Monday, July 1, 2013

Is Brandon Phillips REALLY having a great season because he has a shitload of RBI?

Baseball Prospectus has a stat buried on their stat pages called OBI%, which is, simply, the percentage of batters on base that a batter has driven in.

Without looking, I thought that BP was likely just having his typical production, with a inflated RBI total due to the high OBPs of Choo and Votto. What I found is, well, I'm right, but I'm also wrong.

Brandon Phillips is leading the 2013 Reds in OBI% with 19.9%. No one can guess who is second. I bet you anything. Go ahead. I'll wait.














Think of it yet? It's Xavier Paul! 16.1%!

However, I'm still correct in the hypothesis that Phillips is leading the Reds in opportunities. He is. However, that OBI% is also the highest of the last 5 years for him. Here are those numbers.

2012-15.4%
2011-16.5%
2010-11.8%
2009-17.4%
2008-14.6%

Pretty consistent other than 2010, right?

This season Phillips has 179 plate appearances with runners on base. Jay Bruce is third with 162. (and a respectable 15.1%)

Second is Joey Votto with 171, however, Phillips has had 11 more runners in scoring position. A higher percentage of Votto's runners have been on first base, but Votto isn't cashing his runners the way he should be. He's at 10.6%. Part of that could be being pitched around, I'm not sure. Those extra 11 runners on second and third aren't worth the 23 RBI lead Phillips has on Votto. If you raised Votto's OBI to 15% he would have 10 more RBI. You cannot assume that that would be 10 extra runs for the Reds, because the guys in the lineup behind Votto have knocked in some of those runs. In fact, the decrease in Votto's OBI may have contributed to the extra opportunities for Phillips, which currently, he is taking advantage of.

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