Run Shares: measuring offensive value in a team context

While there can be many ways to measure a position player’s offensive value, one method could be to evaluate the proportion of his team’s runs that are attributable to his own offensive contributions, a quantity that might be described as “Run Share”. That approach identifies these players as most valuable to their teams in 2013.

Those selections were based on FanGraphs‘ version of Runs Created (wRC), represented as a proportion of the actual runs that the player’s team scored. After the jump, more on Run Shares as a measure of offensive value.

As neither Trout’s Angels nor Goldschmidt’s D-Backs were serious contenders in 2013, a valid complaint about this method could be that a player’s contribution to a losing season is largely irrelevant in that the team still lost. The rebuttal would be that a player can only work within his own context. If he’s on a lousy team, even his most herculean effort will not make his team a winner. Nonetheless, the contribution a player makes to his team’s success (however modest that success may be) ought to be recognized, and this is one way to do it.

Here are the league leaders in Run Share for each season since 1901 (only seasons played for a single team are considered). First for the AL.

AL0123456789
2010sJose Bautista - 17.7%Jose Bautista - 18.7%Miguel Cabrera - 18.9%Mike Trout - 19.1%
2000sCarlos Delgado - 20.2%Jason Giambi - 18.3%Jim Thome - 19.2%Dmitri Young - 17.9%Ichiro Suzuki - 17.8%Alex Rodriguez - 17.0%David Ortiz - 17.3%David Ortiz - 17.2%Nick Markakis - 15.5%Miguel Cabrera - 16.7%
1990sRickey Henderson - 17.1%Frank Thomas - 19.3%Frank Thomas - 18.7%Ken Griffey Jr. - 19.1%Frank Thomas - 21.8%Edgar Martinez - 19.1%Mark McGwire - 16.5%Frank Thomas - 18.7%Albert Belle - 17.4%Derek Jeter - 16.9%
1980sRickey Henderson - 16.3%Dwight Evans - 17.9%Dwight Evans - 17.9%Wade Boggs - 17.8%Eddie Murray - 17.9%George Brett - 19.5%Don Mattingly - 17.7%Wade Boggs - 17.5%Eddie Murray - 18.9%Robin Yount - 16.7%
1970sFrank Howard - 20.9%Bobby Murcer - 18.4%Dick Allen - 21.7%Frank Robinson - 15.9%Rod Carew - 17.4%John Mayberry - 18.2%Rusty Staub - 16.7%Mitchell Page - 17.7%Jim Rice - 17.7%Ken Singleton - 16.5%
1960sMickey Mantle - 16.2%Norm Cash - 20.0%Norm Siebern - 17.2%Carl Yastrzemski - 17.4%Rocky Colavito - 18.0%Rocky Colavito - 16.6%Frank Robinson - 19.4%Carl Yastrzemski - 19.9%Frank Howard - 20.8%Frank Howard - 19.5%
1950sEddie Yost - 18.1%Ted Williams - 18.2%Eddie Robinson - 17.7%Al Rosen - 19.3%Ted Williams - 18.7%Mickey Mantle - 18.0%Mickey Mantle - 19.1%Mickey Mantle - 21.7%Roy Sievers - 18.6%Harmon Killebrew - 17.1%
1940sHank Greenberg - 18.0%Ted Williams - 20.7%Ted Williams - 22.1%Luke Appling - 18.3%Stan Spence - 19.1%Snuffy Stirnweiss - 17.3%Ted Williams - 21.0%Ted Williams - 23.6%Ted Williams - 17.2%Ted Williams - 20.3%
1930sLou Gehrig - 18.2%Earl Webb - 20.0%Jimmie Foxx - 19.7%Jimmie Foxx - 19.4%Lou Gehrig - 21.6%Jimmie Foxx - 22.1%Jimmie Foxx - 20.9%Harlond Clift - 18.8%Jimmie Foxx - 19.7%Bob Johnson - 19.3%
1920sBabe Ruth - 22.8%Babe Ruth - 22.6%George Sisler - 17.5%Babe Ruth - 25.6%Babe Ruth - 24.2%Al Simmons - 18.1%Babe Ruth - 21.7%Lou Gehrig - 20.4%Babe Ruth - 19.5%Lew Fonseca - 17.9%
1910sNap Lajoie - 24.6%Joe Jackson - 21.9%Joe Jackson - 22.1%Joe Jackson - 21.2%Tris Speaker - 21.1%Burt Shotton - 19.0%Amos Strunk - 21.3%Ty Cobb - 21.8%George Burns - 21.4%Babe Ruth - 22.5%
1900sNap Lajoie - 19.5%Ed Delahanty - 18.0%Sam Crawford - 18.7%Nap Lajoie - 18.9%George Stone - 19.6%George Stone - 22.0%George Stone - 18.6%Charlie Hemphill - 16.8%Ty Cobb - 18.9%
.

And for the NL.

NL0123456789
2010sAlbert Pujols - 18.3%Matt Kemp - 20.2%Andrew McCutchen - 19.0%Paul Goldschmidt - 18.7%
2000sSammy Sosa - 19.1%Barry Bonds - 25.0%Barry Bonds - 23.5%Barry Bonds - 19.6%Barry Bonds - 21.6%Derrek Lee - 21.3%Albert Pujols - 18.2%Albert Pujols - 18.5%Albert Pujols - 18.7%Albert Pujols - 20.8%
1990sLenny Dykstra - 17.3%Jeff Bagwell - 16.5%Ryne Sandberg - 19.1%Barry Bonds - 19.5%Tony Gwynn - 21.1%Barry Bonds - 19.6%Gary Sheffield - 22.8%Mike Piazza - 19.0%Mark McGwire - 21.7%Jeff Bagwell - 19.3%
1980sMike Schmidt - 17.4%Mike Schmidt - 19.1%Mike Schmidt - 17.3%Pedro Guerrero - 17.3%Dale Murphy - 18.9%Dale Murphy - 20.1%Tim Raines - 17.9%Tony Gwynn - 19.5%Andres Galarraga - 17.7%Lonnie Smith - 18.7%
1970sRusty Staub - 17.3%Hank Aaron - 19.3%Nate Colbert - 19.5%Ken Singleton - 18.1%Mike Schmidt - 18.3%Greg Luzinski - 17.0%Bill Madlock - 16.9%George Foster - 17.3%Jeff Burroughs - 19.2%Dave Winfield - 20.7%
1960sWillie Mays - 17.7%Frank Robinson - 17.9%Frank Robinson - 18.8%Hank Aaron - 20.2%Ron Santo - 20.0%Billy Williams - 20.5%Ron Santo - 19.6%Hank Aaron - 19.1%Hank Aaron - 19.8%Rusty Staub - 22.0%
1950sStan Musial - 20.2%Stan Musial - 22.4%Ralph Kiner - 20.8%Stan Musial - 20.1%Willie Mays - 19.3%Willie Mays - 20.4%Willie Mays - 20.6%Willie Mays - 21.3%Willie Mays - 18.8%Hank Aaron - 20.0%
1940sJohnny Mize - 19.3%Nick Etten - 21.0%Bill Nicholson - 18.6%Stan Musial - 20.5%Ron Northey - 19.5%Tommy Holmes - 20.2%Stan Musial - 20.4%Ralph Kiner - 19.5%Stan Musial - 23.5%Ralph Kiner - 22.6%
1930sBabe Herman - 20.7%Wally Berger - 22.3%Babe Herman - 21.0%Chuck Klein - 23.9%Paul Waner - 18.8%Arky Vaughan - 20.4%Mel Ott - 20.1%Joe Medwick - 19.4%Mel Ott - 20.3%Johnny Mize - 19.8%
1920sRogers Hornsby - 20.0%Rogers Hornsby - 20.0%Rogers Hornsby - 21.6%Billy Southworth - 16.9%Rogers Hornsby - 23.6%Rogers Hornsby - 20.9%Hack Wilson - 17.0%Rogers Hornsby - 18.5%Rogers Hornsby - 24.7%Lefty O'Doul - 19.8%
1910sSherry Magee - 18.8%Frank Schulte - 16.9%Bill Sweeney - 17.7%Gavvy Cravath - 17.2%Gavvy Cravath - 16.6%Gavvy Cravath - 18.8%Bill Hinchman - 18.8%Max Carey - 18.8%Jake Daubert - 17.2%Rogers Hornsby - 18.6%
1900sTopsy Hartsel - 22.0%Roy Thomas - 19.8%Jimmy Sheckard - 18.2%Harry Lumley - 18.1%Cy Seymour - 18.6%Harry Lumley - 19.2%Ginger Beaumont - 18.7%Red Murray - 22.6%Al Burch - 16.3%
.

For those keeping score, here are the players to lead their league on multiple occasions.

Leader AL  NL Total
Rogers Hornsby   8 8
Ted Williams 8 8
Babe Ruth 7   7
Barry Bonds 6 6
Stan Musial   6 6
Willie Mays 6 6
Albert Pujols   5 5
Hank Aaron 5 5
Jimmie Foxx 5   5
Frank Thomas 4 4
Mickey Mantle 4   4
Mike Schmidt 4 4
Frank Robinson 2 2 4
Frank Howard 3 3
Gavvy Cravath   3 3
George Stone 3 3
Joe Jackson 3   3
Lou Gehrig 3 3
Nap Lajoie 3   3
Ralph Kiner 3 3
Rusty Staub 1 2 3
Babe Herman 2 2
Carl Yastrzemski 2   2
Dale Murphy 2 2
David Ortiz 2   2
Dwight Evans 2 2
Eddie Murray 2   2
Harry Lumley 2 2
Jeff Bagwell   2 2
Johnny Mize 2 2
Jose Bautista 2   2
Mel Ott 2 2
Miguel Cabrera 2   2
Rickey Henderson 2 2
Rocky Colavito 2   2
Ron Santo 2 2
Tony Gwynn   2 2
Ty Cobb 2 2
Wade Boggs 2   2
Ken Singleton 1 1 2

For consistency in ranking among the league leaders, these are the players appearing most often in their league top 10 in Run Share. First, the top 25 and ties for the AL.

Player 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Total
Tris Speaker 1 3 2 4 4 1       1 16
Ty Cobb 2 6 1 2 2 1 1 15
Ted Williams 8 2 1     2 1       14
Lou Gehrig 3 4 1 1 2 1 1 13
Mickey Mantle 4 1 1 1 2 1 1   1 1 13
Babe Ruth 7 2 1 1 1 1 13
Eddie Collins   1 1 1 3 3 1 1   1 12
Sam Crawford 1 2 1 1 4 1 1 11
Harmon Killebrew 1 2 2 1 1     1 1 2 11
Jimmie Foxx 5 1 1 1 1 1 10
Luke Appling 1   1 1 2 2 1   1 1 10
Carl Yastrzemski 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 10
Bob Johnson 1   1 1 2 2   1 1 1 10
Al Kaline 2 1 1 2 1 3 10
Charlie Gehringer   1 1   1 4   1 1   9
Rafael Palmeiro 2 2 2 1 2 9
Frank Thomas 4 2 1   1 1         9
Alex Rodriguez 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 9
Edgar Martinez 1 1 2         1 1 2 8
Eddie Yost 1 3 1 1 1 1 8
Eddie Murray 2   1 2     1     2 8
Al Simmons 1 1 2 1 2 1 8
Nap Lajoie 3   1 1 1   2       8
Ken Griffey Jr. 1 1 1 1 3 1 8
Harry Heilmann   1 4       1 1   1 8
George Brett 1 1 1 3 1 1 8

And, the same for the NL.

Player 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th Total
Stan Musial 6 3 1   3 2         15
Hank Aaron 5 2 1 3 1 1 1 1 15
Mel Ott 2 4 2 3 1 1 1       14
Mike Schmidt 4 1 1 4 1 2 13
Barry Bonds 6 1 3 1   1   1     13
Willie Mays 6 2 1 2 1 1 13
Rogers Hornsby 8 2 1 1             12
Paul Waner 1 2 1 2 2 1 1 1 1 12
Honus Wagner   2 1 4 1     1 1 2 12
Eddie Mathews 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 11
Zack Wheat   2   1 3 3   1     10
Albert Pujols 5 2 1 1 9
Johnny Mize 2 1 2 1   1   1 1   9
Jeff Bagwell 2 2 1 2 1 1 9
Billy Williams 1 2 3   1 2         9
Chipper Jones 1 2 2 2 1 8
Richie Ashburn   1 1 1   1 1 2 1   8
Ralph Kiner 3 2 1 2 8
Edd Roush     1 1 1   2 1   2 8
Max Carey 1 1 2 3 1 8
Sherry Magee 1 2   1 1 1   1   1 8
Jake Daubert 1 1 2 1 1 1 7
Ron Santo 2   2 1           2 7
Dale Murphy 2 2 2 1 7
Wally Berger 1 2   1 1     1 1   7
Babe Herman 2 1 1 1 2 7
Frank Robinson 2 1     1 1 1 1     7
Pete Rose 2 1 1 1 2 7
Lance Berkman   2 1     2   1 1   7
Cy Williams 1 2 1 1 1 1 7
Willie McCovey   1 1   1   3     1 7
Arky Vaughan 1 3 2 1 7
Tony Gwynn 2   1   1       2 1 7
Joe Morgan 2 3 2 7

Comments

Run Shares: measuring offensive value in a team context — 8 Comments

  1. Cool beans, Doug. A question: Is the wRC formula team-dependent? The Bill James Runs Created formula, as I understood it, was meant to be mostly independent of team performance.

    I ask because, while most of these Run Share leaders are truly great seasons, a few are just good years for horrible offenses, e.g.:

    — Red Murray, 1908: 77 Runs Created (B-R formula) for a Cardinals team that scored 2.42 R/G. Murray was 4th in NL RC; Wagner led with 126.

    — Amos Strunk, 1916: 85 RC for an A’s team that scored 2.90 R/G. Strunk was 6th in AL RC; Ty Cobb led with 125.

    — Nick Etten, 1941: 98 RC for a Phils team that scored 3.23 R/G. Etten was 8th in NL RC; Dolph Camilli led with 118.

    Anyway, if I’ve massaged the text correctly, here are your top 44 league-leading Run Shares — all 21% and above:

    Rshare — Player, Year
    25.6% — Babe Ruth, 1923
    25.0% — Barry Bonds, 2001
    24.7% — Rogers Hornsby, 1928
    24.6% — Nap Lajoie, 1910
    24.2% — Babe Ruth, 1924
    23.9% — Chuck Klein, 1933
    23.6% — Ted Williams, 1947
    23.6% — Rogers Hornsby, 1924
    23.5% — Stan Musial, 1948
    23.5% — Barry Bonds, 2002
    22.8% — Babe Ruth, 1920
    22.8% — Gary Sheffield, 1996
    22.6% — Babe Ruth, 1921
    22.6% — Red Murray, 1908
    22.6% — Ralph Kiner, 1949
    22.5% — Babe Ruth, 1919
    22.4% — Stan Musial, 1951
    22.3% — Wally Berger, 1931
    22.1% — Joe Jackson, 1912
    22.1% — Jimmie Foxx, 1935
    22.1% — Ted Williams, 1942
    22.0% — George Stone, 1906
    22.0% — Topsy Hartsel, 1901
    22.0% — Rusty Staub, 1969
    21.9% — Joe Jackson, 1911
    21.8% — Ty Cobb, 1917
    21.8% — Frank Thomas, 1994
    21.7% — Babe Ruth, 1926
    21.7% — Mickey Mantle, 1957
    21.7% — Dick Allen, 1972
    21.7% — Mark McGwire, 1998
    21.6% — Lou Gehrig, 1934
    21.6% — Rogers Hornsby, 1922
    21.6% — Barry Bonds, 2004
    21.4% — George Burns, 1918
    21.3% — Amos Strunk, 1916
    21.3% — Willie Mays, 1957
    21.3% — Derrek Lee, 2005
    21.2% — Joe Jackson, 1913
    21.1% — Tris Speaker, 1914
    21.1% — Tony Gwynn, 1994
    21.0% — Ted Williams, 1946
    21.0% — Babe Herman, 1932
    21.0% — Nick Etten, 1941

    • I don’t know the wRC derivation is. This is what FanGraphs says.

      http://www.fangraphs.com/library/offense/wrc/

      It sounds like wRC+ is normalized for run scoring environment and park effects and what not, but that wRC is not. Like the difference between OPS+ (normalized) and OPS (not).

      I noticed that the highest values tended to be from the early years (I only counted 8 seasons in your list above later than 1972), so my hunch is there are different calculations of the metric based on available data (Bill James did this a lot in his original work and justified it on the notion that having a reasonable approximation was better than having nothing at all). So, perhaps the approximations used in the absence of data that became available later could tend to “inflate” the results, at least for the top seasons. But, that’s just a guess.

      Anyway, I stuck with rankings for this piece because I was suspicious about the magnitude of the % totals being skewed towards the earlier data.

      As to the comment that some of the seasons are among the best ever, and others are just good seasons by players on bad teams, my response is “correct”. In both cases, you have one player head and shoulders above all of his teammates, so his “share” of the team’s runs will be magnified. What you won’t see here are very good seasons on very good teams because most of those very good teams will have more than one player with a very good season, which will tent to flatten out the run share for any one player (case in point is Joe Morgan whose best years were with a strong supporting cast, including Pete Rose; neither of those two ever ranked higher than 5th in Run Share).

      If I see a drawback to this method, it’s that “the one good player on a very bad team” may tend to be a bit overdone, so that you see cases like Frank Howard with the Senators and Rusty Staub with the Expos and Dale Murphy with the 80s Braves all leading their league in consecutive seasons. But, I’m not complaining too much because Mantle, Mays, Musial, Bonds, Pujols, Ruth, Hornsby, Foxx, Williams, etc. all have healthy representation, so it’s not like it’s “missing” the truly dominant players.

      • Just thought I’d update my top-44 list of league-leading Run Shares, to include the team’s Runs Created (B-R formula)

        25.6% — Babe Ruth, 1923 NYY — Team 784 RC
        25.0% — Barry Bonds, 2001 SFG — Team 891 RC
        24.7% — Rogers Hornsby, 1928 BSN — Team 649 RC
        24.6% — Nap Lajoie, 1910 CLE — Team 521 RC
        24.2% — Babe Ruth, 1924 NYY — Team 765 RC
        23.9% — Chuck Klein, 1933 PHI — Team 636 RC
        23.6% — Rogers Hornsby, 1924 STL — Team 724 RC
        23.6% — Ted Williams, 1947 BOS — Team 713 RC
        23.5% — Barry Bonds, 2002 SFG — Team 846 RC
        23.5% — Stan Musial, 1948 STL — Team 709 RC
        22.8% — Babe Ruth, 1920 NYY — Team 746 RC
        22.8% — Gary Sheffield, 1996 FLA — Team 713 RC
        22.6% — Babe Ruth, 1921 NYY — Team 891 RC
        22.6% — Ralph Kiner, 1949 PIT — Team 673 RC
        22.6% — Red Murray, 1908 STL — Team 387 RC
        22.5% — Babe Ruth, 1919 BOS — Team 523 RC
        22.4% — Stan Musial, 1951 STL — Team 687 RC
        22.3% — Wally Berger, 1931 BSN — Team 562 RC
        22.1% — Jimmie Foxx, 1935 PHA — Team 719 RC
        22.1% — Joe Jackson, 1912 CLE — Team 624 RC
        22.1% — Ted Williams, 1942 BOS — Team 756 RC
        22.0% — George Stone, 1906 SLB — Team 496 RC
        22.0% — Rusty Staub, 1969 MON — Team 596 RC
        22.0% — Topsy Hartsel, 1901 CHC — Team 499 RC
        21.9% — Joe Jackson, 1911 CLE — Team 678 RC
        21.8% — Frank Thomas, 1994 CHW — Team 660 RC
        21.8% — Ty Cobb, 1917 DET — Team 568 RC
        21.7% — Babe Ruth, 1926 NYY — Team 828 RC
        21.7% — Dick Allen, 1972 CHW — Team 551 RC
        21.7% — Mark McGwire, 1998 STL — Team 862 RC
        21.7% — Mickey Mantle, 1957 NYY — Team 728 RC
        21.6% — Barry Bonds, 2004 SFG — Team 878 RC
        21.6% — Lou Gehrig, 1934 NYY — Team 810 RC
        21.6% — Rogers Hornsby, 1922 STL — Team 842 RC
        21.4% — George Burns, 1918 PHA — Team 396 RC
        21.3% — Amos Strunk, 1916 PHA — Team 469 RC
        21.3% — Derrek Lee, 2005 CHC — Team 778 RC
        21.3% — Willie Mays, 1957 NYG — Team 645 RC
        21.2% — Joe Jackson, 1913 CLE — Team 596 RC
        21.1% — Tony Gwynn, 1994 SDP — Team 526 RC
        21.1% — Tris Speaker, 1914 BOS — Team 545 RC
        21.0% — Babe Herman, 1932 CIN — Team 631 RC
        21.0% — Nick Etten, 1941 PHI — Team 531 RC
        21.0% — Ted Williams, 1946 BOS — Team 771 RC

        The three Bonds years listed are among the all-time top 10 in B-R’s Runs Created (all 200+ RC), as are three of the Babe’s listed years and Hornsby ’22.

        • @3/JA,

          Comparing individual Runs Created to team Runs Created, makes more sense than comparing individual Runs Created to actual team runs – better to use the same metric for both numbers in a computation.

          I do recall that in making the case for George Brett as the 1985 MVP, Bill James in his 1986 Baseball Abstract showed that the % of actual runs Brett contributed to the Royals total was the highest of any AL player.
          This was:
          (player Runs Produced {Runs + RBI – HR})/ (team Runs Scored)

          It’s good to see that in this case, advanced stats (as used above) agree with a method using mainstream stats.

          Speaking of mainstream stats – I believe that the record for highest % of RBI by one player is still held by Nat Colbert of the 1972 Padres:
          111 RBI / (488 Padres runs) = 22.74% of the team total

          Incredibly enough, 40 years after his last season for the Padres, Colbert _STILL_ holds their career HR record, 163 (two more than AGon, and 28 more than that noted slugger Tony Gwynn…). Chase Headley might surpass that in 3/4 years, if he regains his 2012 HR stroke (and stays with the Padres…).

          • As of the end of the 2011 season Colbert did hold that record of 22.74% of his team’s RBI.

            Others with at least 20% of their team’s RBI.
            Wally Berger, 1935 Braves, 22.61%
            Ernie Banks, 1959 Cubs, 21.25%
            Sammy Sosa, 2001 Cubs, 20.59%
            Jim Gentile, 1961 Orioles, 20.40%
            Bill Buckner, 1981 Cubs, 20.27%
            Bill Nicholson, 1943 Cubs, 20.25%
            Frank Howard, 1968 Senators, 20.23%
            Babe Ruth, 1919 Red Sox, 20.18%
            Frank Howard, 1970 Senators, 20.13%

          • Fair comment, Lawrence, about mixing derived and actual metrics. I did, though, do that on purpose because I wanted to give a fair shake to the unfortunate stars on woeful teams which, despite their star’s contribution, would tend to be inefficient run scorers that would likely undershoot their derived runs created. That’s just a surmise, but one that would seem to be validated by the frequent representation among the league leaders of lone stars on weak teams.

          • @6/Doug,

            Good point, you don’t wish to penalize good players too much for inefficient team offenses.

            I think this is one case where using the actual individual Runs Produced and team Runs Scored totals has some value (as I tried to point out in #4 with George Brett/1985).

        • John: Just a point. If you use the PI Split Finder it shows 783.6 RC for the 1923 Yankees, which agrees with your list. But if you go to the 1923 Yankees team page and search under More Stats it shows 822 RC for them.

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