Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Which Players were Best at Advancing Runners in 2012?

In earlier posts, I discussed some statistics which described how runs are scored.  First, I touched upon Baseball Prospectus' Others Batted In Percentage statistic which is the percent of runners on base which a batter drives in.  Then I introduced the Runs Assisted measure which is the number of runs to which a batted contributed without getting a run scored or RBI. In this post, I'll talk about other things that can happen in a plate appearance where there are runners on base.  

The events that can occur when batters are presented with base runners can be put into two broad categories (Advancement and Non-advancement) and five sub-categories.  There are three types of Advances (ADV):
  • Other Batted In (OBI) - A base runner is driven in by the batter.  It's the same thing as an RBI except a player does not get credit for driving himself in with a home run.
  • Run Assisted (RAS) - 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.
  • Unrewarded Advancement (UNR) - A batter advances a runner, but the runner does not score by the end of the inning.  
When I first presented the Runs Assisted metric, I also included a second part to the definition: "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".   Here, I am only looking at whether a batter advances base runners, so the second portion is excluded.

There are two types of Non-advances (NADV):
  • Neutral (NEU) - A batter does not advance a runner, but there are no outs on the play. (e.g. a walk with a runner on second)
  • Giveaway (GA) - A batter fails to advance a runner and one or more outs are made either at the plate or on the bases.
It is possible to have an Advance and a Giveaway in the same plate appearance.  For example, a batter comes up with runners on first and second and hits into a force out at second advancing the runner to third.  In that case, he gets credit for a Giveaway for the first runner and an Advance (either a RAS or UNR) for the second runner.  These statistics are discussed further in the comments section of a post at Tom Tango's Book Blog.  I basically followed his algorithm presented in comment #31. I have not yet programmed the odd-ball occurrences discussed, but they should not change the results too much.   

 Table 1: Advancement of Runners by League , 2012


League
        American
       National
Category
n
%
n
%
Baserunners
50,866
100.0
58,708
100.0
Advances
19,513
38.4
22,282
         38.0
   Others Batted In
7,129
14.0
7,936
13.5
   Runs Assisted
5,401
10.6
6,013
10.2
   Unrewarded Advances
6,983
13.7
8,333
14.2
Non-advances
31,353
61.6
36,426
62.0
   Neutrals
2,295
4.5
2,924
5.0
   Giveaways
29,058
57.1
33,502
57.1

Table 1 shows that there were 50,866 batters on base in all American League plate appearances in 2012. A total of 19,513 (or 38.4%) were advanced including Others Batted In (14.0%), Runs Assisted (10.6%) and Unrewarded Advances (13.7%).  There were 31,353 Non-advances (61.6%) including Neutrals (4.5%) and Giveaways (57.1%).   The National League percentages were similar.

These counting statistics are not a replacement for Batting Runs or True Average or any of your other favorite batting evaluation statistics.  Their primary purpose is to fill gaps in baseball data collection.  I find it interesting to know how successful a batter was in advancing runners and how often he failed.  In a more sophisticated analysis, these statistics might possibly have some practical use in building batting orders or in looking at the age-old clutch questions.  This post only serves as an introduction to some new statistical categories. 

Table 2 shows that Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday advanced more runners (204) than any player in baseball in 2012.  The American League leader was Twins catcher Joe Mauer with 203.  Table 3 tells us that Josh Reddick of the Athletics failed to advance 297 base runners, the highest total in the majors.

Table 2: Runners Advanced Leaders, 2012


Player
Team
OBI
RAS
UNR
ADV
Matt Holliday
SLN
75
60
69
204
Joe Mauer
MIN
75
66
62
203
Miguel Cabrera
DET
95
49
55
199
Prince Fielder
DET
78
42
75
195
Robinson Cano
NYA
61
59
72
192
Josh Willingham
MIN
75
45
69
189
Elvis Andrus
TEX
59
55
72
186
Martin Prado
ATL
60
63
61
184
Carlos Beltran
SLN
65
44
74
183
Buster Posey
SFN
79
46
58
183


Table 3: Non-Advancement Leaders, 2012

Player
Team
NEU
GA
NADV
Josh Reddick
OAK
24
273
297
Robinson Cano
NYA
29
255
284
Delmon Young
DET
7
270
277
Rickie Weeks
MIL
28
247
275
Jay Bruce
CIN
27
245
272
Josh Willingham
MIN
30
240
270
Curtis Granderson
NYA
18
252
270
Adam LaRoche
WAS
25
242
267
Prince Fielder
DET
40
221
261
Alex Rios
CHA
10
250
260
 

Advances and Non-advances are counting statistics which tell us as much about opportunity as proficiency, so it's useful to compute a rate.  There are several ways that could be done, but one simple one is Advance Percentage (ADV%).  Table 4 indicates that Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus advanced 186 of 369 baserunners for a .504 percentage.  This was the top percentage among players with 200 or more base runners in their plate appearances.  The trailers are shown in Table 5 led by Reds shortstop Zack Cozart at .261. 

Table 4: Advance Percentage Leaders, 2012

Player
Team
BR
ADV
ADV%
Elvis Andrus
TEX
369
186
.504
Martin Prado
ATL
372
184
.495
Joe Mauer
MIN
414
203
.490
John Jaso
SEA
229
111
.485
Joey Votto
CIN
263
127
.483
Garrett Jones
PIT
321
155
.483
Alberto Callaspo
ANA
295
141
.478
Jonathan Lucroy
MIL
237
113
.477
Jon Jay
SLN
267
127
.476
Melky Cabrera
SFN
295
138
.468
 

Table 5: Advance Percentage Trailers, 2012


Player
Team
BR
ADV
ADV%
Zack Cozart
CIN
249
65
.261
Jemile Weeks
OAK
245
70
.286
Rickie Weeks
MIL
389
114
.293
Josh Reddick
OAK
424
127
.300
Rod Barajas
PIT
217
66
.304
Andres Torres
NYN
241
76
.315
Bryan LaHair
CHN
209
66
.316
Logan Morrison
MIA
218
69
.317
Wilin Rosario
COL
252
80
.317
John Buck
MIA
239
76
.318
 

In order to account for both quality and quantity, one can also calculate Advances Above Average (ADVAA).  The American League average ADV% was .384, so Andrus had 186 ADV - .384 * 369 BR = 44 ADVAA.  This says that he advanced 44 more runners than you would expect from an average player in the same number of opportunities.  The leaders and trailers in ADVAA are presented in Tables 6 and 7 below. 

Table 6: Runners Advanced Above Average Leaders, 2012

Player
Team
BR
ADV
ADVAA
Elvis Andrus
TEX
369
186
44
Joe Mauer
MIN
414
203
44
Martin Prado
ATL
372
184
43
Garrett Jones
PIT
321
155
33
Matt Holliday
SLN
458
204
30
Torii Hunter
ANA
370
171
29
Miguel Cabrera
DET
444
199
29
Alberto Callaspo
ANA
295
141
28
Joey Votto
CIN
263
127
27
Jason Kipnis
CLE
403
181
26
 

Table 7: Runners Advanced Above Average Trailers, 2012

Player
Team
BR
ADV
ADVAA
Josh Reddick
OAK
424
127
-36
Rickie Weeks
MIL
389
114
-34
Zack Cozart
CIN
249
65
-30
Shelley Duncan
CLE
180
45
-24
Jemile Weeks
OAK
245
70
-24
Delmon Young
DET
415
138
-21
Jeff Francoeur
KCA
355
115
-21
Nick Hundley
SDN
169
43
-21
John McDonald
ARI
150
37
-20
Ike Davis
NYN
387
127
-20
  
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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