Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Where does Ordonez's 2007 season rank?

All Tigers fans know by now that Magglio Ordonez just became the first Tiger to win the batting title since Norm Cash in 1961 but how do his overall 2007 offensive numbers rank in the history of the team? One way to look at overall offensive performance is runs created (RC). RC is an estimate of a team's runs which were produced by an individual player. It is calculated from the number of walks, singles, doubles, triples, home runs and other things that a player does to score runs.

It would be a little unfair to compare players from different eras based on RC for a couple of reasons. First, they play more games now than they did in the early days of baseball so players have more opportunities to accumulate aggregate statistics. This problem is addressed by runs created per game or per 27 outs (RC27). Theoretically, the RC27 value for a player is the number of runs per game that a team would score if every player in the line-up was a clone of that player.

The other problem with RC (as well as RC27) is that some eras have better environments for scoring runs than others. For example, the deadball era versus the high powered current era. Runs Created Above Average (RCAA) helps to address that issue.
RCAA, a stat invented by Lee Sinins, the creator of the Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia. RCAA compares each player's RC to the league average, given that player’s number of plate appearances.

Table 1 below displays the top 20 RCAAs in the history of the team. Ordonez created 150 runs in 678 plate appearances in 2007. That comes out to 10 runs created per game so a line-up of 9 Magglios would score 10 runs per game. Finally, he finished 73 RC above league average which ranks 15th on the all-time Tigers list.

Table 1: Top 20 offensive seasons in Tigers history (based on RCAA)

Rank

Player

Year

PA

RC

RC27

RCAA

1

Ty Cobb

1911

654

197

14.47

119

2

Norm Cash

1961

672

176

12.95

113

3

Ty Cobb

1912

609

167

11.77

100

4

Ty Cobb

1917

669

156

10.70

99

5

Ty Cobb

1910

591

150

11.85

97

6

Harry Heilmann

1923

626

162

12.28

96

7

Ty Cobb

1909

651

149

10.17

88

8

Hank Greenberg

1938

681

175

11.70

86

9

Ty Cobb

1915

700

148

9.57

84

10

Hank Greenberg

1937

701

181

11.79

80

11

Harry Heilmann

1921

672

161

10.84

80

12

Hank Greenberg

1940

670

170

11.50

79

13

Hank Greenberg

1935

710

165

10.14

79

14

Harry Heilmann

1927

596

153

12.20

78

15

Magglio Ordonez

2007

678

150

10.00

73

16

Harry Heilmann

1925

664

151

10.41

70

17

Ty Cobb

1907

646

132

8.47

69

18

Ty Cobb

1916

636

131

8.99

69

19

Sam Crawford

1911

648

147

10.33

66

20

Ty Cobb

1921

581

136

10.40

65



Ty Cobb's 1911 season where he created 197 runs, posted an RC27 of 14.47 and finished 119 RC above average was number one all time for the team. Since the top 20 list is dominated by 3 players from the early days of the Tigers - Cobb (9 times), Hank Greenberg (5 times) and Harry Heilmann (4 times), I decided to do another list of seasons since 1950 (Table 2). That list is headed by Norm Cash's 1961 season where he created 113 runs above average. Ordonez's 2007 season ranks second since 1950.

Table 2: Top 10 offensive seasons since 1950 (based on RCAA)

Rank

Player

Year

PA

RC

RC27

RCAA

1

Norm Cash

1961

672

176

12.95

113

2

Magglio Ordonez

2007

678

150

10.00

73

3

Alan Trammell

1987

668

137

8.96

64

4

Rocky Colavito

1961

708

139

8.53

63

5

Al Kaline

1955

681

134

8.72

62

6

Cecil Fielder

1990

673

126

7.82

54

7

Al Kaline

1967

550

103

8.11

54

8

Charlie Maxwell

1956

592

117

8.92

53

9

Al Kaline

1956

693

128

7.87

49

10

Vic Wertz

1950

657

127

8.49

49



Finally, I created one more table (Table 3) which shows where Ordonez ranked on the various runs created stats and a couple of other measures. Offensive Winning Percentage (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. Magglio's .774 OWP was 16th best all-time and 3rd best since 1950.

OPS+ is OPS (on base plus slugging) adjusted for league and ballpark. Ordonez's OPS+ of 170 indicates that his OPS was 70% better than the average player. He ranked 19th all-time and 3rd since 1950 on that statistic.

In conclusion, it's safe to say that Ordonez's 2007 season was one of the top 20 offensive seasons in the history of the Tigers and the 2nd or 3rd best since 1950.

Table 3: How Ordonez Ranks on Different Measures


Stat

Number

Rank
all-time

Rank
since 1950

RCAA

73

15

2

RC

150

14

2

RC27

10.00

21

2

OWP

.774

16

3

OPS+

170

19

3

4 comments:

  1. Interesting article Lee. Just out of curiosity, if you happen to have the answer, who did Magglio displace on the list of top 20 offensive seasons?
    In other words, who is now #21?

    Dave
    (rhino)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dave, 21-25 are below:

    Gehringer 1936
    Trammell 1987
    Gehringer 1934
    Cobb 1922
    Colavito 1961

    I was a little surprised that Fielder's 1990 season only ranked 32nd.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, Lee.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lee, what stands out in this chart is that it illustrates again how underrated Harry Heilman is to Tiger fans.

    ReplyDelete

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