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RBI "Most Over-Rated stat"

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#1 Sconnie

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 03:30 PM

There was a thread that was being derailed by RBI talk, but I found the RBI talk interesting...

RBI is the most over-rated hitting stat because it is associated with one player, but it tells you info about the team.

What say you?

#2 Thrylos

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 03:38 PM

Second most over-rated. Most over-rated is Game Winning RBI ;)
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#3 LaBombo

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:13 PM

Wins for middle relievers. Please stop handing out wins for pitching a single inning, or out for that matter.

#4 Thrylos

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:20 PM

Wins for middle relievers. Please stop handing out wins for pitching a single inning, or out for that matter.


The OP said "hitters" :)

Otherwise a "win" for a pitcher (any pitcher) is the single most meaningless stat, because pitchers cannot win a game (unless they are in the NL and hit.) The best a pitcher can do is to avoid runs to score. Offense wins games.
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#5 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:21 PM

The OP said "hitters" :)

Otherwise a "win" for a pitcher (any pitcher) is the single most meaningless stat, because pitchers cannot win a game (unless they are in the NL and hit.) The best a pitcher can do is to avoid runs to score. Offense wins games.


A pitcher can win a game, if they pitch a complete game and give up no runs (earned on unearned) they in fact do win games.

I think wins are a bit over rated, but errors are the most over rated IMO
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"- L. Harvey Oswald

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#6 Tcrose3636

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:26 PM

A pitcher can win a game, if they pitch a complete game and give up no runs (earned on unearned) they in fact do win games.

I think wins are a bit over rated, but errors are the most over rated IMO


Well... that pitcher can't pitch a complete game unless a hitter puts up a run to win the game.

#7 snepp

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:34 PM

A pitcher can win a game, if they pitch a complete game and give up no runs (earned on unearned) they in fact do win games.


Some might find this article fun.

http://www.hardballt...hit-a-home-run/

#8 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:45 PM

There was a thread that was being derailed by RBI talk, but I found the RBI talk interesting...

RBI is the most over-rated hitting stat because it is associated with one player, but it tells you info about the team.

What say you?


Definitely up near the top. I'd add wins, losses, and saves (which are very much team stats that one person gets credit for). I'd also add errors, which is so ridiculously subjective that I really wonder why anyone bothers tracking them anymore

#9 Seth Stohs

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:47 PM

I used to buy into the "RBI are overrated" commentary. And, when it comes to it, I still agree with it.

However, when there are runners on second and third with less than two outs, someone has to drive in those runs. It certainly isn't as important as some might think, but it is important.

Someone's season totals don't tell me a whole lot, but again, let's not be those who think they mean nothing.

#10 Willihammer

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 04:55 PM

RBI isn't overrated, its incomplete. What's missing is the denominator, RBI Opportunities.

#11 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 05:03 PM

RBI isn't overrated, its incomplete. What's missing is the denominator, RBI Opportunities.


Yep. But even then, we get into issues with sample size.

Maybe over a career, it's useful... Over a season, probably not.

#12 Thrylos

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 05:04 PM

RBI isn't overrated, its incomplete. What's missing is the denominator, RBI Opportunities.


Do you mean BA with RISP? ;)
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#13 snepp

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 05:13 PM

do you mean ba with risp? ;)


BARISP+




*grumble, forum automagically removing my all-caps, grumble*

#14 LaBombo

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 05:24 PM

However, when there are runners on second and third with less than two outs, someone has to drive in those runs. It certainly isn't as important as some might think, but it is important.

It's not really a question of whether driving in runs is important, it's a question of whether it's a repeatable, measurable skill that's a separate component of hitting ability. For the most part, what I've read suggests that 'clutch' hitting tends to be random, and highly variable from one season to the next. In other words, not really a skill.

It doesn't mean that there aren't noteworthy factors like fly ball rate that affect, say, a player's ability to drive in a run with a sac fly, or guys who consistently underperform with RISP because they press. It just means that 'clutch' is more about perception than a quantifiable skill, and it certainly gets talked attention from Dickbert than it's due.

#15 ashburyjohn

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 05:44 PM

However, when there are runners on second and third with less than two outs, someone has to drive in those runs.


"Hit well", and then "hit well with men on second and third" usually will take care of itself. Maybe not at the high school level, but usually at the level of ball we're talking about.

Yes, I guess I'm saying that anything with the word "clutch" in it is my nominee for most over-rated stat.

/ edit - is that really what the OP was asking, though?

Edited by ashburyjohn, 17 March 2014 - 05:47 PM.


#16 lightfoot789

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:27 PM

I do apologize for derailing the previous thread. It was never my intention. Truly.

That being said:
My point is that someone needs to drive in runs. Most great teams (dynasty teams) have had those 2 or 3 guys who did most of the damage driving in runs. Every MLB - RBI Leader over the last decade has been an All Star based on his ability to drive in runs. There are very few Ichiro corner outfielder types who make the Hall of Fame.

Quick question: For those of you who loved Willinghams season a efw years ago - What stat made you fall in love with his season?

#17 Sconnie

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:36 PM

A pitcher can win a game, if they pitch a complete game and give up no runs (earned on unearned) they in fact do win games.

I think wins are a bit over rated, but errors are the most over rated IMO

In the AL that leads to a tie

#18 DocBauer

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:41 PM

I believe RBI is overrated in the sense of opportunity, as previously stated. Always depends on the actual opportunity to have a runner on base, as well as in scoring position. Over the years I've seen a lot of players hit 20 plus homers with low RBI totals and the only real explanation that makes sense is no runners on base. Don't think it would be possible to quantify a batter as only having power with nobody on base.

Conversely, I have also seen hitters who lack ideal power who have hit 3,4,5 in lineups who seem to have a knack for knocking runners in. As Seth stated, someone has to have the ability to knock those guys in. But then again, those guys have to be on base as well. I feel Mauer, for instance, batting 3rd, playing a 150 games, is very capable of producing a 100 RBI season with his hitting ability, his doubles, and his somewhat more limited HR production. But only if there are runners on base for him to drive home.

BA with runners OB or in scoring position might be a more useful stat. For that matter, OB% with runners on base might be a more useful stat as well as you are moving runners along, creating a better opportunity to score, but also build toward a bigger inning. RBI numbers unto themselves might be an inflated stat, or in some cases devoid of accurate representation, so much depending on opportunity as well as position in the order, but the ability to consistently garner RBI is valuable, and does reflect a certain clutch skill.

#19 Sconnie

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:47 PM

I do apologize for derailing the previous thread. It was never my intention. Truly.


intentions be damned, it's fun to talk stats with a big group of nerds. My friends and wife's eyes all gloss over when I start these types of conversations. You brought up a great point.

this is the forum for using data and logical arguments to discuss your favorite team/sport. Speak your mind, don't apologize for it.

Edited by Sconnie, 17 March 2014 - 06:54 PM.
Finish my thought


#20 jorgenswest

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:49 PM

RBI has value. In a single game, it helps to tell the story of the game. If you only have a handful of columns in a box score to tell the story of a game, RBI should probably claim one of them.

RBI is not predictive. It doesn't have value in projection.

I am not sure RBI is overrated. It is misused when used for projections. In telling the story of a previous game or to a lesser extent a season, it is very helpful.

#21 big dog

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:51 PM

I like to know the % of runners in scoring position who a batter brings home, whatever the method. # of RBI as a total does help put that into context for sample size.

#22 jokin

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 06:54 PM

Yep. But even then, we get into issues with sample size.

Maybe over a career, it's useful... Over a season, probably not.


Exactly spot on. Perhaps this list of the Top 30 Batters w/ RISP over the last 11 years is helpful in separating the wheat from the chaff (One not-surprising ex-Twin is #10, but one current Twin, who might very well surpirse a lot of folks, is at #23):

http://www.fangraphs...lter=&players=0

Edited by jokin, 17 March 2014 - 06:58 PM.


#23 CRArko

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:00 PM

My nickel says pitch count is the most over-rated stat.

#24 BHtwins

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 07:05 PM

I think many people ( me included sometimes) read what Bill James writes but dont *listen* to what he said.

RBI's are over-rated but far from meaningless. Its most over-rated as an individual stat. If every dinger that Mark Mcgwire hit in 98 was a solo shot that is 70 RBI's which is significant...and certainly not meaningless.

Problem is, as an individual stat it is at least partially a product of opportunity, so as a stat to rate individual performance its really kind of lousy.

Player A has 100 opportunities and drives in 50 runs. Player B has 60 opportunities and drives in 48 runs.

Guys making free agency decisions and arguing arbitration cases better be smarter then using counting stats in general and dependent counting stats specifically.

#25 lightfoot789

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:06 PM

Exactly spot on. Perhaps this list of the Top 30 Batters w/ RISP over the last 11 years is helpful in separating the wheat from the chaff (One not-surprising ex-Twin is #10, but one current Twin, who might very well surpirse a lot of folks, is at #23):

http://www.fangraphs...lter=&players=0


Great list of some of the Top RBI producers in baseball :). The only meaningful stat is Team Wins! Now what type of team helps you win? The Oakland A's Billy Ball? The question is -What mixture of player characteristics and tendencies form a winning combination? The way the Red Sox won last year with a bunch of grinders is every working mans fantasy. It is not the norm for winning championships however. Most championships are won because Star Players (Pitchers & Hitters / or any sport), produced in the regular season with the help of the many grinders on their team. That is not to say that the Star players are not team players or grinders too.

Picture your Fantasy MN Twins lineup of the future (2016 & beyond). Why do you expect them to win? What will be the needed winning style of play? Let's assume better than average pitching, but not Top 8. What meaningful stat will be the difference maker? and what perennial champions have utilized your formula of success?

#26 Willihammer

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 08:38 PM

Exactly spot on. Perhaps this list of the Top 30 Batters w/ RISP over the last 11 years is helpful in separating the wheat from the chaff (One not-surprising ex-Twin is #10, but one current Twin, who might very well surpirse a lot of folks, is at #23):

http://www.fangraphs...lter=&players=0


Take that list, and correlate RBI to wRC (which takes no account of the base-out sitauation). The correlation is .96

RBI is just like OPS or wOBA or wRC. Its a (rough) measure of how good a batter is at hitting, period. The baserunners scurrying home to score are pretty incidental.

edit: correlate to wRC because like RBI its additive. RBI/RBI Op's or RBI/PAs (turned into a rate basically) would compare to the rate stats (OPS, wOBA, etc).

Edited by Willihammer, 17 March 2014 - 08:45 PM.


#27 righty8383

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:11 PM

Overrated for sure. Definitely not the most overrated though. Off the top of my head I would go with saves, wins, BA with RISP (I don't know if this is a recorded stat but people speak as if it means something), errors...

#28 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:39 PM

The stat that I find most irritating is the number of saves that a closer has. It would be common sense to quantify one's ability not by the sheer number of saves but by the percentage of saves won. E.g. BaseballReference.com lists the all-time saves leader as M. Rivera as 652. J. Nathan is #10 at 341, but the percentage of saves completed are nearly identical. MLB stats show the saves and save opportunities but they don't calculate the %!

Maybe this is old ground for you all but I had to spill my guts about it.

#29 DuluthFan

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:56 PM

*Sigh*

The RBI stat is a box score stat. It HELPS to tell the story of the game if all you have is the box score. It tells you who was at bat when the run(s) scored. If you read a box score and did not have the RBI noted, you would not know who batted in the run.

It was not intended to be a stat to describe how good a player is or was. It was not intended to be a stat to compare players (although it has been used as such). It helps to describe the action of a game.

No one stat can completely describe how good a player is compared to other players. It is in combination with other stats that they become useful for comparisons.

Player A goes 3 for 3 no RBI
Player B goes 3 for 3 with 3 RBI
Who had the better game?

Player A had no one on base during his at bats.
Player B had runners in scoring position for all his at bats.
Who had the better game now?
Player A had 2 doubles and a triple.
Player B had 3 singles.
Who had the better game now?

The only reason the RBI stat is 'over-rated' is because you are trying to use it incorrectly.

#30 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 17 March 2014 - 10:04 PM

Exactly. Same thing with Saves.