Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2010?

 

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2010?
       
     By Bill Gilbert
 
      Numerous methods have been devised to measure offensive performance. The most common are batting average, on-base percentage and slugging average. Since none of these averages provides a complete picture by itself, a more comprehensive measure of offensive performance is useful. Such a measure would include the following elements:
 
1. The ability to get on base.
2. The ability to hit with power.
3. The ability to add value through baserunning.
 
      The first two elements are measured by on-base percentage and slugging average. A measure of offensive performance, which encompasses both as well as baserunning achievements, is Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA). This measure accounts for the net bases accumulated by a player per plate appearance. It is calculated as follows:
 
     BPA = (TB + BB + HB + SB – CS – GIDP) / (AB + BB + HB + SF)
 
     Where: BPA = Bases per Plate Appearance
            TB   = Total Bases
            BB   = Bases on Balls
            HB   = Hit by Pitch
            SB   = Stolen Bases
            CS   = Caught Stealing
            GIDP = Grounded into Double Plays
            AB   = At Bats
            SF   = Sacrifice Flies
 
The numerator accounts for all of the bases accumulated by a player, reduced by the number of times he is caught stealing or erases another runner by grounding into a double play. The denominator accounts for the plate appearances when the player is trying to generate bases for himself. Sacrifice hits are not included as plate appearances, since they represent the successful execution of the batter’s attempts to advance another runner.
 
      Major league BPA for the past fifteen years are shown below along with the number of players with BPA over .550 and .600:
 
Year 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
 BPA .471 .463 .463 .479 .481 .468 .457 .461 .468 .456 .470 .463 .458 .461 .446
.550   41   34   41   50   50   46   39  42   33   34   46   34   41   42   19
.600   21   15   22   29   30   26   17  15   18   13   14   15   11   16    7
 
Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this decade. BPA in 2010 was down sharply from 2009, representing a 3.7% decline in offensive production, and a 7.3% reduction from the peak in 2000.  
 
      In the 1990s, there were 14 individual .700 BPA seasons. In the ten year period from 2000 to 2009, there were 18. The highest BPA in the 1990s was recorded by Mark McGwire in 1998 (.799). Barry Bonds shattered that with .907 in 2001, the highest figure ever recorded, topping Babe Ruth’s best two years (1920 and 1921).  Bonds followed that with .869 in 2002, .818 in 2003 and .882 in 2004. There have not been any hitters with a BPA of .700 in 2008, 2009 and 2010. The last player to make it was Alex Rodriguez (.702) in 2007. Surprisingly, Albert Pujols has not had a .700 BPA in his ten seasons. However, he was the major league leader in 2009 by a large margin with a BPA of .696, the highest figure of his career, and the second time he has finished on top.
 
 
 
      The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2010 are listed below:
   
Player              Team           Year       BPA
Barry Bonds         San Francisco  2001      .907
Barry Bonds         San Francisco  2004      .882
Barry Bonds         San Francisco  2002      .869
Barry Bonds         San Francisco  2003      .818
Sammy Sosa          Chicago Cubs   2001      .758
Barry Bonds         San Francisco  2000      .745
Jim Thome           Cleveland      2002      .728
Manny Ramirez       Cleveland      2000      .726
Todd Helton         Colorado       2000      .720
Luis Gonzalez       Arizona        2001      .713
Todd Helton         Colorado       2001      .709
Carlos Delgado      Toronto        2000      .707
Larry Walker        Colorado       2001      .707
Jason Giambi        Oakland        2000      .706
Travis Hafner       Cleveland      2006      .703
Alex Rodriguez      NY Yankees     2007      .702
Jason Giambi        Oakland        2001      .700
Ryan Howard         Philadelphia   2006      .700
 
The yearly leaders since 1992 are as follows:
 
1992 Bonds        .734 1993 Bonds     .740 1994 Bagwell  .768
1995 Belle        .692 1996 McGwire   .765 1997 Walker   .770
1998 McGwire      .799 1999 McGwire   .735 2000 Bonds    .745 
2001 Bonds       . 907 2002 Bonds     .869 2003 Bonds    .818
2004 Bonds        .882 2005 D. Lee    .699 2006 Hafner   .703
2007 A. Rodriguez .702 2008 Pujols    .685 2009 Pujols   .696
2010 Bautista     .671
 
      The benchmark for an outstanding individual season is .600. Following is a list of 7 players with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title and with a BPA of .600 in 2010.
 
Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA) of .600+ in 2010
————————————————- 
                                No. of
                 2010   2009     .600+
   Player         BPA    BPA LG Seasons Comments          
 1 Bautista, J   .671   .482   A    1    The big surprise of the season.
 2 Votto, J.     .657   .617   N    2    Some competition for Pujols.    
 3 Hamilton, J.  .653   .460   A    1    Needs to stay healthy.
 4 Cabrera, M.   .642   .568   A    2    Best year so far.
 5 Pujols, A.    .634   .696   N    8    A little below par.
 6 Gonzalez, C.  .632   .596   N    1    Emerging superstar.
 7 Konerko, P.   .613   .517   A    1    Career year at age 34.
 
      The only repeaters from last year’s list are Pujols and Votto. Fourteen other players had a BPA over .600 in 2009 but fell short in 2010. Most of these players fell off sharply in either power or average after strong seasons in 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                   No. of
                   2010   2009     .600+
   Player           BPA   BPA LG Seasons Comments            
 1 Fielder, P.     .555   .640   N    2    Power and average way down.
 2 Mauer, J.       .488   .619   A    1    Only 9 HR vs. 28 in 2009.
 3 Zobrist, B.     .458   .617   A    1    2009 looks like a fluke.
 4 Lee, D.         .454   .611   N    2    Has a history of ups and downs.
 5 Utley, C.       .542   .611   N    2    HR dropped from 31 to 16.
 6 Howard, R.      .534   .610   N    3    Power way off in 2010.
 7 Bay, J.         .479   .610   N    2    Loss of power and injury took toll.
 8 Youkilis, K.    .623   .609   A    1    Not enough PA to qualify.
 9 Reynolds, M.    .508   .607   N    1    BAVG of .198 won’t cut it.
10 Rodriguez, A.   .538   .604   A   11    Four straight years under .290 BAVG.
11 Ramirez, H.     .544   .604   N    3    May have peaked in 2009.
12 Pena, C.        .503   .604   A    2    BAVG of .196 was a killer.
13 Braun, R.       .535   .603   N    1    First year under 30 HR.
14 Teixeira, M.    .532   .603   A    4    Lowest BAVG (.256) of career.
 
      Seven players have a BPA over .600 for their careers:
 
                             2010      Career
Player             Age       BPA        BPA    Comments.
————        —       —-       —-   ——–
Albert Pujols       30      .634       .650    Consistently great.
Alex Rodriguez      34      .538       .622    Tailing off.
Jim Thome           39      .668       .618    Amazing year.
Manny Ramirez       38      .525       .618    Winding down.
Ryan Howard         30      .534       .609    Surprising drop.
Joey Votto          26      .657       .607    Looks like the real deal.    
Lance Berkman       34      .472       .603    Serious decline in 2010.
 
Another list of interest is one containing the names of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2010 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title. These four players were very productive when they played but missed significant time due to injury or other reasons.
                                  
Player          Age  BPA   PA    Comments
————— —   —- —   —————————
Jim Thome        39  .668 340   Provided big boost for Twins.
Justin Morneau   29  .652 348   Derailed by concussion 
Kevin Youkilis   31  .623 435   Produced when healthy.  
Nelson Cruz      29  .608 445   Slowed by repeated hamstring problems.
 
 
Looking at the other end of the spectrum, sixteen players who earned enough playing time to qualify for the batting title had a BPA less than .400 in 2010. This list is getting longer every year. As usual most are middle infielders and catchers.  
 
Player               BPA      Comments
—————–   —-      ——————————
Miguel Tejada       .396      Slow decline continues.
Chone Figgins       .393      Big disappointment in Seattle.                 
Elvis Andrus        .391      Held back by lack of power.
Kevin Kouzmanoff    .391      First year below .400.
Erick Aybar         .389      Big drop from strong 2009.
Skip Schumaker      .385      Disappointing season.
Orlando Cabrera     .380      Slowly declining.
Kurt Suzuki         .377      Worst year of 4-year career.
A. J. Pierzynski    .376      A little below his norm.
Yadier Molina       .372      Carried by his defense.
Alberto Callaspo    .370      Only .317 after trade to Angels.
Alcides Escobar     .369      Big time sophomore slump.
Yunel Escobar       .367      Are these guys the same player?
Ryan Theriot        .357      Flopped after trade to Dodgers.
Jose Lopez          .334      Way below career norm.
Cesar Izturis       .302      Career BPA of .355.
 
 
The following four players compiled a batting average over .300, an on-base average over .400, a slugging percentage over .500 and bases per plate appearance over .600 in 2010:
 
Player (2010)        BAVG       OBA       SLG       BPA       OPS
Josh Hamilton        .359      .411      .633      .653     1.044
Miguel Cabrera       .328      .420      .622      .642     1.042
Joey Votto           .324      .424      .600      .657     1.024
Albert Pujols        .312      .414      .596      .634     1.011
 
      Two active players have these numbers for their careers, although Manny Ramirez fell short in 2010:
 
Player (Career)      BAVG       OBA       SLG       BPA        OPS
Albert Pujols        .331      .426      .624      .650      1.050
Manny Ramirez        .313      .411      .586      .618       .998
 
Bill Gilbert
12/4/10
 
 

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