Arming You With An Argument

I realize I’m coming dangerously close to beating the Jose Bautista is better than Adrian Gonzalez thing further into the ground than metaphors involving dead horses, but I just came across something kind of interesting about Adrian Gonzalez: he’s grounded into more double plays than any player in baseball this season.

Now, of course, you can’t really use this to criticize him, because he’s avoided outs better than all but four other players so far this year. Grounding into 20 double plays at the halfway mark isn’t even a sign that he’s somehow failing to perform with runners on base. All it means is that, as a member of the Boston Red Sox, he comes up to the plate a lot with players already on base. That’s because they’re a good team.

And it’s also the reason why he has a lot of RBIs.

Even if you avoid reason entirely, ignore the fact that a player doesn’t control who gets on base in front of him and somehow convince yourself that RBIs are a valuable measurement of a player’s worth, don’t you then also have to recognize that grounded into double plays are important as well? After all, with runners already on base, aren’t RBIs the positive result to GIDP’s negative?

And for the record, Jose Bautista has only grounded into five double plays.

Comments (24)

  1. You know what? I’ve got no problem with that. Killing a potential rally is almost as producing as scoring runs, so, yeah, it deserves mention (I know what you were saying, but my longstanding point is even now, we’re not using stats properly).

    (although not all RBIs are team-dependent – we admittedly have a simpler stat for those – whereas double plays are)

  2. The point is that both have immeasurably more to do with other players, and not with the player that the tracking number is supposedly measuring.

  3. steve-o,
    uh….team indepdent rbis aka HR?

    i think you’re missing the point, friend.

  4. my mistake – misread what you typed.

    if some players could perform better in the ‘clutch’ this would be a different argument.

  5. fangraphs wrote an article about this as well

  6. Games where player provided more than 20% Win Probability

    Bautista: 12
    Gonzalez: 6

    @mikeaxisa: If Jose Bautista didn’t reach base in his next 48 plate appearances, he’d still have a higher OBP and SLG than Adrian Gonzalez.

  7. Bautista has 7! over 30%

    AGon has 2 (Kevin Gregg meltdown and eventual loss to Jays on David Cooper sac fly)

  8. @Bob,
    there was another nice sister article released around the same time as the article describing how awesome Jose is doing, the former however discusses how awsome Alex Rios is doing.

  9. Jesus Christ Murphy of Latter Day Saints, we just completed the FIRST HALF … why even bother talking end-of-season shit at this time? It’s absurd. Maybe one of these fellows gets decapitated in the next two-and-a-half months.

  10. I don’t know, could have a pretty negative WAR patrolling the outfield with no head … probably could still get on base.

  11. Hard to ground into double plays when Corey Patterson is batting directly in front of you…

  12. …or get RBIs for that matter, as stupid as that stas is for grading a batter’s ability.

  13. I actually mentioned this in the comments section of one of your posts about a week ago, Dustin. It’s a deliciously satisfying tidbit that re-contextualizes the RBI!!!! argument nicely.

    Bonus points for slamming woefully overused metaphors.

  14. Shouldn’t we also consider that part of Bautista’s OBP is team-dependent? The rest of the lineup sucks, so teams pitch around him. Gonzalez does not have that luxury.

    • No, to a large extent, protection is a myth. Pitchers are going to pitch to better batters differently no matter who’s hitting in front of or behind them. Gonzalez has seen 40.8% of pitches in the strike zone. Bautista has seen 40.5%.

  15. I guess I’ll just shut my mouth, then. Thanks for the clarification.

    • It’s not a ridiculous idea or anything. It’s just that “protection” is completely over emphasized by the Blue Jays broadcast booth. It exists situationally, but it makes a minimal difference.

  16. Please don’t ever accuse me of being misled by the Jays’ broadcast booth again! My idea, while misguided, was my own.

  17. You’re going to waste your sincerest apologies on that rather trivial matter? Wow. You should hold onto those. You’ll need them one day.

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