To quote sportswriting legend Joe Posnanski: “… then you grew up as a baseball fan with three statistics and only three statistics. There was batting average. There were home runs runs. And there were RBIs. That was it.”
These three statistics have become the three burned into the brains of all baseball fans. If you look up at the scoreboard during a game, you see the stats for the player who is hitting, AVG, HR, RBI’s. These have been the main reference point throughout the years in determining the best players. Unfortunately, conclusions based solely off this data are almost always incorrect. From now on, I’ll refer to value dereived from the three archaic statistics as Perceived Value/
I considered any player who fulfilled two of the following requirements, a top Perceived Value player. The requirements were, fulfill at least two of the following, a minimum .300 batting average, a minimum of 25 homeruns, and a minimum of 100 RBI. Remember that this is a list based off of meaningless archaic statistics.
In alphabetical order, the top players from the perceived value system:
This is a relatively selective list, containing thirty-one members, or about one per team. Lots of household names, Pujols, A-Rod, Mauer, Han-Ram, Fielder, and the like. Overall it doesn’t look all that bad, though there are some questions, see Kubel, Jason, and Morneau, Justin.
The modern statistics movement has fought against the use of the Perceived Value statistics. First on-base percentage, then more recently weighted On-Base Average, have been successfully introduced as alternatives to batting average. ISOlated power was developed as a homerun and slugging percentage alternative that didn’t rely heavily on singles. Hitter Composite Percentage is a stat of my own that I will use as an alternative for RBI’s in the list for True Value. From now on, I’ll refer to these three as the True Value components.
Criteria for this list were: fulfill two of the following requirements. Minimum .370 wOBA, minimum .220 ISO, and minimum 1.600 HCP.
In alphabetical order, the top players from the true value system:
Once again, a superstar filled list. The big thing to notice is that while many of the names on the lists are identical, there are hitters such as Shin-Soo Choo, Troy Tulowitzki, and Chase Utley (!!!), are present on the True Value list, but missed out on the first thanks to the .300 AVG requirement.
Is there a conclusion here? Yes. Inefficient statistics can still get things right in no-doubt scenarios, but closer the lines, modern statistics identify the “best” better. Great players will look good no matter what numbers you look at, but it’s the underrated that the old guard, average, homers, and RBI’s, can’t find.
Cover Photo by: phillymads63
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