If Jose Bautista continues hitting as he has thus far in 2011, he will create a cottage industry of Jose Bautista Stats Porn. Desperate souls shuffle into isolated booths, insert their toonies and Bautista’s isolated slugging and weighted on base average rolls across a fuzzy screen. Their souls lifted and lives affirmed, these downtrodden serfs re-enter the world with a spring in their step and a purpose in their being. The magic of Bautista knows no bounds.

The man himself recently dipped his toe into the stats nerd pool in conversation with Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, introducing a “new” stat which attempts to quantify offensive production. The results are…mixed.

During spring training, Morosi asked Jose Bautista which player he thought to be baseball’s best. As it was still spring training, Bautista offered Albert Pujols, unaware of his own ability to transcend the mortal plane. Then, in a discussion on the ways to measure a player’s production, Bautista attacked sanity like it was a fastball thrown on the inside half.

“The proper way is adding RBIs and runs scored and subtracting the home runs, because you’d get double credit for that,” the player explained. “Then you divide that by the number of games played.

“If your index is over 1, or close to 1, that’s amazing. If you had nine players like that on your team, then you’re scoring nine runs per game, and that’s never happened, ever, in the history of baseball.”

Like all great artists, Jose Bautista doesn’t just want to act, he wants to direct. With a still-developing eye for the “mother’s basement” aspects of the game, Bautista remains prone to junk stats and disinformation sullying the good name of Bautista Stats Porn. The inertia of the Bautista Industrial Complex comes at a price, it seems.

Jose. Love ya brother. Your exploits already made my summer and it’s only May. I applaud your willingness to look beyond batting average and quantify things in a unique way. But the index you just created is batshit crazy.

I recognize you’ve created a measurement that values one of your greatest attributes (getting on base) above all else and I salute it. We simply cannot place enough value on not making outs. It’s pretty much the best thing you can do.

Which is pretty much all you learn from your index, unfortunately. It’s a more or less a list of guys who are able to be in the right place at the right time. Rewarding players for RBIs has a lot to do with who gets on ahead of them, runs scored (minus home runs) says a lot more about the guys who hit behind them.

The good people at Bluebird Banter ran your numbers for all Blue Jays and they came out as you see below. Beside you see that player’s team rank in wOBA as it includes base running, (sort of) like the Bautista Index.

Name Bautista Index wOBA Rank
Jose Bautista 1.39 1
Adam Lind 1.22 3
Corey Patterson 1.06 7
Aaron Hill 0.88 11
Rajai Davis 0.86 9
Yunel Escobar 0.85 5
JP Arencibia 0.72 6
Travis Snider 0.72 14
Jose Molina 0.71 4
John McDonald 0.68 12
Edwin Encarnacion 0.65 10
Jayson Nix 0.59 2
David Cooper 0.54 15
Juan Rivera 0.51 13
Mike McCoy 0.26 8
Chris Woodward 0.20 16

Without getting nerdy at all, I can see one problem with your index: Chris Woodward has a non-zero (0.2) Bautista Index, despite not reaching base a single time all season. He pinch ran and scored on Johnnie Mac’s walkoff homer back on April 22.

That might be a flaw in using games played versus plate appearances, or something else where the player is asked to “produce” rather than “rapturously jog and beat John McDonald about the ribs”.

I really don’t know what else to say, Jose. If shooting the breeze with national columnists while thinking up oddly esoteric offensive indexes clears your head for hitting, please do not stop doing so. Deep thinking is a great way to exercise the mind.

Let me suggest some other mental gymnastics to keep you occupied and in the zone. Perhaps a unified field theory on pizza evaluation or explaining, once and for all, how a ball is fair when it strikes the foul pole?

Comments (15)

  1. “Bautista attacked sanity like it was a fastball thrown on the inside half.” Damn, that’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while.

  2. Uhh, Drew…why do you hate Jose Bautista? Yer sutch a whorible righter.

  3. If you take the top nine players on the list as your batting lineup (Bautista at 3rd, Molina batting DH – it could happen), the Jays would be averaging 8.4 runs per game with the Bautista Index (R). I don’t think that has ever happened in the history of baseball either. Pretty historic lineup.

    Actually, I’d be happy with the 9+ runs a team full of Corey Pattersons would give me.

    Hmmm …. or, does someone score a run at the same time someone else gets an RBI? Is that 2 runs or 1?

  4. You know you’re a frigging star when you create your own statistic.

  5. Slight correction to “You know you’re a frigging star when you create your own statistic.AND A NATIONAL SPORTS WRITER PUTS IT IN PRINT”

  6. Just the fact that he attempted to make a statistic is awesome. How many other players have done this? It is definitely a flawed stat, but he has much better things on his mind like crushing baseballs.

  7. Therefore, per Bautista, Corey Patterson is ‘amazing’ since he has an index greater than 1.

    Amazing is not one of the words I would describe Patterson…unless its followed by “…ly bad base runner”

  8. I came up with my own index in highschool for a communications class that was teaching us powerpoint. I spent so much time on it, applying it to all the “best hitters” ever lists. I’ll admit, it was RBI and AVG heavy, because this is well before I gained enlightenment.

    Anyway, Joe Dimaggio was #1. I think it’s because he retired before he declined too much.

  9. Despite the fact that all the writers here consider RBIs and Runs to be somewhere between ‘completely useless’ and ‘Satan’s favorite tools’ I think Jose’s onto something here. I don’t know that the Bautista index actually tells us anything about who the best player in baseball is. HOWEVER, take the index and divide it by the avg runs scored by his team. Now you have the % of runs which player x contributes for his team. I know it doesn’t have a catchy anagram or the blessing of Fangraphs (gasp), but it clearly says something relevant about a player’s contribution to his team. And if you don’t like that, no one will call you ignorant, despite how you treat others.

    • You’re right Ray. It’s just that it doesn’t say anything about the player’s contribution because so many of the elements being counted here have no dependence whatsoever on the player the numbers are being attributed to. For instance, would Corey Patterson have as many runs if he wasn’t batting in front of Jose Bautista? Wouldn’t Jose Bautista have even less RBIs than he already does if John McDonald instead of Yunel Escobar was hitting in front of him?

  10. I wouldn’t call anyone ignorant, because people should appreciate the game for what they personally like about it — and that should always go both ways. Personally, I’d say it still wouldn’t be the % of the team’s runs contributed by that player, because you’d be crediting both the RBI guy and the Run guy with a run – kind of like giving 3 points to players on a hockey team every time they score a single goal. You can’t add up all their totals at the end of the season and get the number of points the team accumulated.

    To me, it isn’t because it lacks sophistication or complexity that makes it a bad stat. It’s the fact that the interpretation of what it means is actually mathematically incorrect, and that it combines two non-individual measures and assumes them to be measures of the individual, that makes it a bad stat. Runs are important and should be counted. Teams work as a group to make them happen – except for one of the runs that occurs when someone hits a home run.

    I can absolutely agree that JB is awesome, and I love that he’s getting in on the stats thing. Far better than hunting boars and/or questioning the authenticity of a President’s birth certificate. Just please don’t stop BP early to grab a pencil and paper.

    This game is looking like a gong show tonight.

  11. I certainly don’t think anyone was called ignorant here, not by a long stretch. I had a little bit of fun sure, but I tried to keep it light.

    The key word you used, Ray, is contribution. In my opinion, runs scored and RBI are less a measure of contribution than involvement. They sort of remind me of +/- in hockey – you were on the ice when something good happened. Which isn’t to say it was your doing, but you were around when it went down.

    Hardly a skill-based measure of production but a good way to indicate activity, at the very least.

  12. Hi everybody:
    Nimrod had a dream to become a home king like Jose Bautista

  13. Maybe, like so many sabermetric statistics, the Bautista Index needs a full years worth of ABs before we can get an accurate valuation? Haha

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