Posted Monday, March 11th, 2013 at 10:58 am by Andy
Here’s a very quick post that I still think you’ll find interesting. I found the top 100 players of all time in terms of RBI from low-leverage situations. Hank Aaron is #1, as you might expect, since he’s pretty much #1 in anything RBI-related. Then, I calculated the fraction those low-leverage RBI represented of their total career RBI. Let’s call this the “Alex Rodriguez RBI” stat, since he’s so often accused of driving in runs when they don’t really matter.
Click through for the large table of how these 100 guys stack up. Read the rest of this entry
Posted Friday, March 1st, 2013 at 12:18 pm by Andy
I’m looking for a few beta testers for a new High Heat Stats feature–a stats-based game. If you want to try it out, and you’re available to spend a few minutes on it over this weekend, email me:
Posted Tuesday, February 19th, 2013 at 4:58 pm by Andy
Who would you say is the best player in MLB history? Well, before answering, you might ask me to specify an age. If you’re looking for someone under 25, it would have to be Ted Williams, right? Somebody in their early 30′s? That must be Babe Ruth. How about the best player in their late 30s to 40s? Clearly it’s Barry Bonds.
But what if you didn’t have to choose? What if we picked the best year by any player at each age, and put them all together to build the perfect player? That’s just what we do after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry
Posted Monday, February 4th, 2013 at 9:23 am by Andy
Here’s a simple calculation that reveals lots of interesting stuff. Using B-R.com’s new option to limit searches to players who qualify as rookies (using the modern definition only), it’s easy to find what fraction of players each season who qualified for the batting title also qualified as rookies.
This is what the data looks like:
The overall trend is clear. In the early part of the 20th century, about 15% of full-time players were rookies. There is an uptick in 1914 as the Federal League was formed and lots of new players were brought in. In the late 1910s, nearly no rookies played full seasons but by the 1920s the rate was back up to about 12%. When World War II came around, the rate spiked as a lot of established players left for military service. There was a spike from 1952 into 1953, due to the Korean War. The rate spiked even further in 1954, but I’m not sure why, as that war was already over and guys like Ted Williams and Willy Mays were back.
By the 1960s, the rate of rookies dropped down to about 9%. In the 1970s, it went even lower, plummeting to an all-time low in 1979. From 1980 on, the rate has been relatively consistent around 5%. Note a few upticks in expansion years of 1969, 1977, and 1993.
I wonder why the fraction of rookies has dropped gradually over time? September call-ups probably have something to do with it–more players qualifying as rookies before playing a full qualifying season. There may just also be less playing of rookies full time–for example fewer rookies winning jobs in spring training.
What else can we surmise from this data?
Posted Monday, January 21st, 2013 at 8:55 am by Andy
After yet another playoff appearance in 2012, Derek Jeter has now played in 158 career post-season games, essentially an exact full season. Looking at his numbers, the results are staggering. Read the rest of this entry
Posted Thursday, January 17th, 2013 at 10:08 am by Andy
Darren Oliver / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Darren Oliver has re-signed with the Blue Jays for 2013 and he’ll be coming back for his 20th season in the majors. He’ll be 42 on Opening Day.
Perhaps the most incredible thing about Oliver’s career is that he isn’t simply hanging on into old age. His line for the last 5 years (2008-2012) reads like this: 304 games, 1 start, 314.1 IP, 271 H, 79 BB, 274 K, 2.52 ERA, 175 ERA+.
Take a look at that line again. Basically, he’s been an ace reliever.
Oliver’s last bad season was in 2004. He didn’t pitch in the majors in 2005, but since then has rattled off 7 straight years ranging from good to excellent. Over that period, he’s been worth 10 Wins Above Replacement as a middle reliever.
Just to give you an idea of how valuable Oliver has been, here are the leaders in WAR among non-closing relievers:
Oliver himself didn’t qualify for this list since he was primarily a starter before his renaissance.
If we look at just 2006-2012, since Oliver has been reborn as a reliever, here are the top WAR totals among non-closing relievers:
Any way you slice it, this guy is among the best middle relievers going into 2013.
Posted Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 1:37 pm by Andy
I posted this list in the comments to an earlier thread, but it really seems to deserve its own post.
Here are the players since 1901 who scored the highest percentage of time once reaching base (including reaching on error) with a minimum of 4000 career plate appearances.
1 Red Rolfe 48.8%
2 Jack Smith 47.2%
3 Pepper Martin 46.9%
4 Earle Combs 46.5%
5 Tommy Leach 45.3%
6 Joe DiMaggio 45.2%
7 C Granderson 45.2%
8 Ian Kinsler 44.4%
9 Lou Gehrig 44.2%
10 Hughie Critz 44.0%
11 Ray Chapman 44.0%
12 Tom Goodwin 43.7%
13 Babe Ruth 43.7%
14 Tommy Henrich 43.7%
15 C Gehringer 43.5%
16 Chuck Klein 43.4%
17 Kenny Lofton 43.3%
18 Earl Averill 43.3%
19 Alex Rodriguez 43.0%
20 Fred Clarke 42.9%
21 Donie Bush 42.8%
22 Vince Coleman 42.7%
23 F Lindstrom 42.7%
24 Kiki Cuyler 42.6%
25 Bobby Bonds 42.6%
26 Bill Cissell 42.6%
27 Jimmie Foxx 42.6%
28 Pete Fox 42.5%
29 Jimmy Rollins 42.5%
30 Ron Gant 42.5%
This is quite an eclectic group, huh?
The research was sparked by reader kds noticing that Kenny Lofton had a very high percentage, and indeed he clocks in at #17. Some other leadoff-type speedsters make it too, with Bobby Bonds, Vince Coleman, Tom Goodwin(!), Jimmy Rollins, and others. Then there are other guys with a lot of home runs–obviously that’s an automatic 1-for-1 in terms of scoring when reaching base–Babe Ruth, Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Foxx, etc.
I’m sure there’s a lot more we can glean from this…have at it.
Posted Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 11:25 am by Andy
Here’s a pretty simple graph showing the breakdown each year of hits distribution.
So, for any given year, this shows the percentage of total hits for that year that were singles, doubles, triples, or homers.
Some observations / conclusions:
- Singles have, understandably, fallen off considerably. At the dawn of the game, they represented more than 80% of all hits but in recent years have been right around two-thirds. 2012′s percentage of 66.4 is among the lowest ever–just slightly above figures between 65 and 66 in the 2000′s.
- Triples increased in the 1880s and 1890s but have declined pretty steadily since except for renaissances in the 1910s and 1970s. The rate has hovered right around 2% for several years now.
- Doubles are quite interesting. You might have expected that they peaked in the late 1990s or early 200s (like homers) but their two peak seasons are actually 2007 and 2008, at 20.4% and 20.5% respectively. Doubles are off a bit in the last couple of years, probably largely because home runs have spiked again.
- Homers took a huge upward turn when Babe Ruth came on the scene, then took subsequent big jumps in the 1940s and the 1990s. They peaked in 2000 at 12.6%, fell as low as 10.8% in 2011 but rebounded last year to 11.8%.
- 1987 shows up again as a really fluke year. Home runs spiked up that year (then back down in 1988) and singles spiked way down (and then back up in 1988).
I wonder what singles will look like 50 years from now. The decline has been remarkably linear so far, losing just about 8/10ths of a percentage point each decade. I’m sure that rate will slow, or else singles will account for fewer than half of all hits by about the year 2206. (Although this is an accurate projection from the data, rest assured that my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek right now.)
Posted Thursday, January 10th, 2013 at 11:46 am by Andy
Kenny Lofton / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
With Kenny Lofton receiving a miserable 3.2% of the vote in yesterday’s Hall of Fame balloting, he’s gone from future consideration despite 6 All-Star appearances, 4 Gold Gloves, and 64.9 career WAR (greater than the totals of more than 50 players already enshrined.)
With a hat tip to @phungo2008 for asking the question, here are the players with the highest career WAR totals who fell off the Hall of Fame ballot in their first year of eligibility:
Lou Whitaker (71.4 WAR, 2.9% in 2001)
Bill Dahlen (70.9 WAR, 0.4% in 1938)
Bobby Grich (67.3 WAR, 2.6% in 1992)
Kenny Lofton (64.9 WAR, 3.2% in 2013)
Kevin Brown (64.3 WAR, 2.1% in 2011)
Willie Randolph (63.0 WAR, 1.1% in 1998)
Buddy Bell (61.6 WAR, 1.7% in 1995)
Reggie Smith (60.8 WAR, 0.7% in 1988)
David Cone (58.8 WAR, 3.9% in 2009)
Sal Bando (57.1 WAR, 0.7% in 1987)
A new notes:
- All of these guys fell off the ballot because they didn’t receive 5% of the vote. There are other players with higher WAR totals, such as Ken Boyer and Wes Ferrell, who received less than 5% in their 1st year but didn’t fall off the ballot because the rules were different.
- There are a bunch of 19th-century players, Jim McCormick chief among them, who have enough WAR to qualify but were never listed on any HOF ballot.
- And of course, Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson would make this top 10 but also have never appeared on any HOF ballot.
Posted Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 at 3:00 pm by Andy
Sean has added a Batting Split Finder which, right now, is available here:
It’s currently beta but should launch officially next week, along with a Pitching Split Finder.
Here are a few tweets I’ve made today using the new tool:
- Most HR at home in 2012: Miguel Cabrera 28, Curtis Granderson 26. Most HR away in 2012: Adam Dunn 21, IkeDavis/Hamilton/Stanton 21
- Most HRs coming on an 0-2 pitch over the last 5 years: Miguel Cabrera 11, R Braun V Wells A Soriano 10, K Morales M Kemp 9
- Most HRs coming on an 3-0 pitch over the last 5 years: J Upton 5, M Napoli B Butler 4
- Most career home runs leading off an inning: Barry Bonds 184, Rafael Palmeiro 151, Hank Aaron 149, Mark McGwire 148, Rickey Henderson 142
- Most times striking out as 1st batter of the game since 1916: Henderson 408, Brock 362, Tony Phillips 249, Biggio & BOBBY Bonds 233
- Most RBI in Sep/Oct last season: Chase Headley 32, Miguel Cabrera 30, C Granderson 27, Torii “Homophobe” Hunter 27
- Most HR in 2012 when facing the starting pitcher for the 4th+ time in the game: Mike Trout 4, Ryan Bruan & Zack Cozart 3
- Most HR in 2012 when facing the starting pitcher for the 1st time in the game: Granderson 14, Carlos Beltran & AJ Pierzynski 12
- Over the last 20 years, most triples while batting 4th: Jeff Kent 30, Vlad Guerrero 27, Larry Walker 20, Bernie Williams 19, Scott Rolen 18