Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Properly Valuing Hit Types

It seems logical that a double is twice as good as a single, a triple three times as good as a single, etc. However, the run values for offensive events vary tremendously from those figures. And they also change over time, depending on the level of offense in the Major Leagues.

Making use of a statistical technique called regression analysis, The Sports Resource calculated run values for five offensive events over two different time frames. Run production dipped from the first timeframe (2000-07) to the second (2008-10), which impacted the results.

The value for triples stands out more than anything else, especially in the more recent timeframe. There’s a large gap between the value of doubles (.75 runs) and triples (1.28), and a much narrower one separating triples (1.28) and home runs (1.42). Common sense would assume that a hit covering 4 bases would carry 33 percent more value than one for three bases. But the actual difference is just 10.9 percent.

What does this mean for agents? Players who hit lots of triples and relatively few homers – such as Jose Reyes and Dexter Fowler – produce more runs than many would think. For example, Reyes' three homers and 11 triples (through June 13) are equivalent to 13 homers and 0 triples.

The other interesting change is the drop in run value for singles. The best possible explanation is that with less overall offense, it’s harder to bring home runners from first base (especially due to the dip in home run rate). In addition, there tends to be fewer runners on base when singles get hit than from 2000 through 2007, further decreasing their value.

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