Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mid-season runs created update

One of my favorite summary stats for hitters is Runs Created (RC). Runs Created 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, homeruns and other things that a player does to score runs. Bill James showed in his Baseball Abstracts many years ago that runs created is highly correlated with runs scored. This tells us that runs scored are essentially the sum of other team statistics and are not, in general, accounted for by unmeasured factors. There are many runs created formulas but they all have the same basic structure:

RC= (A*B)/C

where A= number of runners on base, B=advancement of runners and C=opportunities to do A and B.

One of the first runs created formulas was developed by Bill James in 1979. It was simply:

RC= ((hits+walks)*total bases)/(ab+walks).


That version is still useful for some purposes but the formula has evolved over the years and more recent versions are more accurate in estimating runs scored. Sabermetrician DanFox gave a brief history of runs created on his blog. The RC figures presented here were abstracted from Lee Sinnis' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia. I believe the formula he uses is:


RC = (((2.4*C+A)*(3*C+B))/(9*C))-(.9*C)


where


A = H+BB+HBP-CS-GIDP
B = TB+.24*(BB-IBB+HBP)+.62*SB+.5*(SH+SF)-.03*SO
C = AB+BB+HBP+SH+SF


Runs Created can also be found at ESPN and The Hardball Times. You may notice that the runs created listed on those two sites are slightly different from the ones calculated by Sinnis' program. That is because they incorporate batting average with runners in scoring position into their algorithm. I prefer the version which does not use batting average with runners in scoring position. Table 1 below lists the RC for Detroit Tigers batters and where they rank among American League regulars as of July 1.


Table 1: Runs Created for Tigers batters (through July 1, 2008)

Rank

Player

PA

RC

18

Ordonez

335

52

21

Guillen

328

49

21

Cabrera

344

49

43

Polanco

317

43

39

Granderson

253

39

69

Thames

166

33

75

Rodriguez

264

31

77

Renteria

307

30

120

Sheffield

196

20

120

Inge

171

20

139

Thomas

99

16

153

Santiago

47

11

162

Raburn

88

9

166

Joyce

64

8



As you can see, only three Tigers - Magglio Ordonez (18th), Carlos Guillen (21st) and Miguel Cabrera (also 21st) rank among the top 40 in the league. They are still ranked third in the league in runs scored though because their regular line-up does not have a lot of black holes and they are getting good contributions from role players.

RC favors players who play in a lot of games. This is not a bad thing but sometimes we want to know the rate in which a player creates runs in games that he does play. For this, we have Runs Created per 27 outs (RC27). For example, Magglio Ordonez has 6.30 runs created per 27 outs. Theoretically, this means that a team of 9 Magglio Ordonez's would score 6.30 runs per game. Table 2 lists the runs created per 27 outs for the Tigers and how they rank among 117 American League regulars with 200 or more plate appearances.


Table 2: Runs Created per game for Tigers batters (through July 1, 2008)

Rank

Player

PA

RC27

---

Santiago

47

11.42

---

Thames

166

8.03

---

Thomas

99

6.97

24

Ordonez

335

6.30

26

Granderson

253

6.16

27

Guillen

328

6.15

32

Cabrera

344

5.73

36

Polanco

317

5.56

---

Joyce

64

4.60

71

Rodriguez

264

4.48

---

Inge

171

4.46

---

Sheffield

196

3.86

---

Raburn

88

3.74

98

Renteria

307

3.67



You can see that the list is headed by players with fewer than 200 plate appearances. Ramon Santiago has created 11.42 runs per 27 outs this season. That is the highest total in the league for any player with at least 20 plate appearances! Santiago only has 47 plate appearances but he has done very well in his limited opportunities.

In 166 plate appearances, Marcus Thames has a very impressive 8.03 runs created per game. That ranks him sixth in the league among players with at least 150 plate appearances. That seems like a good reason to keep on giving him regular at bats until he cools off.

Among the regulars, the Tigers have no players in the top 20 but five players between 24th and 36th. If they can keep everyone healthy, they should create and score more runs in the second half. I would expect Cabrera, and possibly Granderson and Ordonez to get into the top twenty before the season is over. I also expect some improvement from Gary Sheffield and Edgar Renteria. Some of their role players like Thames and Thomas should cool off but I think we'll see move players improving or staying the same than regressing in the second half.

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