A few days ago, I wrote about what I called "the most useless" stat: team record when a player scores a run. Today, I have a few more thoughts about the stat. Thus, I've downgraded it from merely "the most useless" stat to "the stupidest and most useless stat."
The origin of this discussion is some talk about Jimmy Rollins as a catalyst for the Phillies' offense. Some have noted that the Phillies are 38-14 when Rollins scores a run. What I showed earlier this week was that Pedro Feliz leads the Phillies in this stat, with the team having a record of 31-5 when he scores a run. Since we all know that Feliz is not the catalyst of this offense, this stat is obviously useless.
But it's stupid too. Thinking about it a bit more shows its absurdity. Looking at the chart I included in Tuesday's story, you'll note that every Phillies' starter has a winning percentage higher than the team's overall winning percentage. So I asked myself, does that mean all the other players have lower winning percentages so that it averages out to the team's overall percentage?
And that's the problem with this stat. They don't, and there's no reason that every individual on the team won't have a run-scoring winning percentage much higher than the team's.
Take the following situation: The Phillies are 2-8. In each of their two wins, each of the 8 starters scores one run. In each of the team's 8 losses, each starter scores 1 run, but no other starter scores a run. So, the 2 wins are 8 run (or more) games. The 8 losses are games in which the Phillies scored only 1 run.
In this scenario, even though the Phillies would be 2-8 and have a .200 winning percentage, each starter will be 2-1 in this dreaded stat because the team was 2-1 in games in which each starter scored a run. Thus, they individually look pretty good at .667 winning percentage for this stat. But, the team is .200.
Take another situation: the team is 1-9. In the one win, each starter scores a run except for one starter. However, in each of the nine losses, no starter scores a run except for the one starter who didn't score a run in the win. Thus, the team is .100. Every starter who scored in the one win is 1-0, or 1.000 winning percentage. But, the guy who scores the most on the team, in 9 of the team's 10 games, is 0-9 for a .000 winning percentage. In other words, the guys who scored in one game look great in this stat; the guy who scored in every other game, all but one of the team's games, looks awful.
The bottom line here is that when a player scores a run, it's nothing but good for the team. However, looking at the team's ultimate game result to evaluate whether a player's run-scoring was good or bad completely ignores that fact. Is any player at fault if in every game he scores a run, the pitching is terrible and/or no other player scores runs? Of course not. Run scoring is an unadulterated good. A stat that penalizes a player for scoring a run is stupid.
Moreover, a stat that rewards players for not scoring runs -- which this stat does when a player doesn't score a run in a loss -- is beyond stupid. Pedro Feliz is an excellent example here. He doesn't score many runs, and probably if he's scoring runs, so are a lot of other Phillies. So he racks up the runs when the team wins, but rarely scores when the team loses. He's rewarded here, but shouldn't be because the bottom line is that he isn't scoring that many runs.
This stupid and useless stat needs to be buried and never discussed again. I'll agree to that. Will the rest of the media?