Baseball BeatNovember 14, 2005
The 2005 QUAD Leaders
By Rich Lederer

With the Most Valuable Players scheduled to be announced this week, I thought it would be timely to unveil "The Quad" honorees in each league. I introduced the concept of the Quad in a three-part series in July 2003 (Part I, II, III) and subsequently listed the year-end leaders in October 2003 (AL, NL) and November 2004.

The Quad, which is short for quadruple, is comprised of the most important offensive statistics -- on-base percentage, slugging average, times on base, and total bases. By combining the best rate and counting stats, the Quad delivers both qualitative and quantitative measurements of performance analysis. In a nutshell, it evaluates the two most important components of run production -- the ability to get on base and the ability to drive baserunners home. Players who rank among the league leaders in both areas on a per at-bat or plate appearance basis and an absolute basis are, without a doubt, the most productive hitters in the game.

The Quad is superior to the more widely quoted Triple Crown categories (AVG, HR, and RBI) for two reasons. Number one, batting average is not as highly correlated with runs scored as OBP and SLG. Number two, RBI is team and lineup dependent. The beauty of the Quad is not only in filtering out the noise inherent in many traditional stats but its ease of understanding and use. Granted, the Quad may not be as sophisticated as some of the more advanced summary stats, but the numbers employed are actual counting and rate stats rather than derivatives of such. Call me a simpleton, but I like quoting numbers and percentages that can be tracked with each and every plate appearance by everyone from the most casual fan to the more sophisticated stathead.

In the 1979 Baseball Abstract, Bill James wrote the following:

A hitter should be measured by his success in that which he is trying to do, and that which he is trying to do is create runs. It is startling, when you think about it, how much confusion there is about this. I find it remarkable that, in listing offenses, the league offices will list first--meaning best--not the team which has scored the most runs, but the team with the highest team batting average. It should be obvious that the purpose of an offense is not to compile a high batting average.

If you're a proponent of Runs Created, a stat James developed more than 25 years ago, then the Quad is right up your alley. Think about it. The Quad is nothing more than the factors that determine Runs Created. To wit, OBP x TB = Runs Created in its original and most basic definition. Similarly, Advancement Percentage (which is akin to SLG but uses plate appearances as the denominator rather than at-bats) x TOB = the same RC number as above.

The only fly in the Quad ointment is that the stats used are not adjusted for ballpark effects. Adding Adjusted OPS or what is known as OPS+ (which is OBP plus SLG, normalized for the player's park and league) as a fifth category provides what I call Quad+, and it serves as a good tool to verify the efficacy of the Quad results.

With the whys and wherefores out of the way, let's take a look at the National and 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).


1    Albert Pujols               301   
2    Bobby Abreu                 291   
3    Derrek Lee                  289   
4    Brian Giles                 285   
5    Jason Bay                   284   
6    Todd Helton                 278   
7    Miguel Cabrera              264   
T8   Pat Burrell                 260   
T8   Adam Dunn                   260   
10   David Eckstein              256

Albert Pujols led the NL in times on base and was the only player who reached first 300 times. He has now ranked in the top 10 every year since he broke into the league in 2001. His teammate, David Eckstein, shows the value he brought atop the Cardinals' lineup. The X Factor was the only non-corner OF or 1B in the top 10.


1    Todd Helton                .445   
2    Albert Pujols              .430   
3    Brian Giles                .423   
4    Derrek Lee                 .418   
5    Lance Berkman              .411   
6    Nick Johnson               .408   
7    Bobby Abreu                .405   
8    Jason Bay                  .402   
9    Carlos Delgado             .399   
10   Luis Castillo              .391

With Barry Bonds on the disabled list most of the year, Todd Helton seized the opportunity to lead the NL in OBP. The Colorado first baseman also led the league in 2000 and has finished no worse than fourth every year since, a period in which his OBP has never dipped below .429. Pujols placed first in TOB and second in OBP. Luis Castillo, like Eckstein above, was the only non-corner OF or 1B to rank in the top 10. Pujols, Helton, Bobby Abreu, Jason Bay, Brian Giles, and Derrek Lee were the only players to make the top 10 in both of the on-base categories. It should also be noted that David Wright, given his position (3B) and age (22), was 11th in TOB and 12th in OBP.


1    Derrek Lee                  393   
2    Albert Pujols               360   
3    Miguel Cabrera              344   
4    Andruw Jones                337   
5    Jason Bay                   335   
6    Carlos Delgado              303   
T7   Carlos Lee                  301   
T7   David Wright                301   
T9   Adam Dunn                   293   
T9   Morgan Ensberg              293   
T9   Chase Utley                 293

Derrek Lee led the NL in total bases with 393 or nearly 10% more than the runner-up Pujols. It was the first time that Lee placed among the top 10 in the league. Andruw Jones and Chase Utley were the only up-the-middle defensive players in the top 10. Wright and Morgan Ensberg also receive mention as non-corner OF or 1B.


1    Derrek Lee                 .662   
2    Albert Pujols              .609   
3    Carlos Delgado             .582   
4    Ken Griffey Jr.            .576   
5    Andruw Jones               .575   
6    Aramis Ramirez             .568   
7    Miguel Cabrera             .561   
8    Jason Bay                  .559   
9    Morgan Ensberg             .557   
10   Chad Tracy                 .553

Lee beat out his arch-nemesis Pujols in SLG as well. It was the first time he placed in the top 10. Jones and Ken Griffey Jr. are the only up-the-middle defenders on the list, while Ensberg and Aramis Ramirez get special attention as non-corner OF/1B. Lee, Pujols, Bay, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Delgado, Ensberg, and Jones all finished in the top 10 in both slugging departments.

* * * * *


1    Alex Rodriguez              301   
2    Derek Jeter                 290   
3    David Ortiz                 283   
4    Michael Young               282   
5    Mark Teixeira               277   
T6   Ichiro Suzuki               258   
T6   Hideki Matsui               258   
8    Gary Sheffield              256   
T9   Manny Ramirez               252   
T9   Johnny Damon                252

Alex Rodriguez led the AL in times on base with 301, 11 more than his teammate Derek Jeter. It was the first time that A-Rod led the league in this category. However, he has placed in the top 10 for six consecutive seasons and seven overall. Jeter, Michael Young, and Johnny Damon were the only up-the-middle defensive players on the list. Rodriguez joins them as the other non-corner OF/1B.


1    Jason Giambi               .440   
2    Alex Rodriguez             .421   
3    Travis Hafner              .408   
4    David Ortiz                .397   
5    Vladimir Guerrero          .394   
6    Derek Jeter                .389   
7    Manny Ramirez              .388   
8    Brian Roberts              .387   
9    Michael Young              .385   
10   Mark Teixeira              .379

Jason Giambi bounced back from a dismal 2004 to lead the AL in OBP. The Yankees first baseman added nearly 100 basis points to his OBP from last year, the only time he dropped below the vaunted .400 level since 1998. It was the third time that Giambi has led the league and the fifth time he has placed among the top three since 2000. A-Rod ranked first in TOB and second in OBP. Jeter, Young, and Brian Roberts receive special mention as the up-the-middle players, and A-Rod joins them as the only other non-corner OF/1B. Rodriguez, Jeter, Young, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Mark Teixeira were the only players to make the top 10 in both of the on-base categories.


1    Mark Teixeira               370   
2    Alex Rodriguez              369   
3    David Ortiz                 363   
4    Michael Young               343   
5    Miguel Tejada               337   
6    Manny Ramirez               329   
7    Alfonso Soriano             326   
8    Hideki Matsui               312   
9    Grady Sizemore              310   
10   Paul Konerko                307

Mark Teixeira edged out Rodriguez in total bases, the first time he has ranked among the top ten in his career. Young, Miguel Tejada, Alfonso Soriano, and Grady Sizemore were the only up-the-middle fielders and were joined by A-Rod as the non-corner OF/1B.


1    Alex Rodriguez             .610   
2    David Ortiz                .604   
3    Travis Hafner              .595   
4    Manny Ramirez              .594   
5    Mark Teixeira              .575   
6    Vladimir Guerrero          .565   
7    Richie Sexson              .541   
8    Jason Giambi               .535   
9    Paul Konerko               .534   
10   Jhonny Peralta             .520

Rodriguez led the AL in SLG. It was the second time that he finished atop the league in this category and the seventh being in the top six. Like Lee and Pujols in the NL, A-Rod and Ortiz were the only players who reached the magical .600 mark in 2005. Jhonny Peralta gets special merit as the only up-the-middle defensive player and A-Rod joins him as a non-corner OF/1B. Rodriguez, Ortiz, Teixeira, Ramirez, and Paul Konerko all finished in the top 10 in both slugging departments.

* * * * *

The following matrix provides a way to quantify the results of the Quad in a manner similar to the MVP voting (14 points for 1st, 9 for 2nd, 8 for 3rd, etc.).

		        TOB	OBP	TB	SLG	TOT
Derrek Lee		8	7	14	14	43
Albert Pujols		14	9	9	9	41
Todd Helton		5	14			19
Jason Bay		6	3	6	3	18
Miguel Cabrera		4		8	4	16
Brian Giles		7	8			15
Carlos Delgado			2	5	8	15
Bobby Abreu		9	4			13
Andruw Jones				7	6	13
Ken Griffey					7	7
Lance Berkman			6			6
Aramis Ramirez					5	5
Nick Johnson			5			5
Adam Dunn		2.5		1		3.5
Carlos Lee				3.5		3.5
David Wright				3.5		3.5
Morgan Ensberg				1	2	3
Pat Burrell		2.5				2.5
David Eckstein		1				1
Chad Tracy					1	1
Chase Utley				1		1
Luis Castillo			1			1

Derrek Lee and Albert Pujols are head-and-shoulders above the rest. Lee is the only player in the NL to lead in two of the four Quad categories. He also ranked first in OPS+.

		        TOB	OBP	TB	SLG	TOT
Alex Rodriguez		14	9	9	14	46
David Ortiz		8	7	8	9	32
Mark Teixeira		6	1	14	6	27
Manny Ramirez		1.5	4	5	7	17.5
Jason Giambi			14		3	17
Michael Young		7	2	7		16
Travis Hafner			8		8	16
Derek Jeter		9	5			14
Vlad Guerrero			6		5	11
Hideki Matsui		4.5		3		7.5
Miguel Tejada				6		6
Ichiro Suzuki		4.5				4.5
Alfonso Soriano				4		4
Richie Sexson					4	4
Gary Sheffield		3				3
Brian Roberts			3			3
Paul Konerko				1	2	3
Grady Sizemore				2		2
Johnny Damon		1.5				1.5
Jhonny Peralta					1	1

Alex Rodriguez is a runaway leader in the AL Quad. He led the league in two departments and finished second in the other two, as well as OPS+ (behind Travis Hafner). No other player led the AL more than once.

In determining worthy MVP candidates, I favor players who ranked first in these categories and/or in the top ten multiple times. I give bonus points to catchers, middle infielders, center fielders, and even third basemen, especially when they are "plus" defensive types. I also discount designated hitters, poor-fielding left fielders and first basemen, and those candidates who had the good fortune of playing home games in extreme hitter-friendly ballparks, such as Colorado and Texas.

With the above in mind, I believe Derrek Lee and Alex Rodriguez deserve to win the MVP awards. Lee's margin of victory in the NL voting should be about as tight as it was in the Quad totals. A-Rod is an absolute no-brainer in the AL. He not only beat out Ortiz in the four most important offensive categories but played third base well while Ortiz served as a DH. Make no mistake about it, Big Papi had a terrific season. However, he wasn't as valuable as A-Rod this year.

Like the Quad itself, it just isn't all that complicated.

Sources: Sabermetric Baseball Encyclopedia and


Works for me. Derek Lee was the best hitter in the NL and all of the serious candidates are hitters. Ergo...

In the AL, hey, what about Michael Young? Why has he not gotten mentioned as a a serious candidate? Well, I guess because there are only two really serious candidates. People complain about his fielding and I don't know how good of a fielder he is. But he is more valuable in the field then all your DHs and corner OFs even if he is a bad SS. And he hits like an OF. What more do you want?

Good show.

Enjoyed the Quad write-up every year, Rich. I agree with your selections for MVP. I just think Pujols will get the award since Lee was playing golf in October (and it's not like Pujols wouldn't be deserving.)

What about Mark Texeria...cmon...he was even the best defensive 1st basemen , and should never of been behind DH Ortiz..

I also think Pujols gets the nod. Given that it is very close, the fact that Pujols played on a winner should count for something. Remember its the most valuable player, not the most outstanding player award. The Cubs could have lost without Lee. The Cards might not have won without Pujols.

It seems like 1st place is weighted too much, while 2nd is weighted too little in comparison to 3rd and 4th.

Anyway, as Cardinals fan, I hope Albert gets it. But I wouldn't be too disappointed if Lee does - he did have a great year and for a Cub, he's got class.

I will be angry if Andruw Jones gets it.

Derrek Lee? Basing the MVP on the QUAD would make sense if the MVP was for best hitter. Plain and simple - it's not. Where's the defensive considerations? The intangibles? Where would the Braves and Cardinals have been without Andruw Jones and Albert Pujols? Derrek Lee is a distant third... Interesting debate...

I wouldn't be upset if Pujols won the MVP. He and Lee are about as tight as you can get. However, I wouldn't be happy if Jones won the award.

Andruw led the league in HR with 51 but falls well short of the other candidates (including Jason Bay and Brian Giles) in terms of getting on base. His RBI totals are inflated by the fact that he had the second-most opportunities and more runners on third when he was at-bat than any player in baseball last year. As a percentage of opportunities, Jones drove in no more than Bay or Giles.

Lee and Pujols ranked higher than Jones in all four Quad categories. The number of times on base and the OBP aren't even close. One might argue that Jones is more of a slugger than an on-base guy, but he wasn't even up to their standards in total bases or SLG.

Jones is a good defensive CF but is no longer as great as he once was. Although Lee and Pujols play positions that are not nearly as important as CF, they are among the best-fielding first basemen in baseball.

As far as Jones being on division-winning team and Lee on a team that failed to make the playoffs, do you really believe that if Andruw was on the Cubs and Derrek on the Braves last year, that Chicago would have won its division and Atlanta would have missed the playoffs?

Bottom line: I don't see how anyone can logically make a case for Jones finishing higher than third, and I think that is a generous appraisal.

As a Cardinals fan, of course I hope Albert wins the MVP, but I won't be *too* upset if Derrek Lee ends up winning, as he is obviously deserving. I can't say the same for Andruw Jones.

I will, however, say this about Albert vs. Derrek: in the past playing for a team that made the playoffs has been a major factor for voters, for better or for worse. (I'm reminded of the last time a Cub beat out a Cardinal for the MVP award, despite the loser having much better stats than the winner.) So in a way, if the voters choose Lee over Pujols this year, they'll be ignoring whatever loose precedent they've established, especially with the two players being so close to one another statistically. I'm not a big fan of the idea that the MVP must come from a division winner, but I think that in this case it serves as a "fair" tie breaker.

Xlnt point, Jeff. McGwire deserved to win the MVP in 1998 but lost out to Sosa, presumably because the Cubs went to the playoffs and the Cardinals didn't. Although it would be unfair to balance matters out by giving the award to Pujols over Lee this year, I could at least understand it.

I love this kind of analysis, but it raises a question for me. That is, doesnt the stat that takes into consideration runs driven in, say after the 6th, that are the winning run count for a lot here? thanks

How is Times on Base measured? Is it Total Bases or am I way off?

Times on Base is the number of times a batter reaches base via a hit, walk, or hit by pitch. Therefore, TOB = H + BB + HBP.