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Link for 10-5-09 – RBI Potential

I can already hear the protests!  You are posting a baseball link on the day after a HUGE win by the Patriots.  A win that seems to suggest the rust has fallen away and the Brady we know and love is really and truly back.  A baseball link on the day that Adam Schefter from ESPN is suggesting that the Pats will resign Junior Seau, perhaps as early as this week.  A baseball link on the day of an epic MNF game between division rivals Minnesota and Green Bay (with a minor subplot involving the QBs on each team.)  A baseball link on the day after a weekend where nothing interesting happened in politics.*  To all these protests, I say yes.  You are getting a baseball link today…and a good one at that.

It is no surprise that the Red Sox are an exceptionally well-run team.  Sure they spend a lot of money, but they spend it well.  Theo and Co. seem to understand which players will fit the system and what is the correct value for them.  Sure they make some mistakes (paging Eric Gagne) but, when they do, they have the resources and know-how to move on from them.  In today’s link of the day, I want to share with you an article by Joe Posnanski about the Red Sox philosophy of getting players who “don’t make outs.”  Sounds simple, but Theo’s point is that some stats which many fans value (RBIs for example) are not a good metric for evaluating players.  In the article, they talk abut OPS, but I have a new one.

Just days before reading this article, my father (who needs a snappy blog name – ‘papa sporty politics’ maybe?) suggested a new statistic that I hadn’t thought of.  Namely, RBI Potential.  Essentially RBIP measures how well a player does at driving in runners on base.  For example, if I come up to bat with Ellsbury on third, Pedroia on second and Youk on first (I can dream can’t I) I would have an RBIP of 4 (the three guys on base plus me)  Let’s say I hit a double scoring Ells and Petey.  Well I have driven in 2 of the potential 4, so my RBIP would be .500.  Get it?  Of course, you could weight the runners based on the base they are on (ie. guy on third counts for one, second for two, first for three and batter for four) since it is easier to drive in a runner who is on third than on first. 

Would you rather have on your team a guy who has 60 RBIs, but an RBIP of .479 or a guy with 120 RBIs, but an RBIP of .234?  Seems like an obvious choice but, without this new stat, you might choose the wrong guy.  I’m sure there are many aspects to this stat we haven’t thought of (and maybe others have already talked about it) but, on the surface, it seems like a pretty interesting idea.   Of course, the next logical question is which guys would have the best RBIP?  It probably favors power hitters who hit for high average so I’m thinking guys like Pujols or Mauer would probably be up there. 

*That last line was for a certain reader, who shall remain nameless, but who knows who he or she is 🙂

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