Wasted power?


Playing around with Baseball Reference’s Play Index today, I decided to see which hitters were hitting the long ball but not driving in so many runs.  Here are the five batters from the first half of 2009 with the lowest rbis totals with at least 15 homeruns.

     Batter            RBI HR               
    1 Chris Davis        33 15  
    2 Troy Tulowitzki    37 16  
    3 Jay Bruce          41 18  
    4 Hank Blalock       42 19  
    5 Curtis Granderson  43 18  


Here is the full list with all stats.

Granderson gets a bye here since he primarily leads off but the others need a better excuse. 

No surprise here.  We find batters with low batting averages (Bruce-.207) or worse a low  batting average AND a high strikeout rate (Davis- 114 Ks and a .202 BA). 

As for Tulowitzki, his .164 average probably accounts for his low rbi total.


Just for kicks, if I dial the homerun requirement down to 10, here are the results:

    Batter             RBI HR
    1 Josh Willingham    26 12  
    2 Ken Griffey        26 10  
    3 A.J. Pierzynski    27 10  
    4 Mike Jacobs        30 12  
    5 Scott Hairston     31 11  


Again, the full list is here.

Some surprises here.  I wouldn’t have expected to see Josh Williamham (.304) on this list though playing for the Nats could account for this.    Griffey and Jacobs both are having sub-par years in their other stat categories (ok, maybe sub-par is the wrong term to use… Jacobs is having about the year we would expect). 

AJ is hitting .299 playing for relatively offensively-minded team.  He is hitting .226 with RISP.  Not good but at the same time but four of his 10 homers have come in this situation.  Strange.

If you’re wondering, Alfonso Soriano comes up #8 on this list with 33 rbis on 14 homers.

And to add some historical perspective, I cranked up some all time Wasted Power numbers.  This time I took the homerun requirement up to 30.  So here is the top ten list of the lowest amount of rbis for any batter who hit 30 or more homeruns:

    Batter              RBI HR 
    1 Rob Deer           64 32 1992   
    2 Felix Mantilla     64 30 1964   
    3 Hanley Ramirez     67 33 2008   
    4 Brad Wilkerson     67 32 2004   
    5 Chris Young        68 32 2007   
    6 Brook Jacoby       69 32 1987   
    7 Alfonso Soriano    70 33 2007   
    8 Jose Valentin      70 30 2004   
    9 Rocky Colavito     72 30 1966   
   10 Mark McGwire       73 32 2000   


Full list here

Like Granderson, last year’s Hanley Ramirez and 2007’s Alfonso Soriano can be excused because their managers deemed them fit to lead off instead of using their power in a more useful spot. 

Otherwise, you find hitters I would expect.  Rob Deer.  Mark McGwire in his waning days.  Jose Valentin who loved to swing.  Bad Brad Wilkerson who struck out 152 times in 2004.  Oh yeah, there’s Chris Young again. 

I’ll probably revisit this topic at the end of season and see how the numbers how they’ve changed.  By the way, if you haven’t tried out Baseball Reference’s Play Index and you like goofing around with baseball stats, give it a try. It does cost a little but it’s worth a bit in my mind.

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