plunks over replacement Craig
As you may have seen, a baseball stats guy named Keith Woolner who writes for Baseball Prospectus is credited with inventing a stat called VORP, which stands for Value Over Replacement Player. VORP is more or less a method of comparing players to an average player in a given season based on their "runs created" (which is a Bill James uberstat). It's a fun idea and no doubt a usefull tool, but as I see it, this is entirely too broad a calculation, and everyone would be better off if they just stuck to the most important stat, HBPs.
It's reasonable to consider which players are the most above average, or most valuable compared to the rest, but instead of looking at averages compared to given seasons, why not look at how a player stacks up against the career average for players with the same first name, regardless of when they played. After all, if you were actually running a big league club, wouldn't you be more worried about whether your manager can remember all the names of the players you're shuttling in and out of his clubhouse, and wouldn't it make everyone's life that much easier if you kept some of the names the same if you're going to be replacing players?
So, with that in mind, we can look at the long history of major leauge players named Craig and see who stacks up nicely against them. Through 2005, their were 33 major leaguers named Craig who had gotten at least 1 plate appearance. They were hit by an average of 14.3 times each. But through '05, Biggio had 273 plunks, which means he had 258.7 plunks over a replacement Craig. So his unfortunately acronymed PORC is 258.7. Since this stat might be entirely backward anyway, maybe it should be called CROP, which sounds a little better. But PORC can only go so far anyway, and really is only valid for players named Craig, so to compare all the great players in history, we'll need to compare each player to the average for their first initial, which I guess would be plunks over replacement (insert first initial here) - PORIFIH, or plunks over replacement with the same first name - PORWTSFN, which is almost as suitably ridiculous sounding as VORP, but much more difficult to pronounce. Or just "POR..." for short.
Top ten players by plunks over replacement with the same first name, through '05:
|Players with same first name|
With Biggio now at 281 plunks, it is unlikely that the average career plunks for players named Craig has risen enough for Don Baylor to keep the lead in this category.
As of the end of 2005, Kevin Youkilis, Kevin Cash, Chad Allen, and Javier Vazquez were the only active players with exactly as many HBPs as the average career total for players with their first name, without being the only player with that first name.