Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Players better than average in HR%, SO%, BB%, SB%, XBT% and DP%

In one of his books, Bill James talked about high percentage players. For example, guys who had both high a SB% and a high fielding percentage. So I thought I would create my own list.

I think this is an interesting mix of skills. If you strike out less than average it makes you more likely to hit into DPs. So that alone makes it hard to qualify. Then guys who are good HR hitters tend to strikeout alot. And being fast (where you have a high XBT%) does not necessarily make you a good base stealer (XBT% is the % of time a runner advances 2 bases on a single and 3 bases on a double).

Each player page at BB Reference gives these numbers but it also shows the MLB average for each of them during the player's career. I used Stathead to call up all the players with 5,000+ PAs from 1946-2001.

Then I went through the 689 guys one by one and found 18 players who were better than average in all 6 stats. There were 109 guys who were better in 5 of the stats. In 8 cases there was a tie, meaning a guy was above average in 5 stats but only tied for the MLB average in the 6th stat. They still did not make the final cut.

I also found all the active players with 4,000+ PAs who are above average in all 6 stats. I cover them after I look at the first group. There were 5 guys above average in all 6 stats from the active list I checked. The stats for them are up through Aug. 16 (as well as any other active player who was in the first group). For either group, if you think I missed someone, let me know.

So here are the 18 guys from the group with 5,000+ PAs during the 1946-2021 periods. Their own stats are listed and the MLB averages are underneath. They are in no particular order. Some guys are not surprises but others are. Maybe some other guys who might have seemed like a sure bet to make it actually did not. After the table I show a ranking based on the geometric average of all 6 stats (relative to the MLB average).

Player

HR%

SO%

BB%

SB%

XBT%

DP%

David Wright

3.5%

18.8%

11.1%

75.0%

43.0%

10.7%

MLB Averages

2.7%

19.0%

8.3%

72.0%

40.0%

10.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Willie Mays

5.3%

12.2%

11.7%

77.0%

63.0%

9.4%

MLB Averages

2.1%

13.3%

8.8%

61.0%

46.0%

10.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barry Bonds

6.0%

12.2%

20.3%

78.0%

43.0%

7.0%

MLB Averages

2.6%

16.1%

8.7%

69.0%

42.0%

10.6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Morgan

2.4%

9.0%

16.5%

81.0%

51.0%

5.0%

MLB Averages

2.0%

14.0%

8.4%

64.0%

46.0%

10.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carlos Beltran

3.9%

16.3%

9.8%

86.0%

43.0%

9.4%

MLB Averages

2.7%

18.2%

8.5%

71.0%

41.0%

10.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Walker

4.8%

15.3%

11.4%

75.0%

52.0%

9.6%

MLB Averages

2.6%

16.2%

8.8%

69.0%

42.0%

10.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brady Anderson

2.7%

15.4%

12.4%

76.0%

48.0%

5.2%

MLB Averages

2.5%

16.0%

8.8%

68.0%

43.0%

10.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amos Otis

2.3%

12.2%

9.2%

79.0%

53.0%

10.1%

MLB Averages

2.0%

13.7%

8.5%

65.0%

45.0%

10.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toby Harrah

2.2%

9.9%

13.2%

72.0%

55.0%

9.5%

MLB Averages

2.0%

13.6%

8.6%

65.0%

45.0%

10.9%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billy Williams

4.1%

9.9%

9.9%

65.0%

47.0%

8.5%

MLB Averages

2.1%

14.4%

8.5%

63.0%

46.0%

10.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chase Utley

3.3%

15.2%

9.2%

88.0%

54.0%

6.2%

MLB Averages

2.7%

18.8%

8.3%

72.0%

40.0%

10.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Giles

3.7%

10.7%

15.1%

71.0%

45.0%

9.9%

MLB Averages

2.8%

16.9%

8.8%

70.0%

41.0%

10.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roy White

2.1%

9.2%

12.1%

67.0%

55.0%

8.2%

MLB Averages

2.0%

14.1%

8.5%

64.0%

46.0%

10.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Chávez

4.2%

17.3%

10.3%

75.0%

45.0%

10.0%

MLB Averages

2.7%

17.7%

8.5%

71.0%

41.0%

10.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Von Hayes

2.4%

13.3%

11.8%

72.0%

54.0%

9.1%

MLB Averages

2.1%

14.4%

8.5%

68.0%

44.0%

10.7%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earl Torgeson

2.5%

10.8%

16.2%

70.0%

49.0%

8.4%

MLB Averages

2.1%

11.1%

9.4%

58.0%

46.0%

10.8%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roger Maris

4.7%

12.5%

11.2%

70.0%

56.0%

6.0%

MLB Averages

2.2%

14.6%

8.3%

62.0%

47.0%

10.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackie Robinson

2.4%

4.9%

12.7%

72.0%

59.0%

8.8%

MLB Averages

1.8%

9.6%

9.5%

57.0%

45.0%

11.1%

Now for the index number which averages all 6 stats for each guy.

I found the relative stats for each guy. Take Jackie Robinson, for example. His HR% was 2.4% while the MLB average was 1.8%. Since 2.4/1.8 = 1.33, his relative score here is 1.33. I did this for all 6 stats except that for SO% and DP% I divided the MLB average by the player's % since better on those 2 means below average.

So for Robinson I multiplied 

1.33*1.95*1.33*1.26*1.31*1.26 = 7.295

Then I took the 6th root of that to get the geometric average or about 1.39 (if you multiply 1.39 times itself 6 times you get about 7.295). Then that gets multiplied by 100 to get an index number of 139.

The geometric average rewards balance. For example, the geometric mean of 2 and 4 is the square root of 2*4 or 8 and that is 2.828. If we did 1 and 5 (which gives us the same simple average as 2 and 4) the geometric mean is the square root of 1*5 or 2.236. So being more balanced allows for a higher score.

Here is the index ranking for the 18 players.

Rank

Player

Index

1

Barry Bonds

152

2

Joe Morgan

149

3

Roger Maris

141

4

Jackie Robinson

139

5

Willie Mays

139

6

Chase Utley

130

7

Brian Giles

128

8

Billy Williams

128

9

Brady Anderson

126

10

Roy White

125

11

Larry Walker

125

12

Toby Harrah

124

13

Earl Torgeson

123

14

Carlos Beltran

118

15

Von Hayes

117

16

Eric Chávez

116

17

Amos Otis

114

18

David Wright

112

It might not be fair to use pure HR% since it does not take park effects into account. Left handed batters and switch hitters have an edge since it is easier for them to beat out potential double play balls. And it might be better to compare each player to his own league average but that is not what BB Ref pages show. 

Also, it is possible a player who was better than average in only 5 stats could still have a higher index number than one of these 18. But I only wanted to look at guys who were better than average in all 6 stats.

Now for the active players who are better than average in all 6 stats.

Player

HR%

SO%

BB%

SB%

XBT%

DP%

Mookie Betts

4.2%

13.6%

10.3%

82.0%

51.0%

7.0%

MLB Averages

3.0%

21.8%

8.3%

73.0%

40.0%

10.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marcus Semien

3.7%

19.7%

8.9%

78.0%

51.0%

9.4%

MLB Averages

3.0%

21.6%

8.2%

73.0%

40.0%

10.6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony Rendon

3.4%

15.5%

10.9%

75.0%

44.0%

10.0%

MLB Averages

3.0%

21.6%

8.2%

73.0%

40.0%

10.6%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Francisco Lindor

3.9%

15.2%

8.6%

78.0%

46.0%

9.8%

MLB Averages

3.1%

22.0%

8.4%

73.0%

40.0%

10.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

José Ramírez

4.1%

11.9%

10.0%

81.0%

54.0%

6.5%

MLB Averages

3.0%

21.6%

8.2%

73.0%

40.0%

10.6%

Here is their index ranking

Player

Index

José Ramírez

140

Mookie Betts

135

Anthony Rendon

117

Francisco Lindor

116

Marcus Semien

115