September 30, 2014

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2013?

February 5, 2014 by · 1 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 base-running.

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   = Bases on Balls; HB   = Hit by Pitch; SB   = Stolen Bases; CS   = Caught Stealing; GIDP = Grounded into Double Plays; 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 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
BPA  .479  .481  .468  .457  .461  .468  .456  .470  .463  .458  .461  .446  .442  .447  .440
>.550    50    50    46    39    42    33    34    46    34    41    42    19    25    12    14
>.600    29    30    26    17    15    18    13    14    15    11    16     7     7     5     3

 

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century.  BPA in the years 2010-2013 has been the lowest of any of the last 15 years.

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 thirteen seasons.

Player Team Season BPA
Barry Bonds SF 2001 .907
Barry Bonds SF 2004 .882
Barry Bonds SF 2002 .869
Barry Bonds SF 2003 .818.
Sammy Sosa Cubs 2001 .758
Jim Thome Cle 2002 .745
Manny Ramirez Cle 2000 .728
Todd Helton Col 2001 .726
Luis Gonzalez AZ 2001 .720
Carlos Delgado Tor 2000 .707
Larry Walker Col 2001 .707
Jason Giambi Oak 2000 .706
Travis Hafner Cle 2006 .703
Alex Rodriguez NYY 2007 .702
Jason Giambi Oak 2001 .700
Ryan Howard Phi 2006 .700

 

The yearly leaders with their annual totals are as follows:

1992   Bonds .734 1993   Bonds .740 1994   Bagwell .768
1995   Belle .692 1996   McGwire .765 1997   Walker .770
1998   McGwire .799 1999   McGwire .735 2000   Bonds .745
2001   Bonds .907 2002   Bonds .867 2003   Bonds .818
2004   Bonds .882 2005   D. Lee .699 2006   Hafner .703
2007  Rodriguez .702 2008   Pujols .685 2009   Pujols .696
2010   Bautista .671 2011   Bautista .681 2012   Trout .665
2013   C. Davis .670

 

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600.  Following is a list of only 3 players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2013.  The list is topped by Chris Davis of Baltimore replacing Mike Trout who led in 2012.

Bases per plate appearance of greater than .600 in 2013 is as follows:

Player   2013       BPA   2012       BPA  League Number of .600 Seasons Comments
Chris Davis   .670   .521    AL     1  Breakout 53 home run season
Miguel Cabrera   .663   .604    AL     5  AL MVP 2012-2013
Mike Trout   .649   .665    AL     2  Finished first in 2012

 

Three other players had a BPA of over .600 in 2012 but fell short in 2013.

Player   2013       BPA   2012       BPA   League Number of .600 Seasons Comments
Ryan Braun   .514   .651     NL     2 Will he return to 2012 form
Edwin Encarnacion   .572   .623     AL     1 Another pretty good year
Josh Hamilton   .453   .602     AL     2 Major disappointment

 

Four current major league players have a BPA of over .600 for their careers.

Player   Age  Career    BPA  2013       BPA Comments
Mike Trout    21   .638   .649 Quick rise to the top
Albert Pujols    33   .622   .447 Held back by injuries
Alex Rodriguez    37   .609   .486 Suspended for 2014
Ryan Braun    29   .605   .514 Once bright career in jeopardy

 

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2013 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title.

Player Age 2013 BPA PA Comments
Hanley Ramirez 26 .676 336 Would be on top with more PT
Carlos Gonzalez 27 .651 436 Held back by injuries
Kris Davis 25 .627 153 Very productive after promotion

 

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, there are fourteen current major league players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title but had a BPA of less than .400 for the 2013 season.

Player 2013 BPA Comments
Yunel Escobar .397 Also on this list last year
Brandon Crawford .395 Under .400 every year
David Freese .393 Has .441 BPA for career
Ichiro Suzuki .392 Not much left
Erick Aybar .391 Has .421 BPA for career
Paul Konerko .390 Fell way off in 2013
Jose Altuve .388 Not much pop
Nick Markakis .380 Lowest outfielder on list
Mike Moustakas .378 Regressed in 2013
Zach Cosart .374 Has declined every year
Starlin Castro .355 Steep decline in 2013
Alcides Escobar .338 Worst offensive year in career
Darwin Barney .317 On this list every year
Adeiny Hechavarria  .303 Needs more production to stay in majors

 

Two 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 2013.

Player Bavg OBA SLG BPA OPS
Miguel Cabrera .348 .442 .366 .663 1.078
Mike Trout .323 .432 .557 .649 .988

 

Two players have these numbers for their careers.  Both play for the Los Angeles Angels.

Player Bavg OBA SLG BPA OPS
Mike Trout .314 .404 .544 .638 .948
Albert Pujols .321 .410 .599 .622 1.008

 

Another means of measuring offensive performance is Bases per Out, also called Total Average.  The top 10 players on both lists are shown below.

Player Bases per Plate Appearance Player Bases Per Out
Chris Davis .670 Miguel Cabrera 1.184
Miguel Cabrera .663 Mike Trout 1.143
Mike Trout .649 Chris Davis 1.078
Paul Goldschmidt .588 Joey Votto 1.012
David Ortiz .587 Jayson Werth .985
Jayson Werth .585 David Ortiz .984
Carlos Gomez .577 Paul Goldschmidt .978
Troy Tulowitski .574 Shin-Soo Choo .974
Andrew McCutcheon .574 Troy Tulowitski .959
Shin-Soo Choo .574 Andrew McCutcheon .950

 

Nine players appear on both lists but not in the same order.  Carlos Gomez is on the first list and Joey Votto is on the second one. They are different type players.  Gomez gets his production largely from extra base hits and stolen bases while Votto gets a lot of his from bases on balls which results in fewer outs.

Comments

One Response to “Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2013?”
  1. Dr. Doom says:

    Or, you could just use WAR components. For example, on baseball-reference WAR, Rbat+Rbaser+Rdp (batting runs+baserunning runs(that is, stolen bases AND extra bases taken on singles or doubles or triples)+double play runs) would give you a total number of runs.

    Chris Davis: 51+0+2=53
    Miguel Cabrera: 65-1-2=62
    Mike Trout: 68+6+1=75

    Davis used 422 outs (AB-H+CS+GDP)
    Cabrera used 381
    Trout used 414

    That translates to:
    .126 RAA/O (runs above average per out) for Davis

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