Bill Gilbert: 2015 MLB Offense

 

Bill Gilbert 05

SABR Analyst and Pecan Park Eagle Contributor Bill Gilbert Reports on the 2015 MLB Offensive Production Leaders. ~ Thank you, Bill for the hard work.

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2015?

 By Bill Gilbert

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 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   42 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.

The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2015 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

Todd Helton         Colorado       2000     .720

Luis Gonzalez       Arizona       2001     .713

Todd 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        .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     .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 C. Davis   .670 2014 Trout     .623 2015 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.

 Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA) of .600+ in 2015

————————————————-

 No. of 2014 2015    .600+

   Player           BPA  BPA LG Seasons Comments

  1. Bryce Harper     .464 .694   N   1   Breakout season.
  2. Paul Goldschmidt .594 .638   N   1   Does everything well.
  3. Mike Trout   .623 .636   A   4   Over .600 in each of his 4 full seasons.
  4. Joey Votto       .496 .633   N   3   On-Base Average of .459 in 2015.
  5. Chris Davis       .477 .607   A   2 Led majors in HR with 47.
  6. Nelson Cruz      .537 .600   A   1   Strong hitting year in a pitcher’s 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.

No. of 2014   2015     .600+

   Player           BPA  BPA LG Seasons Comments

1 Giancarlo Stanton .614 .635  N   1   Failed to qualify due to injury.

2 Andrew McCutchen .613 .569   N   1   Bad start led to lower season numbers.

3.Jose Abreu       .600   .518   A   1   Didn’t quite measure up to rookie year.

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

2015         Career

Player            Age            BPA           BPA   Comments

————-      —     —-       —-   —————————

Mike Trout           23     .636       .634   Quick rise to the top.

Alex Rodriguez       39     .534       .605   Strong 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 BPA   PA   Comments

————— —  —- —   —————————

Mikey Mahtook     25 .658 115   Strong finish after Tampa Bay call-up.

Giancarlo Stanton 29 .643 375   Season cut short by injury.

Franklin Gutierrez32 .624 189 Productive when healthy.

Corey Seager     21 .619 113 Dodgers top prospect.

Curt Casali       26 .607 113   Good power from TB 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

—————–             —   —————

122 Jace Peterson                 .395   Braves

123 Chase Headley                 .394   Yankees

124 Jimmy Rollins                .393   Dodgers

125 Avisail Garcia                .388   White Sox

126 Pablo Sandoval                 .377   Red Sox

127 Freddy Galvis                 .374   Phillies

128 Alexei Ramirez               .374   White Sox

129 Starlin Castro                 .369   Cubs

130 Jean Segura                 .365   Brewers

131 Erick Aybar                  .361   Angels

132 Angel Pagan                   .361   Giants

133 Chris Owings                  .360   Diamondbacks

134 Andrelton Simmons            .359   Braves

135 Yadier Molina                .357   Cardinals

136 Alcides Escobar                .355   Royals

137 Wilson Ramos                  .347   Nationals

Four 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       OBA       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.

Bases per Plate

Appearance             –                Bases per Out

1 Bryce Harper     .694   Nationals  – 1 Bryce Harper    1.274 Nationals

2 Paul Goldschmidt .638   Diamondbacks – 2 Joey Votto       1.162 Reds

3 Mike Trout        .636   Angels   –   3 Paul Goldschmidt 1.131 Diamondbacks

4 Joey Votto      .633   Reds  –      4 Mike Trout      1.057 Angels

5 Chris Davis      .607   Orioles   – 5 Miguel Cabrera   1.016 Tigers

6 Nelson Cruz     .600   Mariners –  6 Josh Donaldson     .967 Blue Jays

7 Josh Donaldson   .594  Blue Jays –  7 Jose Batista       .963 Blue Jays

8 Jose Bautista   .590   Blue Jays –  8 Edwin Encarnacion .957 Blue Jays

9 Edwin Encarnacion .588   Blue Jays –  9 Anthony Rizzo     .957 Cubs

10 Anthony Rizzo   .585   Cubs  –   10 Chris Davis        .956 Orioles

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.

Bill Gilbert

1/27/16

____________________

baseball-bat-baseball

 

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