Monday, May 19, 2008

2008 NL LOB Data, 1/4 of the Way In

The 2008 MLB season is a little over a quarter finished, with the average major league team having played 45 games to this point. I thought it'd be a good time to look at how all the teams are doing in terms of runners left on base and bringing runners in scoring position around to score.

For starters, I want to make clear what I consider baserunners. allows you to find the number of players to reach base in each game for each team (Times on Base), and I use that number minus the team's home runs hit to find the number of baserunners for that team. That way only players who actually spent time on the basepaths are included rather than rewarding teams that hit a lot of home runs (especially solo home runs). That's not to say hitting home runs are a bad thing (far from it), but I'm looking more at how teams bring players on the bases around to score. To that end, I've also only looked at the number of runs scored by those baserunners. I find this number by taking total runs scored minus home runs. Thus runs scored by players driven in by homers are counted, but not the run scored by the player who actually hit the home run. All this means I'm looking at how well each team has brought players who reached base around to score.

I haven't finished the American League numbers yet, but I have the National League numbers complete. First up is the list of National League teams sorted by the percentage of baserunners left on base. This is pretty easy to find. I simply add up the Left on Base number on for each team, and divide by the sum of the Times on Base for each game played by each team minus that team's home runs. It looks like this: LOB/(TOB-HR).

2008 NL LOB Data, Sorted by LOB%
Through 5/19/2008
  • Los Angeles Dodgers, 54.96%
  • Arizona Diamondbacks, 56.40%
  • Houston Astros, 57.52%
  • Pittsburgh Pirates, 57.84%
  • New York Mets, 58.76%
  • Chicago Cubs, 58.97%
  • Atlanta Braves, 60.18%
  • NL AVERAGE, 60.37%
  • Washington Nationals, 60.66%
  • Colorado Rockies, 60.85%
  • San Francisco Giants, 61.13%
  • Cincinnati Reds, 61.52%
  • Florida Marlins, 62.04%
  • Milwaukee Brewers, 62.40%
  • Philadelphia Phillies, 63.04%
  • St. Louis Cardinals, 63.07%
  • San Diego Padres, 67.25%
San Diego is having a hard time bringing runners around to score, it seems. I do think it's interesting there's a pretty good mix of teams at or near the top of their division at the top of the list (Los Angeles, New York, etc.) and at the bottom of the list (Florida, Philadelphia, St. Louis).

It's my own theory that baseball fans don't tend to get very worked up about high numbers of runners left on first base at the end of an inning. What really gets fans mad is when a team can't seem to score runners from second and/or third. Fans, broadcasters, and journalists talking about leaving too many runners in scoring position is usually a good sign that a team is losing. With that in mind, I've looked at the percentage of runners who reach scoring position who actually score, no matter what way they do it.

2008 NL RISP Scored Data, Sorted by RISP Scored %
Through 5/19/2008
  • Los Angeles Dodgers, 47.76%
  • Pittsburgh Pirates, 47.40%
  • Arizona Diamondbacks, 44.54%
  • Chicago Cubs, 44.47%
  • Houston Astros, 43.71%
  • New York Mets, 43.66%
  • NL AVERAGE, 40.99%
  • Atlanta Braves, 40.42%
  • Washington Nationals, 39.88%
  • Milwaukee Brewers, 39.49%
  • Cincinnati Reds, 39.48%
  • Florida Marlins, 39.44%
  • Colorado Rockies, 38.46%
  • Philadelphia Phillies, 38.24%
  • St. Louis Cardinals, 37.79%
  • San Francisco Giants, 35.87%
  • San Diego Padres, 33.90%
San Diego's numbers are ghastly in this category as well. Winning and losing teams are jumbled in this list as well, but the obvious conclusion that teams plating a higher number of runners in scoring position will win more seems to be borne out pretty well despite Pittsburgh's best efforts.

For the actual raw numbers that generate these percentages, click here to look at a spreadsheet I've put up on Google Docs with percentages for a variety of related categories, including RISP Scored split by outs. I'm going to try and keep that spreadsheet updated regularly throughout the season and I hope to add the American League numbers soon.


b.l. mikel said...

love the research. While the cubs are near the tops in percentages of bringing runners in, i was wondering if you knew at all the records for total base runners and totals left on base. The 30 they left on base tonight only supports this idea that I've had that they must be on pace to break a record for total base runners and even runners left on base.

Theron Schultz said...

I don't know about the records for total baserunners or team LOB. The fact the Cubs have such a good team OBP (no NL team has been up in the .360's since the 2000 Rockies, Astros, and Giants) would definitely bode well for setting a record though.

Ian Benton said...

Hey, I'm not sure if you're going to get this because you wrote this 2 years ago, but I'm wondering where you found Team LOB stats. I can only find these at the end of each box score on the site you listed, but is there a place that aggregates them?

My email is, I'd appreciate any information you can give me as I'm very interested in this stat.

Thanks man.