MLB Betting: Major League Leaders in Weighted Runs Created Plus

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, June 7, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Weighted Runs Created Plus is a favorite stat among Sabremetricians to find players’ values. The top current top 10 players in the Major Leagues in wRC+ include some surprises

In the past, we have always presented pitcher oriented stats when delving into Sabremetrics, such as with our Monthly FIP Leaderboard. This week we are taking a look at one of the most important offensive Sabremetric stats in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+).

To calculate wRC+, you first calculate each player’s Weighted On Base Average, which is calculated as follows:

(0.72xNIBB + 0.75xHBP + 0.90x1B + 0.92xRBOE + 1.24x2B + 1.56x3B + 1.95xHR) / PA

For those of you in need of a refresher, NIBB is non-intentional walks and RBOE is reached base on error. Now what wRC+ does is take the wOBA as calculated above and adjust it for both ballparks and leagues. Then it finds the league average after making these adjustments and assigns that figure a value of 100. It then compares each players value to this league average, where every point above or below 100 is one percentage point above or below league average.

In other words, a player with a wRC+ of 120 creates 20 percent more runs than the league average, whereas a player with a wRC+ of 87 creates 13 percent fewer runs than the league average, again keeping in mind that these numbers are adjusted for parks and leagues, making them transportable across the entire league and even across different eras for comparison purposes.

So how does wRC+ help you with your MLB picks? Well, you can now get accurate starting lineups for a night’s entire slate much earlier than even a couple of years ago, when you had to wait until about one hour before game time. Once you get the lineups, using each player’s wRC+ probably leads to the most accurate forecast of how many runs the team is expected to score vs. an average pitcher.

When you combine this information with information on the opposing starting pitcher, it should make you a better handicapper because your projected scores should make spotting “off” line fairly easy. So without further ado, here are the top 10 players in the Major Leagues in wRC+ through the games of Thursday, June 6th, 2013, and you will see that quite a few of these players are not too obvious.

1-Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles (205): That is right, Davis is having a year for the ages, generating more than twice as many runs as the league average! Davis leads the Major Leagues with his 20 home runs, he is third in RBI with 52 and he is second in batting average at .357. Add in 29 walk and Davis is sporting a nifty 1.168 OPS, and he is not slowing down as many expected either as he is batting .385 over the last seven days.

2-Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers (197): Not all the players on this list are relative unknowns, and the reining Triple Crown winner is second while generating nearly twice as many runs as the league average, and he continues to be probably the most feared hitter in baseball today. Cabrera actually has his eye on a second straight Triple Crown, which would be truly historic, as he is three home runs behind Davis in home runs with 17 while leading not only the American League but the entire Major Leagues in both RBI with 66 and batting average at .373.

3-Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks (173): And now back to the surprises. The Diamondback have not gotten much national exposure this season, so unless you are in the western time zones, chances are that you have not noticed that Goldschmidt is actually in contention for the Triple Crown in the National League where he is fourth in home runs with 14, four behind Domonic Brown of the Philadelphia Phillies, while leading the league with 54 RBI and batting .333 to rank sixth in the NL.

4-Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies (171): The fact that there are three Colorado Rockies in the top seven in wRC+ forces us to remind you all that these figures are ballpark adjusted, and while the raw numbers of the Rockies may be enhanced by playing in high altitude, these normalize numbers show that these particular Rockies would be great offensive players anywhere. Tulowitzki has managed to stay healthy for a change this year, and he is also in the National League Triple Crown hunt, ranking third in home runs with 15, second in RBI with 48 and also second with his .340 batting average, all to go along with his 1.040 OPS.

5-Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (162): Votto is a former MVP, but it is still surprising to see him grading out this high with only 10 home runs. However, Votto gains value with his 47 walks, helping bring his OBP up to .444, as well as 10 doubles to help his slugging percentage along to .509, giving him a .953 OPS. Votto has played in every single Cincinnati game this season for Manage Dusty Baker, but then again, anyone would have a tough time keeping Votto’s production on the bench, especially playing first base where rests are not as necessary..

6-Michael Cuddyer, Colorado Rockies (161): The second Colorado player on our list, Cuddyer began this season strong and has simply not slowed down, having perhaps his best season at the age of 34. Cuddyer is batting .339 and he has 14 doubles to go along with his 10 home runs, all leading to a 1.000 OPS. Remember that Cuddyer only hit 16 home runs and batted .260 in his first year with Colorado last season, but he is now on pace to approach 30 home runs while re-discovering his batting stroke.

7-Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies (158): Cargo makes it three Rockies in the top seven, although he is hardly a surprise and has already proven that he can hit anywhere. Gonzalez is second in the National League with 17 home runs and seventh in RBI with 42, and his .304 batting average plus 31 walks leaves him with a .384 OBP and a .993 OPS. Gonzalez is on a power surge right now with four home runs in the last seven days, although it should be noted that three of those dingers came in one game.

8-Matt Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals (158): None of the bottom three players in the top 10 are really household names, so all three should be considered hugely underrated right now. Carpenter is batting in the leadoff spot for the Cardinals and he has had 24 multiple hit games this year and has been absolutely on fire lately batting .519 in the last seven days! He is batting .335 on the year with a .415 OBP and a .493 slugging percentage out of the leadoff position, adding 49 runs scored for good measure.

9- Shin-Soo Choo, Cincinnati Reds (157): The Reds may have been World Series contenders last season if they had a better leadoff man, and in a trade that largely went unnoticed with the Cubs, they got a good one in Choo, who has a .431 OBP thanks to his 42 walks. Like Carpenter, Choo also has good pop for a leadoff man as his 10 home runs already putting him on pace for a career high, helping him to a .915 OPS.

10- Josh Donaldson, Oakland Athletics (154): Donaldson may be the most unknown of the entire top 10, but he is now batting a sparkling .330 for the season and his 27 walks bring his OBP to .399. Furthermore, Donaldson has 18 doubles and a triple to go along with his eight home runs in 227 at-bats, resulting in an unexpected .524 slugging percentage and .923 OPS. He continues to run hot too with a .357 batting average over the last seven days.