Thread: Runs scored
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Old 08-16-2019, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by voodoochile View Post
His SLG is 92 points higher than his regular SLG but his BA is only 79 points higher. If Abreu can post a .925 OPS all the time, then he should do it. Compared to his .766 OPS with no runners on base why not?

He's clearly not giving up a ton of power, just adding a lot of base hits some of which are going for 2B and HR.

And sorry, I misread your post but my point does stand for others claiming that OPS penalizes hitters. Teams only care about runs, OPS is merely a good predictor of what teams are more successful at scoring them.

I think OPS is not at all a predictor for runs. I think it would be more useful if a strikeout percentage was subtracted at the end. Using stats as a predictor is sketchy anyway and requires you to know so much more about the players involved in a matchup. Derek Holland before last night had twice faced Bryce Harper and twice retired Bryce Harper. There's the whole lefty-on-lefty thing, although Harper is hitting a a little bit better (and walking less) against southpaws. (I don't watch a lot of Phillies games, but I get the impression that right handers are more inclined to pitch around him, give him less to hit, hence more walks in situations where the walks aren't really helping the Phillies and more outs swinging at bad pitches.) Even with the apparent percentage advantage, does anyone believe --while Holland is strolling in from the bullpen -- that Holland should be brought in to face Harper in the ninth with the game on the line?

It's interesting that Harper, who is only hitting .253, Harper is hitting .376 with runners in scoring position and (this is after Thursday night's game) .400 with two outs and runners in scoring position. Of course, Harper knows he is going to get something to ht. A walk puts the tying run on third with one out. A sacrifice fly helps the Cubs more than it helps the Phillies. A double play ends the game. Harper, whose batting average suffers a bit because he doesn't get a lot to hit understands Holland doesn't have a big margin for error, which is something Holland, just about any pitcher, needs.

OPS is a number built upon two statistics that are organic to the game. They have overlap, but each only tells you so much. A high on-base percentage means less if it is founded in a high batting average. The three-outcome hitter may have a high on-base percentage, but the team is probably getting little from his walks. If he has a high strikeout rate and walks a lot, his walks are likely coming on the pitcher's terms when it's easier not to give him anything to hit than to risk giving up a home run. Notice how Eloy Jimenez seemed a walking machine when Yonder Alonso was hitting behind him, and how Adam Dunn walked more the deeper in the lineup he hit for the Sox -- or for that matter how Nick Swisher walked much less after he was traded to the Sox and stuck in the leadoff spot.

OPS is a vague, lazy statistical construct that may not tell you what you think it does. A hitter with an OPS of .800, a batting average of .204 with 105 walks and 222 strikeouts is not a hitter a winning team wants in its lineup over many hitters with significant lower OPS, even with the 41 home runs and 96 RBIs. For one thing, this hitter should have had a lot more than 96 RBIs with 41 home runs. You know that before you check and see that he came up with runners in scoring position 166 times, including 18 times with multiple runners in scoring position. Look further and you see tht 30 of the 55 baserunners he drove in scored from first on home runs or doubles. So if you include the walks he took with runners in scoring position, you only get him driving in 25 of the 184 runners he had in scoring position in his plate appearances. His .222 RISP says he drove in 51 runs with RISP, but that include himself in 8 home runs and runners from first when he also drove in runners in scoring position.

It isn't a matter of players not having the focus to succeed when there is no RBI opportunity on base. It's a matter of focusing on driving in the run against a defense that is trying to prevent the run (not talking football here) rather than the defense set up to prevent you from hitting your way on base. Baseball is a situational game. Global statistics may correlate, but they don't predict. Not all .800 OPS hitters are equal. Adam Dunn had a higher career OPS than Harold Baines. Harold Baines was the better hitter.

Every statistic is taken out of context. There are RBIs that mean nothing and take a team out of the game, the conceded run late in the game when the opponent is more concerned with outs than the cosmetic score. But hitters who do what's needed to drive in runs and succeed at a higher rate are more important than hitters with high OPS numbers. It is true that they sometimes overlap, but OPS does not predict run production.
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