Baseball BeatOctober 02, 2003
American League "Quad" Leaders
By Rich Lederer

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).

Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays led the American League in the number of times on base with 300. Delgado had an outstanding season, ranking first in TOB, OPS (1.019), and RBI (145); second in OBP (.426), SLG (.593), HR (42), and BB (109); fourth in R (117); and seventh in TB (338). A top two or three MVP candidate no matter how one slices or dices it.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Stay tuned.