For some reason or another, stolen bases do not count as total bases in the game of baseball. How many times have announcer said something to the effect of: "Don't let (Figgins, Crawford, Ichiro, Rickey, Soriano, etc.) get on base, he can turn a (single, walk) into a double without a problem,"? If you watch baseball as much as I do, or even one third as much as I do, you've heard it a thousand times. To me, it's always been logical that a stolen base should count as a TOTAL BASE. I understand you use total bases to calculate the ever-important slugging percentage, but that figure should be called something else.

My argument is that total bases should count as every base you get, on your own accord. Base knocks, two baggers, triples and dingers already count in the TB column, but so should steals and if we want to define total in its truest form, so should walks, fielder's choices, bases reached on error and even the freak occurrences when a guy strikes out on a dropped third strike and gets to first. Faster guys are hurt in the traditional definition of this stat because their speed does not factor in. As the saying we started off with goes, the right guy can, "turn a single into a double." Shouldn't he be credited for one? Rickey Henderson, the greatest of all time -at least according to Rickey - is 35th all time in TB with 4,588 (and will be 37th soon as A-Rod is tied with him and Manny's just 13 back) but if we add in his 1,406 steals, we get a new total of 5,994 which puts him 4th. NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND! If I'm giving an extra base for stealing one, you're gosh darn right I'm taking one away for getting thrown out, so before we add up Rickey's new total base number, let's remove 335 from that number for a final of 5,659/8th place. Still very impressive and earned in my book.

The point of the inclusion of steals in the TB count is to measure a player's offensive effectiveness, not to diminish more powerful, slower players. I feel it's only fair to give love to the speedsters who are making up for their puny, girly muscles with good first steps and fast feet.

Here are two other stats, while not as groundbreaking as defensive range or OPS, I'd still like to see mentioned every so often (Glossary: Runs, Appearances, Runs Batted In, Home Runs):

RPA (runs per appearance): R/A = RPA

Along with ERA, I few this as another effective way to judge a pitchers effectiveness. While ERA is still probably a better gauge for starters, this gives the fan a better idea of a relief pitchers merit (especially a specialist). One bad outing by a guy who only pitches an inning or so each game will ruin his ERA for the year.

Example: 1999 Mike Myers

Myers has an awful appearance early in the season giving up six runs while just getting two outs in a game his Tigers ended up losing by 14. His ERA balloons to the Wang-ish 32.40 and will never get down to a respectable level again. Average fans take a look at his ERA, which at the All-Star Break is still over 6.00 and think he's a scrub. At the end of the year, Myers has pitched in 71 games and has an ERA of 5.23. Because of his third game of the season his numbers look terrible, when in actuality, he had a good year. Remove that appearance and his ERA drops practically one and a half runs. To give fans the best look at his season, we insert this stat into the mix and see that his RPA is just .34, a respectable number, considering 2009 Mariano Rivera's RPA is just a shade under .30 and his ERA is 2.61, practically perfectly half 1999 Myers'.

RC (runs created): R + RBI - HR = RC

Also known as Runs Responsible For

Example: 2006 AL MVP Debate

Obviously it was time to make an argument for a Yank. In 2006, Justin Morneau edged out Derek Jeter for the AL MVP by 14 votes. As it often does, the MVP that year went to the guy with the bigger power numbers as Morneau had 34 HRs and 130 RBI to Jeter's 14/97. Before a pitch was thrown that season, any pundit could have predicted the Twins first baseman would have outslugged Jeter because for the bulk of the year, Morneau batted 5th, a classic RBI slot. Jeter, on the otherhand as he has for his entire career (excluding 2009), batted 2nd where his job was to get on base and score, so of course he won't have the pop in his classic production stats as Morneau did. Using this statistic, let's take a look at how many runs each player brought to their team (I don't have the data or time to factor in runners advanced, extra bases taken on throws, etc.). Jeter had 97 RBI and 118 runs with just 14 homers resulting in an RC of 201. Morneau was good for the aforementioned 130 RBI to go with 97 runs and 34 dingers for an RC of 193. Suddenly, Jeter's numbers are slightly more impressive when you don't factor in the longball. A leadoff or #2 hitter will rarely get big power numbers (except when you take steroids like Brady Anderson) because it just isn't their job, but that does not mean they are any less effective or vital to a club's success.

*(note: HRs are subtracted in this stat because they count for an RBI and a run in the player's stats, but only one run on the field)

The other Meatball promised me this week he shall make a triumphant return, so keep your eyes peeled ladies and gents.

A couple of comments:

ReplyDeleteI disagree with taking away a total base if a guy gets thrown out trying to steal. You wouldn't take one away if a player gets thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. If you're arguing that stolen bases should count towards total bases, because they "turn singles into doubles", then you can't subtract a number from their total bases if they're thrown out - unless you also subtract a number for every time a player has been thrown out going for extra bases.

The runs created stat seems to penalize those that have good power numbers. In my opinion, Morneau was a better player in 2006. Now, take a look at the NL MVP voting for the same year.

Ryan Howard won the MVP while scoring 104 runs, driving in 149 RBI, and hitting 58 homers. With your stats, his RC = 195. That's a lower number than Jeter, who had 52 less RBI and 44 less homers. 44! But, Jeter had a higher RC...

Also in the NL in the same year, Carlos Beltran with 127 runs, 116 RBI, 41 homers for an RC of 202 and GARRETT ATKINS with 117 runs, 120 RBI, and 29 homers for an RC of 208, had a higher RC than Howard. You can't honestly say that Garrett Atkins, who had 29 less RBI, and exactly 1/2 as many home runs (29) as Howard is more valuable to their team because he scored 13 more runs.