Front Office Fan

A Take on the Games We Watch and the Industry Behind Them

Aggregate Return from Efficiency Averages

Posted by GM/VP of Fan Operations on Thursday, February 18, 2010

UPDATE: The formula for ROP has changed and AREA has thus changed with it. The changes are reflected below. UPDATE 2: It isn’t “ROP” anymore. Too many people complained about steals being involved as part of power and I agree. The stat is now called SPOT (Scoring Position Obtained Technique).

In baseball the prevailing wisdom says that getting on base and hitting for power are the most important factors to scoring runs. I disagreed with this notion and even toyed with the stats to try to disprove it; well, nothing doing. Apparently it’s more about power than I thought.

For a long time I’ve argued that batting average is just as important and it is essential to helping drive in runs. Though true that batting average is important to driving in runs, getting on base in scoring position is more important because of the opportunities it provides your teammates to bring you home.

Hitting for power, though, is only as relevant at the clip that a batter gets hits.A player that doesn’t hit for power but maintains a high batting average is useful as is the player that hits for a lot of power with a low batting average. They just belong at different spots in the lineup.

When looking at a batter’s hitting stats you want to know what kind of hits he’s getting.

The more often a batter hits for power the better. Obviously, a homer is more important than a triple and a triple more important than a double, but power in general is important.

If a batter often hits for power it doesn’t matter if he generally only hits doubles; what matters is that he’s always in scoring position. If he doesn’t hit for much power, though, you need that player to generally get more triples or, better yet, home runs.

Regardless, we need to know what type of hits these players are getting and Slugging Percentage just isn’t doing it.

"Every time I see you hit one in the air you owe me 20 push-ups."

You hear about players like Ichiro Suzuki that put on hitting displays in batting practice (not you, Willie Mays Hayes), but turn into singles machines too spite their power once the game starts. The fact is that the best-of the-best, the guys that make the “Greatest of all Time” conversations, are the ones that can hit for average, get power hits at a high percentage, and have the majority of their power hits be home runs.

What we have here is a case of three statistics pulling on one another.

Introducing two statistics that better explain this issue: Scoring Position Obtained Technique and Production of Power.

Scoring Position Obtained Technique (SPOT) is the ratio of extra-base hits and second base steals to total times on base. This shows how often a player gets on base in scoring position. Players that lack power but make up for it in speed are often overlooked by traditional sabermetricians and this formula properly accounts for their importance. The formula is very simple:

SPOT = (2B + 3B + HR + SB2) / (H+BB+HBP)

Production of Power (POP) is the ratio of power bases acquired to potential power bases. A power base is any base after first base. To explain, second base is the first power base, third base is the second, and home plate is the third power base. When a batter hits a home run they achieved 3-of-3 potential power bases. This is a similar theory to what developed slugging percentage but removes singles from the equation as singles have nothing to do with hitting for power.

POP = ((2B) + (3B*2) + (HR*3)) / ((2B + 3B + HR)*3)

So instead of the current, understood, slash-stats of BA/OBP/SLUG with the all-in-one wonder OPS, I propose the elimination of SLUG in favor of SPOT and POP and, with this revelation, the development of a better all-in-one stat: AREA.

Aggregate Return from Efficiency Averages (AREA) is more about geometry than advanced statistics. The acronym stems from nothing more than this rating looking to determine the area a batter’s four slash-stats cover. The more AREA a batter covers, the more they produce at the plate. AREAs will, for the most part, look like a statistic similar to batting average.

AREA = (((SPOT+POP) / 2) * (OBP)) + (((SPOT+POP) / 2) * (BA))

To properly map this it requires an X-Y plot graph. The Y-Axis is the on-base axis and the X-Axis is the power axis. The maximum X & Y values are ‘1’ and the minimum X & Y values are ‘-1.’ The four points placed on the graph are determined by their relative average at the given place on the graph. For example, the points (0, .400) would refer to a player’s OBP and (0, -.300)  would be the plotted point of the player’s BA. Similarly, (.667, 0) and (-.400, 0) would be the respective POPs and SPOTs of the same given player. On this plot you can then connect the dots into quadrilaterals. The bigger the given shape, the better a player is at bat. (NOTE: Negative numbers are only used for plotting simplicity. Take the absolute value of these numbers to determine the player’s given value for that statistic.)

To give you an idea of what happened in the world of AREA last season, I looked at every team and the all players in Major League Baseball with at least 500 plate appearances in 2009 (there were 143):

The Top 10:

NAME AREA OPS AVG OBP SLG SPOT POP
Albert Pujols 0.392 1.101 0.327 0.443 0.658 0.345 0.674
Joe Mauer 0.360 1.031 0.365 0.444 0.587 0.234 0.655
Alex Rodriguez 0.358 0.934 0.286 0.402 0.532 0.284 0.757
Prince Fielder 0.356 1.014 0.299 0.412 0.602 0.291 0.710
Troy Tulowitzki 0.353 0.929 0.297 0.377 0.552 0.346 0.702
Mark Reynolds 0.350 0.892 0.260 0.349 0.543 0.420 0.729
Hanley Ramirez 0.347 0.953 0.342 0.410 0.543 0.345 0.577
Ben Zobrist 0.345 0.948 0.297 0.405 0.543 0.322 0.661
Ryan Howard 0.340 0.931 0.279 0.360 0.571 0.368 0.698
Carl Crawford 0.340 0.816 0.305 0.364 0.452 0.434 0.582

The Worst 10:

NAME AREA OPS AVG OBP SLUG SPOT POP
Jason Kendall 0.168 0.636 0.241 0.331 0.305 0.169 0.420
David Eckstein 0.171 0.657 0.260 0.323 0.334 0.190 0.398
Edgar Renteria 0.191 0.635 0.250 0.307 0.328 0.206 0.480
Emilio Bonifacio 0.194 0.611 0.252 0.303 0.308 0.217 0.481
Randy Winn 0.200 0.671 0.262 0.318 0.353 0.280 0.408
Skip Schumaker 0.201 0.757 0.303 0.364 0.393 0.192 0.410
Luis Castillo 0.206 0.733 0.302 0.387 0.346 0.161 0.438
Russell Martin 0.207 0.681 0.250 0.352 0.329 0.175 0.513
Jhonny Peralta 0.207 0.691 0.254 0.316 0.375 0.232 0.496
Pedro Feliz 0.218 0.694 0.266 0.308 0.386 0.229 0.530

2009 Major League Baseball Teams:

TEAM AREA OPS AVG OBP SLG SPOT POP R
New York Yankees 0.296 0.840 0.283 0.362 0.478 0.297 0.621 915
Tampa Bay Rays 0.283 0.782 0.263 0.343 0.439 0.329 0.605 804
Boston Red Sox 0.280 0.806 0.270 0.352 0.454 0.305 0.595 873
Texas Rangers 0.280 0.765 0.260 0.320 0.445 0.341 0.623 784
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 0.276 0.791 0.285 0.350 0.441 0.284 0.587 883
Philadelphia Phillies 0.276 0.781 0.258 0.334 0.447 0.318 0.615 820
Colorado Rockies 0.271 0.784 0.261 0.343 0.441 0.298 0.599 803
Minnesota Twins 0.265 0.774 0.274 0.345 0.429 0.257 0.598 817
Toronto Blue Jays 0.264 0.773 0.266 0.333 0.440 0.292 0.589 798
Chicago White Sox 0.263 0.741 0.258 0.329 0.412 0.277 0.621 724
Detroit Tigers 0.260 0.747 0.260 0.331 0.416 0.257 0.622 743
Milwaukee Brewers 0.260 0.767 0.263 0.341 0.426 0.259 0.601 785
Los Angeles Dodgers 0.256 0.758 0.270 0.346 0.412 0.260 0.571 780
Arizona Diamondbacks 0.255 0.742 0.253 0.324 0.418 0.302 0.582 720
Florida Marlins 0.252 0.756 0.268 0.340 0.416 0.257 0.572 775
Cleveland Indians 0.252 0.756 0.264 0.339 0.417 0.269 0.565 773
St. Louis Cardinals 0.251 0.747 0.263 0.332 0.415 0.271 0.574 730
Washington Nationals 0.249 0.743 0.258 0.337 0.406 0.253 0.584 710
Baltimore Orioles 0.249 0.747 0.268 0.332 0.415 0.264 0.566 741
Houston Astros 0.248 0.719 0.260 0.319 0.400 0.287 0.571 643
Kansas City Royals 0.248 0.723 0.259 0.318 0.405 0.285 0.573 686
Seattle Mariners 0.245 0.716 0.258 0.314 0.402 0.278 0.580 640
Chicago Cubs 0.245 0.739 0.255 0.332 0.407 0.260 0.576 707
Oakland Athletics 0.244 0.725 0.262 0.328 0.397 0.284 0.543 759
Atlanta Braves 0.243 0.744 0.263 0.339 0.405 0.248 0.559 735
Cincinnati Reds 0.243 0.712 0.247 0.318 0.394 0.281 0.579 673
New York Mets 0.237 0.729 0.270 0.335 0.394 0.267 0.515 671
San Diego Padres 0.234 0.702 0.242 0.321 0.381 0.260 0.572 638
Pittsburgh Pirates 0.234 0.705 0.252 0.318 0.387 0.277 0.545 637
San Francisco Giants 0.234 0.698 0.257 0.309 0.389 0.275 0.551 657

And for Fun: My 2009 Lineup Card featuring the best players at each position:

NAME POS Bats AREA AVG OBP SLG OPS SPOT POP
Ben Zobrist 2B Switch 0.345 0.297 0.405 0.543 0.948 0.322 0.661
Alex Rodriguez 3B Right 0.358 0.286 0.402 0.532 0.934 0.284 0.757
Albert Pujols 1B Right 0.392 0.327 0.443 0.658 1.101 0.345 0.674
Joe Mauer C Left 0.360 0.365 0.444 0.587 1.031 0.234 0.655
Troy Tulowitzki SS Right 0.353 0.297 0.377 0.552 0.929 0.346 0.702
Adam Lind DH Left 0.324 0.305 0.370 0.562 0.932 0.339 0.621
Justin Upton RF Right 0.337 0.300 0.366 0.532 0.898 0.367 0.646
Carl Crawford LF Left 0.340 0.305 0.364 0.452 0.816 0.434 0.582
Matt Kemp CF Right 0.340 0.297 0.352 0.490 0.842 0.374 0.672

*Data was compiled using information provided by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball-Reference.com.*

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: