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View Poll Results: The Great RBI Debate: Is RBI a meaningless Stat?

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  • YES

    13 24.53%
  • NO

    40 75.47%
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Thread: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

  1. #1
    The Future is Now Ghosts of 1990's Avatar
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    Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    What is your opinion and why? Are RBI's a meaningless stat? I am preparing to do a rather thorough blog post as to why they are not and need to make a decent argument as to why they are not. Want to get the board's opinions. I have seen in the past a lot of people here say they do believe they are largely indicative on the runners getting on base for said 'RBI man'; however, if they're so meaningless and random, why are some players better at accumulating this random event?
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  3. #2
    Member Superdude's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    I have seen in the past a lot of people here say they do believe they are largely indicative on the runners getting on base for said 'RBI man'; however, if they're so meaningless and random, why are some players better at accumulating this random event?
    It's not random. Better players are very likely going to drive in more runners, but there's way too many variables in play for RBI's to be a useful stat in gauging offensive ability. So yes IMO.
    Last edited by Superdude; 11-02-2011 at 05:47 PM.

  4. #3
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Superdude View Post
    It's not random. Better players are very likely going to drive in more runners, but there's way too many variables in play for RBI's to be a useful stat in gauging offensive ability. So no IMO
    Yes it is mostly meaningless. And better players are likely to drive in more runners because they get more opportunities because they tend to bat in the #3/4 spots where managers usually put good OBP guys in front of them and then in turn, the better hitters get to bat with runners on base. So you take guys who are already better hitters and then give them more chances to do something, and they are going to most likely get more successful chances than other guys.

  5. #4
    Member 757690's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    They aren't very predictive. However, that doesn't mean they are meaningless.

    There still is a lot of value to stats that tell us what happened.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

  6. #5
    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    Quote Originally Posted by Superdude View Post
    It's not random. Better players are very likely going to drive in more runners, but there's way too many variables in play for RBI's to be a useful stat in gauging offensive ability. So no IMO
    I think any stat, no matter how archaic is can seem, has some value. I do think that good hitters tend to have more RBI's than poor hitters. Hitters who hit in the middle of the order tend to have more RBI's than 8 hole hitters or leadoff hitters. I tend to think that RBI is a meaningless stat, until it isn't. If you see something out of the ordinary then it may just have some meaning to it. I look at Ryan Howard who has more holes in his swing than the grand canyon yet still knocks in a ton of runners.

  7. #6
    Score Early, Score Often gonelong's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    It depends on what you are trying to measure.

    If you want to know how deep the water is, it's useless.

    If you want to know how many Runners a guy knocks in, it's pretty darn good.

    If you want to use it to value that same's guys offensive contribution it comes up short by itself.

    GL

  8. #7
    Start the Reactor! *BaseClogger*'s Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    This is so scientific!
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

  9. #8
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    Meaningless.....no, they certainly have a meaning: Run Batted In's. Wait...what?

  10. #9
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    They aren't very predictive. However, that doesn't mean they are meaningless.

    There still is a lot of value to stats that tell us what happened.
    right.

    We like to think stats measure individual ability. RBI's are a function of how many at bats a player has with runners on base and how well he does in those at bats.

    RBI has a meaning in terms of value achieved in the past.

    It is not a useful predictor of value in the future.

    Healthy players have more RBI's. IF you don't stay in the lineup. You don't rack up RBI's.

    Healthy players who have guys with a high OBP hitting in front of them will have more RBI's. If you hit leadoff or 8th, you're not likely to rack up RBI's. Hit behind Ricky Henderson and you're going to look good.

    Healthy players who hit well with men in scoring position and have guys wiht a high OBP hitting in front of them will have even more RBI's. We want to think that bearing down when guys are on base is a measure of character. The flip side of that position is that there are time that professional athletes are not trying as hard as they could. If you can hit extra special good with a guy on second, then why don't you hit extra special good all the time (Note that this is different than saying ALL players hit better with guys on base.)
    "Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010

  11. #10
    Box of Frogs edabbs44's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    They arent perfect, but they are meaningless either. Just because it has it's flaws doesn't make it useless. All in all, I bet that players who drive in the most runs are generally pretty good hitters. It is also fairly easy to pick out the outliers, if circumstances warrant it.

  12. #11
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    RBI's just like any counting stat is not meaningless, it just has to be taken into consideration with associated stats when trying to argue a point.

    We can clearly state Player Y drove in 150 runs in 2010, which was more than Player Z who drove in 120.

    But we cannot say Player Y is better than Player Z at knocking in runners because Player Y had more runs batted in.

    I tend to look at a collection of related numbers such as the ratio of RBI's to AB's with RISP. To me this is a simple way at telling me how successful a player is given his opportunities. You can use something like this to compare a guy batting behind 2 or 3 guys with high OBP's to a guy like Votto who has some pretty putrid OBP's in front of him.

    You also have to consider OBP with RISP because some players are going to get walked a ton more w/ RISP or pitched very selectively w/RISP thus hurting their RBI numbers a bit.
    Last edited by Griffey012; 11-02-2011 at 08:17 PM.
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  13. #12
    KungFu Fighter AtomicDumpling's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    Question for you researchers out there:
    In the 2011 season, what percentage of RBIs were produced from runners in scoring position (RISP)?

    In other words, what % of RBIs represent runners who were on 2nd or 3rd base when the hitter drove them in as opposed to runners on 1st base or hitters who drove themselves in with a home run?

    Some hitters are fully reliant on having RISP when they come to the plate to get an RBI. Other hitters can create their own RBI opportunities.

    In my opinion RBI counts contain a little bit of useful information. But if you really want to know who the best run producers are there are much better statistics than RBIs for this purpose.

  14. #13
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    Quote Originally Posted by AtomicDumpling View Post
    if you really want to know who the best run producers are there are much better statistics than RBIs for this purpose.
    Here is the rub....

    Some people equate RBI and Runs as being the same as Run Production and it simply isn't. As you said, there are much better statistics out there for that purpose.

  15. #14
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    I think we need an operative definition of meaningless. Until then, my answer is "no".

  16. #15
    Stat Wanker Hodiernus RedsManRick's Avatar
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    Re: Are RBI's a meaningless stat?

    Defining meaning. They mean that a guy drove in another guy. They're a good story stat. But that's about it. Try to do anything beyond that and there are better ways to do it.
    Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.


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