Hit Efficiency

For the last several years, the Angels have been a good hitting team, putting up a collective team batting average that is among the best in the league.  This year is no exception, as they lead the league in both avg. and in scoring.  The knock against the team has been that the Angels, without much HR power, need too many hits to score in the postseason, which is less likely to happen when facing superior pitchers.  So, I decided to take a look at what I'll call "hit efficiency."

The concept of "hit efficiency" is pretty simple: how many hits do the Angels need to score a run?  Teams that hit lots of HR would seem to need fewer hits to score a run.  Thus, runs/hits tells you how many runs the team scores for each hit; hits/runs tell you how many hits it takes the team to score one run.

The Angels have scored 666 runs thus far, on 1167 hits.  Thus, they are scoring .571 runs/hit; it takes the Angels 1.752 hits to score a run.

The Yankees, with 657 runs on 1145 hits, score .574 runs per hit.  The Yankees need only 1.743 hits to score a run.  Thus, the Yankees score only .003 runs more per hit (i.e., for every thousand hits, the Yanks manage only three more runs).  This is despite the fact that the Yankees have 52 more home runs.

How about the Halos' playoff nemesis Boston?  596 runs on 1052 hits.  The Red Sox need 1.765 hits to score a run, even though they've out-homered the Halos 144-130.

The Texas Rangers have scored 556 runs on 1019 hits, 176 of which are home runs.  They need a whopping 1.833 hits to score a run.

The Chicago White Sox have racked up 547 hits, including 140 HR, in producing 1039 runs.  The Pale Hose need 1.899 hits to score a run.

The Detroit Tigers are no more impressive, with 540 runs on 1021 hits, including 135 HR.  The kitty cats need 1.891 hits to push a run across the plate.

Tampa Bay, a team with a multi-dimensional offense, has 609 runs on only 1060 hits, 148 of which have left the yard.  The Rays need only 1.741 hits to score.  They score 5 more runs than the Angels for every thousand hits.

Thus, the Angels' "hit efficiency" stands third, behind Tampa and NYY; I'd venture to say that the statistical differences between the three teams are insignificant.

Of course, just as batting average is not the best measure of a hitter, we really need to look at how many walks a team is getting.

One of the knocks on the Angels has been with respect to their "Hack-tastic" plate discipline.  I haven't found a stat showing how many times a team has gotten a baserunner due to an error (which is not a function of offense, and therefore represents a measure of "luck"), but adding BB and HBP to hits, we find that the Angels are scoring .421 runs per baserunner.

The Yankees, who draw a lot more walks (and also have more HBP), get only .394 runs for every baserunner.  Ironically, despite about 80 more baserunners, NYY actually does less with each baserunner than the Angels.  Boston gets .374 runs/runner, .369 for Chicago, .376 for Detroit, and .384 for Tampa Bay.

Once again, the Angels actually are doing a lot more with each baserunner.  I would think this bodes well for the postseason, but I don't have the time to look back historically to compare this Angels team to other years, and to the efficiency of other playoff teams to see if there is any correlation between "efficiency" and post-season success.  But it does suggest, at first blush, that the 2009 Angels have an offense can do more more with less.

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