American League "Quad" Leaders
The regular season has concluded and the major newspapers and cable networks were quick to list the leaders in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in--the favorite stats of the media and casual baseball fan. But how many sources listed the real leaders, those who performed the best quantitatively and qualitatively in getting on base and driving runners around the bases?
The way to win baseball games is to score runs when at bat and prevent runs when in the field. With respect to the offensive end of the game, the four components of "The Quad" (times on base, on base percentage, total bases, and slugging average) are the true determinants of run production. The traditional Triple Crown stats are OK, but they have become a lazier way of determining value in this day and age of more sophisticated analysis encompassed in the study of sabermetrics.
Let's drill down into the stats and take a look at the American League players who did the best job of getting on base and accumulating bases (both in terms of the number of times as well as the percentage of times).
A.L. LEADERS TIMES ON BASE
Rank Player Team TOB 1 Carlos Delgado TOR 300 2 Manny Ramirez BOS 290 3 Jason Giambi NYY 284 4 Alex Rodriguez TEX 283 5 Vernon Wells TOR 264 6 Aubrey Huff TB 259 T7 Bret Boone SEA 258 T7 Frank Thomas CWS 258 9 Magglio Ordonez CWS 256 10 Ichiro Suzuki SEA 254
Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox led the A.L. in on base percentage with .427. Ramirez had an excellent year, ranking first in OBP; second in TOB (290), BA (.325), and OPS (1.014); fourth in SLG (.587); fifth in R (117) and BB (97); seventh in HR (37); and eighth in TB (334). One of the top three seasons in the league offensively but his contributions need to be discounted somewhat for his less than exemplary attitude and missing important games down the stretch.
A.L. LEADERS ON BASE PERCENTAGE
Rank Player Team OBP 1 Manny Ramirez BOS .427 2 Carlos Delgado TOR .426 3 Jason Giambi NYY .412 4 Edgar Martinez SEA .406 5 Jorge Posada NYY .405 6 Bill Mueller BOS .398 7 Trot Nixon BOS .396 8 Alex Rodriguez TEX .396 9 D Mientkiewicz MIN .393 10 Derek Jeter NYY .393
Vernon Wells of the Toronto Blue Jays led the A.L. in total bases with 373. Wells had a breakthrough season, ranking first in TB; third in R (118); 4th in BA (.317) and RBI (117); fifth in TOB (264); eighth in SLG (.550); and tenth in HR (33). Given the importance of his defensive position and play, Wells should be listed among every voter's top ten in the MVP balloting.
A.L. LEADERS TOTAL BASES
Rank Player Team TB 1 Vernon Wells TOR 373 2 Alex Rodriguez TEX 364 3 Alfonso Soriano NYY 358 4 Aubrey Huff TB 353 T5 Garret Anderson ANA 345 T5 N Garciaparra BOS 345 7 Carlos Delgado TOR 338 8 Manny Ramirez BOS 334 9 Bret Boone SEA 333 10 Magglio Ordonez CWS 331
Alex Rodriguez of the Texas Rangers led the A.L. in slugging percentage with a mark of .600. Rodriguez had another superb year, ranking first in SLG, HR (47), and R (124); second in TB (364) and RBI (118); third in OPS (.995); fourth in TOB (283); and eighth in OBP (.396) and BB (87). The combination of A-Rod's offensive and defensive contributions should warrant winning the MVP Award although I wouldn't hold my breath on this happening given the number of times he has been overlooked in the past.
A.L. LEADERS SLUGGING PERCENTAGE
Rank Player Team SLG 1 Alex Rodriguez TEX .600 2 Carlos Delgado TOR .593 3 David Ortiz BOS .592 4 Manny Ramirez BOS .587 5 Trot Nixon BOS .578 6 Frank Thomas CWS .562 7 Aubrey Huff TB .555 8 Vernon Wells TOR .550 9 Magglio Ordonez CWS .546 10 Garret Anderson ANA .541
Delgado, Ramirez, and Rodriguez are the only three players who finished in the top ten in all four categories. Wells, Aubrey Huff, and Magglio Ordonez made the top ten three times. My preference for MVP voting is favoring those players who ranked first in these four categories the most times, the top ten the most times, and giving utmost consideration and respect to all catchers, second basemen, and shortstops (and perhaps third basemen and center fielders) who make any of these lists, especially those who also field their positions well. In that regard, I would point out the six players mentioned above as well as Bret Boone, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Alfonso Soriano, and possibly Bill Mueller. Of these twelve, I would rate Jeter's overall contributions the lowest given his less than stellar defensive play as well as the fact that he only played in 119 games.
I will post my top ten for the A.L. MVP (excluding pitchers) this evening. I will also post "The Quad" leaders for the National League tomorrow morning, followed by my top ten for the N.L. MVP (excluding pitchers) Friday night.