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Konerko is getting on a lot; Scoring, not so much

Posted by John Autin on September 9, 2011

With his grand slam on Thursday, Paul Konerko continued his late-career renaissance. At age 35, he now has 29 HRs, a .314 BA, .400 OBP and 231 Times On Base (TOB = Hits + BB + HBP).

But he's scored just 64 Runs.

Konerko's ratio of 3.61 TOB per Run is one of the worst ever in a season of at least 25 HRs:

1 Harmon Killebrew 241 28 61 1971 35 MIN AL 147 624 500 127 19 1 119 114 14 96 0 0 10 21 3 2 .254 .386 .464 .850 *35
2 Frank Thomas 235 26 63 2007 39 TOR AL 155 624 531 147 30 0 95 81 3 94 7 0 5 14 0 0 .277 .377 .480 .857 *D
3 Frank Howard 232 26 60 1971 34 WSA AL 153 633 549 153 25 2 83 77 20 121 2 0 5 29 1 0 .279 .367 .474 .840 *73/9
4 Paul Konerko 231 29 64 2011 35 CHW AL 135 577 490 154 24 0 97 72 15 79 5 0 10 11 1 1 .314 .400 .541 .941 *3D
5 Willie McCovey 208 29 52 1973 35 SFG NL 130 495 383 102 14 3 75 105 25 78 1 0 6 6 1 0 .266 .420 .546 .966 *3
6 Willie McCovey 201 28 54 1977 39 SFG NL 141 548 478 134 21 0 86 67 16 106 0 0 3 16 3 0 .280 .367 .500 .867 *3
7 Joe Adcock 200 25 55 1960 32 MLN NL 138 570 514 153 21 4 91 46 7 86 1 5 4 13 2 2 .298 .354 .500 .854 *3
8 Harmon Killebrew 195 26 53 1972 36 MIN AL 139 532 433 100 13 2 74 94 12 91 1 0 4 16 0 1 .231 .367 .450 .817 *3
9 Shane Andrews 175 25 48 1998 26 MON NL 150 559 492 117 30 1 69 58 3 137 0 2 7 10 1 6 .238 .314 .455 .769 *5
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/9/2011.

His 64 runs are the fewest among the 42 players with at least 200 TOB. Curtis Granderson, with the same 231 TOB as Konerko, has scored 126 Runs, almost twice as many. Sure, Grandy bats higher in the order, has 9 more HRs and has a better supporting cast. It's still a huge gap.

If his season ended now, Konerko would also have the 6th-lowest Runs in a season of at least 29 HRs and 502 PAs; and compare Konerko's OBP with the rest of the guys on the list:

1 Steve Balboni 54 29 562 1986 29 KCR AL 138 512 117 25 1 88 43 2 146 1 0 6 8 0 0 .229 .286 .451 .738 *3
2 Gus Triandos 59 30 544 1958 27 BAL AL 137 474 116 10 0 79 60 4 65 1 2 7 22 1 0 .245 .327 .456 .782 *2
3 John Mayberry 62 30 588 1980 31 TOR AL 149 501 124 19 2 82 77 9 80 3 3 4 9 0 0 .248 .349 .473 .822 *3/D
4 Jeromy Burnitz 63 31 505 2003 34 TOT NL 126 464 111 22 0 77 35 9 112 5 0 1 5 5 4 .239 .299 .487 .786 *798
5 Mo Vaughn 63 33 592 1999 31 ANA AL 139 524 147 20 0 108 54 7 127 11 0 3 11 0 0 .281 .358 .508 .866 *3D
6 Paul Konerko 64 29 577 2011 35 CHW AL 135 490 154 24 0 97 72 15 79 5 0 10 11 1 1 .314 .400 .541 .941 *3D
7 Russell Branyan 64 31 505 2009 33 SEA AL 116 431 108 21 1 76 58 6 149 9 1 6 6 2 0 .251 .347 .520 .867 *3
8 Earl Williams 64 33 550 1971 22 ATL NL 145 497 129 14 1 87 42 5 80 7 0 4 11 0 1 .260 .324 .491 .815 253
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/9/2011.

The culprits aren't hard to find:

(1) His teammates: Konerko has split time between the 3rd and 4th spots in the batting order. The White Sox have had very little production from the #5-#7 spots:

  • #5 -- .245 BA (9th in the AL), .387 SLG (10th), 62 RBI (13th)
  • #6 -- .229 BA (10th), .355 SLG (13th), 51 RBI (13th)
  • #7 -- .226 BA (12th), .356 SLG (10th), 47 RBI (13th)

(2) Himself: Konerko has become an extreme station-to-station baserunner, taking an extra base on a teammate's hit in just 9% of his opportunities; the league average is 41%. He's gone 1st-to-3rd on a single in just 2 of 38 chances (thrown out twice); he has not scored from 1st on a double in 11 chances; and he's scored from 2nd on a single just 3 out of 10 chances (thrown out once).

He's never been a speedy runner, of course -- never tried more than 2 steals in a season -- but that 9% Extra Bases Taken Percentage is a sharp drop from both last year (24%) and his previous career average (28%). It's the lowest figure of any MLB regular in the past 2 seasons. Fangraphs identified him as the worst baserunner in the majors back in June, well before the July 31 leg injury that has slowed him to a crawl. For further evidence that the leg injury just made a dire situation slightly worse, check out his monthly splits; in June, Konerko hit 10 HRs and had an additional 33 TOB, but scored just 3 Runs besides the HRs.

68 Responses to “Konerko is getting on a lot; Scoring, not so much”

  1. Doug Says:

    Killebrew had almost as many walks as hits in the two seasons ('71 and '72) on your list, and in most of his other seasons.

    Probably a good strategy for pitchers to walk Killer so much considering he wasn't going to score many runs. Should probably do the same with Konerko.

  2. Cheese Says:

    I wonder if he would be better suited to the 5 or 6 hole. Is there anyone who hits below him that gets on base slightly less but would put themselves into more scoring chances?

  3. Andrew Says:

    Konerko could have made me well over $300 if he had scored 10 or 15 more runs this year.

  4. Nick Says:

    This article fails to mention that the 2 batters following him in the lineup(Dunn and Rios) had the lowest and 2nd lowest batting averages in the entire MLB the first 2/3 of the 2011 season(as of 9/9; .163 and .222). The batter following those 2, Quentin, is hitting .251 on the season as of 9/9.

    I'm not sure how an article leaves out information that important.

  5. Paul E Says:

    Better question:
    How do Rios and Dunn get 1000 PA between them in 2011?


  6. Jason Says:

    For some reason I was expecting Dave Kingman and Ron Kittle.

  7. Johnny Twisto Says:

    How do Rios and Dunn get 1000 PA between them in 2011?

    When would you have benched the guy with the 138 OPS+ over the past three seasons, who just signed a big contract, moving to a park conducive to his greatest strength?

    How long would you have left him there?


    I'm not sure how an article leaves out information that important.

    I'm not sure how you criticize an article you apparently didn't read.

  8. John Autin Says:

    @4, Nick -- Carlos Quentin has 24 HRs, 31 doubles, 77 RBI. I'm not sure how a person could consider him part of the problem in the White Sox batting order.

  9. Jason Says:

    In 1985 Sky King totaled 66 runs with 205 TOB for Oakland.

    Interestlingly, it took 666 PA to garner 66 runs. That is alot of 6's.

    Nevertheless, if we base it on PA, Kong does make the top list above.

  10. John Autin Says:

    @9, Jason -- A list of 25-HR seasons with the worst ratio of PAs to Runs would include 2 Kong seasons among the top (bottom) 14 -- 1985, and 1977 (481 PAs, 47 Runs).

  11. BSK Says:

    I also wonder how many of his own bases Konerko has lost. I'm not sure if there is a stat for it or way to track it, but I'm sure there were instances where he hit a ball that most players would turn into a double but ended up with a single. That would artificially depress his SLUG to a degree, as well as cut down on his runs scored.

  12. anon Says:

    This site needs a forum..
    Any ideas why since 2000 there seems to be a different batting champ each year (both leagues). Historically a few players have dominated decades in this fashion, but it is wide open now. The best collection of talent ever now? Diminished skills in hitting for contact?

  13. Johnny Twisto Says:

    It has always seemed surprising that Pujols and Ichiro are .330 career hitters, which stacks up pretty well historically, but have only combined for three batting titles.

    Mauer won three in four years, however.

    I'd say the bigger leagues has something to do with this. BA varies more from season to season than other offensive stats, so with more players, it's more likely someone can fluke their way into a batting title (a la Freddie Sanchez, Bill Mueller).

    But it is also possible that in the big power era, simply being able to hit a regular .320 with little extra-base power wasn't valuable enough, so teams eschewed those types of players, and those types of players concentrated on developing other skills.

  14. Vinnie Says:

    How about Mark McGuire scoring only 28 more times other than his 58 homeruns?

  15. Joe Garrison Says:

    It's interesting to see a stat line that shows more RBI than base hits...

  16. Steve Says:

    14 Amazing.I was asking about most HR's/fewest runs on the last thread.Juan Gonzalez hit 43 and scored 77 one year,not as bad as Mac though.

  17. Hector Says:

    this reminds me of the great Brook Jacoby 1987 season. 540 AB/.300 BA/32 HR gets him 69 RBI. Those 80's indians had some anti-OBP all-stars, but that's ridiculous. If I had a time machine, I would definitely try to see how long it took jacoby to drive in konerko

  18. CJW Says:

    When will people realize that a high OBP only clogs the basepaths? Yeesh

  19. Richard Chester Says:

    For players with more than 100 games played:

    Mark McGwire--1999--147 RBI and 145 H.
    Mark McGwire--1995-- 90 RBI and 87 H.
    Paul Sorrento--1995-- 79 RBI and 76 H.

  20. Dukeofflatbush Says:


    I've ben reading this and MLBs sight for a few years now. I personally, really don't care for MLBs, super-marketed, poorly written, misleading, archaic stats (they don't include PA on player's page?!) - and the way they plug/idol-worship/market their players in a supposed Op-Ed piece, but… they do have a ton of writers and up to the date scores… so its a bitter pill.
    So anyway, just after you started writing here, started putting in a "NIGHTLY RECAP" article each day that always sounds eerily similar to yours.
    This one above is called "Fascinating facts from Thursdays games" - I know, I was stunned by the alliteration as well. But, the above article, all but proves they are not only using BBrefs play index, (i.e.) they cite facts saying 'since 1919', but I think they are ripping some of 'our' (i consider this a team [although I couldn't decide who to DH, Twisto or Timmy P.]) guys', especially your article.
    I don't know… maybe I watch too much Michael Moore

  21. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Just looked into guys who didn't score relative to their HR and RBI production and found this neat list.
    Guys with HR greater than 20, but with HR > BB.
    Juan Gonzalez 6 seasons.
    Tony Armas 5 seasons.
    Alfonso Soriano & Dave (Kong) Kingman 4.
    And amongst others, surprisingly (at least to me) Joe Pepitone did it 3 times.

  22. Doug Says:


    If you lower the threshhold to 300 PA, here's what you get for RBI >= Hits (I added the "equals" to pick up Giambi):

    PLAYER, RBI, Hits, Year
    - Mark McGwire 147, 145, 1999
    - Jason Giambi 113, 113, 2006
    - Mark McGwire 90, 87, 1995
    - Paul Sorrento 79, 76, 1995
    - Mark McGwire 73, 72, 2000
    - Mark McGwire 64, 56, 2001

  23. Ebessan Says:

    "This article fails to mention that the 2 batters following him in the lineup(Dunn and Rios) had the lowest and 2nd lowest batting averages in the entire MLB the first 2/3 of the 2011 season(as of 9/9; .163 and .222). The batter following those 2, Quentin, is hitting .251 on the season as of 9/9."

    That's less relevant than the order slots' BAs, which were pointed out as being terrible.

  24. Ebessan Says:

    "I'd say the bigger leagues has something to do with this. BA varies more from season to season than other offensive stats, so with more players, it's more likely someone can fluke their way into a batting title (a la Freddie Sanchez, Bill Mueller)."

    My gut says that schedules being as unbalanced as they are would create more variables, as well. The only perpetual batting champ to play in a bad hitters' park of whom I can think is Gwynn.

  25. David Matchett Says:

    Way off topic but I just saw the premier of Moneyball at the Toronto Film Festival. Loved the first half when Beane is starting to build the Moneyball concept. Weird, but when they switched the the baseball field it got kind of slow and melodramatic. But it's the best Sabermetric movie ever! Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are really good and the baseball action is believable. Worth a look when it hits theatres. PS - Billy Beane and David Justice were at the screening. It will be interesting to hear how they felt about it.

  26. Charles Says:

    I looked at Konerko's singles early in this year and later. For 29 singles, he was lifted for a PR 5 times, He scored 5 times, three due to HRs. The first batter behind him had a 0.391 OBP (9/23, 1 HR, 2B), the second batter had an OBP of 0.200 (3/15, with no extra base hits). With the two guys behind him having no power and low OBP behind him, he's not going to score often starting with a single or a walk. With his speed and the lack of power behind him, he's not going to make it to third on a single. He was out at 2nd five times with these two batters. The team dropped from 7 to 12 in runs scored and from 4th to 8th in HRs.

  27. Adam Says:

    Seems pretty obvious to any White Sox fan that has watched every game of this god awful season. Carlos Quentin hit 3rd for maybe about half the year with Dunn and Rios hitting behind Konerko. I don't have to point how terrible they have been. Then AJ Pierzynski was hitting behind them and was pretty awful until around late June. After that point he was pretty league average, then went down with his injury.
    I'd also like to point out that since de Aza was called up Rios has something close to a .720 OPS vs the .550 he had prior, as well as upping his BAbip from the .220 range to nearly .295. Coincidence? I really wonder just how much of his terrible season has to do with what is going on between his ears.

  28. Rich Says:

    "and he's scored from 2nd on a single just 3 out of 10 chances (thrown out once)"
    This kinda illustrates how awful the White Sox offense is. He's only had TEN chances to score from second on a single??

    I counted 57 times when either Dunn or Rios batted right after Konerkko. That won't help your runs scored total with the way those two are hitting this year.

  29. John Autin Says:

    @28, Rich -- Well done! I've been waiting for someone to pick up on that.

  30. sansho1 Says:

    My favorite season of this type is Piazza '06. 439 PAs, 22 HR, 39 R. On base 127 times other than the HRs, and was driven in on a ball in play NINE times all season.

    The breakdown:

    Scored from third on a single - 3 times
    Scored from second on a double - 2 times
    Scored from first (!) on a triple - 1 time
    Scored from second on a triple - 3 times

    He did not score from second on a single or from first on a double all season, and he scored more runs on triples (4) than singles (3)!!

  31. Nash Bruce Says:

    @20: I wouldn't DH Timmy P- dunno if you want him in the dugout yappin' for one or two innings, between AB's- might cause situations a la Zambrano.....
    (lol, oh c'mon Timmy, [if you're there] you know it's funny....:-p)

  32. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    @ 30

    Pedro Guerrero and Jose Oquendo had similarly bad seasons (run potential wise) in 1989, both playing for the same team, the Cardinals. What makes this strange, is in the Play Index's search-ability, for seasons of 240 TOB or greater and with the batter scoring less than 25% of the time, there is only 8 players who match (Luke Appling comes up twice), but from those 8 - to have two from the same team is remarkable. I Know the Cardinals were not known for their power in the eighties, but this team was especially bad. Brunansky led the team with 20 HRs or 28% of the teams total.

    I was surprised, because although I watched both play quite a bit, especially in '89 (I'm a Mets Fan) - I always thought the two were free swingers, but both played everyday and had very good OBP. .391 for PG and .375 for JO.
    Pedro's line in '89: 162 G - 117 RBI/60 R - 260 TOB, 17 HR, OPS+ 145
    Jose's line in '89: 163 G - 48 RBI/59 R - 241 TOB, 1 HR, OPS + 112

    But that Card team, as a whole, managed just 3 more HR than Big Mac did in '98 (70/73) for the same club ten years later. But at a closer look, the '89 club, discounting HRs, scored in 9% of their PAs, and amazingly, without their HRs, the 98 Cards nearly an Identical 9%.

    Pedro G. was consistently a poor run scorer relative to his TOB, RBI, OPS, OPS +, and Power throughout his career. I ran a search for players with similar Gs and OPS+s to Pedro's - 1350-1650 games played, (PG - 1536 games played) and an OPS + of 130-145 (PG - 136 OPS+), and of the 17 players on the list. he had the second fewest runs scored of the bunch, just behind Gene Tenace. The only current player is Teixeira (which was a surprise, and I think will be off that list soon, with 5 more seasons with the Yankees).

    I also ran a check to see single season totals for player with at least 80 RBIs and R less than 1.9 * RBI. Just 10 such seasons, with Pedro (back to back years with the Cards) and Bengie Molina appearing twice, so eight players total. The worst offender was Vic Wertz in 1960, 103 RBI to 45 R. And Only three players having over twice the RBIs than their Rs (Molina again twice, (back to back for the 07-08 Giants), the aforementioned Wertz, and a Mr. Terry Kennedy.

  33. Richard Chester Says:

    "Konerko's ratio of 3.61 TOB per Run is one of the lowest ever in a season of at least 25 HRs:"

    John: Did you mean to say highest rather than lowest? Granderson's ratio is 231/126 = 1.833 so the lower the ratio the better.

    I did a search to see who had the highest TOB/R ratio regardless of the number of HRs. For players with 502 or more PA , in 1972 Leo Cardenas had 25 R and 160 TOB for a ratio of 6.4.

  34. Vinnie Says:

    How about Alfonso Soriano? He's got 24 hrs and 44 runs scored.

  35. Kimbal aka Radar Says:

    Konerko is actually one of the brainiest hitters I have ever seen. Despite his lack of speed, you don't see him bouncing into many double plays. As I write this he has hit 29 homers with 98 RBI and hit into only 11 double plays. Last year he hit 39 homers, drove in 111 and bounced into only 9 double plays. Why? As a younger player he used to routinely hit into more of them. He's learned to hit situationally. This explains how hit batting average and RBI totals are high in later years while GDP have declined. He hits the ball to the right side to avoid double plays with a man on first base and sometimes will advance runners that way without getting any credit for it. With a man on third and less than two outs he will try to drive the ball to the outfield to get a sacrifice fly. Right now he has as many sac flies as he does GDP with 11. In fact, his last grand slam hit two nights ago he was just trying to hit a deep flyball to score one run and wound up getting them all. With no one one, Konerko looks to pull the inside pitch into the left field stands. He still has a quick enough bat to turn around a fastball so he will be effective until he loses that ability. PS - did you know that Jim Rice led the league in GDP four consecutive seasons? Also, by the end of this year or early next year Konerko will pass Rice in intentional bases on balls.

    Ozzie Guillen bats people like Adam Dunn after Konerko, thus explained Konerko's low run scoring. Sadly Carlos Quentin has been hurt much of the season or Paulie would have more runs scored. Adam Dunn has 40 RBI and is arguably the worst player in baseball, yet Guillen keeps putting him out there? Last year with no Dunn around Konerko scored 89 runs.

    Yes, Konerko is slow and sometimes in the 9th or in extra innings Ozzie will put in a pinch runner for him. But it is the folly of Ozzie Guillen and the ineptitude of Adam Dunn that is most to blame for Konerko's low runs scored.

  36. Kimbal aka Radar Says:

    Did I see someone say OBP means people are "clogging the bases???!!!" Right, we'd rather have people strike out or ground out rather than get a single or a walk, because now the bases are "clogged." Good grief. It reminds me of Ozzie Guillen's role in having Frank Thomas sent packing after the 2005 World Championship season. Ozzie said "It takes five singles to score Frank Thomas from first base." So this year Ozzie has given 443 PA to a guy (Dunn) with a 58 OPS+ and 514 PA to Rios and his 57 OPS+! I understand playing Beckham every day, he is a Gold Glove second baseman whether the world recognizes it or not. But Rios and Dunn don't deserve to start at all. Play De Aza, play Viciedo, play Lillibridge (oops, broken hand, sad), call up another Triple-A guy. Quit rewarding futility and, worse, apparent apathy. Dunn won't watch film of his swing or work with the batting coach, claiming that he is a "feel" hitter. No, he is a big slow guy who is losing his quickness and refuses to adjust. Konerko had to adjust and learn more about the art of hitting to remain a useful big league hitter and he did it. I think Dunn is DONE and Rios is mailing it in. Is Ozzie mailing it in, too?

  37. Chuck Schuyler Says:

    As a White Sox fan, all I can say is that this has been one of the most FRUSTRATING seasons I can remember.

    Dunn IS done. His big bucks contract will go down as one of the biggest busts in the history of the game, and yet when he was signed, who could've foreseen the horrendous season he would have? The word awful doesn't do his production justice. It'll be interesting to see how the WSox handle Dunn in the offseason.

    Rios is harder to figure out. The Blue Jays deeply regreted the deal they inked with him and must've been doing backflips when the WSox took over his contract.

    At least there is SOME hope for Rios. He was productive last year, but for some reason, it always looks like he is loping around in the outfield and jogging around the bases. Perhaps it is his height/stride, but it sure looks like he counts himself out when he hits anything other than a line drive.

  38. John Autin Says:

    @33, Richard -- Thanks for the correction. I've settled on "worst."

  39. John Autin Says:

    @32, Duke -- Don't forget that Pedro wrecked his knee in '86. He had good speed before that, but none afterwards.

  40. John Autin Says:

    @34, Vinnie -- You could be onto something there. I've been looking for a fresh way to say "Soriano is the most irrelevant $18-million-a-year player in history" -- maybe that stat captures it.

  41. John Autin Says:

    @37, Chuck -- You're closer to the White Sox than I am, but I'll take Dunn's future over that of Rios.

  42. John Autin Says:

    @35, Kimbal -- Nice, impassioned plug for Konerko there!

    In case there's doubt, I'm a Konerko fan, and I've remarked before on his low GIDP rate in the last 2 years (for a slow RHB who doesn't strike out a lot).

    Still, though, you have to admit -- a 9% Extra Bases Taken rate isn't something you see every day.

  43. Konerko has 16 intentional walks. How has that worked out? » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] drawn 16 intentional walks this year -- 3rd in the AL and 7th in White Sox history. As discussed in a prior thread, Konerko is having an excellent year, while the hitters right behind him in the White Sox lineup [...]

  44. MLS Says:

    Put down your calculators and pencils and take a deep breath for one moment. Would it be safe to say that Killebrew standing on 1st would be less "threatening" than Henderson? Wouldn't it be safe to say that a MLB pitcher/mgr would rather have Killebrew on 1st than Henderson? Then WHY do people insist that Killebrew's WALKS be viewed the SAME way as Henderson's? (OBP)

  45. Johnny Twisto Says:

    WHY do people insist that Killebrew's WALKS be viewed the SAME way as Henderson's?


    Which "people" "insist" on THAT? "I'd" love to KNOW whom "you're" arguing "AGAINST."

  46. MLS Says:

    Would it be safe to say that Killebrew standing on 1st would be less "threatening" than Henderson? Wouldn't it be safe to say that a MLB pitcher/mgr would rather have Killebrew on 1st than Henderson?

    If those statements are true and accurate, mustn't there be a weighted value attached to their OBP value? Currently there is no weighted formula for this. Thus, any stat that has any relationship to OBP can not, by default, be viewed as accurate. But many "people" insist on using these faulty stats. See the logic?

  47. John Autin Says:

    @46, MLS -- But how does Harmon Killebrew help your argument? He was in the league's top 10 in Runs 9 times, and ranked 8th in total Runs for 1961-70 -- tied with Maury Wills and just 5 behind Lou Brock.

    There's more variance in batters' rates of getting on base than there is in how likely they are to score once they reach base.

  48. Charles Says:

    If anyone's interested in trying this:
    It's a crude method, but you can give this a try and see who's better at getting on base and who is better on the bases. Taking Killebrew's 3 best years and Henderson's 3. And as you do this also think about how well their teams were doing.

    R - HR = revised runs
    AB+BB + HBP = revised AB (includes IBB)
    1B - CS + HBP - SB + BB = revised 1B
    2B + SB = revised 2B
    3B = 3B
    HR = HR
    Revised TOB = revised 1B + revised 2B + 3B + HR
    Revised BA = Revised TOB/Revised AB = Revised OBP
    Revised SLP = Revised 1B + 2*revised 2B + 3*3B +4*HR
    Revised OPS = Revised SLP + Revised OBP
    Run probability after getting on base = Revised runs/(Revised TOB-HR)
    Getting into scoring position on your own = (revised 2B + 3B+HR)/(Revised AB)
    Run probability R/(Revised AB) Not Revised Runs

  49. MLS Says:

    @47..I see where your coming from. All you say is true. However, you and I know how Killebrew generated the majority of his runs. The list above would clearly indicate this would it not? His own HR, not by his standing on first base. HR=meaningful for Killebrew. Standing on 1st= superfulous for Killebrew. HR=meaningful for Henderson. Standing on 1st=meaningful for Henderson. That's what I'm trying to point out. Hence, a weighted system should account for this.

  50. MLS Says:

    @47..Furthermore, I'd like to point out I'm not attempting to undermine Killebrew's efforts for the elevation of Henderson's. I just believe Henderson should somehow get "more" credit with his standing on 1st base. Which hopefully leads you back to the statements I originally posted.

  51. Charles Says:


    Your intuition's statistical correction is not the OBP. It is the slugging percentage in converting 1B to 2B by factoring in the SB. 1B-CS-SB and 2B+SB and also by calculating a probability of scoring while on base as I suggested.

    In 2011 38% of doubles eventually scored, 24% of singles and walks eventually scored. 10% of IBB. A SB turns a 1B,BB into a 2B, increasing the probability of scoring.

  52. John Autin Says:

    @49, MLS -- I get your point, although strictly speaking, Killebrew scored only 45% of his career Runs on HRs.

    But your original question was, "Why do people insist that Killebrew's walks be viewed the same way as Henderson's?" And then you turn it into, "Killebrew standing on 1st [is] less threatening than Henderson."

    There is more to their respective walks than the walk-ee standing on 1st base; some walks advance other baserunners, and I would speculate (I'll check the numbers soon) that Killebrew's walks advanced a higher % of runners than Rickey's.

    Some walks come with 1st base open and a man already on 2nd -- thus, less of an edge for Rickey vs. Killer.

    If you want to compare the impact of these 2 guys' walks, we have to go all the way.

  53. John Autin Says:

    Further to my #52:

    Bases advanced by other runners on the subject's walks, per 100 walks:
    -- Henderson, 27.6
    -- Killebrew, 36.1

    Also, note that Killebrew drew 43% of his walks with 2 out, when his "base-clogging" effect would be smallest, and less than 24% with 0 outs, when it would be greatest.

  54. MLS Says:

    @52...I can see where you can be confused. I guess I'm "attempting" to put a value on the importance of a particular player being on 1st base. Probably trying to put a premium (for a lack of better word), to a player like Henderson (12% off his HRS) vs a Killebrew (45% off his HRS). I guess it's that 33% difference that I'm trying to put a handle on. In short, it's just my intuition that tells me, that their OBP shouldn't be viewed in the same light??? It gives me a headache...LOL

  55. Charles Says:


    Good point.

    I would guess since Henderson was the leadoff hitters, he probably came up more often with bases empty, batiing behind the 789 hitters than Killebrew. Also he would have the 234 hitters behind him. !B or BB with a stolen base, he's in good shape to score.

  56. MLS Says:

    @53..Also, I must add I'm an old coot trying to figure out how to better understand what's going on. I mean no harm. Thanks for taking your time for explaining!

  57. John Autin Says:

    MLS -- It's all good! I certainly don't think I have all the answers. And Charles @55 made a good point about the difference in their baserunner-advancement rates being partly a factor of where they hit in the order.

    But there's an excellent passage in the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract that discusses the perception that a high OBP isn't really that valuable if the runner is slow; it's in the Player Rating for Mickey Tettleton, Darren Daulton or Gene Tenace, I believe. I'll see if I can find it.

  58. John Autin Says:

    Here's that passage from Bill James that I mentioned @57, talking about the value of walks drawn by slow runners:

    "There is an argument ... which goes, 'I'm not sure that their walks DO create all that many runs.... [T]hese guys hit 6th or 7th most of their careers, and they couldn't run fast enough to stay out of the way of a rabid turtle, so how many runs does that really create?'

    "But we know that this argument is untrue, for this reason: focus on the runs scored and the RBI.... Runs Average is runs scored plus RBI, divided by at bats.... The Runs Average for the top 100 catchers [in these ratings] is .242....

    "Gene Tenace has a Runs Average of .302, Mickey Tettleton .307, Darren Daulton .303, Joe Ferguson .284. Even Ferguson, the weakest of the four, has a higher Runs Average than Ted Simmons, Gary Carter, Joe Torre, Lance Parrish, Ernie Lombardi, Ivan Rodriguez, Roger Bresnahan, Thurman Munson, Smoky Burgess or Elston Howard. The only catchers who rank ahead of Tettleton's .307 ... are the first-tier Hall of Famers--Buck Ewing ..., Mickey Cochrane, Roy Campanella, Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Johnny Bench, and Gabby Hartnett."

  59. MLS Says:

    Thanks for the article. I'll get back at you after I absorb the meaning and see if there are other factors perhaps effecting their outcomes.

  60. MLS Says:

    Just curious...if one replaces AB with PA if there would be a difference? Reasoning would be that the walk is already discounted and gives the non-walkers a disadvantage right from the start. Curious tis all.

  61. John Autin Says:

    @60, MLS -- Yes, I agree that PAs would be a more appropriate denominator than ABs in the "Runs Average" equation.

  62. Charles Says:


    Either I'm missing something or this is just bizarre.

    Not only should you divide by PA, after you add the RBI and R, you need to subtract the HR. For example, did he really mean to give the batter credit in this calculation for a run and an RBI on a solo HR. The calculation will favor high HR hitters and those that walk. Does he want to make it AB because he feels most of the runs for a low scorer came from extra base hits and very few from walks or singles? Why not correct for HR? Does he feel they need bonus points for being a HR hitter?

    (RBI + R - HR)/PA

  63. Charles Says:

    Get a BB you have as much chance of getting a run as a single. Far, far less to get an RBI.

  64. MLS Says:

    @61 and @63...It amazes me that there are so many ways to look at things. But I'm glad to see that there are people that keep asking the appropriate questions, rather than just taking everything at face value!

  65. John Autin Says:

    @62, Charles -- I'm always baffled by the desire to deny full credit to a guy who hits a home run. Almost every other run that is scored has 2 individual components -- Run and RBI -- and those are credited to the person who "did" each one. Why treat a home run any differently?

    If someone hits an RBI triple and scores via error on the same play, would you credit him with only 1 unit of production? I don't get it.

  66. MLS Says:

    @65..I don't know IF this is what Charles means, but I think he's wanting to see how many Rs/RBIs outside of his own HRS he collects or contributes to. But he'd have to explain that to be sure.

  67. Charles Says:

    I never said he should not get a credit for a R and an RBI on a HR.

    It is in this calculation of Runs per AB that I was puzzled why a single run is counted twice.

    Now, that we have that out of the way. Let's talk about this further. Looking at it from a mathematical standpoint. In the Run/AB calculation a batter gets credit if he gets an RBI. Another batter gets credit if he scored a run generated by that RBI. So if there were no HR's and you added up the AB's for the players it will equal the AB's for the team, but the runs + RBI total WILL be twice the runs actually scored. So sure, give the HR hitter credit for both in the ratio with a solo HR. It's not so bizarre now.

    Herb Washington: All he needed was 1 AB to be the all time leader.

  68. Charles Says:


    Said it was either bizarre or I was missing something.

    Just so there's no misunderstanding, no sarcasm was intended in post 67. I think that, based on the mathematical model used, it should be R+RBI not R+RBI-HR.