Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Allocation of Player Wins and Losses by Component

Player Wins and Losses are calculated using a nine-step process, each step of which assumes average performance in all subsequent steps. Each step of the process is associated with a Component of Player Wins and Losses (Player Decisions). These nine components are outlined briefly below. Each of these components is discussed in detail in a separate article. There are four basic positions from which a player can contribute toward his baseball team’s probability of winning: Batter, Baserunner, Pitcher, and Fielder. Player Decisions are allocated to each of these four positions, as appropriate, within each of the following nine Components.

Component 1: Basestealing
Player Decisions are assessed to baserunners, pitchers, and catchers for stolen bases, caught stealing, pickoffs, and balks.

Component 2: Wild Pitches and Passed Balls
Player Decisions are assessed to baserunners, pitchers, and catchers for wild pitches and passed balls.

Component 3: Balls not in Play
Player Decisions are assessed to batters and pitchers for plate appearances that do not involve the batter putting the ball in play: i.e., strikeouts, walks, and hit-by-pitches.

Component 4: Balls in Play
Player Decisions are assessed to batters and pitchers on balls that are put in play, including home runs, based on how and where the ball is hit.

Component 5: Hits versus Outs on Balls in Play
Player Decisions are assessed to batters, pitchers, and fielders on balls in play, based on whether they are converted into outs or not.

Component 6: Singles versus Doubles versus Triples
Player Decisions are assessed to batters, pitchers, and fielders on hits in play, on the basis of whether the hit becomes a single, a double, or a triple.

Component 7: Double Plays
Player Decisions are assessed to batters, baserunners, pitchers, and fielders on ground-ball outs in double-play situations, based on whether or not the batter grounds into a double play.
Component 8: Baserunner Outs
Player Decisions are assessed to batters, baserunners, and fielders on the basis of baserunner outs.

Component 9: Baserunner Advancements
Player Decisions are assessed to batters, baserunners, and fielders on the basis of how many bases, if any, baserunners advance on balls in play.

The distribution of Player Wins and Losses by Component varies across seasons and across leagues, depending on the exact distribution of plays. The average distribution of Player decisions by Component across all seasons of the Retrosheet Era (1921 - 2018 for now) is as follows.

Breakdowns of Player Game Points by Component: 1921 - 2018
Distribution of Player Decisions

Percent of Offensive/Defensive Component Decisions Allocated to Player Decisions
Percent of Total Batters Baserunners Pitchers Fielders
Component 1: Stolen Bases, etc.2.2%0.0%100.0%50.8%49.2%
Component 2: Wild Pitches, Passed Balls1.3%0.0%100.0%73.3%26.7%
Component 3: Balls Not in Play14.7%100.0%0.0%100.0%0.0%
Component 4: Balls in Play34.8%100.0%0.0%100.0%0.0%
Component 5: Hit vs. Out33.0%100.0%0.0%29.2%70.8%
Component 6: Single v. Double v. Triple3.5%100.0%0.0%27.4%72.6%
Component 7: Double Plays2.2%84.2%15.8%16.4%83.6%
Component 8: Baserunner Outs2.3%40.7%59.3%0.0%100.0%
Component 9: Baserunner Advancements6.0%46.6%53.4%0.0%100.0%
 
Total Offensive/Defensive Decisions91.6%8.4%62.5%37.5%
 
Total Player Decisions45.8%4.2%31.3%18.7%


Offensive Wins and Losses are divided between batters and baserunners. The batter/baserunner breakdown is approximately 92% batters, 8% baserunners. Defensive Wins and Losses are divided between pitchers and fielders. In general, pitchers are credited with just under two-thirds (64.4 percent) of total Defensive Wins and Losses, including their role in preventing or allowing stolen bases as well as pitcher fielding. Fielders other than pitchers account for the other 35.6 percent of Defensive Game Points.

The breakdown of Player decisions by component has changed somewhat over time. Results from the most recent decade, 2003 – 2013, are shown below.

Breakdowns of Player Game Points by Component: 2003 – 2013
Distribution of Player Decisions

Percent of Offensive/Defensive Component Decisions Allocated to Player Decisions
Percent of Total Batters Baserunners Pitchers Fielders
Component 1: Stolen Bases, etc.1.8%0.0%100.0%49.3%50.7%
Component 2: Wild Pitches, Passed Balls1.4%0.0%100.0%72.7%27.3%
Component 3: Balls Not in Play17.0%100.0%0.0%100.0%0.0%
Component 4: Balls in Play35.8%100.0%0.0%100.0%0.0%
Component 5: Hit vs. Out31.7%100.0%0.0%28.2%71.8%
Component 6: Single v. Double v. Triple3.1%100.0%0.0%27.9%72.1%
Component 7: Double Plays2.0%89.2%10.8%18.1%81.9%
Component 8: Baserunner Outs1.8%39.8%60.2%0.0%100.0%
Component 9: Baserunner Advancements5.4%44.6%55.4%0.0%100.0%
 
Total Offensive/Defensive Decisions92.5%7.5%64.9%35.1%
 
Total Player Decisions46.3%3.7%32.5%17.5%


On the offensive side, baserunning has become somewhat less important recently, falling to 7.5% of total offensive decisions. On the defensive side, strikeouts and walks (Component 3) are higher in recent years, which has reduced the importance of fielding to 17.5% of total Player decisions. Overall, though, the results are generally quite similar over the entire 60+ years of the “Retrosheet Era”.

Overall, the breakdown of batting / baserunning / pitching / and fielding (counting pitcher fielding as "pitching") is 45.8% / 4.2% / 32.2% / 17.8%. This creates a breakdown between pitchers (excluding pitcher hitting and baserunning, but including pitcher fielding) and non-pitchers of 32.2% v. 67.8%, or almost exactly 2-to-1 for position players vis-à-vis pitchers.

The breakdown of Fielding Player Wins and Losses (on balls in play) by Component by Fielding Position are summarized below.

Breakdown of Fielding Decisions by Position: 1921 - 2018



Percent of Component Decisions by Fielder
P C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF
Component 55.6%1.0%6.9%15.6%15.3%18.2%12.5%12.4%12.4%
Component 61.5%0.0%0.0%0.4%2.0%0.3%41.0%23.2%31.5%
Component 71.0%1.0%7.0%47.4%1.5%42.0%0.0%0.0%0.0%
Component 82.3%0.9%5.1%6.1%4.1%5.6%25.7%23.0%27.3%
Component 96.8%1.2%5.4%7.3%8.3%9.1%19.9%21.4%20.6%
 
Total Fielding5.1%1.0%6.1%14.2%11.8%15.8%15.9%14.7%15.4%
note: Pitcher numbers here represent only the "fielding" portion of the pitcher's credit, not the "pitching" portion of the credit.

Overall, outfielders accumulate just under 50% of Fielding Player decisions, excluding pitchers and catchers (46.1%). In contrast, Bill James’s Win Shares credit only 36% of non-catcher fielding Win Shares to outfielders. As such, my allocation of Player fielding decisions to outfielders may seem excessive. It is important to remember, however, that while Bill James’s fielding allocation is imposed, the fielding allocation here is derived from the actual results.

In 2006, for example, in games played in American League ballparks, 37.7% of all batting outs recorded by somebody other than the pitcher or catcher were recorded by outfielders. This is similar to Bill James’s Win Shares allocation (and is not terribly different from the 37.3% of Component 5 fielding decisions recorded by outfielders). Of all balls in play that were fielded by somebody other than the pitcher or catcher, however, outfielders were the first fielder to handle 53.5% of all such plays. This is reflected in my work by the large amount of Component 6, 8, and 9 Player decisions accumulated by outfielders. As such, I believe that the distribution of fielding games coming out of my work is reasonable.

Further, it is important to understand that I am not saying that outfield defense is therefore more valuable than infield defense. Outfielders accumulate more fielding wins but they also accumulate more fielding losses. An outstanding defensive outfielder may accumulate more value than a similarly outstanding defensive infielder but only to the extent that the outfielder would be expected to field more balls in play. An outfielder will not accumulate any more value than an infielder simply by virtue of his being an outfielder.

Each of the individual components of Player wins and losses are discussed in separate articles (all of which are linked above) along with several accompanying articles. All of these smaller articles (including this one) are combined into a single long-form article about the Components of Player Won-Lost records that can be found 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.

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