Sunday Rockpile: RBI percentage

Lisa Blumenfeld

What can we tell by looking at a simple RBI%?

"Your goal shouldn't be to buy players," Jonah Hill tells us as Peter Brand in Moneyball, "you goal should be to buy wins, and in order to buy wins, you need to by runs."

How runs are actually produced is at the center of many a debate currently raging across the MLB landscape. I wrote a few weeks ago about the trouble with the RBI stat and asked whether or not we, as a Purple Row community, could come up with something that gets at the same idea but is a more effective tool for measuring a players propensity to produce runs.

The most highly supported idea was that of a simple "RBI%" stat that would calculate the number of times a player successfully drove in a run with runner in scoring position. This method should allow a reader a quick glance at whether or not a hitters high (or low) RBI total was due to a wealth (or lack) or resources.

Another idea that emerged through the course of this conversation was looking at a players slugging percentage with runners on base. I figured, if you hit at least a double with any reasonable runner on base you ought to be getting your fair share of RsBI

So, for the Rockies top seven RBI men and for the top three in all of MLB I calculated RBI% and SLG% w/ men on base.


Total RBI ABs w/ RISP RBI% ABs w/ MOB SLG w/ MOB
MIchael Cuddyer 84 128 45% 234 .509
Troy Tulowitzki 82 132 41% 212 .467
Wilin Rosario 79 128 43% 214 .528
Carlos Gonzalez 70 106 39% 173 .532
Todd Helton 61 109 42% 181 .431
Nolan Arenado 52 125 27% 204 .392
Dexter Fowler 42 87 33% 135 .382
Chris Davis 138 137 62% 245 .694
Miguel Cabrerea 137 156 63% 262 .733
Paul Goldschmidt 145 145 58% 273 .692

I'll leave drawing any conclusions from these numbers for the comment section as I'm still looking them over myself. Also before I get too deep into analysis I wanted to make sure I'm not missing something completely since math isn't exactly my strong suit.

So if I've done something stupid please feel free to make fun of me in the comments (within the rules!) and I'll be sure to look into this for further either way.


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