Who was the best hitter in week 6? Find out in the new edition of MLB Players Power Rankings.
I’ve been writing this series, “MLB Players Power Rankings,” for quite a while now. I started it in Call to the Pen where I’m still an editor and a writer last year. The idea was to go a step further than stat sites like Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, which are absolutely the most comprehensive baseball encyclopedias out there. I wanted to create a picture, using a variety of stats that show who the best hitters in the game were.
For Call to the Pen, I utilized SLG, wOBA, wRC+, and fWAR to make my determinations. In my mind, these stats showed how good a hitter was at hitting and creating runs, and for a while plenty of folks checked in on a weekly basis, creating a sense of accomplishment in my mind.
This season, I decided to move the series here, where I’d have a bit more creative control and could experiment with the ranking a bit more. With that in mind, I decided to utilize OPS. wRAA, wOBA, wRC+, and wPA to determine not only who the best hitters were and how good they were at creating runs, but I also wanted to see who stepped up in the game’s most important moments.
Essentially, in both versions of the rankings, I succeeded in creating a picture of who the best hitters were. At the same time, however, I was limited in doing this on a week-by-week basis. As a result, the list varied far too much and a sense of consistency was missing. Not only that, the system I utilized because of so many stats made things too complicated.
Sure, it’s nice to see who’s performing well on a weekly basis, but what about throughout the entire season? Which weekly performance wasn’t an aberration? Which hitters are consistently performing at elite levels every single week?
This brings me here. And to answer this question, I needed to understand how I view the game of baseball. For me, the answer lies in a motto I have come to annoy many a friend and colleague with:
“Runs equals Wins”
That was it! I needed a simple stat that tells me how many runs a player is responsible for. Runs (R) wasn’t enough, because it only told me how many runs a given player scored. Runs Batted In (RBI) wasn’t enough because it showed me how many runs a player produced including those the player scored via the home run (HR); it was repetitive. Thus, net Runs (netR) was born.
netR = RBI – HR + R
This simple stat, using the easiest of mathematical operations, encompasses the motto perfectly. If “runs = wins”, then which players are responsible for the most runs that cross home plate? Well, here is the answer…