Monday, July 23, 2012

Tigers Offense Explodes in July

After sweeping the White Sox in a three-game weekend series, the Tigers find themselves in first place for the first time since early May.  It's been a great stretch for a team that entered July two games under .500 and four games out of first place.  The Tigers have gone 14-4 for the month of July to up their overall record to 52-44.  There are plenty of reasons for their resurgence.  The starting pitching has been excellent, the bullpen has continued to be sharp and their fielding has been much cleaner.

The number one reason for the team's resurgence though may be a sizzling offense.  After a frustrating first three months where the vaunted line-up struggled to be league average, they have led the majors with 100 runs scored in July.  The second highest total is 97 by the surging Pirates.

The Tigers offensive explosion has been a team effort.  Sluggers Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have stepped up the pace, emerging star center fielder Austin Jackson has returned from the disabled list and complementary players like Brennan Boesch and Johnny Peralta have snapped out of early season slumps.  And we don't want to forget the surprising exploits of Quinton Berry.

Who has been most responsible for the major league leading run total this month? One simple way to look at it is with the Runs Participated In (RPI) statistic invented in the 1950s by Bob Creamer, an excellent and long-time writer who passed away last week. Creamer called it Runs Produced, but sabermetrician Tom Tango re-named it a couple of years ago.  It is calculated as

RPI = RBI + R - HR

The RPI statistic simply tells us the number of runs to which a player contributed with either a run or an RBI.  Most readers of this blog understand that Runs and RBI are not the best measures for player evaluation because they are so dependent on opportunity.  However, the question I'm trying to answer here is which players helped score the runs that did score regardless of whether they were actually the best hitters.

The Tigers RPI leaders for July are listed in Table 1 below.  Cabrera (29) and Fielder (24) are leading the charge which is how it was supposed to be. However, they are getting contributions all throughout the line-up something that had not been happening earlier in the year.  .   

Table 1: Tigers Runs Participated In Leaders in July 

Player
R
RBI
HR
RPI
Cabrera
19
17
7
29
Fielder
11
16
3
24
Jackson
14
10
2
22
Boesch
8
16
4
20
Peralta
11
9
2
18
Young
8
12
4
16
Berry
8
7
1
14
Avila
5
5
1
9
Data source: Baseball-Reference.com

For those who can not stomach the use of runs and RBI for any kind of analysis anymore, you could try Linear Weights Runs Created (wRC).  The wRC statistic tells us how many a runs a player should have contributed given his numbers of hits, walks, home runs and other offensive events.  Table 2 below shows that Cabrera and Fielder also lead this list and the other players follow in a similar order to Table 1.

Table 2: Tigers Runs Created Leaders in July

Player
wRC
Cabrera
20
Fielder
16
Boesch
13
Jackson
12
Peralta
10
Young
7
Berry
6
Avila
6
Data source: FanGraphs.com

Anyway you look at it, the Tigers offense is on fire this month and there are a lot of players contributing.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sabermetrics Book

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

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter