 20% of the runners being driven in was not an anomoly.

And then they made the wrong decision, trading a guy who not only "drove in runs" but didn't make outs.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=139830
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=139830

Raisor
10-27-2006, 08:34 PM
I heart Runs Created.

Cyclone792
10-27-2006, 08:47 PM
Jason, I asked a question earlier hopefully you can clarify and gets to Doug's point a little more directly. (Not about overall run production value --- that's been covered many times over)

Adam Dunn slugs better than the average major leaguer. Given that, in light of Steel's comment about the correlation between SLG and RBI, why does he convert such a relatively small proportion of his RBI opportunities?

I don't think Doug needs to be convinced that there is value in what Dunn does do. However, specifically to the RBI statistic, surely there is a given skill set which lends itself to the greatest RBI conversion %. Similarly, there is a skill set which leads to a low RBI conversion %. Apparently what Dunn does is the latter and this should inform his usage.

I would argue that any time Dunn steps up to the plate in an RBI situation, he produces an outcome likely to drive in a run less often than other "sluggers" who hit for a higher average. Furthermore, a player like Mike Sweeney or Sean Casey in his prime, is likely to show up at the top of that RBI% list due to the amount of doubles and singles they hit. In terms of non-self RBI, a double or better is usually all it takes and often a single is enough to drive in the runner(s). Therefore, while Dunn's SLG is high due to lots of homers, his actual RBI conversion percentage is fairly low due to fewer RBI producing events (i.e. hits).

If we set aside sacrifices and bases loaded walks, Dunn produces an RBI capable event only 24% of the time he bats where as Mike Sweeney produces an RBI capable event 30% of the time.

I'm still curious about the percent of runners who score from each base during each kind of event. In terms of non-self RBI, isn't a double about 80-90% as effective as a HR? That is, most of the runners who score on a homer would've scored on a double. And some of the runners who would've scored on a double would've scored on a single. Therefore, SLG is somewhat devalued when looking at it's non-self RBI causation, because the extra bases advanced by the batter, as captured in SLG, are not always necessary to advance the would be RBI. I suppose this would be reflected in a lowered correlation, but anyways...

Two AB: one with a man on 1st, one with a man on 3rd.

Dunn homers for the first one and walks for the second one for a line of 1.000/1.000/4.000. 1 non-self RBI.

Mike Sweeney doubles on the first one and singles on the 2nd for a line of 1.000/1.000/3.000. 2 non-self RBI. Lower SLG, more non-self RBI. Multiply over 650 PA and control for opportunity. Suddenly Mike Sweeney drives in 144 runs despite not hitting 30 homers in 2000, slugging a good, but not great .523.

Perhaps what I'm getting at is that each event has 2 components: self-advancement and base-runner advancement. The value in terms of runner advancement is not necessarily weighted properly by classic SLG. A triple and a homer both clear the bases of every runner, but that won't show up in SLG. Anyways, don't know where I'm going with this. I know RBI is a flawed "performance" statistic for a bevy of reasons. I just think there's something to be said for the concept that low BA, high SLG guys like Dunn are better served batting higher in the lineup because of the diminishing base runner advancement value of homers over other types of hits, in the context of many fewer hit events.

I think I understand what you're asking, Rick, and if so, I think the splits provide the data you're looking for:


Dunn Career SLG

None on .522
Runners on .501
Scoring Pos .479

Dunn Career AB/HR

None on 14.1
Runners on 14.5
Scoring Pos 14.8

Dunn Career AB/2B

None on 18.0
Runners on 19.9
Scoring Pos 18.3

The above is where the low RBI % is derived from. When runners get on base, Dunn's slugging percentage decreases. Mike Sweeney is exactly the opposite. When runners get on base, his slugging percentage increases. Now, this is where many people will suddenly proclaim "Poor RBI man, I told you so! He doesn't produce runs!" But you and I both know this is far from the whole picture.


Dunn Career OBP

None on .351
Runners on .412
Scoring Pos .418

Dunn Career PA/BB

None on 8.07
Runners on 4.69
Scoring Pos 4.11

The short answer to what we're seeing here is pretty obvious, which is when runners are on base, Adam Dunn gets pitched around ridiculously. The amount of strikes to hit are incredibly reduced, thereby the number of good, hittable pitches to hit are incredibly reduced. As we know, it's a very poor move to instruct Dunn to be aggressive at the plate when runners on base simply because he's not getting anything to hit. If he's instructed to be more aggressive, he'll just pile up outs.

Now from a value standpoint in run production, Dunn's still doing a remarkable job producing runs when runners are on base since he's avoiding outs and creating more baserunners. In situations with runners on base compared to with nobody on base, the value in Dunn's increased ability to avoid outs and create baserunners easily outweighs the small loss in value of his decline in slugging percentage.

To me, the most logical explanation for why Dunn performs specifically in this manner is he doesn't have exceptionally good plate coverage, or in other words, his own personal strike zone is slightly smaller than other premier hitters. Albert Pujols has insane plate coverage, meaning he has an insane ability to still produce hits on balls out of the strike zone. Same with a Vlad Guerrero. Dunn's plate coverage is reduced and nowhere near the level of those guys. The difference with Adam Dunn, however, is when a pitch does get in his zone that encompasses his plate coverage, he's absolutely lethal.

I actually see a bit of the early Barry Bonds when I look at a guy like Dunn. In a simple plate approach manner, Bonds' production took off when he became more selective, and during his big seasons his pitch recognition ability was incredible. If he couldn't hit a specific, he didn't swing. If he could hit it, he crushed it. First, the walks increased. For one season we saw his home run total explode. Then finally his batting average increased. This is how we see a guy with a lifetime batting average of .299 hitting 40+ homers a year, walking 200 times, and still batting .370.

I'm not a hitting coach, but if I could give one piece of hitting advice to Adam Dunn, it would be to work his tail off on improving his pitch recognition ability as much as he possibly could. Pitch recognition increases with age, but unfortunately the effects of aging negates those new benefits. If he's able to take a leap forward in that manner before aging and decline sets in, that's when he'll really take off and become the absolute monster that people want him to be.

Unfortunately for Dunn, RBI won't necessarily increase with better pitch recognition. In fact, it may decrease since Dunn's walk rate would explode. Some people may see an increase in pitch recognition as a failure since it may not pad his RBI total one bit, but I'd see that and smile.

Patrick Bateman
10-27-2006, 09:04 PM
When people say Dunn can't knock in runs, I think they also fail to realize that he gets a lot of RBI's based on his solo HRs. He gets those RBI's a lot more often than the average hitter, and that needs to be included in this debate. I'm not a fan of the RBI statistic, but if we are going to discuss it, we should know that he may not get many RBI's with men on base, but he gets a lot of RBI's in situations with few baserunners, and that can't be discounted. Those RBI's are just as important.

Highlifeman21
10-27-2006, 09:22 PM
Come on, seriously. If a hitter gets a single with a runner on second, unless Cecil Feilder is on second, the odds are he is going to score. Sure a chain reaction occurs that starts with the batter. Get a hit, the runner goes from second to third and more than likely to home because the batter got a hit. Its fairly simple.


If the single is hit directly at any of the OF, I don't like the odds of a guy scoring from 2B. I don't care who is on 2B, not many people are scoring from 2B on a ball hit right in front of an OF, unless that OF is Johnny Damon.

dougdirt
10-27-2006, 09:45 PM
How often is a ball ht directly at a fielder, much less an outfielder that covers so much ground?

gonelong
10-28-2006, 12:45 AM
Theoretically ...
A player gets 550 ABs a year and hits 500 solor HRs. He has 50 ABs with runners on and he drives in 0 of them for a 0% RBI%. According to this metric, this guy is the worst run producer in the history of baseball. Me, I try to find a spot for the guy despite his "obvious" shortcomings.

GL

Highlifeman21
10-28-2006, 12:58 AM
How often is a ball ht directly at a fielder, much less an outfielder that covers so much ground?

Probably more often than you want to admit.

I concede, once a ball is by an OF, that man on 2B should score easily, but if the ball remains in front of the OF, then we should see a play at the plate if the 3B coach sends him.

mth123
10-28-2006, 06:17 AM
The short answer to what we're seeing here is pretty obvious, which is when runners are on base, Adam Dunn gets pitched around ridiculously. The amount of strikes to hit are incredibly reduced, thereby the number of good, hittable pitches to hit are incredibly reduced. As we know, it's a very poor move to instruct Dunn to be aggressive at the plate when runners on base simply because he's not getting anything to hit. If he's instructed to be more aggressive, he'll just pile up outs.

We have a winner. The last part of the paragraph is key IMO. I like stats but I'm no guru. I'm glad some one found the stats to uncover it, but we can see it when we watch and its no surprise. (Just go back through the 2006 game threads and read the recurring themes about Dunn swinging at pitches he normally wouldn't). In 2006 Dunn seemed much more aggressive when runners were on (and sometimes when there were none on) and he had, for him, a down year. I suspect this is a primary driver in the hitting coach being let go. Lets hope the new one gets things back to where they belong.

For more evidence, look at the stats when Dunn bats 2nd. With Griffey behind him, Dunn saw better pitches and that is why he excelled there IMO. Even a declining Griffey offers more protection than lesser players.

The concept of being pitched around and expanding the strike zone has been around a lot longer than Bill James and getting a good pitch to hit has long been an accepted philosophy. Funny that it took one the board's best stats minds to uncover such a traditional concept.

Natty Redlocks
10-28-2006, 06:51 AM
I'm not the biggest Dunn supporter, but I think it's worth noting that during his "horrible" September (which really was quite bad) he did walk like 20 times. That's a sign of a guy who, especially with Jr. gone and no one else doing much, was simply not getting anything at all to hit.

I was perusing a Marlins forum recently and came across a discussion of Dunn that I found interesting because it shows it's not just emotionally attached Reds fans who think he's misunderstood:
Dunn is not a 3-4-5 hitter despite the HR. Adam Dunn is not a run producer. You are completely correct in pointing out the RBI totals as lower than Andruw types who hit similiar amounts of HR, and that is easily attributed to Dunn's (1) strikeout totals and not creating RBI's with putting the ball in play, and more importantly (2), his penchant to walk as a large part of his OBP versus AVG furthering the whole balls in play issue. Adam Dunn is simply an unusual OBP monster, who when he actually hits it, hits in a mile. This is not a dependable RBI producer, but it's an insanely productive player because he does a number of things very very well. How do you take advantage of this?

Adam Dunn should bat 2nd. You have his awesome OBP in front of your main 3-4 run producers and you don't limit his RBI potential (like Soriano) because you have (presumably) another strong OBP in front of him with the # 1 hitter - who if is a base stealer like Hanley or Freel, will get a chance to read a pitcher better and create havok on the base paths because Dunn sees A LOT of pitches. He would perenially score 120+ runs batting in front of a guy like Cabrera, and still knock in 90+ guys himself in the # 2 spot. You increase Adam Dunn's value by using him correctly. People are just enamoured with HR and think if you hit 40, that means you are have to hit in the middle. That's totally incorrect. You shouldn't bash Dunn because the Reds are dumb.

If you can't take advantage of Dunn's slugging in producing runs because of the low AVG/high BB numbers, you take a part of a game which is equally as reliable - OBP - to determine his lineup placement. It's that easy. Adam Dunn is absolutely awesome and is completely worth the money he makes. Now for the Marlins, he might be a bad fit FINANCIALLY and COMPENSATION wise, because regardless of what you think, Dunn is not being traded for Nolasco/Jacobs plus spare parts (and if I'm wrong, you make that trade and deal with the salary hit later because that is highway robbery for the Fish), but PRODUCTION and ABILITY with Adam Dunn is not and will never be an issue for years to come.

I was about to post this, but I just checked his stats after I typed all of that to see whats up with him lifetime and maybe I'm totally wrong on a splits level.

2003-2005 splits
# 2 133 AB, .989 OPS
# 3 148 AB, .928
# 4 621 AB, .861
# 5 533 AB, .928
# 6 212 AB, .948

2006 splits
# 2 123 AB, 1.010
# 3 78 AB, .886
# 4 169 AB, .748
# 5 178 AB, .792

Nope. This is how you maximize Adam Dunn and make him worth your while. This is not a mediocre/low producing ball player by any stretch of the imagination.

If they trade him, fine. I have to say that even as productive as he is, he's one of the most frustrating players I've ever watched. That may be my shortcoming and not his, but I watch baseball to be entertained, not to get so irritated I want to whack myself in the forehead with a ball peen hammer. So if they do trade Dunn, I hope they get some pretty good stuff for him. If they don't trade him, I hope they bat him second or third and leave him there. Which they won't.

Great discussion, guys. I'm learning a lot around here.