Sunday, January 27, 2008

2007 NL LOB/RISP Data

I thought it'd be interesting to look at the numbers of baserunners (a guy that hits a home run doesn't count as a baserunner for this) left on base and in scoring position by each team in the National League. To do that, I'm going to use a table to show raw numbers for all of the teams and then a number of lists for some further percentages.

In the following table, LOB, as usual, stands for Left On Base, RISP stands for Runners In Scoring Position, RLISP is Runners Left In Scoring Position, and RISPR is Runners In Scoring Position Runs, my lingo for runs scored by guys who began the run-scoring play in scoring position. You'll note RLISP and RISPR values don't always add up to RISP values. This is because teams make outs on the basepaths - runners picked off second or third or thrown out at third or home plate may have started the play in scoring position but may not have made the final out of the inning. If they did make the final out of the inning, I considered them runners left in scoring position. Perhaps that's not the right way to interpret the term but I figure in most cases they could have pulled up a base short and not been thrown out or gotten picked off; either way, the risk they took hurt their team and I wanted to reflect this in the numbers. What's the difference between a guy absentmindedly being picked off third base and a guy who's too busy swinging for the fences to make contact with RISP and two outs in the long run?

2007 NL Raw Numbers for Baserunners

New York203211961221672519
Los Angeles201912001209666508
St. Louis199611671157639494
San Francisco190111411099612453
San Diego188911521098604472
NL Sums315661883318542103477743
NL Averages197311771159647484

You can see every team was within 330 baserunners of each other; that's a little over two per game. Alone, these numbers don't say much: so what if Arizona left the fewest runners on base, they had the fewest opportunities to leave guys out there. With that in mind, here's the list of teams ranked by lowest to highest LOB%:
  1. Colorado, 58.02% of baserunners left on base
  2. St. Louis, 58.47%
  3. Pittsburgh, 58.80%
  4. New York, 58.86%
  5. Atlanta, 59.21%
  6. Los Angeles, 59.44%
  7. NL Average, 59.66%
  8. Cincinnati, 59.66%
  9. Arizona, 59.69%
  10. Chicago, 59.71%
  11. Milwaukee, 59.96%
  12. San Francisco, 60.02%
  13. Philadelphia, 60.20%
  14. Washington, 60.54%
  15. Houston, 60.56%
  16. Florida, 60.71%
  17. San Diego, 60.98%
The fact playoff contenders and non-contenders are all jumbled up is a pretty good clue that LOB numbers don't have much bearing on a team's overall success. The fact all teams are within 3 percentage points of each other is another -- given the league average number of baserunners, 3% is 59 baserunners. That's about 1 every three games; hardly a huge number.

If you get on base, your ultimate destination is home plate. It's much easier for your teammates to bring you home if you are on second or third base--they only need to hit a single in most cases--so I want to look at which teams had the highest percentage of baserunners who got into scoring position.
  1. Philadelphia, 60.25% of baserunners got into scoring position
  2. New York, 60.09%
  3. Atlanta, 60.00%
  4. Colorado, 59.93%
  5. Chicago, 59.91%
  6. Los Angeles, 59.88%
  7. Pittsburgh, 59.01%
  8. NL Average, 58.74%
  9. Milwaukee, 58.19%
  10. San Diego, 58.13%
  11. Houston, 58.10%
  12. St. Louis, 57.97%
  13. Arizona, 57.94%
  14. Florida, 57.87%
  15. San Francisco, 57.81%
  16. Cincinnati, 57.32%
  17. Washington, 56.90%
Good and bad teams are still jumbled up, though perhaps not as much as before. It's kind of intuitive that if you get more runners into scoring position, you'll likely have a better offense anyway. One other thing to note: teams that knock out a bunch of extra base hits don't need runners in scoring position as much. If you're hitting home runs a lot, you can score runners from first just fine.

So, of all those guys to get into scoring position, which team was best at not stranding them there?
  1. Pittsburgh, 54.41% of RISP stranded
  2. Atlanta, 54.63%
  3. San Diego, 55.01%
  4. New York, 55.04%
  5. Los Angeles, 55.09%
  6. St. Louis, 55.23%
  7. Chicago, 55.36%
  8. Colorado, 55.42%
  9. San Francisco, 55.69%
  10. Philadelphia, 55.71%
  11. NL Average, 55.80%
  12. Arizona, 55.95%
  13. Florida, 56.49%
  14. Milwaukee, 56.64%
  15. Cincinnati, 57.38%
  16. Washington, 57.55%
  17. Houston, 57.63%
If you thought Pittsburgh was the best at not leaving runners in scoring position, congratulations. The fact the league average is below ten teams underscores just how out of whack the five bottom teams were. Of course, and I don't know if this is true, it's possible those were the most conservative teams - if you don't try and take extra bases with less than two outs, you can't get thrown out doing it. Similarly, maybe teams near the top were more reckless than others.

Finally, which teams were the best at bringing their RISP around to score?
  1. Pittsburgh, 43.10% of RISP scored
  2. Colorado, 43.03%
  3. Atlanta, 43.00%
  4. San Diego, 42.99%
  5. St. Louis, 42.70%
  6. New York, 42.51%
  7. Philadelphia, 42.13%
  8. Los Angeles, 42.02%
  9. NL Average, 41.76%
  10. Chicago, 41.37%
  11. Arizona, 41.30%
  12. San Francisco, 41.22%
  13. Florida, 40.79%
  14. Milwaukee, 40.77%
  15. Washington, 40.35%
  16. Cincinnati, 40.21%
  17. Houston, 40.16%
I guess Pittsburgh wasn't reckless after all; I didn't realize they scored the highest percentage of runners in scoring position. Be that as it may, again there's about a 3% difference between the top and bottom teams. Given the league average number of runners in scoring position for a team, that's about 35 runs per season, or one every four games. Teams near the bottom of this can mitigate their lack of RISP conversion by hitting a lot of home runs; you'd be hard pressed to say Milwaukee and Cincinnati didn't have good offenses last season.

No comments: