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An Addendum on Total Runs

October 18, 2009

A while back, I made a post about how I contacted Bill James about his “Total Runs” system, and I discussed its flaws and how to correct them.  Well, I wrote him back and made my point a bit clearer:


I followed up my question about Total Runs with an example, but it was never answered.  So I’ll give it a go again!

Let’s say Player A has 99 RC in 553 at-bats. Over the course of these 553 at-bats, he has also accumulated 409 outs (AB-H+CS+GIDP). Player B, on the other hand, has 99 RC in 525 at-bats and has accumulated 374 outs. This means that Player A has an R/O (runs divided by outs) of 0.24 and Player B has an R/O of 0.26. They’re obviously NOT the same hitter, but TR makes the assumption that they are.

Can you please implement a baseline to correct this issue?  Or is it a non-issue after all?

It’s been a little over a week since I sent him that message.  He’s replied to other readers, but not to me.  I guess he has his reasons.  I just hope he makes those changes.  If not now, then sometime soon.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Patriot permalink
    October 28, 2009 11:17 PM

    I think if Bill did answer your question, he would tell you that since he was trying to measure total contribution in absolute terms, a baseline would be inappropriate. At least since developing the Win Shares system, Bill has pretty much eschewed baselines altogether (at least explicity–Win Shares does of course use a baseline).

    I agree with you completely, FWIW; I’m just trying to take a stab at why Bill puts the statistic together like that. Nice blog.

    • triplesalley permalink*
      October 28, 2009 11:55 PM

      You know, I never thought of it that way- you make a great point. I have a tendency to think in relative terms, I suppose.

      Thanks for the insight and the kind words, P- it’s nice to have someone with your knowledge come by!

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