Friday, February 18, 2011

The Worst 100 RBI seasons in Giants history


The RBI is a hallowed stat for traditional baseball fans. It is said that driving in runs is an important skill and that without proven run producers, a team will fall on its face offensively. The modern take is that an RBI is due more to lineup placement and the ability of the guys in front of the batter to get on base and not a good descriptive statistic for how good a player is.

To test this, Baseball Reference had a post on this subject back in August and it made me want to look at how the Giants fared in this category. They looked at players with 100 or more RBIs in a season and then sorted by lowest Wins Above Replacement and there were some real bad seasons in there.

For some of these guys, they were "producing runs" but costing their teams quite a bit and probably didn't deserve the playing time that they were given.

Rk Player WAR RBI Year Age Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB BA OBP SLG Pos
1 Dante Bichette -2.8 133 1999 35 COL 151 593 104 177 38 2 34 54 84 6 .298 .354 .541 *7/D
2 Ruben Sierra -2.4 101 1993 27 OAK 158 630 77 147 23 5 22 52 97 25 .233 .288 .390 *9D
3 Joe Carter -1.4 115 1990 30 SDP 162 634 79 147 27 1 24 48 93 22 .232 .290 .391 *873
4 Tony Armas -1.4 107 1983 29 BOS 145 574 77 125 23 2 36 29 131 0 .218 .254 .453 *8D
5 Joe Carter -1.3 107 1996 36 TOR 157 625 84 158 35 7 30 44 106 7 .253 .306 .475 *73D
6 Eddie Robinson -1.3 102 1953 32 PHA 156 615 64 152 28 4 22 63 56 1 .247 .322 .413 *3
7 Joe Carter -1.2 102 1997 37 TOR 157 612 76 143 30 4 21 40 105 8 .234 .284 .399 D379
8 Joe Pepitone -0.6 100 1964 23 NYY 160 613 71 154 12 3 28 24 63 2 .251 .281 .418 *38/9
9 George Bell -0.5 112 1992 32 CHW 155 627 74 160 27 0 25 31 97 5 .255 .294 .418 *D7
10 Bill Buckner -0.5 102 1986 36 BOS 153 629 73 168 39 2 18 40 25 6 .267 .311 .421 *3D
11 Jorge Cantu -0.3 117 2005 23 TBD 150 598 73 171 40 1 28 19 83 1 .286 .311 .497 *45D
12 Ernie Banks -0.3 106 1969 38 CHC 155 565 60 143 19 2 23 42 101 0 .253 .309 .416 *3
13 Del Ennis -0.3 105 1957 32 STL 136 490 61 140 24 3 24 37 50 1 .286 .332 .494 *79
14 Ray Pepper -0.3 101 1934 28 SLB 148 564 71 168 24 6 7 29 67 1 .298 .333 .399 *78/9
15 Rico Brogna -0.2 102 1999 29 PHI 157 619 90 172 29 4 24 54 132 8 .278 .336 .454 *3
16 Danny Tartabull -0.2 101 1996 33 CHW 132 472 58 120 23 3 27 64 128 1 .254 .340 .487 *9/D
17 Tony Perez -0.1 105 1980 38 BOS 151 585 73 161 31 3 25 41 93 1 .275 .320 .467 *3D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/17/2011.

Some of these guys were just plain bad, so how have the Giants done? Much better. Here is the San Francisco Giants top 10 worst seasons with 100+ RBIs:

Rk Player WAR/pos RBI Year Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR BB SO SB BA OBP SLG Pos
1 Orlando Cepeda 3.1 114 1962 24 162 676 625 105 191 26 1 35 37 97 10 .306 .347 .518 *3/79
2 Orlando Cepeda 3.4 105 1959 21 151 647 605 92 192 35 4 27 33 100 23 .317 .355 .522 *37/5
3 J.T. Snow 3.5 104 1997 29 157 637 531 81 149 36 1 28 96 124 6 .281 .387 .510 *3
4 Jeff Kent 3.7 101 1999 31 138 585 511 86 148 40 2 23 61 112 13 .290 .366 .511 *4/3
5 Jack Clark 3.8 103 1982 26 157 659 563 90 154 30 3 27 90 91 6 .274 .372 .481 *9
6 Matt Williams 4.4 122 1990 24 159 664 617 87 171 27 2 33 33 138 7 .277 .319 .488 *5
7 Dick Dietz 4.5 107 1970 28 148 612 493 82 148 36 2 22 109 106 0 .300 .426 .515 *2
8 Jeff Kent 4.6 121 1997 29 155 651 580 90 145 38 2 29 48 133 11 .250 .316 .472 *43
9 Will Clark 4.9 116 1991 27 148 622 565 84 170 32 7 29 51 91 4 .301 .359 .536 *3
10 Jeff Kent 5.0 128 1998 30 137 594 526 94 156 37 3 31 48 110 9 .297 .359 .555 *4/3
Generated 2/17/2011.

Orlando Cepeda's worst season was only the 375th worst since 1901. None of these players seem to have not earned their playing time and, in fact, these were all well above average seasons.

I am not sure if that means the Giants have been better than other teams through the years at not lusting after RBI numbers or just got lucky that the players they trusted as "run producers" didn't have good RBI numbers and bad numbers every where else.

If you're on Twitter, you should definitely follow The Crazy Crabbers. If you're not, you should really consider joining; lots of good stuff going on there.

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