|Brad Radke||Roy Oswalt|
|5 - 7, 5.83||6 - 3, 3.21|
So how about the the new Tom Verducci, in which the usually sensible senior SI writer suggests that, despite his .338 OBP, Jose Reyes might be the best leadoff hitter in the NL?
As counterintuitive postulates go, it ain't superstring theory, but for baseball, it'll do quite nicely. The idea that you should judge your leadoff hitter primarilly by how well he scores runs, while seeming kind of sensible, actually confuses cause and effect in the established order. Traditionally, it has been the leadoff hitter's job to get on, and it has been the third-place and cleanup hitters' job to score him. The first part is measured quite well by OBP, but the second part, with the sabermetricians' de-emphasis of the RBI, and the general idea that RBI's don't correlate with talent all that well, has sort of been floating in limbo.
Verducci wants to give the credit back to the guy who scored the run.
Who does score the most per time on base? Once the guy singles, is scoring a run from there a repeatable skill? Considering that Jose Reyes gets to trot home quite a bit after Wright or Delgado hit another jack, I'm not sure how valid any of this is. Certainly Reyes isn't teaching Wright his plate discipline . . .
But even if there is something to this idea, is it best measured as runs per time on base, or as runs per plate appearance?
Since I look at everything through Astros-colored glasses, I thought I'd take a look at this.
First thing I did was see who does well on the Astros in this Runs/Time On Base thang:
Actually, what's going on there is that I figured times on base as most would: by adding hits and walks and hit by pitches. I guess what happened is that Wandy reached on an error one time and scored then, too. Does anybody remember the play?
But more to the point, check out Willy. He's not scoring half the time when he gets on, like Reyes, but he does lead regulars on the team.
What happens when we look at Runs Scored per plate appearance ?
I don't know. I think we're basically looking at an expression of RBI ability. Maybe Taveras has some small ability over Biggio (and even here I doubt), but both score more times than Berkman because (when he doesn't homer) Berkman has been relying on Wilson and Lane to drive him in, whereas Willy and Bidge have had Lance.
. . .
OK. I've looked at it, I considered this idea, and yes, I think it is bullshit. I believe I'll dance with who brung me, as they say in Texas. Leadoff guys get on, run producers drive them in; the causality does not flow backward.
But before I put this to bed, I took a look around the league to see what other leadoff-type guys (in theory or in practice) were doing. Just for fun, I put their batting average when leading off.
|player||# 1 avg||r/pa|
|*done up viva el birdos style!|