You Are Here > Baseball-Reference.com > Blog >

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all B-R content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing B-R blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Baseball-Reference.com ยป Sports Reference

For more from Andy and the gang, check out their new site High Heat Stats.

Three True Outcomes: Players with the highest fraction of HR + walks + strikeouts

Posted by Andy on June 22, 2011

Thanks to reader Doug N., I figured out how to generate this list with the PI.

Here are the guys (ranked by most plate appearances) whose total homers plus walks plus strikeouts were at least 45% of their career plate appearances:

Rk Player PA From To Age HR BB SO Pos Tm
1 Jim Thome 9897 1991 2011 20-40 593 1696 2415 3D5 CLE-PHI-CHW-TOT-MIN
2 Mark McGwire 7660 1986 2001 22-37 583 1317 1596 *3/D54967 OAK-TOT-STL
3 Adam Dunn 6329 2001 2011 21-31 361 1031 1723 *739/D CIN-TOT-WSN-CHW
4 Carlos Pena 4557 2001 2011 23-33 243 625 1200 *3/D7 TEX-TOT-DET-BOS-TBD-TBR-CHC
5 Rob Deer 4512 1984 1996 23-35 230 575 1409 *97/3D8 SFG-MIL-DET-TOT-SDP
6 Ryan Howard 4086 2004 2011 24-31 268 503 1118 *3/D PHI
7 Russell Branyan 3364 1998 2011 22-35 190 395 1110 537D/9 CLE-TOT-CIN-MIL-SEA
8 Bo Jackson 2626 1986 1994 23-31 141 200 841 *7D/89 KCR-CHW-CAL
9 Mark Reynolds 2563 2007 2011 23-27 134 302 841 *5/349 ARI-BAL
10 Jack Cust 2534 2001 2011 22-32 104 440 795 *D79 ARI-COL-BAL-SDP-OAK-SEA
11 Mark Bellhorn 2491 1997 2007 22-32 69 346 723 45/36D987 OAK-CHC-TOT-BOS-SDP-CIN
12 Dave Nicholson 1661 1960 1967 20-27 61 219 573 *79/8 BAL-CHW-HOU-ATL
13 Lefty Grove 1579 1925 1941 25-41 15 105 593 *1 PHA-BOS
14 Melvin Nieves 1392 1992 1998 20-26 63 136 483 *9/7D83 ATL-SDP-DET-CIN
15 Kelly Shoppach 1345 2005 2011 25-31 51 119 448 *2/D BOS-CLE-TBR
16 Milt Pappas 1174 1957 1973 18-34 20 36 510 *1/4 BAL-CIN-TOT-ATL-CHC
17 Mickey Lolich 1017 1963 1979 22-38 0 105 362 *1 DET-NYM-SDP
18 Frank Fernandez 902 1967 1972 24-29 39 164 231 *2/97 NYY-OAK-TOT-CHC
19 Sandy Koufax 858 1955 1966 19-30 2 43 386 *1 BRO-LAD
20 Dave McNally 848 1962 1975 19-32 9 58 340 *1 BAL-MON
21 Dick Donovan 801 1950 1965 22-37 15 78 292 *1 BSN-DET-CHW-WSA-CLE
22 Dick Ellsworth 774 1958 1971 18-31 0 46 322 *1 CHC-PHI-BOS-TOT-MIL
23 Pedro Ramos 770 1955 1970 20-35 15 22 316 *1 WSH-MIN-CLE-TOT-NYY-PHI-WSA
24 Don Cardwell 766 1957 1970 21-34 15 25 340 *1 PHI-TOT-CHC-PIT-NYM
25 Dean Chance 759 1961 1971 20-30 0 30 420 *1 LAA-CAL-MIN-TOT-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/22/2011.

A large fraction of these guys are active, suggesting that the Three True Outcomes feat is hard to maintain at the tail end of a career, probably because tend to homer and walk less often towards the end. Also note a few pitchers on this list, thanks to striking out a ton.

If we allow only retired players and lower the bar to 42% for the Three True Outcomes, here's the list:

Rk Player PA From To Age HR BB SO Pos Tm
1 Mark McGwire 7660 1986 2001 22-37 583 1317 1596 *3/D54967 OAK-TOT-STL
2 Jay Buhner 5927 1987 2001 22-36 310 792 1406 *9/D873 NYY-TOT-SEA
3 Mickey Tettleton 5745 1984 1997 23-36 245 949 1307 *2D39/7 OAK-BAL-DET-TEX
4 Rob Deer 4512 1984 1996 23-35 230 575 1409 *97/3D8 SFG-MIL-DET-TOT-SDP
5 Bo Jackson 2626 1986 1994 23-31 141 200 841 *7D/89 KCR-CHW-CAL
6 Mark Bellhorn 2491 1997 2007 22-32 69 346 723 45/36D987 OAK-CHC-TOT-BOS-SDP-CIN
7 Ken Phelps 2287 1980 1990 25-35 123 390 449 *D3/9 KCR-MON-SEA-TOT
8 Dave Nicholson 1661 1960 1967 20-27 61 219 573 *79/8 BAL-CHW-HOU-ATL
9 Lefty Grove 1579 1925 1941 25-41 15 105 593 *1 PHA-BOS
10 Red Faber 1550 1914 1933 25-44 3 169 479 *1 CHW
11 Melvin Nieves 1392 1992 1998 20-26 63 136 483 *9/7D83 ATL-SDP-DET-CIN
12 Jerry Reuss 1195 1969 1990 20-41 1 69 433 *1 STL-HOU-PIT-LAD-TOT-CAL-CHW-MIL
13 Warren Newson 1193 1991 1998 26-33 34 196 292 97/D8 CHW-TOT-TEX
14 Sam Horn 1185 1987 1995 23-31 62 132 323 *D/3 BOS-BAL-CLE-TEX
15 Milt Pappas 1174 1957 1973 18-34 20 36 510 *1/4 BAL-CIN-TOT-ATL-CHC
16 Bobby Estalella 1056 1996 2004 21-29 48 130 290 *2/D PHI-SFG-TOT-COL
17 Jerry Koosman 1052 1967 1985 24-42 2 33 418 *1 NYM-MIN-CHW-PHI
18 Mickey Lolich 1017 1963 1979 22-38 0 105 362 *1 DET-NYM-SDP
19 Nolan Ryan 957 1966 1993 19-46 2 38 371 *1 NYM-CAL-HOU-TEX
20 Bob Buhl 952 1953 1967 24-38 0 38 389 *1 MLN-TOT-CHC-PHI
21 Jim Lonborg 902 1965 1979 23-37 3 51 330 *1 BOS-MIL-PHI
22 Frank Fernandez 902 1967 1972 24-29 39 164 231 *2/97 NYY-OAK-TOT-CHC
23 Sandy Koufax 858 1955 1966 19-30 2 43 386 *1 BRO-LAD
24 Dave McNally 848 1962 1975 19-32 9 58 340 *1 BAL-MON
25 Earl Wilson 838 1959 1970 24-35 35 67 271 *1 BOS-TOT-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/22/2011.

And finally, if we eliminate pitchers and lower the bar to 40%, here is the final list:

Rk Player PA From To Age HR BB SO Pos Tm
1 Mickey Mantle 9909 1951 1968 19-36 536 1733 1710 *8397/645 NYY
2 Jose Canseco 8129 1985 2001 20-36 462 906 1942 D97/81 OAK-TOT-TEX-BOS-TOR-TBD-CHW
3 Mark McGwire 7660 1986 2001 22-37 583 1317 1596 *3/D54967 OAK-TOT-STL
4 Troy Glaus 6355 1998 2010 21-33 320 854 1377 *53/D6 ANA-ARI-TOR-STL-ATL
5 Jay Buhner 5927 1987 2001 22-36 310 792 1406 *9/D873 NYY-TOT-SEA
6 Danny Tartabull 5842 1984 1997 21-34 262 768 1362 *9D/4675 SEA-KCR-NYY-TOT-CHW-PHI
7 Mickey Tettleton 5745 1984 1997 23-36 245 949 1307 *2D39/7 OAK-BAL-DET-TEX
8 Gorman Thomas 5486 1973 1986 22-35 268 697 1339 *8D9/735 MIL-TOT-SEA
9 Rob Deer 4512 1984 1996 23-35 230 575 1409 *97/3D8 SFG-MIL-DET-TOT-SDP
10 Brad Wilkerson 3753 2001 2008 24-31 122 492 947 7389/D MON-WSN-TEX-TOT
11 Don Lock 3116 1962 1969 25-32 122 373 776 *87/93 WSA-PHI-TOT
12 Bo Jackson 2626 1986 1994 23-31 141 200 841 *7D/89 KCR-CHW-CAL
13 Mark Bellhorn 2491 1997 2007 22-32 69 346 723 45/36D987 OAK-CHC-TOT-BOS-SDP-CIN
14 Craig Wilson 2311 2001 2007 24-30 99 198 643 39/72D PIT-TOT-ATL
15 Ken Phelps 2287 1980 1990 25-35 123 390 449 *D3/9 KCR-MON-SEA-TOT
16 Shane Andrews 1924 1995 2002 23-30 86 191 515 *5/3D7 MON-TOT-CHC-BOS
17 Dave Nicholson 1661 1960 1967 20-27 61 219 573 *79/8 BAL-CHW-HOU-ATL
18 Gary Alexander 1458 1975 1981 22-28 55 154 381 *2D/739 SFG-TOT-CLE-PIT
19 Melvin Nieves 1392 1992 1998 20-26 63 136 483 *9/7D83 ATL-SDP-DET-CIN
20 Chris Duncan 1317 2005 2009 24-28 55 160 316 *7/39D STL
21 Warren Newson 1193 1991 1998 26-33 34 196 292 97/D8 CHW-TOT-TEX
22 Sam Horn 1185 1987 1995 23-31 62 132 323 *D/3 BOS-BAL-CLE-TEX
23 Hee-Seop Choi 1086 2002 2005 23-26 40 141 262 *3 CHC-TOT-LAD
24 Tom Egan 1084 1965 1975 19-29 22 80 336 *2/3 CAL-CHW
25 Bobby Estalella 1056 1996 2004 21-29 48 130 290 *2/D PHI-SFG-TOT-COL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/22/2011.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 at 10:35 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

49 Responses to “Three True Outcomes: Players with the highest fraction of HR + walks + strikeouts”

  1. Troy Toth Says:

    I'm new to visiting here and maybe I'm missing something, but when I add HR's, BB's and K's and divide by plate appearances I don't see anyone at 60%. For instance, with Jim Thome I add 593 HR +1696 BB + 2415 K = 4704 / 9897 PA = .475. I didn't check everyone, but did an eyeball test on several others and am wondering if you meant 40% or some other number??? Or am I misinterpreting something?

  2. Troy, I concur with your findings but have yet to figure out the mistake in my formula.

  3. I made some kind of error in my original post...could figure it out...but what's posted now is correct. Thanks, Troy.

  4. "Thanks to reader Doug N., I figured out how to generate this list with the PI."

    And the secret is? I seem to remember something like this being discussed in the comments a while back, but can you refresh my memory on how to do it?

  5. I'll post it once I've gotten confirmation that it's OK to do so.

  6. @5
    Andy, ???

    Is there some PI voodoo that only BRef bloggers have access to?

  7. Johnny Twisto Says:

    A large fraction of these guys are active, suggesting that the Three True Outcomes feat is hard to maintain at the tail end of a career

    I think it mostly suggests that TTO have been much higher in recent years.

  8. stan cook Says:

    Didn't Bill James refer to homering and walking as "old man's skills"?

  9. Keith Karcher Says:

    I think your final list may be missing Ruben Rivera [ (185 BB + 510 K + 64 HR) / 1818 PA = 41.7%] and Jon Nunnally [ (146 BB + 239 K + 42 HR) / 1048 PA = 40.7%].

  10. I know Nunnally was the next guy after I cut the list off. Don't know about Rivera.

  11. Looks like Ruben Rivera is still classified as an active player for whatever reason.

    I like the flip side, guys who put the ball in play all the time. Lloyd Waner is high on that list.

  12. I think Rivera is not listed as retired, and that's why he didn't show up. He is currently in the Mexican league. I think Sean only marks players as retired when they officially announce retirement or are otherwise clearly very unlikely to play in the majors again (meaning not playing professional ball in any league such as the Mexican League or Northern League.)

  13. Andy, I'd also like to know how the search was done.

  14. Anybody think of a good name for (HR+BB+K)/PA? Old age index? No-defense-required percentage? BNIP (Ball Not in Play) percentage? :-)

  15. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ Andy, to lazt to check, but who is owns the highest percent?
    My guess would be Reynolds.

  16. Of the 25 guys on the first list, it's Dean Chance. Among non-pitchers on that list, it's Jack Cust.

    I will post about the method if I am allowed. I am waiting on feedback regarding that.

  17. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Yeah, Reynolds is hovering just below 50%, I'm guessing that is highest.
    Andy, Can you add HBP to the query?

  18. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I'm not sure what B-R's rules are for marking players retired, but I think anyone who hasn't played this season doesn't show up as active. This leads to the unfortunate omission of Johan Santana from active pitching leaders.

  19. I'm pretty sure Sean just manually makes players retired based on what they've announced and what they're doing.

  20. Surprised Bonds is not on the list. He is close though at 38.5%

  21. I just did league-wide calculations and JT is right that it's getting more common.

    In 2010, the percentage of all HR+BB+K out of PAs was 29.5%.

    Going back:

    2000: 29.0%
    1990: 25.6%
    1980: 22.6%
    1970: 26.4%
    1960: 24.6%
    1950: 22.4%
    1940: 19.7%
    1930: 17.6%
    1920: 15.5%
    1910: 13.1%

    The changes are due to increasing HR and K rates. The BB walk has remained fairly constant over the last 100 years, at least by comparison.

  22. I know it's not normally included, but I can't help by think that HBP belongs in this category. It also only involves the pitcher and the batter. I wonder if it would make a difference as to adding someone onto the list.

  23. Cust also the single season TTO leader among batters who qualified for the batting title--here's the list of those that broke the 50% barrier in a given season:
    Jack Cust 2007 0.582
    Mark McGwire 1998 0.568
    Jack Clark 1987 0.556
    Ryan Howard 2007 0.545
    Rob Deer 1991 0.536
    Jim Thome 2001 0.536
    Rob Deer 1987 0.530
    Jim Thome 1999 0.526
    Rob Deer 1986 0.520
    Barry Bonds 2001 0.517
    Barry Bonds 2004 0.515
    Mark McGwire 1999 0.513
    Adam Dunn 2004 0.512
    Jack Clark 1989 0.511
    Mark McGwire 1996 0.511
    Jim Thome 2002 0.511
    Adam Dunn 2006 0.507
    Jay Buhner 1997 0.502

  24. Morten Jonsson Says:

    No one noticed it at the time, but Dave Nicholson pointed the way to the future. He came twenty years too early. It was left to Rob Deer to blaze the path that others would follow. Without them, would there be a Russell Branyan, a Jack Cust, a Carlos Pena? If Rob Deer is the Columbus of modern baseball, Dave Nicholson is the Leif Ericson--he discovered the New World, but no one noticed. I hope someday that baseball acknowledges its debt to those brave pioneers.

  25. Richard Chester Says:

    @24
    That was a really clever analogy.

  26. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Anyone want to calculate a TTO+ based on league averages? Babe Ruth probably rates very high in TTO+, even if his raw % isn't as high as modern players. Of course, characterizing him as a TTO player seems almost vulgar.

  27. JT see #21

  28. @14.

    Name for TTO?

    How about BNIPF - Balls Not In Play Frequency = HR + BB + K / PA

    You could then do a derivative OBABNIP = On Base Average on Balls Not in Play = HR + BB / HR + BB + K . Guys like Dimaggio would be close to 1. Guys like Rob Deer - not so much.

  29. Any list of offensive performance that contains both Rob Deer and Sandy Koufax just makes me so happy. Morton's analogy was perfect.

  30. @24.

    Don't forget Don Lock.

    Contemporary of Nicholson. Similar HR rate, a bit lower walk and strikeout rates.

  31. It's difficult to believe that Dave Kingman didn't make this list, but he comes up at 38 1/2 percent.

  32. @28
    Doug, love it!

    Balls Not In Play Frequency has a nice ring to it. Can we patent this newstat?

    Doug, a Blue Jays aside. How about Bautista's catch today?

  33. 31 Wow,pretty shocking.He didn't walk enough?

  34. @28 @32
    Sorry, Doug, may have you confused with Doug H regarding the Blue Jays comment.

    Not sure if you are Doug N. or Doug H.

  35. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @23 JMAC_66

    You forgot Mark Reynolds on your list. He has done it every season he has played.

  36. sorry, Duke--I compiled the list in 2007--I have to update it. The other thing to notice about the list in #23 is that players get there by very different ways: Bonds had relatively low K rates, but ungodly BB & HR rates; Rob Deer was just the opposite--unimpressive BB rates, but enough K's to put him on the list. Guys like McGwire and Thome are "good" (if that's the right word) at all 3 aspects

  37. evolution of highest single season TTO (qualified for batting title) since 1955:
    Eddie Mathews 1955 0.403
    Mickey Mantle 1957 0.409
    Mickey Mantle 1958 0.445
    Mickey Mantle 1961 0.452
    Mickey Mantle 1962 0.458
    Jimmy Wynn 1969 0.495
    Rob Deer 1986 0.520
    Jack Clark 1987 0.556
    Mark McGwire 1998 0.568
    Jack Cust 2007 0.582

    looks like Jimmy Wynn is an unsung TTO superstar

  38. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Actually, maybe a better version of TTO+ would be to scale each factor individually, since there are obviously lots more walks and Ks than homers.

  39. @22

    I agree that he HBP should belong (lump them in with the walks). On the flip side you could also deduct those strikeouts the catcher doesn't field cleanly and in play which would involve the first baseman (2-3 putout).

    Whenever I see the TTO thing being mentioned it always makes me think of the early 90s Tigers teams. They were loaded with players who excelled with at least 2 if not all of these outcomes. Tettleton, Phillips, Deer, Fielder, Fryman, Inky, Whitaker. Both exciting and frustrating to watch.

  40. @31 Kingman couldn't take a walk to save his life, so I would also assume that's what kept him out

  41. @34.

    Neil L, Thanks for the tip about Bautista's catch. Haven't seen it yet - I'll take a look.

  42. @37.

    Very cool, Jmac_66.

    Invent a stat, and have a progressive record history on the same day.

  43. John Autin Says:

    @18, JT re: players who meet the P-I "active" criterion:

    I don't think there's any rhyme or reason to it. Johan Santana doesn't qualify, but Kevin Millwood does (pitched last year, not this year). Several guys who haven't pitched since 2009 make the list. Maybe Sean needs to update the function.

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Millwood has pitched in the minors this year, Santana hasn't. I don't know what others you looked at. I just know that Santana should appear on active leader lists, and it's misleading that he doesn't.

  45. DaveKingman Says:

    Dave Kingman? Harrumph.

    A poor man's.......... well, me.

  46. [...] Mark Reynolds is one of the all-time “three true outcome” players. [BR Blog] [...]

  47. I still want to know how to do this search!

  48. @4 @5 @13 @47
    Tomlaw, Whiz's question kinda got lost in the weeds, didn't it?

    I believe Andy will be as good as his word and will outline how to do the search.

  49. All I can say is it's being discussed internally now. I am not optimistic that this is going to be rolled out, though, because it's not proper use of the PI and poses some risk to the software.