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Who has Contributed to the Giants’ Offense the Most in 2010? An Update

July 5, 2010

Now that the Giants are at the halfway point in the season, I thought it’d be nice to take a look at the top contributors to the offense.  As of right now, the Giants have scored 338 runs in 81 games, or 4.17 runs per game.  The league average R/G is currently 4.38, which means the Giants are (obviously) below average.  They’re currently on pace to score 678 runs over the course of the season, assuming the Giants stay steady.  That means they’ll be roughly 32 runs below average offensively- which just isn’t going to cut it.  They sorely need some true run producers (and to avoid the double play), but this post isn’t a musing of which players the Giants “should” pursue by the trading deadline, or how much of an impact they’ll have.  That’s a post for another day.  Today, I’d like to take a look at the Giants’ current roster and see just which players have been the best (and worst) contributors thus far.

Using a Base Runs equation, I’ve generated the marginal values for each event tailored to fit the Giants’ run environment and applied them to each player to take an at-bat for the Giants this year.  “LWTS_RC” are the absolute version of Linear Weights (i.e. marginal run values), and it is reconciled so that it sums exactly to 338.  Basic batting events such as singles, doubles, walks, etc. are accounted for, as are times reaching on an error, stolen bases/caught stealing, pickoffs, and, of course, hitting into the double play.  “LWTS” are the same run values but with negative events fixed so that the overall team LWTS are set to exactly zero- this is how we can look at the runs a player contributed above or below the average Giant based on his ratio of runs created to outs made.  Of course, there are caveats: I’m not looking at detailed play-by-play data, nor am I looking at a player’s performance in clutch situations.  Nor am I taking into account situational hitting or baserunning.  This is due to the fact that a player has no control over where he hits in the lineup.  Aubrey Huff hitting behind Freddy Sanchez, for example, will generate more runs than Aubrey Huff hitting behind Bengie Molina.  I’d rather not penalize a player for something Bruce Bochy controls.  In terms of base running, I haven’t yet figured out a way to confidently implement taking the extra base (so I’m hoping SB/CS/PO will suffice for the time being).

All caveats aside, here are the figures:

It comes to no surprise that Aubrey Huff is the Giants’ best hitter right now.  I remember when they signed him, I thought it was a rather pointless signing…and boy, was I wrong.  And I’m quite happy that is the case.  Huff’s created around 17% of the Giants’ 338 runs, and he’s generated 24 runs above the average Giant in the same amount of plate appearances.  Talk about an integral part of the lineup!  Even if he were to regress heavily in the second half, he’s been well worth the $3 million the Giants handed him this off season.  Andres Torres has also proven himself to be an invaluable asset, with 43 runs created and a ridiculous 13% walk rate.  Considering that we’re using a rather rudimentary measure of his baserunning and we’re excluding his defense altogether, I’m definitely undervaluing his overall contribution to the Giants.  Pat Burrell, in his 83 plate appearances, has managed to create 7 runs better than the Giants’ average hitter.  That’s wonderful, but I can’t quite come to terms with the notion that he should be playing over Nate Schierholtz.  Granted, Pat’s hitting has been exceptional in his time with the Giants, but he’s not a particularly good baserunner- and his defensive inadequacies are well-documented.  Perhaps an outfield trio of Burrell-Torres-Schierholtz would work, but I wouldn’t trust Bochy to stick with it.

Aaron Rowand has shown to be an immense disappointment, and I find it hard to believe he’ll ever begin to approach justifying the five-year, $60 million contract the Giants handed him a few years back.  I must admit that I’ve never been a fan of Rowand (I’m sorry, but any player that has been extremely sporadic in his performance from year-to-year and looks like he’s pinching a loaf when standing in the batter’s box just isn’t going to get points from me unless he does one heck of a job), and I’m beginning to wonder if he’s a player the Giants should consider cutting altogether should they be unable to trade him in a swap of bad contracts.  The biggest disappointment to me is Pablo Sandoval, the Giants’ 2009 Offensive Messiah.  He’s just not doing well, and I’m quite concerned about him.

The Giants need another hitter or two to compliment Huff in the middle of the order if they hope to improve their offense.  Having Buster Posey play every day is already a substantial upgrade over Bengie Molina, but the Giants need their hitters to either up their game or they need to gain some extra runs by acquiring some players that will help out.  The Giants are currently projected to finish with 87 wins, according to The Hardball Times’ forecasts, 3 wins back of the Padres and one game behind the Rockies.  In order to win the division or take the Wild Card, they’ll have to hope for a bit of luck and a run producer/saver.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 4:12 PM

    Hi, my fist time to your site. Nice job on this graph. I’m curious how a player who has such a negative LWTS rating can still rank high in the %Contribute category. Example: Aaron Rowand. Ranks -5 in LWTS (which puts him near the bottom of this list) but ranks 6.9%? Full disclosure here. I am not a math genius. LOL

    • triplesalley permalink*
      July 6, 2010 5:48 PM

      You’re right; it is a bit odd to see something like that. This is the reason why absolute runs (i.e. runs created rather than runs above average) are not an ideal way of looking at a player’s actual value.

      Let me put it this way: if the league creates a run in every .123 plate appearances, we’d expect a player to create 86 runs in 700 plate appearances. If he creates 100 runs, then he’s added 14 runs above the average- and if he creates 72 runs in those plate appearances, he’s been -14 runs below the league average. In other words, if you have a lot of plate appearances you’re going to create a good amount of runs- but, it’s still very possible that you’re not creating as many runs as an average player would.

      I hope that makes sense.

      • TheGig permalink*
        July 6, 2010 8:58 PM

        If you don’t mind I’m going to simplify that a bit more. The % contributed would simply be the % LWTS_RC, rather than LWTS.

      • July 12, 2010 4:33 PM

        Ah, yes, that does make sense to me. Thanks!

  2. July 7, 2010 6:32 PM

    Very nice stats in the post. Must take a lot of work/research. Keep up the good work.

    King of Cali

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