• RBI Percentage

    Posted by on October 6th, 2012 · Comments (10)

    Amen.

    Comments on RBI Percentage

    1. KPOcala
      October 6th, 2012 | 11:59 am

      I don’t agree that the HR’s should be factored out. Driving yourself in still counts. But this article does a lot in shutting up the younger pundits premise that RBI’s are meaningless. There IS a reason that managers put certain players in certain spots in the lineup. There are hitters that hit a lot of screaming line drives into the gaps and over the fence. There are players with the ability to hit sac flies, or groundouts to the right side. How this is not obvious to guys like Keith Law is totally perplexing.

    2. Corey
      October 6th, 2012 | 12:30 pm

      @ KPOcala:
      If you count yourself for homers, then you need to count yourself for when you don’t hit a homer. The numbers just look prettier this way.

    3. Raf
      October 6th, 2012 | 4:59 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      But this article does a lot in shutting up the younger pundits premise that RBI’s are meaningless. There IS a reason that managers put certain players in certain spots in the lineup.

      It doesn’t do anything to shut up the younger pundits. The reason the RBI percentage stat is mentioned because RBI’s aren’t enough to stand on it’s own.

      The reason managers put certain players in certain spots is because they’re slaves to tradition. At this stage of his career, Alex Rodriguez is probably not an “RBI guy” Jeter, for his clutchy clutchiness and intangibles never hit 3rd or 4th, or otherwise in spots where he could rack high RBI totals. Then you have guys like Joe Carter, who built his career around RBI’s, at least that was the case before 1993.

    4. LMJ229
      October 6th, 2012 | 5:50 pm

      FWIW, I think its a great stat. And I also like the fact that Munson was mentioned in the article. :)

    5. KPOcala
      October 6th, 2012 | 8:26 pm

      @ Raf:
      Raf, I shouldn’t have used “younger”, at least in the context that I did. I believe that between saturated with info from pundits that only, in effect, turn baseball into a math fantasy game, combined with those same oversized egos, baseball is in effect, becoming almost “oversimplified”.

      Example: It’s been argued that ‘there is no such thing as “clutch” hitting’. However, it’s HAS been shown that the team that takes a one run lead after one inning increases it’s winning prob. to almost 60%, which swells to over 80% if they end the inning with a 3 run lead. This “IMPLIES” that there is a strong psychological pressure caused from falling behind. And it can then be “implied” that some players respond better than others to pressure. Like black holes, whose presence is only detected by the actions of objects around them. And I think you’re stereotyping that managers are “slaves” to the past. Yes, for maybe a season and a half. Any manager that wants to keep earning a living is only going to coddle an aging slugger for so long. He’s merely hoping for “return to form”. Joe Carter built his rep on a home run, whereas the guys who finished with, let’s say, 1500+ RBIs had the chance because they were watched by their managers day after day for 15-20 years. But I’m not arguing that RBIs are an perfect stat. But name one that is…

    6. MJ Recanati
      October 7th, 2012 | 8:51 am

      KPOcala wrote:

      This “IMPLIES” that there is a strong psychological pressure caused from falling behind.

      How does it imply that? Run expectancy’s relationship with win expectancy would be the perfect example of a math probability game since the fewer outs the opponents have, the fewer opportunities they have to score runs and win. You’re assuming that psychology plays a factor but there’s no evidence to support that.

    7. KPOcala
      October 7th, 2012 | 11:04 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      KPOcala wrote:
      This “IMPLIES” that there is a strong psychological pressure caused from falling behind.
      How does it imply that? Run expectancy’s relationship with win expectancy would be the perfect example of a math probability game since the fewer outs the opponents have, the fewer opportunities they have to score runs and win. You’re assuming that psychology plays a factor but there’s no evidence to support that.

      You’re assuming that psychology plays a factor but there’s no evidence to support that.

      Lack of evidence can also be evidence of a study improperly done. There have been thousands of example to back me on this over the centuries. Keith Law claims, “Lack of evidence that PEDs help baseball performance”. Yet, it’s all around him. So, he’s either being stubborn, ignorant, or is running with an “agenda”.

    8. Raf
      October 7th, 2012 | 12:10 pm

      KPOcala wrote:

      Raf, I shouldn’t have used “younger”, at least in the context that I did. I believe that between saturated with info from pundits that only, in effect, turn baseball into a math fantasy game, combined with those same oversized egos, baseball is in effect, becoming almost “oversimplified”.

      That’s the thing. It has always been that way. You may not have realized it, or understood it, but it has always been that way. Why didn’t Ruth bat 9th? Why didn’t DiMaggio lead off? Why didn’t Mantle base his game around bunt hits? Why did Stengel platoon so much?

      The numbers in baseball, the math is simply a report of what goes on during the game.

      KPOcala wrote:

      Example: It’s been argued that ‘there is no such thing as “clutch” hitting’. However, it’s HAS been shown that the team that takes a one run lead after one inning increases it’s winning prob. to almost 60%, which swells to over 80% if they end the inning with a 3 run lead. This “IMPLIES” that there is a strong psychological pressure caused from falling behind.

      No, it IMPLIES that it’s more difficult to come behind from 3 runs than it is for 1 run. 1 run, you need a bloop and a blast, 3 runs, you need several.

      KPOcala wrote:

      And it can then be “implied” that some players respond better than others to pressure. Like black holes, whose presence is only detected by the actions of objects around them.

      Ted Williams batted .200/.333/.200 in the 1946 WS. Ted Williams lost 3 years to military service, serving in WW2. I would say it’s reasonable to say that Williams faced more pressure in the military than he ever could face in MLB & the world series. So why the poor performance?

      KPOcala wrote:

      And I think you’re stereotyping that managers are “slaves” to the past. Yes, for maybe a season and a half. Any manager that wants to keep earning a living is only going to coddle an aging slugger for so long.

      Managers are slaves to the past. They’re also groupthinkers as well. Remember when you had to be a certain size to play the middle infield? Rikpen was considered too big to play SS. Now look at guys who’ve played there since. Look at modern bullpen usage; how often will a closer be called in a tie game? A tie game on the road? Or in the 7th, bases loaded 1 out and 3-4-5 coming up? How often does a manager bring something new to the table? Talking bullpen management, roster management, lineup management, whatever…

      KPOcala wrote:

      1500+ RBIs had the chance because they were watched by their managers day after day for 15-20 years.

      Which showed up in the stats…

      Generally, If a player has power, they’re going to bat in the middle part of the lineup. If they can get on base, they’ll move up. If they can’t get on base or if they don’t have power, they’ll move down the lineup.

      KPOcala wrote:

      Keith Law claims, “Lack of evidence that PEDs help baseball performance”. Yet, it’s all around him. So, he’s either being stubborn, ignorant, or is running with an “agenda”.

      Yes, for every Barry Bonds, there’s an Alex Sanchez. For every Alex Rodriguez, there’s a Matt Lawton. Tom House & Bill Lee have mentioned that steroids have been around since the 60′s & 70′s. So what happened between then and now? What happened in the case of scrubs like Neifi Perez?

    9. KPOcala
      October 7th, 2012 | 6:23 pm

      @ Raf:@ Raf:
      Raf wrote:

      “The numbers in baseball, the math is simply a report of what goes on during the game”. Raf, I think you’re confusing cause with effect. The numbers “do” report what’s going on in the game, but the managers weren’t stupid, even before computers. It’s not rocket science for a manager to see that a man that can drive a ball should bat fourth (5th, etc). By “observing” a large number of games, players,situations it only makes sense that managers (who achieve that position in a very Darwinian fashion) would learn to put the right guys at the right spots in the lineups. Likewise, Mantle knows he’s going to get paid to swing hard, and not base his game around bunts because of the baseball pay scales which would have rapidly evolved (and they still are). I’m someone that started reading Bill James & John Dewan, et al thirty years ago, which truly cemented my love for the game. But in the same way that SABR advocates bemoan the ‘old-timer’ snobbery, they in turn do the same thing. Because a “study” hasn’t shown something to be true/not true, an open-minded person shouldn’t close off the issue as “settled”. It doesn’t work that way in real life, it doesn’t in baseball either. Your other points, all good ones, I’ll address as time permits me tonight.

    10. KPOcala
      October 7th, 2012 | 6:36 pm

      @ Raf:”Generally, If a player has power, they’re going to bat in the middle part of the lineup. If they can get on base, they’ll move up. If they can’t get on base or if they don’t have power, they’ll move down the lineup”.

      Raf, your backing me up here. RBIs are NOT the end-all, I agree. If in a season, or over the course of 10, or a 1000, there can’t be nit-picking that “X player is better than Y player” because of relatively small numerical differences. But it does show who the best hitters are when the all important RBI is needed. The cream rises to the top, you just can’t separate the molecules. And I do agree that RBI % stats are important. Again, no single stat tells it all.

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