Wednesday, July 26, 2006

RBI Percentage

RBI has long been one of the most popular baseball statistics among fans and media. I rarely talk about RBI on Tiger Tales because I consider it to be a team statistic more than an individual statistic. This is because the number of RBI a player accumulates is highly dependent on where he bats in the line-up and the ability of his teammates to get on base in front of him. I’ve always thought it would be nice if there was a readily available RBI stat which took into account the number of opportunities players had to drive in runs. Thanks to David Pinto’s very useful day to day database at Baseball Musings, one is now available.

RBI Percentage is the rate at which a batter drives in runs relative to the number of runners on base when he comes to the plate. It is computed as follows: ((RBI-HR)/runners on)*100. For example, Magglio Ordonez has come to the plate with 268 runners on base this season. He has driven in 68-16= 52 of them for an RBI % of 19.4. It’s not a perfect stat. One problem is that it gives a player the same credit for knocking in a runner from third as for knocking in a runner from first. There are ways that you could weight the opportunities so that a player gets more credit from driving in runs in more difficult RBI situations but I’ll work with Pinto’s basic RBI % stat for now.

The table below shows how the Tiger hitters rank among 304 Major Leaguers with 100 or more runners on. Ordonez (25th in the majors) is the highest ranking Tiger. Other high ranking Tigers are Carlos Guillen (18.99, 29th ) and Brandon Inge (18.35, 44th). The lowest RBI % on the team belongs to Chris Shelton (12.44%, 251st).

Table: How the Tigers Rank in RBI % Among Major Leaguers

Rank

Player

Runners

RBI

HR

RBI %

25

Ordonez

268

68

16

19.40

29

Guillen

258

61

12

18.99

44

Inge

218

60

20

18.35

77

Granderson

209

47

11

17.22

107

Polanco

208

37

3

16.35

111

Rodriguez

234

46

8

16.24

122

Monroe

231

51

14

16.02

162

Thames

162

43

19

14.81

251

Shelton

225

44

16

12.44


The Table below lists the top 20 Major Leaguers in RBI percentage. It is not too surprising that Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran and Albert Pujols rank near the top. It is surprising however that Frank Catalanotto is second in the majors and first in the American League in RBI percentage.

Table: Major League Leaders in RBI Percentage – July 25, 2006

Player

Runners

RBI

HR

RBI %

Lance Berkman

264

88

26

23.48

Frank Catalanotto

179

47

7

22.35

Carlos Beltran

244

82

28

22.13

Albert Pujols

252

86

33

21.03

Olmedo Saenz

134

36

8

20.90

Vladimir Guerrero

278

78

20

20.86

Freddy Sanchez

245

56

5

20.82

Bobby Abreu

274

65

8

20.80

Raul Ibanez

282

78

21

20.21

Juan Rivera

154

46

15

20.13

Russell Martin

174

39

4

20.11

Justin Morneau

274

81

26

20.07

Jose Valentin

150

41

11

20.00

Michael Young

285

65

8

20.00

Gabe Gross

105

29

8

20.00

Daniel Uggla

201

54

14

19.90

Jorge Cantu

157

39

8

19.75

Johnny Estrada

218

51

8

19.72

Jeff DaVanon

137

32

5

19.71

Gary Matthews

198

49

10

19.70

6 comments:

  1. That is a great new stat Lee. I gives new dimension to a pretty tired and misleading old stat. It does not surprise me but it cocnerns me that Shelton really does seem to be the black hole rally killer that many people think he is.

    Yankee fans seem to hate A-Rod and think he doesn't come through. He didn't make the top 20 but where does he place? Is there something this stat can say about their derisive attitude toward him?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alex Rodriguez is down there with Craig Monroe this year - 16%. But if you go back to past years, he looks much better. I went back to the beginning of 2000 and looked at all players with 1,000 or more runners on in the past 7 years. There were about 300 players and Rodriguez ranked 27th.
    When you do a long period like that, all the sluggers rise to the top. One of the few exceptions is Catalanotto who ranks in the top 25. I've always liked that guy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How does the stat deal with the single RBI picked up from a solo home run? Definately a nice stat tho.

    I've also liked the Run% (I think that's the name) stat. Shows how often a runner scores when he reaches base. I'm not sure how useful it really is, but it seems to give some indication of baserunning skill, and even more of how the hitters behind him in the lineup are doing. Inge, or example, has always seemed to score a lot of runs, despite a low OBP.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nate, the stat only gives a player credit for knocking in runners that were on base when he came to the plate. So, he would not get credit for knocking himself in with a home run. It just measures how successful he is at getting runners home. I think there are a number of different ways you could tweak this stat but it's an interesting concept. I'm going to try to look at some other years in Pinto's database.

    ReplyDelete
  5. AnonymousJuly 28, 2006

    Lee, earlier this month I used it to see how often the run came in from scoring position. I didn't really think it was fair to measure if a guy was on first base. Baseball Prospectus has the figures for RBI% from 1st, 2nd and 3rd so you can work it out like that.

    My finding was Polanco, in limited chances, had a nice success rate.
    -Kurt / MackAve

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kurt, the simplicity of RBI % is pretty appealing but I agree the BP stats give you a fairer measure. I just wish the BP site was a little more user friendly. I have a heck of time trying to navigate through their stats.

    ReplyDelete

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