March 30, 2008 10 Comments
This is a slightly modified excerpt from my upcoming book, Bridging the Statistical Gap, to be released towards the end of April/beginning of May.
A friend of mine, RJ Anderson of Beyond the Box Score, recently sent me the introduction to a book he is currently writing to look over. While reading I could not help but notice an extremely fascinating statistical tidbit and RJ graciously allowed me to conduct further research regarding his findings. Using the Lahman Database he had taken all of the offensive seasons from 1960-2006 and, after tallying the counting stats (H, AB, 2B, etc.), calculated the average slash statistics (BA/OBP/SLG) of major league hitters in that span. The average major league hitter from 1960-2006 put up a slash line of .259/.326/.395.
He then set parameters in the spreadsheet and was able to find the player with career numbers that most closely matched these slash statistics. The player? Oddibe McDowell. McDowell’s career .253/.323/.395 was closer to the average than anyone else in that timespan.
While RJ then went onto discuss the collegiate and major league career of Sir Oddibe I decided to apply this theory to individual seasons. I found the average slash lines for each year from 1981-2007 and found the players most closely resembling those lines. Since Oddibe’s career line came the closest I have named my yearly award after him. Therefore, the award for the most average offensive player, via slash stats, in a given year, will be hereby known as “The Oddibe Award of Excellence in Average Performance.”
This way anybody with a small sample size of statistics would be disqualified from inclusion; the slash parameters were originally smaller but widening them became a necessity when it was determined that so few people came within 5-7 points of each. Some players would be within 1-2 points in BA and OBP but were 10-15 points off in SLG, and other variations of the same type of discrepancy. If multiple players were essentially equivalent I went for those with the higher number of AB’s. If multiple players were close and no clear-cut winner emerged I simply measured how far off they were in each of the three stats; I went for consistency meaning that a player within four points of all three would be more average than one who was equal in two stats but twelve points off in the third.
With that being said, here are the winners of the annual Oddibe Awards from 1981-2007:
2008 ODDIBE GOES TO…?
With so many projection systems out there it just seemed natural to check who might qualify for the prestigious average award this season. And, as opening day really gets underway today (triple-rhyme) let’s examine this year’s Oddibe candidates, using StatSpeak alum Sean Smith’s CHONE projections.
1) Chris Burke – .256/.330/.392
2) Franklin Gutierrez – .259/.317/.404
3) Jacque Jones – .260/.318/.402
4) Chase Headley – .252/.335/.392
5) Brandon Inge – .249/.325/.405
We’ll all have to keep our Oddibe-eyes out for this one!