Saturday, March 13, 2010

Is Pedro Feliz A "Good RBI Man?"

Joe Posnanski had a blog entry called Pedro Feliz, Houston. It raises the question about whether or not Feliz is a good RBI man. It was in the larger context of discussing the "attribution problem." That came up in a Bill James article. That raised the question of to whom do we attribute things like wins and RBIs when several players have a hand in making them happen.

One thing we might expect of a guy if he is a good RBI man is that he hits well with runners on base. The table below shows these stats for Feliz over his career and for all of MLB over the years 2004-2009, which make up the bulk of Feliz's career. Data is from Retrosheet.

I think the two most important stats to look at in this case are batting average with runers in scoring position (RISP) and slugging percentage with runnes on base (ROB). Feliz actually is below average in RISP AVG. So that argues against him being a good RBI man. His ROB SLG is above average, but only .011 better. Over the course of 300 ROB ABs in a season, that is only 3.3 extra total bases. Maybe one more triple than average, or an extra double and single.

Another way to look at it is that Feliz's isolated power (ISO, SLG - AVG) is .177 with ROB while the league average is .156. So he is .021 better. Times 300 ROB ABs in a season, we get 6.3 more extra bases. So maybe he gets a double in six cases when the average guy gets a single. Maybe half the time a guy scores from first in those cases (while he would not if it were just a single). So that is an extra 3 runs a year.

But don't forget, he gets fewer hits with RISP, so it is less than 3 runs (and this all assumes that he actually has this skill with ROB-the table shows that his SLG goes up more than normal). Players usually, over a long career, hit just about the same in all situations. None of this makes up for a very poor career OBP of .293.

His career RBI-to-GIDP ratio is 5.03 (558/111). The average for all right-handed batters with 2500+ PAs from 2000-2009 is 5.54. Feliz ranked 84th out of 139 players. So in terms of GIDPs, his RBIs are more costly than average. Data compiled from the Lee Sinins Complete Baseball Encyclopedia.

No comments: