Because I find waking up with my blood boiling to be a great way to start the day, I have my clock-radio set to turn on the FAN in the morning.
This morning, Greg Brady and Jim Land were talking baseball — Jose Bautista’s RBI totals in particular.
Brady was talking about Bautista’s home run-to-RBI ratio and trying to make the point that because the majority of Bautista’s RBIs come from his home runs, that means that the players around him aren’t doing their jobs. (You can listen here, comments are around the 19-minute mark.)
While there may be some truth to that, Brady’s argument misses the bigger picture.
Nearly 25% of Bautista’s plate appearances this year — 36 in total (stats here) — have come with runners in scoring position. You know what? Nearly half of his RBIs have come when he bats in that situation, and his OPS is similar to the other situation in which he comes to plate, but it’s not the same:
Bautista’s SLG is only .017 higher than his OBP when he comes up with runners in scoring position.
Compare that with, for example, a .142 difference in the numbers when he comes up with the bases empty and it seems to me there’s a simple explanation for Bautista’s seeming lack of production when there are runners to be driven in: He’s not getting anything to hit.
Everybody knows Bautista’s got a good eye. His walk rate when there are runners on second and/or third is an astounding 42%. That number drops by more than half to 20% when the bases are empty.
While it would be nice to say “Bautista should be getting more RBI than just from his home runs!” I’d much rather him keep doing what he’s doing and not start swinging at junk to make it happen.