Ike Davis versus Alfonso Soriano and a better alternative to OPS

jpsportstats MLB Ike Davis Alfonso Soriano alternative to OPS
If I pose the question “Since the All-Star break, who has been more productive for his team, Ike Davis with the New York Mets, or Alfonso Soriano with the New York Yankees?” the answer would be fairly obvious, right? Unless you are a Yankees hater or an obstinate Mets fan, one has to go with Alfonso Soriano.

To be fair, Ike Davis has done a better job at the plate since his return from Las Vegas in early July. The demotion to Triple-A a month earlier was prompted by a dreadfully low .161 Batting Average and an equally meager.500 On-Base Plus Slugging.

This is the second consecutive season in which Davis got off to a very slow start, but at least last year he showed signs of power and production even before he turned it around with 20 home runs in the second half of 2012. See the comparison below. Further explanation of the new stats in blue font will be provided later.

[Click on stats to view enlarged image in new window.]
jpsportstats MLB pre All-Star Mets Ike Davis 2012 vs. 2013

Just about everyone following Major League Baseball knows about Alfonso Soriano’s prolific four-game stretch in which he tied a MLB record with 18 RBI. For a fair evaluation, in terms of plate appearances, I looked at Soriano’s time with the Yankees to date (he has 122 PA from July 26th through August 26th) and compared it with Davis’s stats following the All-Star (he has 123 PA from July 19th through August 25th). It should be noted Alfonso Soriano was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Yankees after he had played five games with his former team to start the second half of the season.

Unlike many baseball pundits who reference OPS—a stat combining On-Base Percentage (hitter’s ability to get on base) with Slugging Percentage (hitter’s power)—as a gold standard for offensive credibility in the era of sabermetrics, I prefer a more comprehensive statistic referred to as Total Offensive Productions or TOP.

[Note: Next paragraph gets nerdy with an explanation of new stats. For those who delve into baseball statistics or sabermetrics, there is a good chance you will appreciate this.]

The stat I created and use for analyzing Total Offensive Production is based on Total Accumulative Bases or TAB plus runs scored and runs batted in divided by plate appearances. TAB includes all total bases a batter slugs, the bases a hitter earns via walk (base on balls) and hit by pitch, and the Adjusted Stolen Bases or ASB accredited to a base runner. Adjusted Stolen Bases takes into account base stealing percentage by partially discrediting swipes when the base runner gets thrown out in an attempt to steal a base. The formula for ASB is stolen bases squared divided by the sum of stolen bases plus caught stealing.

The stats below illustrate the greater productivity of Alfonso Soriano, during the aforementioned time frame, in comparison with Ike Davis. Davis has drawn 24 more BB in about the same PA and has hit for a higher batting AVG than Soriano, contributing to a significantly better OBP and OPS. However, Soriano has 13 more TB and twice as many RS and RBI combined (50 to Davis’s 25). This is why Soriano has a much higher TOP than Davis, despite a considerably lower OPS.

[Click on stats to view enlarged image in new window.]
jpsportstats MLB post All-Star Mets Ike Davis vs. Yankees Alfonso Soriano

On-Base Pct. and Slugging Pct. each has its merits in evaluating a hitter’s ability to get on base and to hit for power; however, Total Offensive Production is a better alternative than OPS when it comes to evaluating a player’s overall contribution to a team’s offense.

Data Source:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/

Information Sources:
http://baseball.about.com/od/termstatglossar1/a/sabermetrics.htm
http://www-math.bgsu.edu/~albert/papers/saber.html
http://sabr.org/sabermetrics

Please leave a comment and share the post with other sports and stats fans. Followers, tweets and RT @jpsportstats are welcome! For more information regarding my blog, the stats I derived and shared in this post, feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post or send your questions via the Submit page. Thanks.

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2 thoughts on “Ike Davis versus Alfonso Soriano and a better alternative to OPS

  1. I will say, I am a stats guy, but was at the Met’s game Friday night vs. Detroit and looking at Ike’s form and swing there is no way he is going to put up any numbers. I am sure he is trying, but my son and watched his at bats and whilst we are not pros, we don’t see how there could be improvement any time soon. One-handed swings, head moving, etc…what happened to his fundamentals.

    Like you said, stats don’t lie! The cause in Ike’s case–bad fundamentals

    • Hope you had fun with your son, even though the Mets lost that game. It’s a long track to Citifield for me but I really like the stadium. I agree with you regarding Davis: too much movement in his swing. Also he still commits too soon which is why he lunges at pitches, esp. the breaking ball and slower stuff. He doesn’t do it as often, and he’s more selective (sometime too selective, a problem with most of the line up as of late). Mets have several positions to address this off season, including 1B, SS, the outfield (at least one of the positions), relievers and possibly 2B. And who will be their ace next year? Based on Niese’s 3-hit shutout, I’m hoping it’s him. Lots of decisions, yet lots to look forward to in the coming years for Mets fans like us.

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