The 20 Most Valuable Hitters of 2013: 10 through 1

Edwin Encarnacion== No. 1 May Surprise You ==

Of course, if you recognize the guy in the picture, you won’t be surprised anymore.

It also answers the riddle I originally posed as to which team had two hitters in the top 10 (top 6, actually).  Yes, it was the 74-88 Blue Jays.

You can find 20-11 here.

10. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 28 COL NL 126 512 446 72 139 27 0 25 82 1 0 57 85 .312 .391 .540 .931 140
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/4/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 139

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 129

Composite: 168

Crosscheck (PVI+): 193

Thumbnail Commentary: Tulo rebounded from an injury-riddled 2012 with another MVP-worthy season.  Maybe the only post-steroid shortstop to be truly an offensive force?

===

9. Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 27 CLE AL 154 642 541 75 145 39 1 20 74 3 1 93 110 .268 .377 .455 .832 137
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/4/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 151

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 122

Composite: 173

Crosscheck (PVI+): 177

Thumbnail Commentary: A shortstop and a (mostly) catcher in the Top 10?  Santana has averaged 94 walks per season over the last three years. That, plus 60 XBH is a pretty nifty output from your backstop.

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8. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 27 BAL AL 160 673 584 103 167 42 1 53 138 4 1 72 199 .286 .370 .634 1.004 165
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/4/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 121

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 160

Composite: 181

Crosscheck (PVI+): 216

Thumbnail Commentary: For 2013 at least, Davis looked more like Giancarlo Stanton than Stanton himself.  But he has to out-muscle his high K-rate with monster power, and his well-above-career-average HR-per-fly-ball ratio indicates he’ll have a hard time duplicating quite this much success.

===

7. Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 25 ARI NL 160 710 602 103 182 36 3 36 125 15 7 99 145 .302 .401 .551 .952 160
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/4/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 150

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 135

Composite: 185

Crosscheck (PVI+): 201

Thumbnail Commentary: Goldschmidt looks like the genuine breakout star of 2013.  Not a slam of Davis, but Goldschmidt’s numbers seem a lot more repeatable.

===

6. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 32 TOR AL 118 528 452 82 117 24 0 28 73 7 2 69 84 .259 .358 .498 .856 132
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/4/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 156

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 134

Composite: 190

Crosscheck (PVI+): 241

Thumbnail Commentary: Bautista was never likely to keep up the out-of-his-gourd pace from 2011, but he’s “settled in” as “just” a guy with huge power, a high walk rate and hard to strike out.

===

5. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 29 CIN NL 162 726 581 101 177 30 3 24 73 6 3 135 138 .305 .435 .491 .926 154
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/5/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 172

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 121

Composite: 193

Crosscheck (PVI+): 181

Thumbnail Commentary: 135 walks!  If you eliminate PED suspects (Bonds, McGwire, Bagwell, Sheffield), that’s the best since Frank Thomas got 138 in 1991.  Votto is also our highest ranked NL player.

===

4. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 21 LAA AL 157 716 589 109 190 39 9 27 97 33 7 110 136 .323 .432 .557 .988 179
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/5/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 157

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 135

Composite: 192

Crosscheck (PVI+): 215

Thumbnail Commentary: No sophomore jinx.  Trout’s second full season was pretty much better than his star-making Rookie-of-the-Year season in 2012.

===

3. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 37 BOS AL 137 600 518 84 160 38 2 30 103 4 0 76 88 .309 .395 .564 .959 160
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/5/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 160

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 144

Composite: 204

Crosscheck (PVI+): 240

Thumbnail Commentary: Boston Strong.  And patient.  And hard to strike out.  Another monster season from Big Papi, capped by a brilliant World Series.

===

2. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 30 DET AL 148 652 555 103 193 26 1 44 137 3 0 90 94 .348 .442 .636 1.078 187
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/5/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 175

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 151

Composite: 226

Crosscheck (PVI+): 271

Thumbnail Commentary: Set it and forget it.  Miggy just rolls out these Hall of Fame seasons on cruise control year after year.  In fact, he’s probably a Hall of Famer if he retired right now at 30.

===

1. Edwin Encarnacion, Toronto Blue Jays

Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2013 30 TOR AL 142 621 530 90 144 29 1 36 104 7 1 82 62 .272 .370 .534 .904 145
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/5/2014.
***

Avoidance of non-random outs (PSA+): 179

Production of non-random offense (Conv+): 147

Composite: 226

Crosscheck (PVI+): 277

Thumbnail Commentary: So how does the relatively unheralded Blue Jay slip in ahead of Cabrera?  By producing 36 HR, a .262 ISO and 82 walks … all while striking out just 10.0% of the time (10-year MLB average is 18%).  If you go through history, only guys like Ted Williams do that kind of thing.  Encarnacion’s ability to reduce his K-rate while maintaining his power stroke is the great untold story of 2013.  And it netted him a whopping 2% of MVP votes (good for 14th place).  Oh well.

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6 thoughts on “The 20 Most Valuable Hitters of 2013: 10 through 1

  1. Fascinating stuff. I love that you’re coming at this from a completely new perspective. Strikeouts have been largely ignored as a negative and random hits are given full weight in today’s metrics. I’m wondering though if you’ve maybe gone a little too far the other way? I’ve certainly developed a new appreciation for Encarnacion but I still can’t see him as better than Cabrera (or even near him for that matter). And I’m still freaking out over Coco Crisp as the 14th best hitter.

    • Thanks, Scott!

      Yes, of course, it does go too far. Cabrera’s singles, in the real world, absolutely helped his team score runs vis-a-vis Encarnacion.

      It’s just one way of looking at it, and obviously it’s a “cloud view” theoretical one rather than completely based on what happens on the field.

      That being said, Encarnacion getting a .262 ISO and 13% walk rate while only striking out 10% of PAs … I can confirm that is extremely rare historically.

      • I like what you’re doing with this. I do notice that their composites are identical and PSA/Conv+ are basically a wash too. I think it’s true that the difference in their slashlines are more stark than actual value of their offensive input. My thought is that with them basically tying in your metrics most anything I’d look at otherwise would put Cabrera ahead. How did you determine Encarnacion had had the better season? Is it basically the rarity of that certain set of stats (HR/ISO/K/BB) alone that was the tiebreaker for you or is there something I missing to where you did not see it as a tie initially?

      • Just rounding. Encarnacion was technically 226.2 and Cabrera 226.0. I didn’t rig it, but I have to admit from a “being provocative” standpoint, it works better to have a “surprise” No. 1. Appreciate it!

  2. Honorable mentions: Hanley Ramirez, Khris Davis, Carlos Quentin, Ryan Raburn, Caleb Gindl, and Danny Valencia.

    Thanks for the new stat, Spec! These are going to be on my sticky note list for the fantasy draft. Ramirez and Quentin are the oft-injured vets who still have something left in the tank. Raburn is the guy with so much potential who might have put it together late. Davis, Gindl and Valencia are youngish up and comers who could be ready to break out. If Davis and Gindl are for real, Milwaukee could be scary next year.

  3. Hey Spec,

    as always, great analysis. Keep it up, love the read!
    Nevertheless, I’m with Scott. A .262 ISO, 13.2% BB and 10% K-rate are nice, but are they better than .288, 13.8% and 14.4%, when the difference in slashes is so big.
    I’m with Doc here, if your metric shows Jhonny Bench is not a great catcher, your metric is wrong. 😉

    As input for further improvement: My personal opinion is that you go too far with completely ignoring singles altogether because of their “random-y-ness”. While I think I understand the underlying point, I think they should just be heavily regressed instead of totally taken out. Because often, there is a reason for that.

    It’s the same reason why I have a problem with regarding everything BABIP deviating from .300 as “luck”. In my POV it is not, but rather a mixture of batted ball profiles and the individual average BABIP for the type of batted ball. BABIPs for line drives are higher than the ones for ground balls, fly balls and IFFBs. There is a reason there is a .076 career BABIP gap between Miggy and Encarnacion, and I think a lot of it has to do with the career 14.5% IFFB rate for Encarnacion and only 7.8% for Miggy.

    So, in conclusion, I think you’re actually close but are missing some minor things. I especially don’t understand why Miggy gets “penalized” for 4,4% more strikeouts, while Encarnacion does not for 3.5% more infield flies.

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