Prodigal baserunners – players who seldom come home

This post is about prodigal baserunners, those players who just don’t make it home very often.¬†Even if they get on base fairly frequently.

After the jump, I’ll take a look at who these players are, and how infrequently they actually do score.

For this question, I’m only looking at runs scored after reaching base. Call that Times Driven In or TDI. Thus, our formula is:

  • TDI = Runs minus HRs

Here are the players since 1920 with seasons (min. 502 PAs) with a .350 OBP and a TDI of 35 or less.

Rk Player R OBP PA Year Age Tm H 2B 3B HR RBI BB TDI BA SLG OPS Pos
1 Jose Oquendo 36 .350 518 1988 24 STL 125 10 1 7 46 52 29 .277 .350 .700 4563/98721
2 Nick Etten 37 .357 531 1942 28 PHI 121 21 3 8 41 67 29 .264 .375 .732 *3
3 Hank Severeid 37 .362 502 1924 33 SLB 133 23 2 4 48 36 33 .308 .398 .761 *2
4 Ray Knight 43 .355 567 1983 30 HOU 154 36 4 9 70 42 34 .304 .444 .798 *3
5 A.J. Ellis 44 .373 505 2012 31 LAD 114 20 1 13 52 65 31 .270 .414 .786 *2
6 Casey Kotchman 44 .378 563 2011 28 TBR 153 24 2 10 48 48 34 .306 .422 .800 *3
7 Mike Piazza 47 .362 528 2004 35 NYM 121 21 0 20 54 68 27 .266 .444 .806 *32/D
8 Tom Brunansky 47 .354 533 1992 31 BOS 122 31 3 15 74 66 32 .266 .445 .799 *93D
9 Mike Epstein 49 .367 502 1971 28 TOT 98 14 1 19 60 74 30 .237 .413 .780 *3
10 Rico Carty 50 .355 521 1977 37 CLE 129 23 1 15 80 56 35 .280 .432 .787 *D/3
11 George Scott 50 .355 530 1970 26 BOS 142 24 5 16 63 44 34 .296 .467 .821 *53
12 Brian McCann 51 .351 527 2011 27 ATL 126 19 0 24 71 57 27 .270 .466 .817 *2/D
13 Orlando Cepeda 51 .350 608 1973 35 BOS 159 25 0 20 86 50 31 .289 .444 .793 *D
14 Ken Singleton 52 .393 612 1983 36 BAL 140 21 3 18 84 99 34 .276 .436 .829 *D
15 Harmon Killebrew 53 .367 532 1972 36 MIN 100 13 2 26 74 94 27 .231 .450 .817 *3
16 Don Mincher 53 .366 514 1969 31 SEP 105 14 0 25 78 78 28 .246 .454 .821 *3
17 Frank Howard 53 .358 575 1965 28 WSA 149 22 6 21 84 55 34 .289 .477 .835 *7/9
18 Willie McCovey 54 .367 548 1977 39 SFG 134 21 0 28 86 67 26 .280 .500 .867 *3
19 Willie Stargell 54 .365 536 1967 27 PIT 125 18 6 20 73 67 34 .271 .465 .831 *73/9
20 Hideki Matsui 55 .361 558 2010 36 LAA 132 24 1 21 84 67 34 .274 .459 .820 *D7
21 Mike Epstein 55 .371 517 1970 27 WSA 110 15 3 20 56 73 35 .256 .444 .815 *3
22 Joe Adcock 55 .354 570 1960 32 MLN 153 21 4 25 91 46 30 .298 .500 .854 *3
23 Reggie Jackson 57 .359 514 1970 24 OAK 101 21 2 23 66 75 34 .237 .458 .817 *98
24 Frank Howard 60 .367 633 1971 34 WSA 153 25 2 26 83 77 34 .279 .474 .840 *73/9
25 Jack Cust 61 .408 507 2007 28 OAK 101 18 1 26 82 105 35 .256 .504 .912 D97
26 Harmon Killebrew 61 .386 624 1971 35 MIN 127 19 1 28 119 114 33 .254 .464 .850 *35
27 Hideki Matsui 62 .367 528 2009 35 NYY 125 21 1 28 90 64 34 .274 .509 .876 *D
28 Mo Vaughn 63 .358 592 1999 31 ANA 147 20 0 33 108 54 30 .281 .508 .866 *3D
29 Vic Wertz 65 .364 567 1956 31 CLE 127 22 0 32 106 75 33 .264 .509 .874 *3
30 Willie Horton 68 .352 578 1968 25 DET 146 20 2 36 85 49 32 .285 .543 .895 *7
31 Boog Powell 74 .399 506 1964 22 BAL 123 17 0 39 99 76 35 .290 .606 1.005 *7/3
32 Mark McGwire 86 .393 657 1997 33 TOT 148 27 0 58 123 101 28 .274 .646 1.039 *3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2012.

Interesting, huh? Obviously, a healthy number from the late 60s and early 70s, but also some from other periods including each of the last four seasons. Predictably, many of these players toiled on weaker teams, but certainly not all. There are even a few WS champion teams here, one of them represented by the World Series MVP!

Another thing to note is that almost the whole list are name players, including no fewer than 4 HOFers, with Piazza likely to make it 5. Also, notice how many made this list twice – Howard, Killebrew, Epstein, Matsui, with the latter three all doing this in consecutive seasons.

So, that’s our better players, the ones with a .350 OBP. But, how low can we go for everybody else? Since Willie McCovey is the low man on the above list with a TDI of just 26, let’s see home many other seasons there are with a TDI of 25 or less.

Rk Player R PA Year Age Tm H 2B 3B HR RBI BB TDI BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Leo Cardenas 25 602 1972 33 CAL 123 11 2 6 42 35 19 .223 .272 .283 .555 *6
3 Mario Guerrero 27 546 1978 28 OAK 139 18 4 3 38 15 24 .275 .302 .345 .647 *6
21 Bob Boone 34 535 1980 32 PHI 110 23 1 9 55 48 25 .229 .299 .338 .637 *2
22 Steve Yeager 34 515 1975 26 LAD 103 16 1 12 54 40 22 .228 .298 .347 .646 *2
23 John Bateman 34 526 1971 30 MON 119 17 3 10 56 19 24 .242 .273 .350 .623 *2
69 Bengie Molina 38 517 2007 32 SFG 137 19 1 19 81 15 19 .276 .298 .433 .731 *2
135 John Buck 41 530 2011 30 FLA 106 15 1 16 57 54 25 .227 .316 .367 .683 *2
138 Bob Brenly 41 505 1985 31 SFG 97 16 1 19 56 57 22 .220 .311 .391 .702 *253
173 Lance Parrish 42 518 1987 31 PHI 114 21 0 17 67 47 25 .245 .313 .399 .712 *2
253 Charles Johnson 44 506 1998 26 TOT 100 18 0 19 58 45 25 .218 .289 .381 .670 *2
487 Shane Andrews 48 559 1998 26 MON 117 30 1 25 69 58 23 .238 .314 .455 .769 *5
595 Joe Pepitone 49 546 1969 28 NYY 124 16 3 27 70 30 22 .242 .284 .442 .726 *3
642 Alfonso Soriano 50 508 2011 35 CHC 116 27 1 26 88 27 24 .244 .289 .469 .759 *7/D
1011 Dick Stuart 53 586 1965 32 PHI 126 19 1 28 95 39 25 .234 .287 .429 .716 *3/5
1105 Steve Balboni 54 562 1986 29 KCR 117 25 1 29 88 43 25 .229 .286 .451 .738 *3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/17/2012.

There they are, led by Leo Cardenas and Bengie Molina, the only players since 1920 to fail to be driven in even 20 times in a full season. The ranks shown are for total runs scored, from lowest to highest. Heavily represented by catchers, and nobody with an OBP above 0.316. You get the picture. Just the one WS champion here, Bob Boone on the 1980 Phillies.

Finally, switching to relative metrics, here are the players least likely to be driven in, by decade. The metric is:

  • TDI% = (R – HR) / (TOB – HR)

TOB denotes Times on Base. Thus, TDI% = Times Driven In as a percentage of Times on Base.

Here is the table. Players shown have the 20 lowest % of times driven in (TDI%) for each decade since the 1920s.  Type the decade start (e.g. 1950) in the Search box to see each decade.

[table id=83 /]

 

 

39 thoughts on “Prodigal baserunners – players who seldom come home


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