Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 3, 2006
BASEBALL: Actual Runs on the Board

One of the more irritating arguments, to me, in favor of Ryan Howard over Albert Pujols for NL MVP is that Howard drove in more runs. Even aside from the fact that RBI depends on your teammates, the obvious problem with counting only total runs on the board is that while Howard drove in 12 more runs, Pujols scored 15 more - so in total, Pujols changed the numbers on the board directly more often than Howard, even in fewer games.

Just to help out in that debate, I thought I would run a chart (with much help from Pinto's database) showing who actually put the most runs on the board in 2006. It's not, as I said, the best measurement of offense, but it is an actual, real-world number and thus something of a reality check on these debates.

There are two ways to measure Runs and RBI together. One is the "Runs Produced" measure that seeks to ask how many runs a player contributed to - that's (Runs + RBI - HR). Homers are subtracted out because a player would otherwise be double counted for driving in and scoring the same run.

Of course, driving in and scoring the same run is twice as valuable, since it means the hitter needed no further assistance, so I prefer a second measure - I'll call it "Total Runs" here but I'm sure someone else has called it something else before and I just can't remember what. This is a figure that gives a player half credit for driving the run in and half for scoring: (R+RBI)/2. Obviously, that means home run hitters are implicitly given their due for one full run, so it won't cheat guys like Howard and David Ortiz who do a lot of their work with the longball.

The chart below ranks all players with 400 or more plate appearances by their Total Runs, and also adds a second measure: Total Runs per 27 outs, with outs calculated by ((AB-H)+SF+CS+DP). Again, this isn't the most precise computation, but neither is it complicated theoretical metric; it's just dividing runs by outs, and multplying by 27 for ease of comprehension.

So, who actually put the most runs on the board?

Albert Pujols119137128.09.02
Ryan Howard104149126.58.29
David Ortiz115137126.08.20
Carlos Beltran127116121.58.50
Garrett Atkins117120118.57.36
Andruw Jones107129118.07.24
Alex Rodriguez113121117.07.25
Matt Holliday119114116.57.21
Chase Utley131102116.56.66
Lance Berkman95136115.58.04
Justin Morneau97130113.57.19
Miguel Cabrera112114113.07.46
Raul Ibanez103123113.06.51
Jermaine Dye103120111.57.64
Carlos Lee102116109.06.24
Travis Hafner100117108.58.99
Jim Thome108109108.58.14
Derek Jeter11897107.56.73
Alfonso Soriano11995107.05.88
David Wright96116106.06.67
Aramis Ramirez93119106.06.45
Mike Cuddyer102109105.56.85
Paul Konerko97113105.06.70
Jason Bay101109105.06.55
Grady Sizemore13476105.05.94
Jimmy Rollins12783105.05.44
Troy Glaus105104104.56.47
Mark Teixeira99110104.55.95
Vladimir Guerrero92116104.06.50
Jason Giambi92113102.57.91
Bobby Abreu98107102.56.70
Carlos Delgado89114101.56.73
Jose Reyes12281101.55.76
Nick Swisher10695100.56.22
Miguel Tejada9910099.55.72
Vernon Wells9110698.55.88
Michael Young9310398.05.17
Johnny Damon1158097.55.94
Daniel Uggla1059097.55.75
Ryan Zimmerman8411097.05.63
Frank Thomas7711495.57.18
Adam Dunn999295.55.85
Scott Rolen949594.56.56
Bill Hall1018593.06.02
Magglio Ordonez8210493.05.75
Jeff Francoeur8310393.04.95
Carlos Guillen1008592.56.28
J.D. Drew8410092.06.77
Torii Hunter869892.05.76
Richie Sexson7510791.05.38
Manny Ramirez7910290.57.47
Craig Monroe899290.55.75
Gary Matthews Jr.1027990.55.44
Adam LaRoche899089.56.53
Melvin Mora968389.55.14
Hanley Ramirez1195989.05.09
Nick Johnson1007788.56.41
Adrian Beltre888988.55.01
Rafael Furcal1136388.04.94
Nomar Garciaparra829387.56.83
Pat Burrell809587.56.60
Todd Helton948187.55.92
Victor Martinez829387.55.57
Lyle Overbay829287.05.54
Chipper Jones878686.57.92
Pedro Feliz759886.54.86
Ray Durham799386.06.23
Austin Kearns868686.05.50
Kevin Youkilis1007286.05.34
Mike Cameron888385.55.42
Chad Tracy918085.55.18
Joe Mauer868485.06.14
Freddy Sanchez858585.05.67
Joe Crede769485.05.50
Edgar Renteria1007085.05.12
Brian Giles878385.04.87
Orlando Cabrera957283.54.88
Brandon Inge838383.05.26
Carl Crawford897783.05.14
Luis Gonzalez937383.05.00
Adrian Gonzalez838282.55.22
Hank Blalock768982.54.94
Tadahito Iguchi976782.05.36
Prince Fielder828181.54.97
Eric Byrnes827980.55.05
Mike Lowell798079.54.87
Ichiro Suzuki1104979.54.50
Jorge Posada659379.06.08
Emil Brown778179.05.28
Curtis Granderson906879.04.68
Ramon Hernandez669178.55.56
Jose Lopez787978.54.64
Chone Figgins936277.54.43
Brian McCann619377.06.64
Conor Jackson757977.05.63
Jacque Jones738177.05.18
Orlando Hudson876777.04.73
Juan Encarnacion747976.54.87
Mark DeRosa787476.05.33
Jhonny Peralta846876.04.60
Barry Bonds747775.57.33
Brad Hawpe678475.55.54
Juan Rivera658575.06.08
Alexis Rios688275.05.96
Felipe Lopez985275.04.28
Garret Anderson638574.04.92
Marcus Giles876073.54.66
Eric Chavez747273.05.02
Omar Vizquel885873.04.55
Ivan Rodriguez746971.54.78
Shea Hillenbrand736870.54.61
Craig Biggio796270.54.37
Robinson Cano627870.05.51
Brandon Phillips657570.04.55
Brian Roberts855570.04.40
Mark Teahen706969.56.56
David DeJesus835669.55.17
Shawn Green736669.54.61
Randy Winn825669.04.21
Kenji Johjima617668.54.89
Mark Grudzielanek855268.54.58
Jay Payton785968.54.48
Josh Willingham627468.04.81
Reed Johnson864967.55.59
Ken Griffey Jr.627267.05.38
Ty Wigginton557967.05.34
Nicholas Markakis726267.04.96
Mark Loretta755967.03.80
Luis Castillo844966.54.10
Edwin Encarnacion607266.05.77
Matthew Murton706266.05.24
Geoff Jenkins627066.04.86
Jason Michaels775566.04.70
Casey Blake636865.55.82
Rich Aurilia617065.55.49
Mike Jacobs547765.54.82
Scott Podsednik864565.54.24
Russell Martin656565.05.43
Preston Wilson587265.04.45
Joshua Barfield725865.04.32
Ronnie Belliard636765.04.20
Jeff Kent616864.55.77
Paul Lo Duca804964.54.76
A.J. Pierzynski656464.54.71
Kevin Millar646464.05.24
Corey Patterson755364.05.01
Tony Graffanino685963.54.96
Juan Pierre874063.53.28
Bernie Williams656163.05.28
Jason Kendall765063.04.07
Morgan Ensberg675862.55.51
Melky Cabrera755062.54.88
Ben Broussard616362.05.23
Dave Roberts804462.04.54
Juan Uribe537162.04.50
Aubrey Huff576661.54.74
David Bell606361.54.24
Jim Edmonds527061.05.97
Phil Nevin546861.05.20
Ian Kinsler655560.04.98
Jamey Carroll843660.04.64
Kenny Lofton794160.04.62
Xavier Nady576360.04.59
Jeff Conine546660.04.29
Aaron Hill705060.03.96
Jose Castillo546559.53.83
Jose Valentin566259.05.44
Nick Punto734559.04.60
Shane Victorino704658.05.13
Mark Ellis645258.04.46
Mark Kotsay575958.04.01
Mike Lamb704557.55.49
Yuniesky Betancourt684757.53.73
Johnny Estrada437157.04.90
Kevin Mench456856.54.50
Scott Hatteberg625156.54.45
Clint Barmes575656.53.95
Willy Taveras833056.53.82
Frank Catalanotto565656.04.67
Jonny Gomes535956.04.64
Trot Nixon595255.55.06
Khalil Greene565555.54.54
Adam Everett525955.53.69
Miguel Olivo525855.04.47
Placido Polanco585255.04.28
Jose Bautista585154.54.51
Todd Walker565354.54.42
Rickie Weeks733453.55.29
Michael Barrett545353.55.23
Mike Piazza396853.54.78
Sean Casey475953.04.72
Aaron Rowand594753.04.50
Steve Finley664053.04.32
Julio Lugo693753.04.27
Milton Bradley535252.55.25
Andre Ethier505552.54.79
Adam Kennedy505552.53.96
Jack Wilson703552.53.39
Wilson Betemit495351.04.76
Jorge Cantu406251.04.14
Jason Varitek465550.54.67
Ben Molina445750.54.16
Joey Gathright594150.04.38
Jose Vidro524749.53.83
Angel Berroa455449.53.44
Chris Burke584049.04.83
Alex Gonzalez485049.04.38
Chris Shelton504748.54.61
Coco Crisp583647.04.05
Ryan Freel672747.03.66
Marco Scutaro524146.54.33
Ronny Paulino375546.03.83
Ronny Cedeno514146.02.93
David Eckstein682345.53.32
Royce Clayton494044.53.34
John Buck375043.54.04
Craig Counsell563043.04.05
Brian Schneider305542.53.54
Brady Clark512940.03.33
Brian N Anderson463339.53.60
Aaron Miles483039.03.23
Yadier Molina294939.03.04
Cory Sullivan473038.53.48
Brad Ausmus373938.02.83

If you count by runs per out, you will see that the top 10 is Pujols, Hafner, Beltran, Howard, Ortiz, Thome, Berkman, Chipper, Giambi, and Dye. The bottom ten (starting at the bottom): Ausmus, Ronny Cedeno, Yadier Molina, Miles, Pierre, Eckstein (three Cardinals already!), Brady Clark, Clayton, Jack Wilson, and Berroa (that's 8 out of 10 in the NL Central). You will also see that Jeter beats Mauer 6.73 to 6.14, although of course the rest of the Yankee offense does have a fair bit to do with that.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:00 PM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

I'd like to point out that, like RBI's, the number of runs a player scores is also dependant upon one's teamates. So your argument that "runs scored" is more significant than RBI's is somewhat flawed. I'd say they're about even.

Posted by: Mark D at October 4, 2006 1:38 AM

And we haven't even gotten to park factors!

Howard, as we all know, plays in Coors Field East. Which would make it Yuengling Field, I guess.

Posted by: Mike at October 4, 2006 5:42 AM

Yo Crank,
You seem to have and aversion to giving any credit to Ryan Howard. Hello! runs scored depends alot on who hits behind you, and Howard had the weaker guys behind him.
By the way, Utley led the league in runs scored, I guess that means he outscored your man Reyes.

(Yes, I do live in Philadelphia)

Posted by: Joe Deegan at October 4, 2006 7:59 AM


Ball. Park. Factors.

Posted by: Mike at October 4, 2006 11:01 AM

Overratted. Citizens Bank Park dimensions are in line with the other parks. The big problem is the Phillies pitching. Until Howard came along most of the Homers were hit by the visiting team.
When I tuned into the Home Run hitting contest at the All Star Game, I got the David Wright Show. The Media Powers in New York had decided that one of their own was going to become a Superstar that night. Was it 3 special features on David Wright, or 33, I lost count.
Then Ryan Howard ruined the whole show by hitting about twice as many homers as Wright. The TV people could hardly pull themselves away from the David Wright Story to tell the public what was actually happening. Then Howard goes on to finish the season with 58 home runs to David Wrights 26.
I guess if I were a Mets fan, I would resent Howard too.
Wright is a likeable guy and had a great season, but if those in New York who run the National Media are going to continue to over hype him he will become a national joke.


Posted by: Joe Deegan at October 5, 2006 7:17 AM

Interesting list. While I agree that there are ball park factors, the bottom line is this shows something useful.

By the way, Jeff Manto (Batting coach of the Pirates) uses this statatistic as his measure of how weel a hitter is performing. He was creamed on the Pirate blogs for this but I agree with him.

Posted by: Lee at October 5, 2006 7:55 AM

I'm Lost.

Posted by: Joe Deegan at October 5, 2006 8:27 PM


Why would this measure be superior to net runs per game? ((RS+RBI)-HR)? Pujols might lead this one, given the time he was sidelined. Jeter would rank higher than Rodriguez, as Jeter produced more net runs and played in fewer games.


Posted by: chsw at October 10, 2006 4:16 PM
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