We all know that RBI is not an effective way of measuring offense, or even the ability to drive in runners, because of its dependence on the offensive quality of the rest of the team. To rectify at least this flaw of the RBI, letís look at a variant of the statistic, one that is reflective of its purpose, but more effectively measures said purpose. Weíll call it RBI per Opportunity, or RBI/Opp. Simply, it is the percentage of runners, on base while a player is up, that are driven in by said player, removing plate appearances in which the player is intentionally walked:
Note: these are not literal RBI, but the number of times the runners on base actually score. In other words, Iím counting runs that score as a result of double plays or errors as RBI.
The leaders in RBI/Opp are, for the most part, the players that we would expect to be leaders. These are primarily players that are, and should be, leaders in MVP voting. Joey Votto is a not a leader in this statistic. Joey Votto was not a victim of opportunity, a victim of the players who batted in front of him. Joey Votto drove in well fewer runners that we would expect from a player of his caliber.