Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2011?

Who Were the Most Productive Offensive Players in 2011?

       

     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  1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

 BPA  .463 .463 .479 .481 .468 .457 .461 .468 .456 .470 .463 .458 .461 .446 .442

.550    34   41   50   50   46   39   42   33   34   46   34   41   42   19   25

.600    15   22   29   30   26   17   15   18   13   14   15   11   16    7    7

 

Offensive production peaked in 2000 before declining in the early years of this century.  BPA in 2011 was down slightly from 2010, an 8.1% reduction from the peak in 2000.  

 

      In the 1990s, there were 14 individual .700 BPA seasons.  In the eight year period from 2000 to 2007, 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 since 2007. The last player to make it was Alex Rodriguez (.702) in 2007.  Surprisingly, Albert Pujols has not had a .700 BPA in his eleven seasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      The .700 BPA seasons in 2000-2011 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  2011  Bautista  .681

 

      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 2011.

 

 

Bases per Plate Appearance (BPA) of .600+ in 2011

————————————————- 

                                No. of

                 2011   2010     .600+

   Player         BPA    BPA  LG Seasons Comments          

 1 Bautista, J   .681   .671   A    2    Second straight year at the top.

 2 Braun, R.     .663   .535   N    3    Filled the stat sheet.

 3 Kemp, M.      .647   .476   N    1    Big-time breakout season

 4 Cabrera, M.   .615   .642   A    3    Consistently near the top.

 5 Granderson, C .614   .534   A    2    Found power against lefties.

 6 Fielder, C.   .610   .555   N    3    Had better year than Pujols.

 7 Ellsbury, J.  .607   .361   A    1    Found a power stroke.

 

      The only repeaters from last year’s list are Bautista and Cabrera. Bautista topped the list in both years.  Pujols had a BPA of .548, by far the lowest of his career, ranking 27th among qualifiers.  Five other players had a BPA over .600 in 2010 but fell short in 2011. 

 

                                   No. of

                   2010   2011     .600+

   Player           BPA    BPA  LG Seasons Comments            

 1 Votto, J.       .657   .576   N    2    Not quite up to 2010 MVP season.

 2 Hamilton, J.    .653   .559   A    1    Held back by injuries again.

 3 Pujols, A.      .634   .548   N    8    Down year would be a career year for most.

 4 Gonzalez, C.    .632   .576   N    1    Not quite up to 2010 season.

 5 Konerko, P.     .613   .551   A    1    Another strong late-career season.

 

      Six players have a BPA over .600 for their careers:

 

                             2011       Career

Player              Age       BPA        BPA    Comments.

————               —-       —-   ——–

Albert Pujols        31      .548       .641    Easily the best in 2000-09 decade.

Alex Rodriguez       35      .500       .617    Signs of a decline.

Manny Ramirez        39      .059       .617    Great career down in flames.

Jim Thome            40      .531       .615    600 HR clinches HOF spot.

Lance Berkman        35      .598       .602    Still a tough out.

Ryan Braun           27      .663       .602    2012 season in question.

 

Another list of interest is of players with a BPA of over .600 in 2011 who did not have enough plate appearances (PA) to qualify for the batting title. 

                                  

Player          Age   BPA   PA    Comments

————— —   —- —   —————————

Brett Lawrie     21  .663  171   Looks like an impact player.

Mike Napoli      29  .662  432   Can he do it again?

Jason Giambi     40  .645  152   Still hits with power.  

Alejandro De Aza 27  .600  171   Pleasant surprise for White Sox.

 

      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 2011.  Ichiro Suzuki narrowly missed this list with a BPA of .400.  Adam Dunn, with a BPA of .369 in 2011 and a career BPA of .580 would be on this list if he had enough plate appearances to qualify.

 

Player               BPA      Comments

—————–   —-      ——————————

Vladimir Guerrero   .398      Had 7 seasons with BPA over .600.

Omar Infante        .396      Third straight year of decline.                

Miguel Olivo        .395      Only catcher on the list.

Robert Andino       .392      First year as a regular.

Danny Valencia      .390      Failed to repeat promising 2010 season.

Alcides Escobar     .386      A repeater on this list.

Gordon Beckham      .385      A major disappointment.

Martin Prado        .385      Down from .474 in 2010.

Mark Ellis          .382      First time below .400.

Juan Pierre         .379      Career BPA of .445.

Darwin Barney       .373      Tailed off in second half.

Placido Polanco     .368      Career BPA of .425.

Alex Gonzalez       .367      A candidate for this list every year.

Yuniesky Betancourt .366      Career BPA of .384

Jason Bartlett      .364      Had .572 BPA in 2009.

Casey McGehee       .355      Season long slump from .473 in 2010.   

Alex Rios           .353      Even worse than Adam Dunn.

 

Two 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 2011:

 

Player (2010)        BAVG       OBA       SLG       BPA       OPS

Jose Bautista        .302      .447      .608      .681     1.055

Miguel Cabrera       .344      .448      .586      .615     1.033

 

      Two active players have these numbers for their careers, although Manny Ramirez was active for only 17 plate appearances in 2011.

 

Player (Career)      BAVG       OBA       SLG       BPA        OPS

Albert Pujols        .328      .420      .617      .641      1.037

Manny Ramirez        .312      .411      .585      .617       .996

 

Bill Gilbert

12/28/11

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