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Productive Outs and Double Plays

March 2, 2011

Expect to see more regular posting from me around late March and early April- I’ve only got a few weeks left before being completely finished with my undergraduate work.  I’ve got a few minutes of down time, so I thought I’d post some data.  I track both productive outs created and double plays avoided per opportunity when I calculate player value (i.e. WAR; Wins Above Replacement), and figure it’d be nice to share it rather than keep it all to myself.  I used to use a static run value for both productive outs and double plays, but have since found a better way to approximate the values- it just so happens that the run value of a productive out is roughly equal to the difference between a sacrifice hit (around -.06 runs in 2010) and a strikeout (around -.27 runs), about +.21 runs.  That’s not a whole lot, mind you, but it is something.  The run value of a double play avoided (above or below average) is approximately the difference between a sacrifice hit and a double play (about -.44 runs), +.38 runs.

The top five leaders in productive outs:

Elvis Andrus, Julio Borbon, Juan Pierre, Mark Teixeira, and Erick Aybar at +2 runs apiece.  All of these guys, with the exception of Teixeira, are small-ball type of players.  The trailers?  Adrian Beltre, Mike Aviles, Troy Glaus, B.J. Upton, and Aaron Hill at -2.  That said, the overall difference between the best and worst hitters at making productive outs is about four runs; about half a win.  That’s a noticeable difference and something that should be accounted for in player valuation, since we’re always striving to increase theoretical accuracy.  The best team were the Rangers at +8 runs; the worst were the Brewers at -9.  That’s a gigantic difference (about two wins).

When it comes to avoiding double plays, Carl Crawford (+5), Curtis Granderson (+5), Carlos Peña (+4), Jonny Gomes (+4), and Brennan Boesch (+3) lead the pack.  Billy Butler (-7), Ivan Rodriguez (-6), Adrian Beltre (-4), Wilson Valdez (-4) and Michael Cuddyer (-4) were the worst.  The best team at avoiding them were the Rays (+11); the worst were the Giants (-13).

As a whole, the best player was Carl Crawford (+6); the worst Adrian Beltre (-6).  That’s close to a win and a half in difference.  Again, this is something that we need to pay attention to in player valuation.  The difference between the best (Rays at +14) and worst team (Twins at -11) was 25 runs; almost three wins.  That’s a lot.

Sorry for the rushed post, guys.  I’ve got a lot going on right now.  You can find the whole spreadsheet here; I hope you find it as interesting as I do.

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