Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2012?
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:
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:
|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|
|Alex Rodriguez||NY Yankees||2007||.702|
The yearly leaders since 1992 are as follows:
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.
|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.
|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.