Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cabrera, Headley Provided Bulk of Teams' Offenses

As the AL MVP debate raged on this fall, some fans were actually discussing the NL MVP (yes, they gave one of those this year).  While much of the debate centered on eventual winner Buster Posey and runner-up Ryan Braun, there was also plenty of support for Padres third baseman Chase Headley among others.  Headley compiled some impressive statistics during the year - a .376 OBP, 31 home runs, 263 times on base (good for third in the NL) and 301 total bases (fifth) - while playing half his games in the pitchers paradise of Petco Park.  He was also one of the best third baseman in the majors defensively
.
Beyond his great individual performance, some of Headley's backers, claimed that Headley deserved the MVP because the Padres would have had virtually no offense without him. They got a good half season from Carlos Quentin, but no other Padre provided much more than average offensive production for the season.  Their argument was that he was so much better than the rest of the team that it made him more valuable than any other National League player.

Some would argue that a great hitter surrounded by other very good batters provides even more to his team than one solo star because because his interaction with other good hitters creates more runs than one player can provide by himself.  Regardless of who is right, it leads us to an interesting question: Which player accounted the greatest portion of his team's offense?

One simple way to answer the question is with Runs Participated In (RPI) and team runs scored.  As a reminder, RPI = runs scored + RBI + Runs Assisted - Home runs.  On a team that scored just 651 runs in 2012, Headley had 228 RPI for a Runs Participated Percentage (RPI%) of 35.0. In other words, he played a role in over a third of the Padres runs.  Table 1 below shows that he led the league in that category followed by Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen with 34.1.

Table 1: NL Runs Participated In Percentage Leaders, 2012

Player
Team
RPI
Team Runs
RPI%
Chase Headley
SDN
228
651
35.0
Andrew McCutchen
PIT
222
651
34.1
David Wright
NYN
209
650
32.2
Starlin Castro
CHN
189
613
30.8
Matt Holliday
SLN
232
765
30.3
Andre Ethier
LAN
193
637
30.3
Freddie Freeman
ATL
212
700
30.3
Martin Prado
ATL
206
700
29.4
Jay Bruce
CIN
196
669
29.3
Ryan Zimmerman
WAS
212
731
29.0
Buster Posey
SFN
208
718
29.0
Jason Heyward
ATL
201
700
28.7
Jose Reyes
MIA
174
609
28.6
Ryan Braun
MIL
221
776
28.5
Alfonso Soriano
CHN
174
613
28.4
 


Table 2 shows that the American League leader on RPI% was MVP third baseman Miguel Cabrera with 34.8%.  The next three hitters on the list - Joe Mauer of the Twins (32.0), Billy Butler of the Royals (29.9), Jason Kipnis of the Indians (29.5) and Josh Willingham also of then Twins (29.4) - all played on teams with relatively weak offenses.

Table 2: AL Runs Participated In Percentage Leaders, 2012 


Player
Team
RPI
Team Runs
RPI%
Miguel Cabrera
DET
253
726
34.8
Joe Mauer
MIN
224
701
32.0
Billy Butler
KCA
202
676
29.9
Jason Kipnis
CLE
197
667
29.5
Josh Willingham
MIN
206
701
29.4
Mike Trout
ANA
222
767
28.9
Robinson Cano
NYA
228
804
28.4
Alex Gordon
KCA
191
676
28.3
Prince Fielder
DET
205
726
28.2
Edwin Encarnacion
TOR
201
716
28.1
Adam Jones
BAL
198
712
27.8
Shin-Soo Choo
CLE
185
667
27.7
Kyle Seager
SEA
171
619
27.6
Josh Hamilton
TEX
223
808
27.6
Albert Pujols
ANA
207
767
27.0



Finally, Table 3 lists the RPI% for Tigers players.  Not surprisingly, the next highest percentages after Cabrera belonged to Prince Fielder (28.2) and Austin Jackson (26.4).

Table 3: Tigers Runs Participated In Percentage Leaders, 2012 


Player
RPI
RPI%
Miguel Cabrera
253
34.8
Prince Fielder
205
28.2
Austin Jackson
192
26.4
Delmon Young
146
20.1
Jhonny Peralta
135
18.6
Brennan Boesch
134
18.5
Andy Dirks
111
15.3
Alex Avila
103
14.2
Quintin Berry
95
13.1
Omar Infante
62
8.5
Ramon Santiago
58
8.0
Gerald Laird
43
5.9
Ryan Raburn
42
5.8
Danny Worth
23
3.2
Don Kelly
21
2.9



The information used here was obtained free of charge from and is copyrighted by Retrosheet.  Interested parties may contact Retrosheet at Retrosheet.org.

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