Bill James on the Brewers

Statistical guru Bill James published his 25th annual “Bill Hames Handbook” on Friday, including some new sections on hitter analysis, a no-hitter summary, and a compilation of home run robberies (Carlos Gomez, anyone?).

It includes another wrinkle that Brewers fans may be interested in. From a news release put out by ACTA Sports, the publisher of James’ books:

“One of the stats developed for the Handbook is called Manufactured Runs,” said Ben Jedlovec, a vice-president of Baseball Info Solutions, which produces the stats for the Handbook. “Many managers, coaches, and broadcasters will tell you that teams need to be able to move the runners over and manufacture runs to be successful. Get ‘em on, get ‘em over, get ‘em in. You can’t always wait for the long ball to score runs, so they say.”

Clearly, some teams do this better than others, the 2014 Handbook reveals. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have led the league in manufactured runs five times since 2002 and have finished out of the top four only once in that span. Though it’s odd that a team with Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mark Trumbo had to resort to manufacturing runs (178 last season), only the Texas Rangers manufactured more this year (201). The Rangers have led the league in manufactured runs three of the past four years, and they’ve gone to the World Series twice in that span. Individuals can’t manufacture runs on their own, of course; that’s the whole point. They can, however, play a role in manufacturing runs via bunts, stolen bases, and productive outs, among other things.

The Milwaukee Brewers were sixth in manufacturing runs in the major leagues last year, tied with the New York Mets at 158, and just behind the Kansas City Royals and ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. The worst team in baseball at manufacturing runs was the hapless Marlins of Miami, who could manage only 106 manufactured runs all last season. Three of the 40 best contributors to manufacturing runs in the Major Leagues — right fielder Norichika Aoki (with 27), shortstop Jean Segura (with 23), and center fielder Carlos Gomez (with 19) — played for the Brewers last season and were credited with contributing to a total of 69 manufactured runs. In comparison, shortstop Elvis Andrus and second baseman Ian Kinsler, the dynamic keystone duo of the Rangers, had 43 and 35 respectively — 78 between the two players.

Makes sense, considering the Brewers were forced to manufacture runs last season after losing so much of their power — Ryan Braun to suspension and Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart to injuries. Just another statistic to think about as we enter the offseason.

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