Chestnut Roasting Data on a Christmas Fire

Thank You, Chris Chestnut!

 

Without being asked, SABR colleague Chris Chestnut has done a wonderful thing here. ~ In all humility ~ and in great respect for the loss we all suffered in the recent death of analyst/colleague Bill Gilbert, Chris tonight has submitted his own version of the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2018 that Bill Gilbert did for us annually for years prior to now.

Thank you, Aggie Man! ~ Your Aggie pulse for getting things done the right way now has served us proudly too. We can only hope that you may choose to do something like Bill Gilbert did for us here at the Pecan Park Eagle in the future ~ on a regular basis~ and in your own way, based on your own time availability.

We will not expect you to be Bill Gilbert. We’ll be most happy to settle for a guy who is 100% Chris Chestnut.

Gig ‘Em! ~ The Pecan Park Eagle.

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The Most Productive Offensive Players in 2018 – The Bill Gilbert Method

A couple of years ago, Bill Gilbert introduced his method for measuring offensive performance – Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA). In honor of his memory, I’ve performed the calculations for 2018.

I made a slight tweak to his original formula by including pick-offs and triple plays. I also used a different data source – Retrosheet. They have detailed play-by-play data for all seasons from 1921 to 2018.

The formula I used is

BPA = (TB + BB + HBP + SB – CS – PO – DP – 2xTP) / (AB + BB + HBP + SF)

Where:

BPA = Bases per Plate Appearance
TB = Total Bases
BB = Bases on Balls
HBP = Hit by Pitch
SB = Stolen Bases
CS = Caught Stealing
PO = Picked Off
DP = Double Plays
TP = Triple Plays
AB = At Bats
SF = Sacrifice Flies

The numerator accounts for all the bases accumulated by a player, reduced by the number of times he is caught stealing, picked off, or erases other runners by grounding into a double or triple 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.

The chart below shows the Major League BPA for the past fifteen years and the number of players with BPA over .550 and .600:

Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
BPA .461 .450 .464 .457 .452 .455 .439 .435
>=.550 32 35 45 33 38 36 17 21
>=.600 18 12 14 17 11 11 7 6
Year 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
BPA .440 .430 .420 .434 .450 .460 .446
>=.550 17 16 11 18 22 35 23
>=.600 5 3 3 5 6 13 7

To compare a player’s performance across different seasons, I developed a percentage calculation called the Relative BPA (rBPA). A player achieves a score of 100 if he matches the season’s BPA. An above-average performance would result in an rBPA of greater than 100. Conversely, an rBPA below 100 represents a below-average season.

Highest BPA – 1921 to 2018 (min. 450 PA)
Player Season BPA
Bonds, Barry 2001 .901
Ruth, Babe 1921 .876
Bonds, Barry 2004 .875
Bonds, Barry 2002 .864
Bonds, Barry 2003 .815
Ruth, Babe 1923 .806
McGwire, Mark 1998 .793
Ruth, Babe 1927 .792
Ruth, Babe 1924 .788
Bagwell, Jeff 1994 .766
McGwire, Mark 1996 .765
Gehrig, Lou 1927 .764
Williams, Ted 1957 .764
Ruth, Babe 1931 .759
Mantle, Mickey 1956 .757
Highest rBPA – 1921 to 2018 (min. 450 PA)
Player Season rBPA
Ruth, Babe 1921 211
Bonds, Barry 2001 196
Ruth, Babe 1927 193
Bonds, Barry 2002 192
Ruth, Babe 1923 192
Bonds, Barry 2004 190
Ruth, Babe 1924 188
Gehrig, Lou 1927 186
Williams, Ted 1957 183
Ruth, Babe 1928 182
Ruth, Babe 1931 182
Williams, Ted 1941 182
Williams, Ted 1946 181
Morgan, Joe L. 1976 180
Musial, Stan 1948 180
Williams, Ted 1942 180

The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600. Following is a list of the six players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title (502) and a BPA of .600 in 2018.

Player 2018 BPA 2018 rBPA 2017 BPA 2017 rBPA
Trout, Mike .733 164 .714 155
Betts, Mookie .713 160 .531 115
Ramirez, Jose .649 146 .609 132
Martinez, J.D. .641 144 .675 147
Yelich, Christian .641 144 .499 108
Story, Trevor .610 137 .492 107

Near misses were Matt Carpenter with .593, Paul Goldschmidt at .591, and Bryce Harper at .587. Max Muncy was 21 plate appearances short of qualifying with a BPA of .642.

Looking at the other end of the spectrum, eight players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2018.

Player Team BPA rBPA
Barnhart, Tucker Cincinnati .399 89
Jay, Jon Kansas City/Arizona .380 85
Gordon, Dee Seattle .368 83
Solarte, Yangervis Toronto .365 82
Davis, Chris Baltimore .352 79
Martinez, Victor Detroit .348 78
Escobar, Alcides Kansas City .335 75
Rojas, Miguel Miami .335 75

In 2018, five Houston Astros qualified with enough plate appearances, but none broke the .600 barrier. Except for Alex Bregman, all these players showed a drop-off from the 2017 season.

Player 2018 2017
BPA rBPA BPA rBPA
Bregman, Alex .579 130 .510 111
Altuve, Jose .490 110 .593 129
Springer, George .476 107 .541 118
Gonzalez, Marwin .437 98 .558 121
Gurriel, Yulieski .414 93 .480 104
Beltran, Carlos n/a n/a .397 86
Reddick, Josh .444 100 .492 107

Carlos Correa did not have enough plate appearances in either 2017 or 2018 to qualify. In 2017, his BPA was .567 (123 rBPA). In 2018, he fell to below average with a .425 BPA (95 rBPA).

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Great job! ~ Thanks again, Chris Chestnut! All of us appreciate you running into the public analysis breech that came along with our recent loss of the wonderful Bill Gilbert!

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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