This is an extension of my “Enlighten Me!!” Post. Someone mentioned that they would rather have Cabrera or Ortiz than Dunn right now despite Dunn having a higher OPS. My question would be why? cause he has a higher BA? More RBI?


Cabrera has 45 RBI Dunn has 37. Cabrera’s OPS is .933 and Dunn’s is .963. Cabrera’s batting average is .333, Dunn’s is .247.

So why does Cabrera have 45 RBI and Dunn have only 37. Common sense says batting average. I think the real answer is in Dave Miley’s lineup.

Dunn has 116 ABS PAs with runners on base, Cabrera has 142. So in 26 more ABS PAs with runners on base Cabrera has 8 more RBI, despite almost 100 points in batting average.

Dunn and Cabrera are clearly producing at almost exactly the same rate, despite cabrera hitting 100 points better in BA. Dunn is slightly better, but not by much. Batting order account more for Dunn’s RBI total than his ability.

Ortiz has 141 PA with Runners on. He is also outhitting Dunn by about 50 points of batting average, yet trails Dunn .946/.963 in OPS.

So in 25 more PA, Ortiz has 20 more RBI. Clearly Ortiz has taken advantage of his opportunities, but he clearly gets more opportunities than Dunn does with Runners on.

Ortiz has been on base 112 times and scored 45. Cabrera has been on base 104 times and scored 45 times. Dunn has been on base 105 times and scored 46 times.

They are all essentially producing EXACTLY the same for their teams. The difference for Ortiz and Cabrera is their coach understands where the best hitter on the team belongs in the lineup.

8 Responses

  1. Pinski

    Would I rather have Cabrera than Dunn? Yes. Why nothing to do with production, but rather Cabrera makes 375k and Dunn makes 4.6 million and has 2 years on Dunn. That difference is enough to get another Wilson or Ortiz (oh wait we don’t really need another one or two of those).

  2. Matt

    I fixed my writing error above. They are all PAs not ABs. My bad.

    And no, you shouldn’t use RISP only. You should, use with Men ON Base. Which more clearly reflects RBI opportunities. If you take out Solo Home Runs (dunn 10, Cabrera 7) then you can see Dunn has fewer opportunities to knock in runners. You are still missing the point, that Cabrera’s higher batting average is STILL not giving him more RBI?

    Dunn is outhitting cabrera. And give Dunn 26 more PAs with Men on, he would have more RBI than Cabrera.

  3. Matt

    and OPS gives a slight edge to a hit over a walk, WHICH it is, a SLIGHT edge.

  4. Brian Erts

    Fun fact… The Reds with the most AB’s with the bases empty is Adam Dunn… who has 22 EBH and a .543 slg% in that situation.

    With bases empty is also the situation that Dunn is has his lowest OB% (for situation stats ) Which says he’s getting challenged more in that situation and hitting it hard when he connects.

  5. Pinski

    Fine lets say he is out-hitting Dunn. But production isn’t just about getting hits. The MOST IMPORTANT thing on offense is runs. So explain why Dunn who bats 5th (with the scrubs who bat behind him) score as many runs as he does?

    Lets look at Sean Casey and compare him to dunn. Hes the guy you were crowing about before – lots of singles and a couple doubles instead of lots of walks and HRs.
    Casey hits 355/413/849 with runners on.
    Dunn hits 246/496/1098 with runners on.
    Dunn has 8hrs and 27 RBI in 121 PAs.
    Casey has 1hr and 29 RBI in 122 PAs. Thats great they basically are producing the same. But what about when there is no one on? Thats important too.
    Casey 296/349/771
    Dunn 236/323/866
    So Dunn doens’t do as well as Casey, but he still has more RBI and runs in those kind of situations. Making him much more important, thus his OPS his higher.

  6. Matt

    If you throw out things like situational hitting and BA all together, you’ll start thinking That Adam Dunn is better than Ortiz and Edmonds, and on the same level as Tejada and Pujols, and just watch a game for pete’s sake. Do you really think that’s true?

    From a PURE hitter perspective, throwing out fielding and age, and salary, etc. Dunn is hitting AS good or better than Ortiz and Edmonds. Pujols and Tejada are both over 1.000 OPS, so right now they are both hitting better than Dunn. For his career Pujols is better than Dunn, but for his career Dunn is a much better hitter than Tejada.

    and bTW, I watch about every game, and I absolutely think Dunn is as good a hitter as Ortiz, Cabrera, and Edmonds.

    In fact I once saw a study that said .300/.350/.500 guy is LESS valuable than a .250/.350/.500 guy.
    The guy with the .250 batting average was hitting the ball harder yet less often which in the long run produced more runs.

  7. Brian Erts

    FWIW 21% of Felipes AB’s have been in slot 6 or lower, 81% of Dunns ab’ s have been in slot #5,

    In the #5 Slot Cincinnati leads all NL teams in OPS, slg%, OB%, HR’s, 3rd in RBI’s 1st in Runs, and 12th in Batting average.

  8. Mike

    I think OPS is a great stat to compare the productivity of a player, I’ll definitely agree that it’s the best stat, but it is not fool proof. That is my only problem with a lot of people who live by the stat. They automatically look at it and determine that if one player has a higher OPS than the next guy, then that determines that he is a better producer. Can you count on it more than BA? Yes, but too many times guys are looking at it to defend a guy that’s batting .240. Dunn is still the most productive player on this team, despite his low average, but it doesn’t mean he’s the guy you want up to bat over anyone else. There are times when BA should still be looked at. There are times when you need a hit, not a walk, not a HR, just a hit and in these cases I think you’ll find that guys with higher averages drive in more runs when given the same opportunities as a guy with a lower average who walks more. It doesn’t mean overall that they’ll be more productive, but it does go to show that all of these stats are useful in their own right.