The sky is falling! The Rangers suck! Why did they trade Michael Young and let Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli leave in free agency? The Rangers will lose 100 games this year!
These are all things I’ve heard Rangers fan say this off-season. Yes, a “Fan” said they would lose 100 games. They won’t. I guarantee you that. Everyone says that the replacement guys, Lance Berkman, AJ Pierzynski and Leonys Martin cannot and will not replace the offense that the outgoing guys had. I’m here to tell you that that is simply not true.
I was watching Clubhouse Confidential on MLB Network earlier this week and they had an interesting saber metrics breakdown called linear weights where a home run was worth x amount of runs on average and so on down the list. I thought this was very interesting so I did some research, some math (god help us) and came up some very interesting numbers. Now, I don’t know the formula for wRC+ (weighted runs created) because that takes into account park factors and league played in.
What I did was simply add up all the linear weighted numbers and came up with a runs created number and then I divided that number by 162 and came out with an average number per game. I did this for Hamilton, Young, Napoli, Berkman and Pierzynski. Since Martin only has 24 career games, I used his stats for those games and averaged it out to a 155 games played season. So let’s take a look at the linear weights, which again is what each of these results are worth as far as runs are concerned: (remember these numbers are ON AVERAGE numbers)
Home Run – 1.39
Triple – 1.09
Double – .77
Single – .47
Walk – .32
Stolen Base – .16
Caught Stealing – (-.45)
Groundout – (-.24)
Strikeout – (.30)
We’ve all heard the saying “a walk is a good as a hit”, well we can clearly see here that that is not true. You would think that a double would simply be worth half of what a homerun would be right? It’s in fact worth a little more than half. What really caught my eye though is the fact that a caught stealing is worth nearly as much as a single. You have to think that if major league clubs use these saber metrics that these numbers would have some kind of effect on when and if a team attempts a stolen base.
So how bad will the Rangers offense be now that those three guys are gone? Let’s take a look:
These three combined to create 96.51 runs last year for the Rangers. That comes out to .60 runs per game (in 162 games). As you can see Hamilton and Napoli were really hurt by their strikeout numbers and Young was hammered by the ground ball out. These numbers all make sense since every Rangers fan last year was complaining about Hamilton and Nap striking out so much and Young being a ground ball machine. There is no denying the fact that 97 runs over the course of the year from three players is a lot. It’s easy to look at the RBI and Runs Scored stats and say they were worth that much. That doesn’t take into account everything else, all the runners they left on base, strikeouts with runners on and the grounded into double plays. This gives a look into the runs they created and takes away the runs that they cost their team. I feel like it’s a more accurate assessment as to how much a player is actually worth.
Now, for the three replacements, I used Berkmans 2011 season in St. Louis since it was his last full season and since Martin has never played a full season in the bigs, I took his numbers and averaged them out over a 155 games played season. Seeing is how he hasn’t really performed yet, anything he does this year better than what he has shown us so far, is nothing but a bonus. In all fairness, I have Berkmans numbers from 2012 as well and I did the same thing with those numbers as I did with Martins.
4.51 (21.70 avg)
These three guys have a combined Runs Created number of 129.64! That is an astonishing 33.14 runs MORE per season that Hamilton/Young/Napoli! That comes out to .80 per game which is .20 runs more than the three guys leaving. Bet you didn’t expect that result did ya?
Now remember, this is assuming that Berkman stays healthy and if he doesn’t, like he didn’t in 2012, than we can expect about half of his performance which would make the numbers between each set of mean, nearly identical. That still isn’t as bad as everyone is making it out to be. That is basically equal production! However, if Leonys Martin produces even as an average major leaguer, that makes up for Berkmans slack. Anything Martin does is a bonus. Berkman and AJ are going to strikeout, not as much as Napoli and Hamilton but it will be close, close enough that it will feel like the same. The biggest thing I see out of this is the ground ball outs. The new three COMBINED didn’t ground out as much as Michael Young did last year by himself. Young REALLY was a rally killer last year as some called him the grounded into double play master.
All of this is contingent on everyone staying healthy and being a shadow of their self from last season. It’s baseball, anything can happen. Berkman may get hurt the first week and this is all moot. What I’m trying to convey to you all is that the future isn’t as bleak as you once thought. These guys can perform as good as or better than the big three that left. It may not be as flashy with long home runs but it will be exciting. There will be a more controlled running game and more situational hitting. I expect a running game similar to 2010 when the Rangers would literally steal a run.
33 runs more per season can translate to roughly six more wins based on a five runs per game average. SIX MORE WINS! Remind me, how many games did the Rangers lose the AL West by?
Game on Anaheim.
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