It’s how often a player reaches base that’s important, not batting average, not RBI.
Baseball doesn’t have a clock in the sense that football or basketball does, but it has outs, 27 of them, and each one an offense spends brings the game closer to extinction. The players who reach base most often are the ones most likely to put off the inevitable death of the offensive effort. The more your players get on base, the more your players get a chance to hit, meaning you score more runs.
I have been reading some of the comments from people over the weekend. I see a few derogatory remarks about OPS. I agree OPS is not the perfect stat, but its a hell of a lot better than batting average. Batting average is a useless stat, its nearly as useless as RBI when judging the usefullness of an individual hitter.
RBI are opportunistic; RBI are a team stat and are not indicative of a player’s ability.
In 1985 Don Mattingly had a great year. The Yankees often batted Rickey Henderson first and Mattingly second. Henderson was having an even better year than Mattingly, reaching base 42% of the time and putting himself in scoring position constantly thanks to his 28 doubles, five triples, and 80 stolen bases–the last of which cost the Yankees only 10 caught stealing. At his peak, Henderson was the rare player where the rewards of stealing handily outweighed the risks. Hitting .324/.371/.567 behind this on-base dynamo, Mattingly drove in 145 runs and won the MVP award.
The next year, Mattingly was even better, improving his numbers to .352/.394/.573. Oddly, he drove in 32 fewer runs. The problem was Henderson, who saw his OBP drop to .358 in 1986, meaning he was on base less often. Better Mattingly + Worse Henderson = fewer RBI opportunities for Mattingly. If RBI were an expression of a player’s ability, we should hold the shortfall against Mattingly despite his being better than the year before. That doesn’t make much sense.
I know most people on the Redlegnation understand production, and for the most part I am preaching to the choir, but I would like one of the
Redzoners “people who think batting average and RBI are useful stats” here to ENLIGHTEN me. Tell me why Battinag average is better than OPS, teach me the reasons RBI are a stat that can tell me how good a hitter is.