Monday, June 15, 2009

Mid June Leaders

Spending some time this afternoon on the Baseball Reference 2009 MLB Advanced Batting stats page, gave us an enlightened look into the first ten weeks of the season.

We were looking at individual stats, and the two stats we focused on were Runs Created per Game (RC/G), and Power/Speed Number (PwrSpd).

RC/G, sometimes called RC/27 outs can be thought of as what a lineup of nine clones of the same batter would score in an average game.

A player's Power/Speed Number, developed by Bill James, is simply stated: the geometric mean of HR and SB.

For all you math fans out there, the Power/Speed Number is twice the factor of HR & SB, divided by the sum of HR & SB.

PwrSpd = (2 x HR x SB) / (HR + SB)

Here are the current Major League leading teams, when  looking at these stats by position.

2009 Power/Speed Team
C: Yadier Molina 4.0
1b: Albert Pujols 12.8
2b: Ian Kinsler 12.7
SS: Derek Jeter 10.6
3b: Mark Reynolds 14.7
OF: Curtis Granderson 11.7
OF: Torii Hunter 13.0
OF: Nelson Cruz 12.6

Mark Reynolds leading all of baseball in P/S# is surprising, but he did finish 30th last season.  So, it's not completely shocking.

Yadier Molina making a squad that awards players for speed is probably the most surprising part of this list.  Last year's catcher with the highest P/S#, Russell Martin, still has zero HR's this season.

Jeter having a higher P/S# than Hanley Ramirez is also mildly shocking.  Then again, there is a lot of power value to playing half your games at the new Yankee Stadium.

2009 RC/G Team
C: Joe Mauer 15.4
1b: Joey Votto 11.6
2b: Chase Utley 10.6
SS: Ben Zobrist 11.4
3b: Aramis Ramirez 10.0
OF: Luke Scott 9.9
OF: Carlos Beltran 9.7
OF: Torii Hunter 9.3

Injury replacements for Joey Votto and Aramis Ramirez would be Kevin Youkilis, 11.4 RC/G and David Wright, 9.8.

Congratulations to Torii Hunter for being the only player on both of these teams.  He's gone back and forth from overrated to underrated, to I don't know where he stands now.  Maybe he's really, really good and just a little overpaid.

Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott are definitely unexpected guests to this party.  Luke Scott seems mostly like a guy who has prodigious power, but has recently been fortunate that he's on a rapid home run pace.  I think at the end of the year, he may be above his career averages, but he's not going to be leading the league in much of anything.

Ben Zobrist, on the other hand, has been a revelation.  He has stepped in to be the Tampa Bay Ray's version of Mark DeRosa, playing all over the diamond and being a steady force in the lineup.  He's recently been batting fifth in the order, supplying more than enough protection for Carlos Pena to lead the league with 20 HR's as the cleanup hitter.  Zobrist has 13 HR's, 8 SB's, and an OPS+ of 180, while being a league leader in Power/Speed number, with 9.9.

While Zobrist has been really surprising, I fee he's more of a late bloomer who has a track record that suggests he'll be successful given the opportunity.

As a delightful surprise, to end this post, I will also show the current team of OPS+ position leaders.  As a recap, OPS+ adjusts for a player's home ballpark and their OBP and SLG, compared to the league average OBP and SLG.  An OPS+ of 100 is  league average, and the higher your score, the better.

2009 OPS+ Squad
C: Joe Mauer, 229
1b: Albert Pujols, 196
2b: Chase Utley, 163
SS: Ben Zobrist, 180
3b: David Wright, 161
OF: Raul Ibanez, 170
OF: Carlos Beltran, 163
OF: Torii Hunter, 161

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