Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Does OBP=Runs? A New Formula

That's the big question of the day, or at least my day. I'll skip the review, but if you haven't been here all week and you have no idea what I'm talking about it, read the week's earlier entries. As for you regulars, I changed things up a bit.

This time, I decided to work with similar-styled players, but similar in the most basic ways. Today I'm looking at only National League players who had 30 or more homers. All that these guys have in common is power, and that they are in the middle of team's lineups. Here they are listed by OBP, Runs, and percentage of teams's runs scored:

Barry Bonds - .524, 93, .152
Albert Pujols - .436, 117, .159
Gary Sheffield - .428, 113, .145
Jim Edmonds - .395, 79, .107
Jim Thome - .389, 87, .133
Jeff Bagwell - .379, 94, .140
Javy Lopez - .379, 73, .094
Sammy Sosa - .376, 78, .132
Richie Sexson - .373, 79, .129
Mike Lowell - .351, 75, .118
Preston Wilson - .346, 84, .116
Andruw Jones - .338, 90, .115

Well, there's some correlation here. Most of the lower scores are in the bottom half. But how can Bonds be 88 points more than Pujols in OBP but trail in Run Percentage? And Bagwell and Lopez have the exact same OBP but different run percentages. If you've been paying attention, you know why: There is a great difference in number of plate appearances.

So, here's the newest formula from Eisenberg Sports. There will be a test at the end of the season (Sorry. Fell into teacher mode):

Run Percentage (RP) = Player's Runs / Team's Runs x 1000 / Player At Bats

I had to multiply by a 1000 because it was the only way my calculator could do it, and it makes it look more like a number that baseball fans could be comfortable with. Here's the list again, with just OBP and RP:

Bonds - .524, .336
Pujols - .436, .288
Sheffield - .428, .256
Edmonds - .395, .227
Thome - .389, .226
Bagwell - .379, .241
Lopez - .379, .227
Sosa - .376, .274
Sexson - .373, .207
Lowell - .351, .217
Wilson - .346, .201
Jones - .338, .206

Much better. The bottom four RP numbers go to the bottom four OBP players. The top two are the same, Bonds has the giant lead to correspond with his lead in OBP, and the middle is very similar. Bagwell does a little bit better than it seems that he should, which I find very interesting because whenever I've seen him play I've always thought (but couldn't prove) that he was a superior base runner. But the big question here is Sammy Sosa. Sammy just blows away everyone, and it's hard to see why. His other numbers don't stand out in this group of players at all. There's nothing unusual about his circumstances. If you knock ten runs off of Sammy's total, it brings his RP down to .239, at the high end of the range of players around him. Is that possible? Sammy's baserunning has contributed to TEN more runs?!

It doesn't seem possible. But there does seem to be a correlation between OBP and RP, and there's no other explanation that I can think of. Can you?

Tomorrow, there will be the same group of players and Slugging. Friday will be OPS, andwe'll be able to see if SLG again beats OBP. Saturday and Sunday is football.

Let me know what you think.

Dave's Email

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