Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tigers Run Participation Leaders Since 1950

Following up on my previous post on run participation for all major league players since 1950, I will look at the Tigers today.   As a reminder, a player can participate in his teams' runs in three ways:
  • Runs Scored (RS)
  • Runs Batted In (RBI)
  • Runs Assisted (RAS)
A Run Assisted is any contribution to a team run that does not result in a run scored or RBI for the batter.  The ways a player can get a Run Assisted (RAS) are described below:
  • A batter advances a runner to either second or third with a hit, base on balls, hit batsmen, error, sacrifice bunt, or another kind of out.  If that runner then scores either during the same at bat or an ensuing at bat, the batter who advanced him is given a Run Assisted.
  • A batter reaches base and is removed for a pinch runner or is replaced by another runner on a force out.  If the new runner then scores, the batter who originally reached base is given a Run Assisted. 
A player gets credit for a Run Participated In (RPI) if he either scores, drives in or assists a run.  There is no double counting for home runs so the formula is RPI = RS + RBI + RAS - HR

Table 1 presents the Tigers RPI leaders since 1950, the first complete year of Retrosheet data (required in order to calculated RAS).  Hall-of-Fame outfielder Al Kaline is the leader with 3,777 RPI followed by the dynamic duo of Lou Whitaker (2,998) and Alan Trammell (2,853).  Current slugger Miguel Cabrera figures to move up the list quickly.  He is currently 19th with 1,181, but if he keep up the same pace, he'll move into the top five in just three more years. 

Table 1: Tigers Run Participation Leaders, 1950-2012

Player
PA
RS
RBI
RAS
HR
RPI
Al Kaline
11,596
1,622
1,582
972
399
3,777
Lou Whitaker
9,967
1,386
1,084
772
244
2,998
Alan Trammell
9,375
1,231
1,003
804
185
2,853
Norm Cash
7,775
1,027
1,088
604
373
2,346
Dick McAuliffe
6,828
856
671
397
192
1,732
Willie Horton
5,973
671
886
384
262
1,679
Bobby Higginson
5,663
736
709
419
187
1,677
Bill Freehan
6,900
706
758
409
200
1,673
Kirk Gibson
4,773
698
668
391
195
1,562
Travis Fryman
4,792
607
679
372
149
1,509
Cecil Fielder
4,252
558
758
329
245
1,400
Mickey Stanley
5,478
641
500
343
117
1,367
Lance Parrish
4,674
577
700
279
212
1,344
Harvey Kuenn
4,737
619
423
349
53
1,338
Jim Northrup
4,926
571
570
334
145
1,330
Brandon Inge
5,196
527
589
325
140
1,301
Chet Lemon
4,676
570
536
308
142
1,272
Magglio Ordonez
3,531
452
533
331
107
1,209
Miguel Cabrera
3,401
512
600
252
183
1,181
Carlos Guillen
3,384
469
449
320
95
1,143



Runs Participated In is a counting statistic which is influenced greatly by length of career, so it's good to also have a rate measure.  One such metric is Runs Participated In Percentage (RPI%) which is the percentage of a teams' total runs in which a player participated.  For example, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera participated in 253 runs out of 726 total runs for the Tigers in 2012, so he had a 34.8% RPI%.  The RPI% statistic might tell us how much a team relied on a player to score runs.  As such, some fans might find it useful in MVP voting.  The limitation of course is that a player may benefit from having less productive teammates surrounding him in the order. 

Over the course of a career, you can average a player's annual RPI%'s to arrive at a career RPI%The RPI% leaders since 1950 among Tigers with at least 2,000 PA are listed in Table 2 below.  Cabrera is the leader averaging 30.9% in his five years in Detroit.  He is followed by outfielders Rocky Colavito (28.9) and Steve Kemp (28.2).   

Table 2: Tigers Run Participation Percentage Leaders, 1950-2012

Player
PA
RPI
RPI%
Miguel Cabrera
3,401
1,181
30.9
Rocky Colavito
2,723
856
28.9
Steve Kemp
2,930
969
28.2
Rusty Staub
2,407
758
27.5
Tony Phillips
3,320
1,023
26.2
Cecil Fielder
4,252
1,400
26.2
Al Kaline
11,596
3,777
24.8
Travis Fryman
4,792
1,509
24.6
Harvey Kuenn
4,737
1,338
24.3
Ron LeFlore
3,559
954
23.5
Norm Cash
7,775
2,346
22.5
Ray Boone
2,854
925
22.4
Bill Bruton
2,228
677
22.4
Mickey Tettleton
2,343
685
21.6
Magglio Ordonez
3,531
1,209
21.4
Frank Bolling
3,265
841
21.3
Lou Whitaker
9,967
2,998
21.2
Placido Polanco
2,819
851
21.1
Bobby Higginson
5,663
1,677
21.0
Darrell Evans
2,809
820
20.7

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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