May 28, 2017

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2014?

December 9, 2014 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   = 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 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
BPA .481 .468 .457 .461 .468 .456 .470 .463
>.550 50 46 39 42 33 34 46 34
>.600 30 26 17 15 18 13 14 15
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
BPA .458 .461 .446 .442 .447 .440 .426
>.550 41 42 19 25 12 14 9
>.600 11 16 7 7 5 3 4

 

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century.  BPA declined significantly in 2014 and was the lowest in over 15 year.

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 fourteen seasons.

The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2013 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 Bonds San Francisco 2000 .745
Jim Thome Cleveland 2002 .728
Manny Ramirez Cleveland 2000 .726
Toddy Helton Colorado  2000 .720
Luis Gonzalez Arizona 2001 .713
Toddy Helton Colorado 2001 .709
Carlos Delgado 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 .732 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 .869 2003 Bonds .818
2004 Bonds .882 2005 D. Lee .699 2006 Hafner .703
2007 A. Rodriguez .702 2008 Pujols .685 2009 Pujols .696
2010 Bautista .671 2011 Bautista .681 2012 Trout .665
2013 Chris Davis .670 2014 Trout .623

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600.  Following is a list of only four players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2014.  The list is topped by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels who also led in 2012.

Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA) of +.600 in 2014:

Player 2014 BPA 2013 BPA League No. of .600+ Seasons Comments
Mike Trout .623 .649 AL 3 Over .600 in each of his full MLB seasons
Giancarlo Stanton .614 .542 NL 2 Big season led to big bucks
Andrew McCutcheon .613 .574 NL 1 Better than MVP season in 2013
Jose Abreu .600 AL 1 Cuban rookie did it all

Two other players had a BPA over .600 in 2013 but fell short in 2014.

Player 2014 BPA 2013 BPA League No. of .600+ seasons Comments
Chris Davis .670 .477 AL 1 .195 Batting average and suspension
Miguel Cabrera .663 .528 AL 5 An off year by his standards

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

Player Age 2014 BPA Career BPA Cpomments
 Mike Trout  22 .623 .623 Quick rise to the top
Albert Pujols 34 .466 .611 In decline phase of his career
Alex Rodriguez 38 .609 Suspended in 2014

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2014 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title.

Player Age BPA PA Comments
Troy Tulowitski 29 .643 375 Would have been first with  more playing time
Steve Pearce 27 .608 383 Entered 2014 with career BPA of .427

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, twenty five players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2014.  With the decline in offensive production, this list gets longer every year and now includes some players who were previously near the top (David Wright, Derek Jeter).

Player BPA Team
Jason Kipnis .399 Indians
Jason Castro .397 Astros
Gerard Parra .394 Brewers
James Loney .393 Rays
Sal Perez .391 Royals
Jed Lowrie .390 Athletics
Austin Jackson .389 Mariners
Xander Bogarts .389 Red Sox
David Wright .387 Mets
Billy Butler .386 Royals
J.J. Hardy .385 Orioles
Dominic Brown .385 Phillies
Casey McGehee .375 Marlins
Aaron Hill .373 Diamondbacks
Omar Infante .372 Royals
Yunel Escobar .370 Rays
D.J. LeMahieu .365 Rockies
Elvis Andrus .364 Rangers
Jean Segura .360 Brewers
Chris Johnson .358 Braves
Adeiny Hechavarria .350 Marlins
Derek Jeter .345 Yankees
Zach Cozart .331 Reds
Matt Dominquez .324 Astros
Andrelton Simmons .322 Braves

Only one player 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 2014.

Player BAVG OBP SLG BPA OPS
Andrew McCutcheon .314 .410 .542 .613 .952

Another player has these numbers for his career:

Player BAVG OBP SLG BPA OPS
Albert Pujols .317 .403 .588 .611 .991

Another means of measuring offensive performance is Bases per Out, also called Total Average.  The top 10 players on both lists for 2014 are shown below.

Bases Per Plate Apperance Bases Per Out
1 Mike Trout .623 Angels Andrew McCutcheon 1.046 Pirates
2 Giancarlo Stanton .614 Marlins Mike Trout 1.018
3 Andrew McCutcheon .613 Pirates Giancarlo Stanton 1.017
4 Joe Abreu .600 White Sox Victor Martinez 1.000
5 Victor Martinez .585 Tigers Jose Bautista .981
6 Anthony Rizzo .580 Cubs Jose Abreu .980
7 Jose Bautista .579 Blue Jays Anthony Rizzo .946
8 Edwin Encarnacion .570 Blue Jays Michael Brantley .914
9 Michael Brantley .555 Indians Edwin Encarnacion .891
10 Carlos Gomez .546 Rockies Jayson Werth .884

Both methods confirm that three players (Trout, McCutchen and Stanton) separated themselves offensively from the pack in 2014.

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

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