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Rare power and speed combo: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Reyes, and Matt Kemp

Posted by Andy on July 29, 2011

As of last week, three players are poised to join the list of qualified players to post a slugging percentage of at least .500 in a season where they also stole at least 1 base for every 4 games played:

Rk Player Year SLG SB G Age Tm PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP OPS Pos
1 Jose Reyes 2011 .522 30 83 28 NYM 394 364 68 127 22 16 3 32 27 27 .349 .392 .914 *6
2 Matt Kemp 2011 .578 27 98 26 LAD 408 353 58 109 19 2 24 72 47 91 .309 .390 .968 *8/D
3 Jacoby Ellsbury 2011 .509 28 95 27 BOS 431 389 70 123 26 2 15 54 33 59 .316 .375 .884 *8/D
4 Jimmy Rollins 2007 .531 41 162 28 PHI 778 716 139 212 38 20 30 94 49 85 .296 .344 .875 *6
5 Hanley Ramirez 2007 .562 51 154 23 FLA 706 639 125 212 48 6 29 81 52 95 .332 .386 .948 *6/D
6 Alfonso Soriano 2006 .560 41 159 30 WSN 728 647 119 179 41 2 46 95 67 160 .277 .351 .911 *7
7 Carlos Beltran 2004 .548 42 159 27 TOT 708 599 121 160 36 9 38 104 92 101 .267 .367 .915 *8
8 Bobby Abreu 2004 .544 40 159 30 PHI 713 574 118 173 47 1 30 105 127 116 .301 .428 .971 *9
9 Carlos Beltran 2003 .522 41 141 26 KCR 602 521 102 160 14 10 26 100 72 81 .307 .389 .911 *8/D
10 Alfonso Soriano 2002 .547 41 156 26 NYY 741 696 128 209 51 2 39 102 23 157 .300 .332 .880 *4/D
11 Reggie Sanders 1999 .527 36 133 31 SDP 550 478 92 136 24 7 26 72 65 108 .285 .376 .904 *798/D
12 Alex Rodriguez 1998 .560 46 161 22 SEA 748 686 123 213 35 5 42 124 45 121 .310 .360 .919 *6/D
13 Craig Biggio 1998 .503 50 160 32 HOU 738 646 123 210 51 2 20 88 64 113 .325 .403 .906 *4/D
14 Craig Biggio 1997 .501 47 162 31 HOU 744 619 146 191 37 8 22 81 84 107 .309 .415 .916 *4/D
15 Chuck Knoblauch 1996 .517 45 153 27 MIN 701 578 140 197 35 14 13 72 98 74 .341 .448 .965 *4/D
16 Barry Bonds 1996 .615 40 158 31 SFG 675 517 122 159 27 3 42 129 151 76 .308 .461 1.076 *7/8
17 Reggie Sanders 1995 .579 36 133 27 CIN 567 484 91 148 36 6 28 99 69 122 .306 .397 .975 *98
18 Barry Bonds 1994 .647 29 112 29 SFG 474 391 89 122 18 1 37 81 74 43 .312 .426 1.073 *7
19 Kenny Lofton 1994 .536 60 112 27 CLE 523 459 105 160 32 9 12 57 52 56 .349 .412 .948 *8
20 Barry Bonds 1992 .624 39 140 27 PIT 612 473 109 147 36 5 34 103 127 69 .311 .456 1.080 *7
21 Barry Bonds 1991 .514 43 153 26 PIT 634 510 95 149 28 5 25 116 107 73 .292 .410 .924 *7/8
22 Rickey Henderson 1990 .577 65 136 31 OAK 594 489 119 159 33 3 28 61 97 60 .325 .439 1.016 *7D
23 Barry Bonds 1990 .565 52 151 25 PIT 621 519 104 156 32 3 33 114 93 83 .301 .406 .970 *7/8
24 Howard Johnson 1989 .559 41 153 28 NYM 655 571 104 164 41 3 36 101 77 126 .287 .369 .928 *56
25 Jose Canseco 1988 .569 40 158 23 OAK 705 610 120 187 34 0 42 124 78 128 .307 .391 .959 *9D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/22/2011.

More love for Reggie Sanders!

This entry was posted on Friday, July 29th, 2011 at 7:21 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.

31 Responses to “Rare power and speed combo: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jose Reyes, and Matt Kemp”

  1. Reyes' season is clearly most similar to Knoblauch's and Lofton's, with HR.333. May not bode well for him, as both Knoblauch and Lofton never met those heights again, with neither posting a 120 OPS+, let alone 140 or 150, in the rest of their years.

  2. Granderson is not too far off.

  3. Johnny Twisto Says:

    So, did you cut this list off at a certain date? If not, why is it missing so many player's from JA's list, which is practically the same thing?

  4. @3 Johnny Twisto It certainly looks that way. I was curious about Willie Mays and it looks like he accomplished this feat in both 56 and 57.

  5. I made a short list of omissions, then realized that the list is sorted by date and the first 25 only goes through '88. Leaving the list here anyway - by no means exhaustive:

    Eric Davis in '87 (50, .588)
    Joe Morgan in '76 (60, .576)
    Tris Speaker in '13 (52, .567)
    George Sisler in '20 (42, .627)
    Ty Cobb in '11 (83, .621) - and probably a couple other times
    Tony Gwynn in '87 (56, .511)
    Tim Raines in '97 (50, .526)

    Also expected Robbie Alomar to be on here a couple times in the '90s, but he fell just short twice:

    '99 - 37 (in 159 games), .533
    '93 - 55, .492

  6. May I ask where the boxscore to last night's PIT/ATL game is? Could it be that some Braves fan with B-R can't stand Andrew McCutchen's awesomeness? ;)

  7. In a previous post, Andy mentioned that he would be away, and that he wrote his posts a week ahead.

    That said, with all the great players and performances in Boston this year (and there are many), Ellsbury's probably the most exciting for Red Sox fans.

    At least among the hitters: Beckett's improvement from 2010 has the potential to be record breaking. I heard during the game yesterday that Elias has reported that no pitcher has ever dropped 3.5 runs from their (qualifying) ERA in consecutive years. He's right around that now, after getting a little roughed up by the Royals yesterday.

  8. Is this now sufficient proof for the world to stop dumping on Barry Bonds? They guy's a jerk to be sure....but he was unquestionably the greatest player in the game in the last 25 years. The fact that he accomplished this feat 5 times (Nobody else did it more than twice) before any suspicion of PED's was in place - should be satisfactory proof.

  9. topper009 Says:

    @6, the Brewers-Cubs box score is also missing and Braun is missing from the good game leaderboard going 3-4, 2R, 2RBI, HR, 2B

  10. Not sure I get the "power and speed combo" out of this analysis. By looking at SA instead of isolated power, you are including guys like Reyes and Lofton, whose "power" consists of triples and doubles, which really reflect more on their speed.

  11. @8 Yeah, and I had a good job and a nice savings account before I decided to embezzle from my company. I'm still a thief who's going to jail....

    I've never heard anyone say Bonds was not a fantastic player pre-PDA. He made the choice to risk his legacy by cheating, so no, I don't think people will or should stop "dumping on" him for making that choice.

  12. Anyone else surprised by how much black ink is on this list? I would think that looking at a crossover list of two percentage stats would lead to lower plate appearances and counting stats. 5 of these 25 lead their league in plate appearances.

  13. @8 JohnM,

    I was going to make a similar point...
    Although I still think Barry Bonds should be bashed for his PED use, I believe this list perfectly shows why he should still get into the HOF. He had an HOF career before he started with the PEDs.

  14. Mets Maven Says:

    Can somebody explain to me why Jose Reyes has a -0.3 dWAR? I was always under the impression that he's an above average fielding shortstop. The negative dWAR significantly affects his overall WAR ranking among NL position players.

  15. @11
    But, Kelly, why does "power" have to only include home runs and not gappers and off-the-fence shots? In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using slugging as a criterion instead of isolated power.

    @8
    John M., won't the voting in the first year of HOF eligibility tell the real story for Bonds and his fellow-juicers? There are a lot of them becoming eligible in the same year.

  16. I think if you didn't use PEDs, you should be banned from the Hall of Fame, because you obviously didn't really want to win.

  17. Most of the guys on the list did not hit alot of homers which the power in the doubles and triples they hit.. Stan Musial never hit 40 homers in a season but is second all time in doubles and led the league in triples. think he is second on the all time list for total bases.
    Since baseball did not have a defined policy on PEDs for a number of years, maybe the players should be judged based on their numbers minus
    a third of their career totals . The other penalty should be 15 years before being eligible. As of 2011, first time you lose a seaon, econd time banned.
    I am a little sypathetic because when I was 18 if someone said this pill would make you throw 10 mpH faster but take 10 years off your life, I would have doubled the order. It's not an excuse.... just perspective..

  18. Of course, Ellsbury, Reyes and Kemp have to maintain their current paces of stealing and slugging to remain on the list. All the other players, of course, accomplished it over a full season.

    Matt Kemp is already touch and go to maintain the necessary steal rate of one every four games.

  19. @14
    Mets Maven, I am probably the wrong one to try and explain dWAR to you since it is based on total zone rating. And I certainly can't explain why Reyes has a negative value other than saying there must a number of batted balls he does not get to that a replacement shortstop would.

    But here is the link to BBRef's explanation of Total Zone as a defensive metric. Happy reading.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/about/total_zone.shtml

    I do notice from Jose's fielding stats, though, that he has made 12 errors so far and is slightly below the league average at fielding his position based on the old-fashioned fielding percntage.

  20. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Can somebody explain to me why Jose Reyes has a -0.3 dWAR? I was always under the impression that he's an above average fielding shortstop.

    I can't explain it precisely, but I can give some reasons for it. First of all, this means he's been 3 runs below average over ~60% of a season. Given the inherent error bars in defensive metrics, that's not substantially different from rating average, or 1 run above average. Total Zone is an objective way of measuring defensive performance, but it's far from a perfect one. There are things it can't know, there are things it could miss. Maybe a preponderance of balls judged to be hit within Reyes' "zone" of responsibility have been near the edges of it, where they are harder to field. UZR is a different stat with a different approach, and it says Reyes has been slightly above average this season.

    Maybe the number is accurate. Maybe Reyes *is* an above-average defender, but he's just having a below-average season. The 90 games he's played aren't a perfect reflection of his abilities, they're just a sample of it. I was under the impression Albert Pujols was a legendary hitter, but this fancy batting average metric says he's hitting just .278, how do you explain that? (True, BA more accurately measures what it intends to measure than TZ does, so it's not a perfect comparison, but it does show that players can have up and down seasons, and it doesn't necessarily mean something is wrong with the measurement.)

    Personally, I would never put too much weight on dWAR/TZ or any one defensive number. I'd look at a few of them, I'd consider anecdotal evidence, and I'd consider my own opinion if it's a player I've seen a lot of.

  21. @14 @20
    Maybe Reyes was edging toward 2nd base with a fast runner on second while a left-handed batter was at the plate for some of the at bats recorded in total zone. There are many nuances of defense positioning and play that are difficult to capture statistically.

  22. Ho Jo definitely had that awesome blend of speed and power lol

    funny to see him on a list with a bunch of sure fire HOFers

  23. Take a look at Barry Bonds and Rickey Henderson's 1990 seasons, adjacent to each other on the list.

    Very close matches on every number, save RBI. Were As using him properly by batting him leadoff that year?

  24. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Good question, Doug, but I think they were. Henderson wasn't a "true" 28-HR hitter. He had topped 20 a couple times, but a few years earlier. In '88 he'd hit only 6. A safe projection would have put him around 15 HR coming into the season, so the team wouldn't have considered moving him lower in the order until well into the season. Anyway, they already had power for the middle of the order with Canseco, McGwire, and Dave Henderson. Rickey had by far the best OBP, so I think even in retrospect that leading him off was the right choice. It gave their best offensive player the most PA, and plenty of RBI opportunities for the boppers.

    Who would have replaced Henderson as the leadoff hitter? Looking back, I don't see a good choice. Considering what was known entering 1990, maybe you'd consider Randolph, but he didn't join the team until May and was an aging player who'd never been that durable.

  25. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Interestingly, '90 was the season Bonds was moved out of the leadoff spot.

  26. @24, @25.

    Thanks for the thoughtful response, JT.

    Those As evidently had quite a pleasant "problem".

  27. Ryne Sandberg had 54 stolen bases and slugged 504 in 1985.

  28. @NeilL

    You're right, a .500 slugging average means you are a power hitter. I was mistaken and appreciate you showing me the error of my ways.

    Thus if this list went back further, we could include Ty Cobb, 1914, who "slugged" .513 and stole 35 bases in 98 games, so he would qualify for this list. Sure, he had a .368 batting average, and 75% of his hits were singles, but hey, he must have had enough "power" to drive the ball past the pitcher in order to leg out all of those singles. Cobb would be right at home here with other power hitters like Lofton and Reyes.

    List is a perfect example of misusing statistics to make a point that isn't there. I love Jose Reyes too, but he is most certainly NOT an example of a Power+Speed guy.

  29. @28
    Kelly, you are also right about SLG in the sense that a massive singles hitter could acheive a misleading slugging average by just slapping the ball around and bunting for base hits. I think those kind of seasons, though, are rather rare in the live-ball era.

  30. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Cobb was a power hitter for his time. He had the third best ISO from 1907 (when he became a regular) through 1919. Narrowly behind Joe Jackson, and well behind Gavvy Cravath, the rare deadball hitter who could routinely put the ball over the fence. It's hard to guess what his stats would look like if he were transferred to today, but I don't think he was that similar to Reyes.

  31. @28
    "List is a perfect example of misusing statistics to make a point that isn't there.'
    Kelly, I'm still not sure what your issue is about the list. It is not trying to make Jose Reyes out to be a tape-measure home run hitter.

    Note the first part of the title "Rare power and speed combo". Andy, is simply using 0.500 SLG as a measure of a reasonable number of extra bases. And on that basis, Reyes' number of total bases means he has some pop in his bat. Not over-the-fence pop, but not singles.

    Jose Reyes' 2011 hitting line is anomalous because of the high number of triples and the list brings that to light. His HR total is by far the lowest on the list, as you point out.

    Now Reyes has been stuck on 16 triples for a while now and may not maintain his historic triples' pace so his slugging is likely to fall below 0.500. In that case, he wouldn't qualify for these criteria.

    But as to the list being a misuse of statistics and the sarcastic part of your posts @11 and @28 ...... I don't get it.