M's as RBI Men
algebra is nice, but the scoreboard is nicer Dept.


James posted a full list of 200-some MLB players who had 500+ "James RBI Opportunities" over the last eight (I think) years.  In the comments thread we asked a question, which hasn't yet been answered.  Perhaps SABRMatt or another saberdude could give it some thought and help us out.


Would be interesting to know the correlation between slugging percentage (SLG) and RBI percentage as presented here. 

What is RBI percentage saying that SLG, HR rate (knocking yourself in) and 'clutch hitting' (e.g. SLG with men on) is not saying - and if we compare a batter's RBI percentage compared to his SLG, does that give a de facto 'clutch' measurement? 


The average major leaguer bats in .304 of his "James RBI Opportunities," defined in the previous post.  Mariners on the Master List:


NELSON CRUZ, .387 - Grade A-.  Boomstick has the equivalent of 1,841 men on third base, less than two out, and has plated them 713 times.  After 12 years now, he has averaged 36 homers and 101 RBI per 162 games.  When he came here, I smilingly called him the Dominican Jay Buhner - you can't hit your way off the island and Boomstick is pretty much what Jay would have been if Bone had swung the bat more.  

Cruz now has 284 career homers; Buhner had 310.   'Stick will pass him when, May? ... In the 1990's Abstracts, when James loved a rookie power hitter he'd say "If he does so-and-so, he'll hit 300 homers in his career."  Still a great benchmark for a 10 year+ cleanup hitter.

Point is, the 2017 Mariners' cleanup hitter is ... a Cleanup Hitter.


ROBINSON CANO, .368 - Grade B+.  And his .368 rate has gotten him 95 RBI per season, playing for mostly good offenses.  James in his article this week also answered the question, "Can a mediocre hitter get 100 RBI because a lot of men were on in front of him?"  Basically, no!

The 2017 Mariners' three hitter is ... a Three Hitter.  Could be evolving nicely in Old Player's Skills - last year's 39 homers were a breakout for him in that category.  Never mind even the Safeco context.


Yoenis Cespedes, .393, A.  Sometimes there's no justice in life.

Khris Davis, .366, B+.  Knew there was something about the guy I didn't like.

Mark Trumbo .361, B+.

Kendrys Morales, .371, B+.   Zduriencik had lots of bad luck when he was here, or, there was a lot of dry rot pulling the club apart.  Take your pick.  He made plenty of logical decisions that just didn't work in Seattle.  But then, the same was true of Bavasi.   (Adrian Beltre had a .368 rate on this list, B+.)

Jose Altuve, .316, C+.  Ha!

Michael Saunders, .286, C-.  Also in line with his .402 lifetime SLG to date.

Casey Kotchman, .281, D+.  Not exactly what you are looking for out of your first baseman.  Thesis paper topic:  how many World Series winners had D+ or worse RBI men at first base.  If it was most of them, let's go with Jarrod Dyson there.  ... for a while I thought Blengino might do something like that...

Brendan Ryan, .224, F.  and..

Chone Figgins, .206, F, the tailender on the list.


SETH SMITH, .332 - Grade B-.  About in line with his lifetime .447 SLG, which is also B-.


LEONYS MARTIN, .249 - Grade D-.  But then again his career SLG is only .366 to date.  Could call it the Leonydas stat - longest line drive homers vs. lowest SLG results.


Dr D



What is "the equivalent of 1,841 men on third base?"

Does that mean you drive in people from 2nd base (let's pretend) half as often as people from third, so 100 people on 2nd base is the equivalent of 50 men on third base?

Something like that?


Man on 3B, 0 or 1 out is a "full RBI opportunity," 1.0 chances for an RBI.  1.0 means only that it's the baseline for the lesser RBI situations.  

All runners on 2B, and all runners on 3B if two are out, count 70% of that, 0.7 opportunities.  

Any runner on 1B is 0.4 full-blown RBI chances for the hitter.  

And the batter himself is 0.1 chances, if he hits a home run.

The idea is to measure opportunties that are "fair" to all kinds of hitters - so that you can see whether some hitter or other is good at producing RBI.  An interesting James system that winds up leaving various types of hitters right around the .300 mark, regardless of teammates, after you adjust for the HR's.  It's acknowledged that an HR hitter is obviously better at knocking himself in than a singles hitter.


I never really thought too highly of him when he was a Ranger, aside from all those homers he hit off Felix. But that man has had quite a nice career, when it's all said and done, hasn't he? 36HR/101RBI per year? Really impressive.

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