Saturday, November 18, 2006

Runs Created by Position

Earlier this week, I looked at how Tiger players ranked in runs created (RC) and runs created per game (RC/G) among 126 American League players with 300 or more plate appearances (PA) in 2006. Today, I will start comparing players by position. Position comparisons are often useful because some positions demand more of players defensively and thus their offensive expectations are somewhat lower. For example, catchers are not expected to create as many runs as first basemen and, on average, they don’t. I’ll start with the catchers (Table 1).


Table 1: Runs Created by AL Catchers


Rnk

Player

Team

PA

R/G

RC

1

Mauer

MIN

608

7.6

105

2

Posada

NYA

545

6.8

88

3

Martinez

CLE

652

6.4

100

4

Napoli

LAA

325

6.0

47

5

Hernandez

BAL

560

5.8

82

6

Zaun

TOR

339

5.4

46

7

Johjima

SEA

542

5.3

75

8

Rodriguez

DET

580

5.1

77

9

Pierzynski

CHA

543

5.1

70

10

Molina

TOR

458

4.7

58

11

Kendall

OAK

626

4.5

71

12

Varitek

BOS

416

4.1

45

13

Buck

KC

409

3.9

43

14

Barajas

TEX

371

3.7

37


The top run producers in the league were Joe Mauer (7.6 RC/G) and Jorge Posada (6.8 RC/G). Ivan Rodriguez finished in the middle of the pack with 5.1 RC/G. Given that he’s a legitimate gold glove catcher, that is good enough. However, the team can’t afford a significant offensive decline from Pudge in 2007.


Table 2: Runs Created by AL First Basemen


Rnk

Player

Team

PA

R/G

RC

1

Morneau

MIN

661

7.5

119

2

Konerko

CHA

643

6.8

107

3

Swisher

OAK

672

6.3

103

4

Overbay

TOR

640

6.3

99

5

Teixeira

TEX

727

6.2

109

6

Youkilis

BOS

680

5.9

95

7

Sexson

SEA

663

5.9

100

8

Millar

BAL

503

5.8

71

9

Wigginton

TB

486

5.6

70

10

Shelton

DET

412

5.5

58

11

Mientkiewicz

KC

361

5.5

48

12

Conine

BAL

432

4.4

50

13

Johnson

OAK

331

4.3

37

14

Lee

TB

388

3.8

39


The league leading first basemen (Table 2 above) in runs created per game were Justin Morneau (7.5) and Paul Konerko (6.8). Chris Shelton (5.5 RC/G) finished 10th in the league after a great start. His production was down substantially from last year when he created 6.5 runs per game. He struggled so much this year that he was demoted to Toledo and replaced by Sean Casey at the end of July.


Casey created only 3.5 runs per game in August and September but will be the Tigers starting first baseman at the beginning of 2007. Casey had 5.4 RC/G for the Pirates this year and 5.3 RC/G for the Reds in 2005. He has 6.0 RC/G lifetime. One or both of Shelton and Casey will need to bounce back next year in order for the Tigers to have league average production at the position.


Table 3: Runs Created by AL Second Basemen


Rnk

Player

Team

PA

R/G

RC

1

German

KC

331

7.1

54

2

Cano

NYA

508

6.6

85

3

Iguchi

CHA

627

5.3

82

4

Roberts

BAL

630

5.2

84

5

Belliard

CLE

379

5.2

50

6

Kinsler

TEX

474

5.1

61

7

Grudzielanek

KC

586

4.7

71

8

Castillo

MIN

652

4.7

78

9

Hill

TOR

606

4.6

70

10

Lopez

SEA

655

4.5

78

11

Loretta

BOS

703

4.4

78

12

Kennedy

LAA

503

4.2

57

13

Ellis

OAK

500

4.2

55

14

Polanco

DET

495

4.0

52

15

Cantu

TB

448

3.7

45


Esteban German lead AL second baseman with 7.1 RC/G but had only 331 plate appearances. Robinson Cano (6.6 RC/G) was the leader among players with full seasons. After finishing 3rd in the league with 6.6 RC/G in 2005, Placido Polanco finished 14th with 4.0 RC/G in 2006. That is a big drop and may have been related to an early season injury. He has averaged 4.8 RC/G lifetime and I expect him to get back to that level or a little higher in 2007.


I’ll get to the other positions in the next few days.

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