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The Most Useless Stat: Team Record When a Player Scores a Run

With the Phillies recent run, much has been made of the play of Jimmy Rollins.  And rightfully so - he's been on fire.  Since August 23, Rollins is hitting to the tune of .378/.453/.567 for a 1.019 OPS.  By any measure, that's pretty good.

But for some people, those and other analytic measures aren't enough.  Rather, they point to the Phillies' record in games in which Rollins has scored a run.  Just to name a few: did it in an article about the Phillies' success following in Rollins' path; the Inquirer did it this past weekend (in an article I can't find); and Charlie Manuel did it in an interview on Comcast Sportsnite.

The problem is that this stat is worthless.  Yes, the Phillies are 38-14 in games in which Rollins has scored a run.  That's good for a .731 winning percentage.  The team's overall record in which anyone scores a run (in other words, in non-shutout games) is 83-60, for a .580 winning percentage.  So Rollins' number sounds pretty good.

But take a look at each starter's record in games in which they've scored a run.  And ask yourself, does the ranking here accurately reflect anything in terms of the individual's worth to the team?


Player Wins Losses Win %
Pedro Feliz 31 5 0.861
Ryan Howard 49 18 0.731
Jimmy Rollins 38 14 0.731
Pat Burrell 37 16 0.698
Carlos Ruiz 26 12 0.684
Shane Victorino 48 23 0.676
Chase Utley 54 29 0.651
Jayson Werth 29 21 0.580
Team 83 60 0.580

Anyone who values this stat would have to say that Pedro Feliz and his .708 OPS is much more valuable than Chase Utley and his .913 OPS. And Jayson Werth and his .881 OPS and clutch hitting. And so on and so forth.

This is a nonsense stat. And anyone who knows baseball should know that. Scoring runs is a very important part of the game. But, there's nothing that one player's scoring a run can do to prevent the other team from scoring a run, and if the other team scores more, it doesn't matter how many runs you score as an individual.

Wins in baseball are a team effort. The team's record in games in which a particular player scores a run is just a pointless stat.