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RBI Overrated?

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  • RBI Overrated?

    I always hear people saying that the RBI (Runs Batted In) is the most important statistic as far as determining who the best players are, because it helps your team win.

    *I know alot of people disagree with the statement above, however its just something I hear alot*

    However, I was thinking and I came up with a hypothetical situation.

    (note: this is a pretty extreme situation)

    Lets say there is a baseball player, lets call him Ned. Ned has a season with 25 Home Runs, a .350 batting average and only 60 RBI. However, Ned is playing for the worst team in the history of baseball, hardly anybody else on the team gets a hit during the game besides him, and almost all of his home runs are solo shots.

    Now, on a completely different team is Bob. Bob plays for the best team in baseball, they win all the time, and they are constantly competing for World Series titles.

    Lets say, for the purposes of experiment (this situation will never, ever, happen) that Bob has the exact same amount of at bats. And every single pitch has the same outcome as Neds. Basically, they do the exact same thing during every at bat. The only difference is, that Bob has alot more people on base, because his team consists of better hitters.

    Now lets compare statistics, with this assumption(in order stats are AVG, HR, and RBI)
    Bob: .350, 25, 125
    Ned: .350, 25, 60

    Now, looking at the statistics only, who would you say had a better season? You would probably say Bob had a better season, considering he has 65 more RBIs than Ned.

    Is this really fair? Ned has done the exact same thing as Bob did in every At-Bat. And somehow he is the worse player? Why? Because I think RBIs are far too team dependant to be considered a key factor in how good a player is.

    This is just my opinion, I really dont care if you think otherwise, or if you agree with me.

    Well, im a statistics newb, so you can rip on this theory if you may.

  • #2
    I think for the most part you are preaching to the choir. RBI is not a very good stat for evaluating/comparing player(s). Niether is a stat like runs scored. You need more info like slugging percentage, on base percentage and what kind of park each player plays in to make a good comparison.
    vr, Xei
    Author of Fantasy Baseball Mock Draft Software.
    http://www.fantasyinfocentral.com/ml...ware/index.php

    Author of DodgerSims Blog
    http://DodgerSims.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      RBIs may be among the most overrated stat, I think. Not as bad as the ill-conceived "game winning RBI" was about 20 years ago. Remember that useless stat?

      I also think saves is a bit overrated as a statistic. If a pitcher comes in the game with a 3-run lead and gives up 2 runs, he can still get the save just as a closer coming in for one inning. "Quality starts" is another stat (not official, I don't think??) that's too arbitrary for me to take too seriously. I mean, how did they decide how many innings constitutes a quality start? And who got to make that decision?

      Anyway, yes, RBIs are overrated, IMO.
      Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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      • #4
        I don't feel like typing up all of the things wrong with the RBI statistic. In fact, I can't think of even one good thing about it. So, in a word... are RBI overrated? Yes.
        Bleeding Cardinal Red since 1985
        In the stands for every home playoff game since then -- 2006 and 2011 were well worth the wait!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Xeifrank View Post
          I think for the most part you are preaching to the choir. RBI is not a very good stat for evaluating/comparing player(s). Niether is a stat like runs scored. You need more info like slugging percentage, on base percentage and what kind of park each player plays in to make a good comparison.
          vr, Xei

          Exactly what I was implying

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Beefstew2011 View Post
            Exactly what I was implying
            May I suggest you go to your local library and check out a book called "Baseball Between the Numbers" and read the first chapter. It's a SABR approach to RBI written by BBPRO's Christina Karhl. Some very good reading and she/he puts into words exactly what I've been saying about RBI for 10 years.


            EDIT: Just to clarify the she/he part. Christina Karhl is a woman who was born a man. So... draw your own conclusion on that one.
            Bleeding Cardinal Red since 1985
            In the stands for every home playoff game since then -- 2006 and 2011 were well worth the wait!

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            • #7
              Ill try and find that.

              Thank you.

              Comment


              • #8
                If you respect Christina, she's a woman and should be referred to as such.
                Beyond The Boxscore (still with some lime)

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                • #9
                  I am 'borrowing' a tidbit from my latest entry on the Random Trivia thread as it fits well on this thread:

                  On Sept 20, 2000, Colorado catcher Ben Petrick collected 4 RBIs without the benefit of a single hit. In a wild 15-11 loss to the visiting San Diego Padres, Petrick grounded out in the 2nd inning to score Todd Hollandsworth from third, hit a sacrifice fly to center in the 4th inning to again score Hollandsworth, grounded out in the 8th inning to plate Hollandsworth yet again and to put a cap on a successful (?) day at the plate, Petrick walked with the bases loaded in the 9th, forcing in Todd Walker for his fourth RBI (nope, not Hollandsworth this time, but at least he got the first name right!). This performance, alone, should serve to show how overrated RBIs are!
                  Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours. - Yogi Berra

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                  • #10
                    Karhl is an excellent writer and usually on the mark.
                    Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cardsfanatic View Post
                      Some very good reading and she/he puts into words exactly what I've been saying about RBI for 10 years.

                      EDIT: Just to clarify the she/he part. Christina Karhl is a woman who was born a man. So... draw your own conclusion on that one.
                      Did you just summarize the issue in one line and asking us to draw a conclusion on a person? When did this board turn into The O'Reilly Factor?
                      Author of THE BOOK -- Playing The Percentages In Baseball

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Dodgerfan1 View Post
                        RBIs may be among the most overrated stat, I think. Not as bad as the ill-conceived "game winning RBI" was about 20 years ago. Remember that useless stat?

                        I also think saves is a bit overrated as a statistic. If a pitcher comes in the game with a 3-run lead and gives up 2 runs, he can still get the save just as a closer coming in for one inning. "Quality starts" is another stat (not official, I don't think??) that's too arbitrary for me to take too seriously. I mean, how did they decide how many innings constitutes a quality start? And who got to make that decision?

                        Anyway, yes, RBIs are overrated, IMO.
                        Saves, a bit over-rated? Try "completely" or "thoroughly."
                        CLEVELAND INDIANS Central Division Champions

                        1920 1948 1954 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2001 2007

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                        • #13
                          I personally think wins are the most overrated stat.

                          I mean, cmon, you can get 500 wins (although this is not ever the case, im just being extreme) without facing a single batter.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Beefstew2011 View Post
                            I personally think wins are the most overrated stat.

                            I mean, cmon, you can get 500 wins (although this is not ever the case, im just being extreme) without facing a single batter.
                            A team can score 1,458 runs without playing an inning.

                            I say look deeper than extreme cases to judge a stat.
                            CLEVELAND INDIANS Central Division Champions

                            1920 1948 1954 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2001 2007

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BoofBonser26 View Post
                              A team can score 1,458 runs without playing an inning.

                              I say look deeper than extreme cases to judge a stat.


                              Yeah, its only happened a few times in history, so I guess I cant use wins as an extreme, as pitchers with 20 wins or more are generally very very good. It is a tad overrated, but not as bad as RBI.

                              RBIs are different, as there are easily over a thousand cases where players have had 3 or 4 in a game by means of only flying out or grounding out.

                              And my theory above happens very often, where a player plays for a bad team, and compiles a low amount of Ribbies while a very, very similar player statisticwise compiles over 100 because he is on a good team.

                              I dont think thats extreme at all.

                              I do agree that I should refrain from using extremes that have happened very little. My mistake.

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