Have you seen the little girl in the Capital One commercial? Ya know, the one who says “We want more! We want more!” Even a seven year old knows that more is better. We all want more of the good things; money, vacation time, paid days off. It’s just how we are wired, more is better, which is why I believe that the Rangers “problems” with hitting with men in scoring position is not even a problem at all. It’s nothing more than blind perception to the bigger picture. Allow me to explain my reasoning.
How do the Rangers leave so many men on base to begin with? They hit the ball. It’s that simple. The more hits you have, the more chances you have to leave men on base. It’s a very elementary argument really. It’s the same type of argument I use when people tell me that Derek Jeter is a better shortstop than Elvis Andrus because he makes less errors. Elvis has way more range than Jeter ever dreamed of and because of that he gets to more balls, thus giving him more chances to throw runners out and more chances to make errors.
If you believe that teams have to have a very high average with runners in scoring position in order to win ballgames, let me present to you the World Champion San Francisco Giants (twice in three years even). In 2012, the Giants finished 13th in the league with a .259 avg with runners in scoring position compared to the Tigers who finished 1st with a .286 average and yet the Giants defeated the Tigers to win their second title in three years. In 2010 the Giants finished 24th with an average of .248 while the Minnesota Twins finished 1st hitting .285.
So the team that was statistically the best team in the big leagues with men in scoring position was swept out of the first round of the playoffs while one of the worst teams in baseball went on the win the World Series! BLASPHEMY!
The Rangers have a good offense. They hit the ball, they score runs, they steal bases and for the most part, they are consistent. The Rangers get on base. A LOT. It’s a double edged sword. The better you are, the more chances you have at failure. Let us take a look at just how good the Rangers have been over the last three seasons.
2010: 4th-.276 w/RISP, 1st in regular season avg .276, 1st in hits with 1556, 6th.338 OBP
2011: 2nd – .285 w/RISP, 1st in regular season avg .283, 2nd in hits with 1599(one hit short of finishing 1st), 5th .340 OBP
2012: 4th – .275 w/RISP, 3rd in regular season avg .273, tie for 1st with 1526, 4th .334 OBP
As you can see the Rangers have been the best hitting team in baseball the last three years and one of the best in getting on base. It’s simple logic and statistics. The more you get on base, the more you will leave on base. Leaving men on base should be a testament as to how good a team’s offense is, not how poorly they are at driving them in.
The Rangers averaged about 1.06 hits per inning and 4.96 runs per game last season. That means on average that the Rangers will get a hit in every inning and score in about half of those. Remember, that’s just how it all averages out. If they get four hits in one inning and score three runs in that inning but then get one hit in four separate innings but score no runs, then it’s still the same thing. It still averages out. No one complains when the Rangers win but leave eight or nine guys on base. Why? Because they won. Its how you perceive the game.
Did you know that the Kansas City Royals finished 3rd, 5th and 8th respectively over the last three season in average with RISP? The Royals! Did you know that in 2012, six of the top 10 teams in average with RISP didn’t even make the playoffs? In 2011 that number was five of the top 10 and in 2010 it was six of the top 10.
What I’m getting at is that as long as the Rangers continue to lead the league in hits, they will also leave a ton of men on base. It’s just how it is and it’s not going to change. As long as they continue to score runs and win ballgames, what does it even matter? Remember, baseball is a game of failure. If you succeed 30% of the time, you are considered a phenomenal player. When it comes to scoring runs with RISP, you have a one in four chance on average. The odds are not in your favor. They never will be.
It could be worse; they could just not be getting on base at all. It’s a total team effort. If they win 2-0 but leave 10 guys on base, then you have to credit the pitching for tossing a shutout. If they lose 2-0 but leave two guys on base, then everyone complains that they didn’t hit the ball. So which is it Rangers fans? Do you want them to continue to hit the ball, get on base and leave men on base or do you want them to lose games and not leave any men on base?
Its perception. Look at the big picture. Think about it. It’s not as bad as you think it is.