The AL West has done a pretty good job of defying easy...
Slugging Percentage Plus Update
A few weeks ago, I came up with a new stat and it was well received by our readers (I got a few texts from some buddies). Honestly, I really enjoyed doing it, and in the lucrative world of amateur online blogging that is all that matters. To reiterate, SPP was born out of the idea that steals are really valuable–that stealing second is just as valuable as hitting a double. With that in mind, I developed this formula:
SPP = [(TB + SB + Walks + HBP) / (PA)]
I’m not coming up with another stat just yet, but this post will use the lens of Slugging Percentage Plus to evaluate the big stories and questions from first-half performanceS. For context, here are big guns’ updated SPPs as of the All-Star break. The list gives a good picture of the first-half MVP race.
Let’s get this one out of the way first: it is time for Wil Myers to get promoted. His minor league numbers are comprable to what Matt Kemp was doing at the beginning of the year, and is ahead of the statistical silly-ness that has been Joey Votto all year. Meanwhile, the guy in front of him in the Majors is Jeff Francouer whose Slugging Percentage Plus is the worst on the list. Furthermore, by promoting Wil Myers, Francouer will have more time to spend as a clubhouse guy. He can do that job better playing once a week.
In the NL MVP race, Votto has outpaced Andrew McCutchen thus far, but it is close and given McCutchen’s value defensively, the NL MVP race is a facinating one. Was I the only one who had no idea that the Pirates’ centerfielder leads the majors in total bases? I knew he was having a heck of a year, but leading the NL in average and total bases while stealing 14 bags and playing center? Shewwww….
Then there’s the curious case of Ryan Braun, which in and of itself could be a Ph.D dissertation. Ryan Braun has continued to do what Ryan Braun does: mash baseballs. I was a little uncertain if he would be able to continue performing at that level minus the supplemental testosterone and buddy Prince Fielder, but he’s actually got a higher SPP now than last year’s MVP season, when he stole 33 bases. I’m dismissing Braun from the running this year because the writers will wary given the embarrassment of last year’s fallout. However, we do need to recognize that despite all the question marks and scrutiny, Braun has continued to produce like an MVP.
NL vs AL: Now, these aren’t supposed to be representative of the 17 best players from either league, but merely the 17 that I thought the most instructive here. (Actually, I picked 16 NL players and 18 AL players.) With that, I did wind up picking mostly the top players in both leagues, and to my surprise the top 4 all came from the National League. But I dug a little deeper, and 15 of the next 17 were from the AL. So 15 of the top 21 were AL selections, and the average SPPs of those selected were 21 points higher for the AL. (For some context, AL hitters performed like Adam Dunn and NL selections performed like Melky Cabrera).
A few final thoughts… Edwin Encarnacion has more total bases this year than Matt Kemp and Dee Gordon combined. Interestingly, not something that Jose Bautista can say, nor can he claim a higher SPP, which means that Edwin > Jose. Adam Dunn and Joey Votto each have more walks at the break than Ryan Braun did last year… and probably more than Jeff Francouer’s entire career. (Actually, both Dunn and Votto have more walks now than Francouer averages every two years.)
Stat of the Day: The Guam Power Authority was awarded $16,603,507 with the Obama stimulus money to “Deploy 46,000 smart meters to all of the utility’s customers, install automation technologies on the electric distribution system, and implement the infrastructure needed to support two-way flow of energy and information.” This on an island where 23% live below the poverty line.