Bill Gilbert: 2017 Offensive Productivity

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2017?

By Bill Gilbert

With the 2018 baseball season starting next week this is a good time to take a look back at who were the most productive players in 2017.

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.

BPA Table, 2013-2017

YEAR BPA .550 .600
2003 .461 42 15
2004 .468 33 18
2005 .456 34 13
2006 .470 46 14
2007 .463 34 15
2008 .458 41 11
2009 .461 42 16
2010 .446 19 7
2011 .442 25 7
2012 .447 12 5
2013 .440 14 3
2014 .426 9 4
2015 .440 20 6
2016 .456 23 7
2017 .466 36 12

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century. BPA declined significantly from .481 in 2000 to .426 in 2014 before significant upticks in the last three years.

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 had not been any hitters with a BPA of .700 since 2007 until Mike Trout did it in 2017.

 The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2017 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 Ramiriz (Cleveland 2000) .726

Todd Helton (Colorado 2000) .720

Mike Trout (LA Angels 2017) .718

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

2016 Trout .681

2017 Trout .718

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600. Following is a list of the twelve players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2017. The list is topped by Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels with a BPA of .718, the fourth time he has finished in front. He has had a BPA over .600 in all five years that he has played a full season.

Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA) of .600+ in 2017

————————————————-

No. of 2017-2016 .600+ Player

BPA   BPA LG Seasons Comments            _________

# Player 2017 BPA 2016 BPA LG .600+ Years Comments
1 Mike Trout .718 .656 AL 6 On Top Again.
2 Aaron Judge .681 .274 AL 1 Do it again?
3 G. Stanton .659 .533 AL 4 Should thrive as NYY.
4 Joey Votto .641 .606 NL 6 Also 6th OBP Lead.
5 C. Blackmon .640 .597 NL 1 Breakout season.
6 Cody Bellinger .631 —- NL 1 Set NL rookie HR mark.
7 F. Freeman .630 .616 NL 2 Best season yet in 2017.
8 P. Goldschmidt .625 .587 NL 2 The D-Backs Do-it-all.
9. Joey Gallo .613 .333 AL 1 Home Run or Bust!
10. Jose Rameriz .612 .509 AL 1 Fast Lane Superstar!
11. Jose Altuve .601 .576 AL 1 First time over .600.
12. Kris Bryant .600 .611 NL 2 Already a ROY & MVP.

The increase in the number of players with a .600 BPA from 7 to 12 reflects the increase in overall offense in 2017. Near misses were Zack Cosart (598), Justin Upton (595) and Anthony Rendon (595).

Three players had a BPA over .600 in 2016 but failed to reach it in 2017.

No. of

2016   2017     .600+

   Player           BPA  BPA LG Seasons Comments            

1 David Ortiz     .631 —-  A   6   Retired on top.

  1. Daniel Murphy   .612   .560   N   1  Fell short of 2016 career year.
  2. Josh Donaldson .609 .617 A  2   Not enough plate appearances to qualify.

Two active players have a BPA of .600 for their careers:

2017         Career

Player            Age            BPA           BPA   Comments

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

Mike Trout           25      .718       .648   Leader by far.

Joey Votto           33    .641       .603   No sign of decline yet.

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2017 who did not have enough plate appearances (502) to qualify for the batting title.

Player           Age BPA   PA   Comments

————— —  —- —   ————————–

Rhys Hoskins     24 .684 212   Mid-season rookie sensation

J.D. Martinez   29 .679 489 Spectacular in Arizona.

Matt Olson     23 .667 216   Hit 47 homers between majors and minors in 2017.

Bryce Harper     24 .622 492   Has never reached 100 RBIs.

Josh Donaldson   31 .617 496   Consistently productive.

Martinez, Harper and Donaldson fell just short of the 502 plate appearances needed to qualify.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, five players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2017. This list has shrunk each year from 25 players in 2014 to only five in 2017 reflecting the increase in offense.

Player         Age   BPA Team    Comments                                                                                                     ————–   —  — —-     ———————

Albert Pujols   35 .385 Angels   On .600 BPA list eight times.

Dansby Swanson 23 .381 Braves  Sophomore slump

Alex Gordon     33 .380 Royals   Where did the offense go?

Jose Peraza     23 .375 Reds     Has trouble getting on base.

Alcides Escobar 30 .347 Royals  No stranger to this list.

Four players had a batting average over .300, an on-base average over .400, a slugging percentage over .500 and bases per plate appearance over .600 in 2017.

Player             BAVG       OBA       SLG       BPA      OPS

Mike Trout         .306     .442     .629     .718    1.071

Joey Votto          .320      .454     .578     .641     1.032

Freddie Freeman      .307     .403     .586     .630     .989

Jose Altuve      .346     .410     .547      .601       .948

Trout and Votto have these numbers for their careers.

Mike Trout–Career   .306     .410     .566     .648       .976

Joey Votto-Career   .313     .428     .541     .603       .967

Trout did not lead counting categories like home runs and RBIs because he missed 48 games with an injury. However, he led the American League in important rate stats like OBA, SLG, OPS and BPA, He was clearly the best offensive and all-around player in the Major Leagues in 2017.

Bill Gilbert

3/23/18

Source of statistics used in this report is the “Lee Sinins 2018 Complete Baseball Encyclopedia”.

 

*******************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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