Antiquated Stats

by - August 23, 2010 - - 1 Comment »


Driving in runs is the most important thing a ballplayer can do! That is typical sportswriter/old man speak. I disagree, driving in runs is important but not using up outs is the most important thing a ballplayer can do (sportswriter/old man likes saying ballplayer).

Take the RBI, a severely flawed statistic. It can help illustrate how good a season a guy is having but on its own it is not a good evaluation tool. For instance, Alex Rodriguez spent some time atop the major league’s RBI leader list this season. In related news, he is having the worst offensive season of his career. His on base percentage and slugging percentage are both way down. His RBI’s are a function of where he hits in the lineup and constantly walking to the plate with runners on base.

There is no greater proof of this than Barry Bonds. From 2001-2004 he put up the greatest offensive numbers of all time. They were cartoonish and absurd. He was only slightly more likely on a given pitch to swing and miss than to lace an extra base hit. His RBI totals those years? 137 (73 were himself), 110, 90 and 101. Good but not otherworldly. RBI’s do not tell you how productive a hitter is.

The same can be said for wins and pitchers. Felix Hernandez only has nine wins this season. However, he is pitching to a 2.51 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 197 innings. The reason he doesn’t have more wins? How about the fact that his team has managed to score just an average of 1.8 runs per game in his starts? That might have something to do with it.

The object of baseball is to score runs. If you score more runs than your opponent, you win. Yet, runs batted in and wins are not the best tools in evaluating performance. It’s counterintuitive but it’s true. *Puts down protractor and adjusts pocket protector*

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One Response to “Antiquated Stats”

  1. Dan says:

    saying that a pitcher with alot of wins might give up alot of his wins in garbage time is also taking away the value of a homerun (alot of homeruns are hit during garbage time along with rbis and shit like that)

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