**Component 5: Hits vs. Outs on Balls in Play**

Credits/debits for whether balls in play become hits or outs are assigned in Component 5. The average value of the ball in play, based on the location and hit type of the ball, was assigned to batters and pitchers in Component 4. Component 5 player wins and losses are calculated based on an average result of the play, given that it is either a hit or an out. For hits, debits and credits based on the type of hit – single, double, or triple – are assigned in Component 6. Credits for double plays, and baserunner outs and advancements are assigned in Components 7, 8, and 9, respectively. For fielders, Component 5 Player Game Points are the portion of Player won-lost records that are most comparable to other play-by-play measures of fielding, such as UZR, PMR, +/-, and TotalZone.1. Calculation of Component 5 Player Game Points

Component 5 Player Games are shared between pitchers and fielders based on the extent to which player winning percentages persist across different sample periods. The mathematics underlying this division is described elsewhere.2. Division of Component 5 Game Points Between Pitchers and Fielders

To summarize, one measure of the extent to which a particular factor is a skill is the extent to which a player’s winning percentage persists over time. To evaluate the persistence of skills, I fit a simple persistence equation which modeled Component 5 winning percentage on even-numbered plays as a function of Component 5 winning percentage on odd-numbered plays:

(Component 5 Win Pct)_{Even} = b•(Component 5 Win Pct)_{Odd} + (1-b)•(WinPct)_{Baseline}

Equations of this type were fit for Component 5 Player Game Points for pitchers and fielders. Separate equations were estimated for each fielding position (except for pitcher, obviously). The results for these equations are shown below. A brief explanation of these variables follows.

The number n is the number of players over whom the equation was estimated, that is, who accumulated any Player wins and/or losses on both odd- and even-numbered plays. The value R

note: To be precise, I estimate unique Persistence Equations for every season, which use all of my data in all of these equations, but weight the data based on how close to the season of interest it is. The equations shown here weight each season equally.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: Catcher

Pitchers: n = 37,058, R^{2}= -0.0521

WinPct_{Even}= (5.74%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (94.26%)•0.5000 (11.26)

Catchers: n = 7,924, R^{2}= -0.0000

WinPct_{Even}= (10.75%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (89.25%)•0.5000 (9.693)

The percentage of Component 5.2 Player decisions which are attributed to pitchers is set equal to the pitcher persistence coefficient
(5.7%) divided by the sum of the persistence coefficients for pitchers and catchers
(5.7% + 10.7%). This leads to
34.8% of Component 5.2 decisions being allocated to pitchers and
65.2% of Component 5.2 decisions allocated to catchers.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: First Baseman

Pitchers: n = 37,721, R^{2}= 0.0073

WinPct_{Even}= (14.16%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (85.84%)•0.5000 (27.26)

First Basemen: n = 9,963, R^{2}= 0.0529

WinPct_{Even}= (25.99%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (74.01%)•0.5000 (25.35)

The breakdown of Component 5.3 Player decisions is
35.3% for pitchers versus
64.7% for first basemen.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: Second Baseman

Pitchers: n = 37,898, R^{2}= -0.0192

WinPct_{Even}= (14.33%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (85.67%)•0.5000 (27.75)

Second Basemen: n = 9,316, R^{2}= 0.1004

WinPct_{Even}= (34.55%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (65.45%)•0.5000 (34.09)

Based on these results, Component 5.4 Player decisions are allocated
29.3% to pitchers and
70.7% to second basemen.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: Third Baseman

Pitchers: n = 37,832, R^{2}= -0.0199

WinPct_{Even}= (13.56%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (86.44%)•0.5000 (26.85)

Third Basemen: n = 10,324, R^{2}= 0.1058

WinPct_{Even}= (36.50%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (63.50%)•0.5000 (39.30)

For Component 5.5, Player decisions are split
27.1% for pitchers,
72.9% for third basemen.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: Shortstop

Pitchers: n = 37,905, R^{2}= -0.0182

WinPct_{Even}= (11.55%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (88.45%)•0.5000 (22.62)

Shortstop: n = 8,261, R^{2}= 0.0812

WinPct_{Even}= (35.77%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (64.23%)•0.5000 (33.11)

Pitchers receive
24.4% of the credit for Component 5.6 Player decisions, while shortstops earn
75.6%. Shortstops and third basemen earn a somewhat largest share of Component 5 decisions than first and second basemen. This makes a certain amount of sense to me. These positions are, perhaps, more difficult to field than first or second base, thereby allowing for a greater spread in the observed talent of fielders on this side of the infield.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: Left Fielder

Pitchers: n = 37,754, R^{2}= 0.0101

WinPct_{Even}= (23.10%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (76.90%)•0.5000 (45.94)

Left Fielders: n = 14,284, R^{2}= 0.1461

WinPct_{Even}= (40.49%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (59.51%)•0.5000 (51.58)

Left fielders receive
0.0% of Component 5 Player decisions, while pitchers earn
100.0% of Component 5.7 decisions.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: Center Fielder

Pitchers: n = 37,833, R^{2}= 0.0012

WinPct_{Even}= (18.27%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (81.73%)•0.5000 (35.57)

Center Fielders: n = 9,882, R^{2}= 0.1762

WinPct_{Even}= (41.91%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (58.09%)•0.5000 (48.64)

Based on these results, Component 5.8 Player decisions are allocated
30.4% to pitchers and
69.6% to center fielders. Center fielders therefore earn the highest percentage of Component 5 player decisions of the three outfield positions. As with shortstops and third basemen, the relative difficulty of fielding center field (as compared to left field or right field) allows for more observable separation in the fielding quality of center fielders, leading to higher and more significant persistence of center fielders' Component 5 winning percentage.

Persistence of Component 5 Winning Percentage: Right Fielder

Pitchers: n = 37,715, R^{2}= 0.0077

WinPct_{Even}= (22.41%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (77.59%)•0.5000 (44.31)

Right Fielders: n = 12,948, R^{2}= 0.1495

WinPct_{Even}= (42.75%)•WinPct_{Odd}+ (57.25%)•0.5000 (51.10)

Component 5.9 Player decisions are allocated
34.4% to pitchers and
65.6% to right fielders.

Overall, pitchers earn about 33.2% of defensive Component 5 Player decisions, including 4.0% of Component 5 player decisions which are compiled on balls-in-play that are fielded by the pitcher. Excluding pitchers and catchers, infielders are allocated about 71.5% of Component 5 Player decisions involving them, while outfielders are allocated 65.4% of relevant Component 5 Player decisions.

For older years (typically, pre-1974), there is less information on the first fielder to field hits and, in some cases, there is even uncertainty on the fielder(s) involved in some outs on balls-in-play. These will lead to less reliable fielding records in general, although it is not clear to me that this would affect the distribution of fielding plays for those plays which can be identified.

Excluding pitchers and catchers, the numbers look like this:

Most of these results look reasonable: catchers handle very few balls in play (and most of those that they do handle require relatively little skill on the catcher's part), and middle infielders handle more plays than corner infielders. One result does strike me as a little bit curious: corner outfielders earn somewhat more Component 5 decisions than center fielders. This is explored elsewhere.

Component 5 leaders are shown here.

*All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.*

Overall, pitchers earn about 33.2% of defensive Component 5 Player decisions, including 4.0% of Component 5 player decisions which are compiled on balls-in-play that are fielded by the pitcher. Excluding pitchers and catchers, infielders are allocated about 71.5% of Component 5 Player decisions involving them, while outfielders are allocated 65.4% of relevant Component 5 Player decisions.

The breakdown of Component 5 Player decisions by fielding position is as follows:3. Component 5 Player Decisions by Fielding Position

Position | 1921 - 2017 | Since 2000 |
---|---|---|

Pitcher | 5.6% | 4.8% |

Catcher | 1.0% | 0.8% |

First Base | 6.9% | 7.3% |

Second Base | 15.6% | 15.8% |

Third Base | 15.3% | 15.0% |

Shortstop | 18.2% | 17.1% |

Left Field | 12.5% | 12.8% |

Center Field | 12.4% | 13.0% |

Right Field | 12.4% | 13.3% |

For older years (typically, pre-1974), there is less information on the first fielder to field hits and, in some cases, there is even uncertainty on the fielder(s) involved in some outs on balls-in-play. These will lead to less reliable fielding records in general, although it is not clear to me that this would affect the distribution of fielding plays for those plays which can be identified.

Excluding pitchers and catchers, the numbers look like this:

Position | 1921 - 2017 | Since 2000 |
---|---|---|

First Base | 7.4% | 7.8% |

Second Base | 16.7% | 16.7% |

Third Base | 16.4% | 16.0% |

Shortstop | 19.5% | 18.1% |

Left Field | 13.4% | 13.6% |

Center Field | 13.3% | 13.8% |

Right Field | 13.3% | 14.1% |

Most of these results look reasonable: catchers handle very few balls in play (and most of those that they do handle require relatively little skill on the catcher's part), and middle infielders handle more plays than corner infielders. One result does strike me as a little bit curious: corner outfielders earn somewhat more Component 5 decisions than center fielders. This is explored elsewhere.

Component 5 leaders are shown here.