FanPost

A statistical analysis of what defense and baserunning mean to the game of baseball

This is a statistical analysis of the AL MVP race I did in trying to determine how much Trout's advantages in baserunning and fielding (and Miggy's terrible weaknesses) mean when trying to determine value. Here's what I came up with.

Batting RAR (runs above replacement) highs and lows for the season in MLB: 1-16

Mike Trout 69.6

Miguel Cabrera 63.5 (Trout's is higher because CFs are worse hitters than 3B)

Chris Davis 54.0

Andrew McCutchen 46.9

Joey Votto 45.4

Paul Goldschmidt 45.0

Matt Carpenter 42.3

Shin-Soo Choo 40.3

Josh Donaldson 37.3

Jayson Werth 36.0

Matt Holliday 35.1

Freddie Freeman 34.0

Edwin Encarnacion 33.7

Hunter Pence 31.5

David Ortiz 30.9

Robinson Cano 30.6

Only four players have as high as 25 RAR on defense this season: Manny Machado 33.6, Andrelton Simmons 31.6, Carlos Gomez, 26.5, Gerardo Parra 26. The No. 16 player is JJ Hardy, at 13.3.

For baserunning, only five players had as many as 8 RAR: Ellsbury 11.4, Eric Young Jr. 9.9, Elvis Andrus 9.9, Trout 8.1, Alcides Escobar, 8. The No. 16 rated player is Austin Jackson at 5.6.

Conclusion: Batting is roughly 2 to 2.5 times as valuable as defense. And defense is roughly two to three times as important as baserunning.

So look at it from the standpoint of hitting being 8/12 of the equation, defense being 3/12 and baserunning being 1/12. But that still means that fielding and baserunning are 1/3 of the total value of each player. And the fact of the matter is that Miguel Cabrera is spectacularly awful at 1/3 of the game. He was worth -19.2 RAR combined in baserunning/fielding last season. That consistently mitigates Miggy's greatness at the dish, which is certainly prolific. I mean, a RC+ of 192. 192! That was the highest RC+ in the AL in the past decade. Trout finished second at 176.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Al Yellon, managing editor (unless it's a FanPost posted by Al). FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans.

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