Saturday, September 10, 2011

Giving Victor Martinez Credit for Situational Hitting

When a team is losing, fans usually talk about how they never hit with runners in scoring  position.  When a team is winning like the Tigers have been recently, everyone wants to talk about their great situational hitting.  One man in particular who is getting praise for his ability to hit with runners in scoring position is designated hitter Victor Martinez.

Many fans complain that statistics like on base percentage, slugging average and OPS don't address situational hitting. Traditional fans like to use Runs Batted In, but that is a team dependent statistic.  A player has more or less opportunity to drive in runs depending on who is batting in front of him.

Other fans point to batting average with runners in scoring position, but that is based on a limited number of plate appearances.  It also doesn't consider the number of outs, the specific base runners (e.g. bases loaded versus second base only) or the type of hit (single, double, triple or home run).  It also ignores a player's performance when no runners are in scoring position. 

What we want is a statistic which gives a player credit for everything he does including situational hitting.  Batting RunsBatting Runs Above Average by the 24 Base/Out States (RE24) - found at Baseball-Reference - does just that.   In the past, I have discussed just plain Batting Runs  (see the bottom section of the linked article).  Batting Runs is an estimate of how many runs a player contributed to his team beyond what an average hitter would have contributed in his place.   RE24 is similar to Batting Runs except that it uses base/out states in the calculation.  An example of a base/out state is "runners at first and third and one out".  There are 24 possible base/out states and RE24 takes all of them into consideration.

In the calculation of Batting Runs, a double with the bases loaded and two outs counts the same (0.770 runs) as a double with the bases empty and no outs. On the other hand, RE24 counts the bases loaded double more than the bases empty double (2.544 versus 0.632) because it does more to increase the expected runs scored in the inning.

RE24 for one at bat is the difference between run expectancy at the beginning and end of a play.  For example, suppose Martinez bats with a runner on first and one out. In that situation, we would expect 0.556 runs to score by the end of the inning.  Assume that Martinez then doubles, putting runners on second and third with one out. In that situation, we would expect 1.447 runs to score by the end of the inning. Therefore, Martinez's double is worth 0.891 runs.

Summing RE24 over all of a batter’s plate appearances yields his season total RE24. For
example, Martinez has a RE24 of 39.5 this year.  So, by that measure, he has contributed about 40 runs above what an average batter would have been expected to contribute given the same opportunities. This is much higher than his 20.3 Batting Runs, which means that Martinez has been extremely good in situations with high run expectancy and has contributed more to his team’s runs than Batting Runs indicates.  Indeed, we can estimate that he has contributed an extra 19 runs with his situational hitting, which is a lot.

Table 1 below shows the top ten batters in the American League in terms of RE24 in 2011.  RE24. Miguel Cabrera is second to Jose Bautista in both Batting Runs and RE24.  While Martinez is only 17th in the league in Batting Runs, he is fifth in RE24.

The Tigers have 66.7 Batting Runs as a team this year and their team RE24 is 61.1.  So, their situational hitting performance has not significantly helped or hurt them.  Their individual RE24 leaders (Table 2) are no surprise.  Regardless of how you cut the data, Cabrera, Martinez, Alex Avila and Jhonny Peralta are the clear offensive leaders.

What is interesting is that Martinez is so far ahead of the rest of the team in RE24 minus BtRuns.  This shows that Martinez has added more with his situational hitting than any other Tiger.  The majority of his teammates actually look slightly less productive when you add situational performance into the equation.


Table 1: AL RE24 Leaders

Player
Team
BtRuns
RE24
RE24-BtRuns
Bautista
TOR
60.6
59.2
-1.4
Cabrera
DET
57.2
56.3
-0.9
Ellsbury
BOS
34.7
50.2
15.5
Gonxalez
BOS
47.0
44.9
-2.1
Martinez
DET
20.0
39.5
19.5
Granderson
NY
33.9
38.3
4.4
Ortiz
BOS
42.8
36.1
-6.7
Gordon
KC
33.1
33.8
0.7
Napoli
TEX
29.0
33.6
4.6
Cano
NY
20.3
30.7
10.4


Table 2: Tigers Ranked by RE24


Player
BtRuns
RE24
RE24-BtRuns
Cabrera
57.2
56.3
-0.9
Martinez
20.0
39.5
19.5
Avila
32.6
28.4
-4.2
Peralta
18.7
14.3
-4.4
Boesch
10.9
9.1
-1.8
Young
1.8
2.7
0.9
Betemit
3.0
2.6
-0.4
Jackson
-5.5
-1.7
3.8
Dirks
-1.3
-4.3
-3
Kelly
-9.6
-7.0
2.6
Santiago
-2.6
-9.1
-6.5
Raburn
-9.0
-12.2
-3.2
Ordonez
-12.6
-18.3
-5.7
Inge
-19.8
-22.7
-2.9

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

Ticket America

Purchase Tigers tickets at Comerica Park. Ticketamerica.com has access to Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers seats and STL Cardinals. Find and buy all MLB seats including Red Sox and NY Yankees here.

GoTickets

Get Tigers tickets for Comerica Park and watch them play the Seattle Mariners and other MLB teams. We also have baseball tickets, MLB All Star and World Series tickets.

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Other Stuff




Total Pageviews