Script Splits: Using Advanced Stats to Rank 1B

Rizzo's 15.1 AB/HR ranks third for all 1B and his improvement against LHP warrants more attention
Rizzo’s 15.1 AB/HR ranks third for all 1B and his improvement against LHP warrants more attention

After finding some very interesting information while researching what catcher splits can tell us about players, I will continue by focusing on first base today. Not only will the advanced stats and split information tell us what players to target for daily gaming, but it will also help to show what players may be ready for a breakout or better ranking in 2015. In case you missed it here are the five categories the article will explore:

wOBA: Weighted On Base Average represents all the ways a player gets on base (HBP counts in this metric). It is used to measure a player’s overall offensive value.

ISO: Isolated Power  is simply a player’s slugging percentage minus his batting average.

OPS: On base plus Slugging is exactly what it’s surname suggests, adding together both statistics (OBP and SLG%). In the daily game being getting on base via the extra base hit is preferred.

AB/HR: A simple stat. How many homers does a player hit between each at bat? The fewer the better.

wRC+: Weighted Runs Created Plus A measure of how many runs a player creates. The “+” accounts for differing ballpark factors. So a player who’s home park is Coors is weighted to equal one in Citi Field, for example.

Allowing the numbers to sort out who is excelling in these categories will allow us to see past the counting stats that fantasy gamers rely upon. It is this knowledge that will not only help in daily contests, but evaluating players in future rankings. Following the five lists of statistical rankings, I will compile them into a top twelve list with their yearly stats against each pitching split thus far. Each group has some surprises:

Catchers versus Left-Handed Pitchers (minimum of 50 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Paul Goldschmidt .481
2. Steve Pearce .478
3. Anthony Rizzo .432
4. Mike Napoli .410
5. Edwin Encarnacion .400
6. Jonathan Singleton .391
7. Jose Abreu .379
8. Freddie Freeman .379
9. Brandon Moss .371
10. Miguel Cabrera .364
11. Eric Campbell .360
12. Tommy Medica .353

ISO:
1. Steve Pearce .369
2. Edwin Encarnacion .300
3. Jose Abreu .292
4. Jonathan Singleton .283
5. Anthony Rizzo .276
6. Miguel Cabrera .255
7. Mike Morse .250
8. C.J. Cron .229
9. Ryan Howard .221
10. Freddie Freeman .218
11. Paul Goldschmidt .217
12. Albert Pujols .207

OPS:
1. Paul Goldschmidt 1.146
2. Steve Pearce 1.119
3. Anthony Rizzo .997
4. Edwin Encarnacion .938
5. Mike Napoli .924
6. Jose Abreu .916
7. Jonathan Singleton .911
8. Freddie Freeman .865
9. Miguel Cabrera .856
10. Brandon Moss .841
11. Albert Pujols .822
12. Eric Campbell .819

AB/HR:
1. Anthony Rizzo 12.3
2. Jose Abreu 12.7
3. Edwin Encarnacion 14
4. Jonathan Singleton 15.3
5. Ryan Howard 15.8
6. Brandon Moss 17
7. Albert Pujols 19.3
8. Chris Davis 21
9. Freddie Freeman 22
10. Paul Goldschmidt 23
11. Matt Adams 25.3
12. Miguel Cabrera 25.5

wRC+:
1. Paul Goldschmidt 210
2. Steve Pearce 209
3. Anthony Rizzo 177
4. Mike Napoli 161
5. Edwin Encarnacion 154
6. Jonathan Singleton 152
7. Freddie Freeman 143
8. Brandon Moss 141
9. Jose Abreu 140
10. Eric Campbell 134
11. Miguel Cabrera 131
12. Tommy Medica 130

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Totals Above:
1. Anthony Rizzo – 98 AB, 20 R, 8 HR, 18 RBI, 306/415/532
2. Edwin Encarnacion – 70 AB, 12 R, 5 HR, 9 RBI, 257/381/557
3. Steve Pearce – 65 AB, 11 R, 6 HR, 12 RBI, 338/411/708
4. Paul Goldschmidt – 69 AB, 13 R, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 391/538/609
5. Jose Abreu – 89 AB, 9 R, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 281/343/573
6. Jonathan Singleton – 46 AB, 7 R, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 283/346/565
7. Mike Napoli – 84 AB, 13 R, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 310/448/476
8. Freddie Freeman – 110 AB, 17 R, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 282/365/500
9. Brandon Moss – 68 AB, 9 R, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 279/355/455
10. Miguel Cabrera – 102 AB, 16 R, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 265/336/520
11. Ryan Howard – 95 AB, 13 R, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 232/299/453
12. Albert Pujols – 116 AB, 16 R, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 284/331/491

While I was under the presumption that Edwin Encarnacion and Paul Goldschmidt would be dominant in this particular split, I was shocked that Anthony Rizzo averaged out the best across the five categories above. His hitting this year has been a bit under-appreciated and if he can maintain this growth against left-handed pitching, he may be a steal next year. Another surprise is that Brandon Moss, also a lefty, has as many home runs against southpaws as Miguel Cabrera, in 34 fewer at bats no less. Something is off with Miggy this year. Look at Paul Goldschmidt’s huge OBP and SLG against lefties and know that even though his home run numbers are down, he produces and gets on base against lefties. My last takeaway here is how many left-handed batters appear on this list (5), almost half. It goes against the notion of a true split advantage as seen with the catchers.

First Base versus Right-Handed Pitchers (minimum of 100 plate appearances):

wOBA:
1. Jose Abreu .415
2. Edwin Encarnacion .414
3. Lucas Duda .404
4. Matt Adams .397
5. Miguel Cabrera .391
6. Justin Morneau .390
7. Paul Goldschmidt .389
8. Anthony Rizzo .384
9. Freddie Freeman .373
10. Adrian Gonzalez .373
11. Brandon Moss .369
12. Adam Dunn .368

ISO:
1. Jose Abreu .336
2. Edwin Encarnacion .318
3. Lucas Duda .279
4. Brandon Moss .262
5. Brandon Belt .255
6. Paul Goldschmidt .250
7. Mark Teixeira .245
8. Anthony Rizzo .233
9. Adrian Gonzalez .227
10. Mark Reynolds .225
11. Adam Dunn .218
12. Adam LaRoche .211

OPS:
1. Jose Abreu .978
2. Edwin Encarancion .965
3. Lucas Duda .942
4. Matt Adams .924
5. Miguel Cabrera .911
6. Paul Goldschmidt .902
7. Justin Morneau .902
8. Anthony Rizzo .888
9. Adam LaRoche .887
10. Adrian Gonzalez .877
11. Brandon Moss .861
12. Freddie Freeman .852

AB/HR:
1. Jose Abreu 11.8
2. Edwin Encarnacion 12.3
3. Mark Teixeira 13.3
4. Brandon Belt 13.8
5. Mark Reynolds 14.9
6. Lucas Duda 15.2
7. Anthony Rizzo 16.4
8. Chris Davis 17.7
9. Adam LaRoche 18.2
10. Adrian Gonzalez 20.1
11. Albert Pujols 21.1
12. Paul Goldschmidt 21.3

wRC+:
1. Jose Abreu 165
2. Lucas Duda 164
3. Edwin Encarnacion 164
4. Matt Adams 157
5. Miguel Cabrera 149
6. Paul Goldschmidt 146
7. Adam LaRoche 146
8. Anthony Rizzo 144
9. Adrian Gonzalez 143
10. Freddie Freeman 140
11. Brandon Moss 139
12. Justin Morneau 135

Overall Rankings Based on Aggregate Totals Above:
1. Jose Abreu – 271 AB, 45 R, 23 HR, 63 RBI, 299/344/635
2. Edwin Encarnacion – 258 AB, 45 R, 21 HR, 61 RBI, 283/364/601
3. Lucas Duda – 258 AB, 41 R, 17 HR, 51 RBI, 283/380/562
4. Paul Goldschmidt – 320 AB, 60 R, 15 HR, 57 RBI, 288/365/538
5. Matt Adams – 259 AB, 28 R, 9 HR, 34 RBI, 351/369/560
6. Anthony Rizzo – 279 AB, 51 R, 17 HR, 38 RBI, 276/379/509
7. Miguel Cabrera – 286 AB, 47 R, 12 HR, 64 RBI, 325/375/535
8. Adrian Gonzalez – 282 AB, 44 R, 14 HR, 51 RBI, 294/355/521
9. Brandon Moss – 290 AB, 41 R, 19 HR, 61 RBI, 259/340/521
10. Adam LaRoche – 218 AB, 35 R, 12 HR, 45 RBI, 284/392/495
11. Justin Morneau – 241 AB, 31 R, 10 HR, 46 RBI, 332/367/535
12. Mark Teixeira – 200 AB, 26 R, 15 HR, 41 RBI, 240/317/485

Emerging from the shadows in NY is Lucas Duda with 17 HR's & 51 RBI vs. RHP in only 258 AB's
Emerging from the shadows in NY is Lucas Duda with 17 HR and 51 RBI vs. RHP in only 258 AB

In overall dominance, Jose Abreu leads all first baseman in each of the categories above (though Adam Lind is ahead in a couple of them) for a clean sweep. But to savvy owners looking for a player on the cheap that is producing big stats, how about Lucas Duda? In the same amount of at bats as Edwin Encarnacion (presently on the DL), Duda has only four fewer home runs, ten less RBI and a better OBP for the season against right handed pitching. Paul Goldschmidt just shows his overall fantasy value as he appears in both splits lists at #4 just underscoring how he is number one going forward. Anthony Rizzo also is on both lists coming in seventh against right handed pitching. If the Cubs slot in more talent around them, a huge 2015 may be looming in Chicago with Rizzo and Abreu leading the way. It is unfortunate that injuries have really wreaked havoc at the position all year with six of the top twelve on this list spending time on the disabled list already. Whether it is the stretch run in rotisserie, the playoffs in head to head or the daily fantasy grind, this information will serve you well when deciding on roster spots and who to play. Splits may not seem like a big deal, but they provide valuable information and definite surprises.

Greg Jewett is The Sports Script’s senior fantasy baseball writer. Follow him on Twitter @gjewett9!

Statistical credits: Fangraphs.com, ESPN.com
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/C63xjE (Rizzo), http://goo.gl/fcZr7u (Duda)

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