Wednesday, March 14, 2007

All-time Tigers Hitting Leaders

Last week, I listed the all-time Tigers pitching leaders in terms of longevity and quality. Today, I will take a look at the batters. Table 1 below lists the top 20 lifetime Runs Created (RC) leaders. There are many different runs created formulas including the one I used to rank current Tigers this winter. There are even different algorithms for different eras but all of them are based on the simple formula:
OBP X TB
Runs Created is not a rate stat and thus it is more a measure of longevity than excellence. One problem with runs created is that it favors those who played in better hitting environments. However, this Didn't bother Ty Cobb (2,590 runs created). Even though he played most of his best years in the dead ball era, Cobb is still 760 RC above any other Tiger. Al Kaline (1,830) and Charlie Gehringer (1,828) are second and third.

One way to measure quality as opposed to longevity is Offensive Winning Percentage (OWP) . OWP projects what a team's winning percentage would be if every offensive player on the team was the same player and the team had an average pitching staff. OWP is adjusted for league average runs scored so it can be used to compare across eras. It is calculated as follows:
(RC/G)^2
--------------------------------
(RC/G)^2 + (Lg avg runs/G)^2
where ^2 means squared.

The career Tigers OWP leaders with at least 1,500 PA are listed in Table 2. Cobb had a lifetime OWP of .789 meaning that an entire team of Cobbs on offense and an average pitching staff would finish with a .789 winning percentage. Cobb is .060 ahead of second place Hank Greenberg (.729). This list differs from the list in Table 1 in that it includes many short Tiger career players like Roy Cullenbine (a .675 OWP in 1,951 PA) and Carlos Guillen (a .655 OWP in 1,566 PA).

As I did with pitchers, next time I'll present two stats which can be used to combine longevity and quality: runs created above average and runs created above position.

The data for this analysis were extracted from the Lee Sinnis Complete Baseball Encyclopedia.


Table 1: Tigers Lifetime Runs Created Leaders

Player

PA

RC

Ty Cobb

12106

2590

Al Kaline

11597

1830

Charlie Gehringer

10237

1828

Harry Heilmann

8390

1613

Sam Crawford

8871

1438

Lou Whitaker

9967

1379

Hank Greenberg

5586

1263

Alan Trammell

9375

1246

Norm Cash

7772

1243

Bobby Veach

6785

1022

Donie Bush

8451

890

Rudy York

5349

889

Dick McAuliffe

6829

858

Bill Freehan

6899

855

Bobby Higginson

5660

827

Willie Horton

5978

824

Kirk Gibson

4773

742

Harvey Kuenn

4750

665

Billy Rogell

5092

652

Travis Fryman

4792

634



Table 2: Tigers Lifetime OWP Leaders

Player

PA

OWP

Ty Cobb

12106

0.789

Hank Greenberg

5586

0.729

Harry Heilmann

8390

0.708

Sam Crawford

8871

0.689

Roy Cullenbine

1951

0.675

Norm Cash

7772

0.673

Dick Wakefield

2499

0.655

Carlos Guillen

1566

0.655

Al Kaline

11597

0.651

Mickey Tettleton

2343

0.646

Kirk Gibson

4773

0.627

Jim Delahanty

1579

0.627

Ray Boone

2856

0.626

Bobby Veach

6785

0.625

Charlie Gehringer

10237

0.624

Dale Alexander

1965

0.617

Vic Wertz

3218

0.614

Steve Kemp

2930

0.614

Rocky Colavito

2723

0.614

Jimmy Barrett

2628

0.614

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