1. There seems to be an implicit assumption among the people who
prefer OPS over RBI's, namely that no player hits particularly better
(nor worse) with runners on base. Now, I've seen the evidence that
clutch hitting is a mirage, and I find it moderately convincing. But
the assumption that everyone hits the same with runners on or not
strikes me as a much stronger one. One thing that would show up in
RBI's but not in SLG is the ability to hit with runners on base.
2. The claim that RBI's need to be pro-rated is fair, but it's also
(I think) vulnerable to overstatement. There is a place in baseball
both for absolute stats for performance over a season (like 61 homers,
100 steals, 200 hits or 40 saves, to name a few) and for pro-rated
stats (average, OBP, SLG, etc). It seems that the argument against
raw RBI totals applies equally well against any other stat that counts
successes of some sort over an entire season. But some of baseball's
most hallowed records are of this form (e.g. 61 homers). I don't
object to RBI's pro-rated by outs consumed or opportunities, but I
also fail to see why counting RBI's over a season is any worse than
counting hits, or doubles, or times reached base, or anything else.
Do the people who object to raw RBI counts object equally strongly to
all other absolute stats? Is there a place in the Brave New World of
baseball statistics [ :-) ] for Maris's record??
Ramin Zabih Computer Science Department