RISPy Business – What are teams doing with Runners In Scoring Position?

Andre Ethier and Josh Hamilton are leading individual RISP hitters at .405

There has been a lot of talk lately about the Yanks struggles with runners in scoring position. Wallace Matthews in his Rapid Reaction blog on ESPNNewYork.com wrote about last night’s Yankee 3-2 win over the Royals.

Dewayne Wise‘s bunt single in the fifth broke an 0-for-16 stretch by the Yankees w/RISP. Derek Jeter‘s opposite-field RBI single with the bases loaded was the first bases-loaded hit for the Yankees since Robby Cano’s grand slam on May 6, off the same pitcher, Luke Hochevar.

But, as we reach the quarter-pole of the 2012 season we have a pretty good sense as to how teams are doing in this critical statistic.

  1. The MLB average for RISP is .247.
  2. The top three teams in the category are from the AL: Texas .305, Boston .302, and Toronto .289. Colorado leads the NL at .278.
  3. The five worst teams in the category are from the NL: San Diego .193, Cincinnati .199, San Francisco .207, Pittsburgh .214, Miami .215.  The Oakland A’s have the worst number in the AL at .219.
  4. The Diamondbacks have had the most RISP opportunities with 478 plate appearances. In fact, six of the top seven teams in RISP plate appearances  are from the senior circuit, the only AL team is the Cleveland Indians with 464 plate appearances tied for fifth with the Mets. The fewest plate appearances belong to the Pirates at 326 (think about the fact that they have 150 fewer opportunities than the D-backs) and the A’s at 369. Surprisingly, the team with the best record in the AL, the Baltimore Orioles have had only four more PA than the A’s at 373.
  5. The key word in RISP is “scoring.” When looking at RISP it’s not enough to look at the average because as we read in Wallace Matthews note this morning, Dewayne Wise had a hit with a runner in scoring position, but that bunt did not produce a run. It did keep the inning alive, it did put two runners in scoring position but it was Jeter’s bases loaded hit that was critical. Texas has produced the most runs when they have had runners in scoring position with 173, followed by Boston at 170, the Cardinals 168, Atlanta 161, and the Dodgers 160. The Pirates have converted for just 80 runs.
  6. Another number that is critical, and deadly, are the times that a team with RISP ground into killer double plays. The Yankees and the Orioles have done it 18 times each, the most in the majors. They are followed by Texas 17, Dodgers, D-backs, and Brewers 16 times each. The Oakland A’s have remarkably hit in to a DP with RISP just four times. The Blue Jays have done it just six times. Houston and Colorado have done it seven times each.
  7. Not quite as painful, but another rally killer is the strikeout. In 478 RISP PA, Arizona has whiffed 104 times. In 438 RISP PA, San Diego has also whiffed 104 times. The most in the AL belong to the Rays who in 441 RISP PA, has whiffed 99 times, the same as the Cubs. The most impressive stat in this category belong to the Texas Rangers who in 449 RISP PA, has struck out just 59 times.
  8. Boston leads with 19 sac flies, while the Astros have only four. I love that Rays have had nine HBP. The Jays have had 11 errors committed by their opponents with RISP. The Padres and Nats have drawn 65 walks, while the Royals just 29. The Cardinals have hit 17 homers, a not so meaningful number.
  9. So, how bad are the Yankees in this category? In 428 PA they are hitting a paltry .223, scoring 129 runners, grounding in 18 DP, and whiffing a very good 74 times.