April 25, 2017

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2015?

February 12, 2016 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 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 is shown below along with the number of players with BPA over .550 and .600:

Year 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
BPA .468 .457 .461 .468 .456 .470 .463 .458 .461 .446 .442 .447 .440 .426 .440
.550 46 39 42 33 34 46 34 41 12 19 25 12 14 9 20
.600 26 17 15 18 13 14 15 11 16 7 7 5 3 4 9

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century.  BPA declined significantly through 2014 before an uptick in 2015.

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 fifteen seasons.  His highest was .696 in 2009.

Between 2001 and 2007 there were numerous players, including Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, whose BPA exceeded .700 BPA.  Bonds exceeded the mark five times with his highest mark being .907 in 2001.  However, there have been no players approach this threshold since Ryan Howard had a .700 BPA in 2006 and Alex Rodriguez had a .702 BPA in 2007.  The yearly leaders in BPA 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 Ch. Davis .670
2014 Trout .623 2015 B, Harper .694

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600.  Following is a list of the only six players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2015.  The list is topped by Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals with a BPA of .694, the highest since Albert Pujols recorded a .696 in 2009.  Players with a Bases Per Plate Appearance (BPA) exceeding .600 in 2015 are as follows:

Player 2014 BPA 2015 BPA League No. of .600+ Seasons Comments
Bryce Harper .464 .494 NL 1 Breakout season
Paul Goldschmidt .594 .638 NL 1 Does everything well
Mike Trout .623 .636 AL 4 Over .600 in each of his first four seasons
Joey Votto .496 .633 NL 3 On-base percentage of .459 in 2015
Chris Davis .477 .607 AL 2 Led Majors with 47 home runs in 2015
Nelson Cruz .537 .600 AL 1 Strong hitting year in a pitchers park

If you are looking for AL MVP Josh Donaldson, he finished 7th with .594.

Three other players had a BPA over .600 in 2014 but failed to qualify in 2015.

Player 2014 BPA 2015 BPA League No. Seasons .600+ Comments
Giancarlo Stanton .614 .635 NL 1 Failed to qualify because of injury
Andrew McCutcheon .613 .539 NL 1 Bad start led to lower season numbers
Jose Abreu .600 .518 AL 1 Did not measure up to rookie season

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

Player Age 2015 BPA Career BPA Comments
Mike Trout 23 .636 .634 Quick rise to the top
Alex Rodriguez 39 .534 ,605 Recovery in 2015
Albert Pujols 35 .502 .603 Power OK but averages declining

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2015 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title.

Player Age 2015 BPA PA Comments
Mikie Mahtook 25 .658 115 Strong finish after Tampa Bay call up
Giancarlo Stanton 29 .643 375 Season cut short by injury
Franklin Gutierrez 32 .624 189 Productive when healthy
Carey Seager 21 .619 113 Top Dodger prospect
Curt Casali 26 .607 113 Good power from Rays backup catcher

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 2015.  Last year, twenty five players were on this list.

Player BPA Team
Jace Peterson .395 Braves
Chase Headley .394 Yankees
Jimmy Rollins .393 Dodgers
Avisail Garcia .388 White Sox
Pablo Sandoval .377 Red Sox
Freddy Galvis .374 Phillies
Alexi Ramirez .374 White Sox
Starlin Castro .369 Cubs
Jean Segura .365 Brewers
Erick Aybar .361 Angels
Angel Pagan .361 Giants
Chris Owens .360 Diamondbacks
Andrelton Simmons .359 Braves
Yadier Molina .357 Cardinals
Alcides Escobar .355 Royals
Wilson Ramos .347 Nationals

Three 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 2015.

Player BAvg OBP SLG BPA OPS
Bryce Harper .330 .460 .649 .694 1.109
Paul Goldschmidt .321 .435 .570 .638 1.005
Joey Votto .314 .459 .541 .633 1.000

Another means of measuring offensive performance is Bases per Out, also called Total Average.  The top 10 players on both lists for 2015 are shown below.

Player Team BPA
Bryce Harper Nationals .694
Paul Goldschmidt Diamondbacks .638
Mike Trout Angels .636
Joey Votto Reds .633
Chris Davis Orioles .607
Nelson Cruz Mariners .600
Josh Donaldson Blue Jays .594
Jose Bautista Blue Jays .590
Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays .588
Anthony Rizzo Cubs .585

Bases Per Out:

Player Team BPO
Bryce Harper Nationals 1.274
Joey Votto Reds 1.162
Paul Godscmidt Diamondbacks 1.131
Mike Trout Angels 1.057
Miguel Cabrera Tigers 1.016
Josh Donaldson Blue Jays .967
Jose Bautista Blue Jays .963
Edwin Encarnacion Blue Jays .957
Anthony Rizzo Cubs .957
Chris Davis Orioles .956

The lists are quite similar with nine players appearing on both lists.  Harper is on top of both lists by a sizable margin and the same four players are on the top of both lists but in a different order. Votto and Cabrera rank higher on the Total Average list because they have high batting averages and draw a lot of walks while Davis and Cruz get much of their production from extra base hits but they make more outs.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!