The Runmakers: A New Way to Rate Baseball Players

Overview

Statistics are the lifeblood of baseball. Managers pore over batting averages to determine game day lineups and batting orders; high number of runs batted in and low earned run averages receive praise from the press, higher salaries from the front office, and love from fans; and the fate of fantasy baseball players rises and falls with each statistical change. The prominence of the RC/27 and other more complex, formula-driven stats has made numbers even more important to understanding and appreciating the game. ...

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The Runmakers: A New Way to Rate Baseball Players

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Overview

Statistics are the lifeblood of baseball. Managers pore over batting averages to determine game day lineups and batting orders; high number of runs batted in and low earned run averages receive praise from the press, higher salaries from the front office, and love from fans; and the fate of fantasy baseball players rises and falls with each statistical change. The prominence of the RC/27 and other more complex, formula-driven stats has made numbers even more important to understanding and appreciating the game. For all these baseball buffs and more, Frederick E. Taylor provides a new measure of hitting prowess that just might be a game changer.

Taylor's potential runs per game (PRG) measure accounts for batters getting on base, advancing runners, and driving in runs, and it separates leadoff and second batters from those in the middle of the order. Taylor introduces the measure, explains how it works, and applies it to players past and present. He breaks the history of major league baseball into eight eras based on differences in runs scored per game. He systematically—player-by-player and position-by-position—compares the results of the PRG measure to those drawn from other statistics, such as on-base percentage and slugging average. Taylor shows that PRG is more accurate and that career clutch hitting is a myth.

Sabermetricians, baseball fans of all stripes, and anyone who earns a living from the sport will find a wealth of information and a whole new set of stats to obsess over in The Runmakers. Measuring baseball will never be the same.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
A deeply old-fashioned treatise in which a statistic of Mr. Taylor's devising (potential runs per game) is used to rate the top hitters in history by era, position and role... Charming.

— Tim Marchman

Choice

Most baseball statistical analysts believe that 'traditional' measures of player performance—batting average, runs batted in, and so on—are lacking... In Taylor's model, the key measure is 'bases per plate appearance'... This is a compelling model.

Wall Street Journal - Tim Marchman

A deeply old-fashioned treatise in which a statistic of Mr. Taylor's devising (potential runs per game) is used to rate the top hitters in history by era, position and role... Charming.

Choice

Most baseball statistical analysts believe that 'traditional' measures of player performance—batting average, runs batted in, and so on—are lacking... In Taylor's model, the key measure is 'bases per plate appearance'... This is a compelling model.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421400105
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 4/14/2011
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Frederick E. Taylor is a lifelong baseball fan and player. A retired professor of American government, he also worked for the United States Department of Commerce and Department of Defense. This is his first book.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Pregame Analysis 1

Part I Every Era Has Its Greats

1 The Era of Constant Change, 1876-1892: The Age of Dan Brouthers 23

2 The Live Ball Interval, 1893-1900: The Age of Ed Delahanty 38

3 The Dead Ball Era, 1901-1920: The Age of Ty Cobb 49

4 The Live Ball Era, 1921-1941: The Age of Babe Ruth 61

5 The Live Ball Continued Era, 1942-1962: The Age of Ted Williams 77

6 The Dead Ball Interval, 1963-1976: The Age of Hank Aaron 93

7 The Live Ball Revived Era, 1977-1992: The Age of Mike Schmidt 106

8 The Live Ball Enhanced Era, 1993-2009 The Age of Uncertainty 119

Part II The Ultimate Lineup Card

9 Fielding a Team of Great Hitters 141

10 The Table Setters 182

11 The Table Clearers 202

Part III Hot Stove League Favorites Revisited

12 Left on Base 213

13 Whatever Happened to the Triple Crown? 220

Postgame Report 228

Appendix: Using the BPPA Formula in Fantasy Baseball Leagues 233

Notes 235

Index 239

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