October 21, 2014

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2012?

February 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Numerous methods have been devised to measure offensive performance.  The most common are batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average.  Since none of these averages provides a complete picture by itself, a more comprehensive measure of offensive performance is useful.  Such a measure would include the following elements:

1. The ability to get on base.

2. The ability to hit with power.

3. The ability to add value through baserunning.

The first two elements are measured by on-base percentage and slugging average.  A measure of offensive performance, which encompasses both as well as baserunning achievements, is Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA).  This measure accounts for the net bases accumulated by a player per plate appearance.  It is calculated as follows:

BPA = (TB + BB + HB + SB – CS – GIDP) / (AB + BB + HB + SF)

Where: BPA = Bases per Plate Appearance

TB = Total Bases
BB = Base on Balls
HB = Hit by Pitch
SB = Stolen Base
CS = Caught Stealing
GIDP = Ground into Double Play
AB = At Bats
SF = Sacrifice Flies

The numerator accounts for all of the bases accumulated by a player, reduced by the number of times he is caught stealing or erases another runner by grounding into a double play.  The denominator accounts for the plate appearances when the player is trying to generate bases for himself.  Sacrifice hits are not included as plate appearances, since they represent the successful execution of the batter’s attempts to advance another runner.

Major league BPA for the past fifteen years are shown below along with the number of players with BPA over .550 and .600:

Year 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
BPA .463 .479 .481 .468 .457 .461 .468 .456 .470 .463 .458 .461 .446 .442 .447
.550 41 50 50 46 39 42 33 34 46 34 41 42 19 25 12
.600 22 29 30 26 17 15 18 13 14 15 11 16 7 7 5

 

In the 1990s, there were 14 individual .700 BPA seasons.  In the eight year period from 2000 to 2007, there were 18.  The highest BPA in the 1990s was recorded by Mark McGwire in 1998 (.799). Barry Bonds shattered that with .907 in 2001, the highest figure ever recorded, topping Babe Ruth’s best two years (1920 and 1921).  Bonds followed that with .869 in 2002, .818 in 2003 and .882 in 2004.  There have not been any hitters with a BPA of .700 since 2007. The last player to make it was Alex Rodriguez (.702) in 2007.  Surprisingly, Albert Pujols has not had a .700 BPA in his twelve seasons.Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century.  BPA in the years 2010-2012 has been the lowest of any of the last 15 years.

The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2012 are listed below:

Player Team Year BPA
Barry Bonds San Francisco 2001 .907
Barry Bonds San Francisco 2004 .882
Barry Bonds San Francisco 2002 .869
Barry Bonds San Francisco 2003 .818
Sammy Sosa Chicago Cubs 2001 .758
Barry Bonda San Francisco 2000 .745
Jim Thome Cleveland 2002 .728
Manny Ramirez Cleveland 2000 .726
Todd Helton Colorado 2000 .720
Luis Gonzalez Arizona 2001 .713
Todd Helton Colorado 2001 .709
Carlos Delgfado Toronto 2000 .707
Larry Walker Colorado 2001 .707
Jason Giambi Oakland 2000 .706
Travis Hafner Cleveland 2006 .703
Alex Rodriguez NY Yankees 2007 .702
Jason Giambi Oakland 2001 .700
Ryan Howard Philadelphia 2006 .700

 

The yearly leaders since 1992 are as follows:

1992 Bonds .734 1999 McGwire .735 2006 Hafner .703
1993 Bonds .740 2000 Bonds .745 2007 A. Rodriguez .702
1994 Bagwell .768 2001 Bonds .907 2008 Pujols .685
1995 Belle .692 2002 Bonds .869 2009 Pujols .696
1996 McGwire .765 2003 Bonds .818 2010 Bautista .671
1997 Walker .770 2004 Bonds .882 2011 Bautista .681
1998 McQuire .799 2005 D. Lee .699 2012 Trout .665

 

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600.  Following is a list of 5 players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2012.  The list is topped by rookie Mike Trout replacing Jose Bautista who led in both 2010 and 2011.

Bases Per Plate Appearance (BPA) of .600 plus in 2012

Player 2012 BPA 2011 BPA No. of .600 plus seasons Comments
Mike Trout .665 .432 1 Unprecedented rookie season
Ryan Braun .651 .663 4 Only NL player over ‘.600
Edwin Encarnacion .623 .477 1 Big time breakout season
Miguel Cabrera .604 .615 4 Consistent and Durable
Josh Hamilton .602 .559 2 Many ups and downs

 

The only repeater from last year’s list is Cabrera.  Five other players had a BPA over .600 in 2011 but fell short in 2012.

Player 2011 BPA 2012 BPA No. of .600 plus seasons Comments
Jose Bautista .681 .576 2 Was No. 1 in 2010 and 2011
Matt Kemp .647 .568 1 Derailed by injuries after fast start
Curtis Granderson .614 .549 1 Too many strikeouts
Prince Fielder .610 .567 3 Not quite up to 2011 season
Jacoby Ellsbury .607 .424 1 2011 looks like a career year

 

Six currently active players have a BPA over .600 for their careers:

Player Age 2012 BPA Career BPA Comments
Albert Pujols 32 .534 .632 Still leads by a wide margin
Jim Thome 42 .478 .612 Still hits for power
Ryan Braun 28 .651 .611 Keeps getting better
Alex Rodriguez 36 .490 .611 Clearly in decline
Joey Votto 28 .642 .605 Nearing superstar status
Lance Berkman 36 .526 .601 Injuries takeing toll

 

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2012 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title.  The first three would be 3, 4 and 5 on the big list if they had enough plate appearances to qualify.

Player Age BPA PA Comments
David Ortiz 36 .645 383 Third highest in long career
Giancarlo Stanton 22 .645 501 Unbelievable power, fell one PA short
Joey Votto 28 .642 475 Over ‘.600 in 3 of 5 seasons
Brandon Moss 28 .615 296 First year over ‘.500

 

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, sixteen players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2012.

Player BPA Comments
Dustin Ackley .397 Disappointing sophmore season
Delmon Young .396 Did much better in post-season
J.J. Hardy .394 Hits for power but not average
Bennan Boesch .394 Well below career average
Jeff Francoeur .391 The lowest outfielder on the list
Jemile Weeks .390 Failed to repeat rookie success
Jesus Montero .386 More offense was expected
Darwin Barney .383 Only repeater from 2011 list
Alexei Ramirez .379 Worst season of 6-year career
Jamey Carroll .377 Only one home run in 470 AB
Michael Young .369 Steep decline in 2012
Yunel Escobar .356 Least productive season in 6-year career

 

No players compiled a batting average over .300, an on-base average over .400, a slugging percentage over .500 and bases per plate appearance over .600 in 2012. Two active players have these numbers for their careers.

Player (Career) BAVG OBA SLG BPA OPS
Albert Pujols .325 .414 .608 .632 1.022
Joey Votto .316 .415 .553 .605 .968

 

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