By: Noah Wright
Recently, I have been looking into the idea of a new stat to measure usefulness a position player. More specifically their offensive capabilities. The stat I have come up with is percentage of productive plate appearances, or productivity percentage. The stat would be used as a way to see how often a player steps to the plate, and does something that positively impacts the team.
What Is It?:
Productivity percentage is exactly what you probably think it is. How many times a batter steps to the plate, and does something productive. The equation I have come up with goes as follows: (hits+walks+sac flies+sac hits+HBP)/plate appearances. The stat would also be on a slightly modified scale to on base percentage. According to fangraphs, an average on base percentage is .320. On my scale, an average productivity percentage would be around .330. So let’s take a player for example. In 2018, DJ LeMahieu was a roughly league average batter. Overall, he had a 83 OPS+, and .750 OPS. His productivity percentage during 2018 was .335. On the lowest part of the spectrum, there was Chris Davis. Davis’ productivity percentage was just .250. On the complete other end of the scale, you would have Mike Trout with a .465 productivity percentage.
Why Should I Use It?:
I see productivity percentage to an alternative to on base percentage and percentage of quality at bats. Sacrifice flies do not help your on base percentage. It is a number that is used to divide by. I also consider it as an alternative to percentage of quality at bats for the following reasons. According to Fangraphs, to receive a quality at bat, you need to meet one of the following criteria:
- Hit by pitch
- Reach on error
- Sac bunt
- Sac fly
- Pitcher throws at least six pitches
- Batter “barrells” the ball
However, you could still work the count, and strike out on the 7th pitch of the at bat, or barrell up the ball, and line out hard enough where no batters can advance on the base paths.
Just like most stats, its not perfect. Some things are subjective, like do you consider working the count as doing something productive, even if you strikeout? Or if a hit by pitch should really be considered as it is out of the batter’s control as to whether or not they get hit by a pitch. However, I feel I can say with enough confidence that this stat is a very easy, and simple way to identify how often a player does something at the plate.