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Weighted Runs Batted In Efficiency

Imagine that throughout high school, teachers gave their favorite students easier tests than the rest of the class. Results would be clear: the majority of the favored students would come out with stronger scores. However, one would question if those strong scores would be a result of high intellect or because of an easy test. Contrarily, there would be other students who would still score well while given a difficult test. Now there’s an issue. If the teachers want to know which of the students know the material the best, how should they figure it out? They know that they can’t take the highest score, because they are aware that the scores are not an accurate representation due to the skewed tests. This is the situation in which the RBI has put the baseball world.

When the RBI was first documented as an official statistic in 1920, the wording of the definition in Rule 86, Section 8 of the Official Baseball Rules was “The number of runs batted in by each batsman.” Although this definition was slightly vague, its intention was to quantify which batter is the best at batting in runs. For years, this statistic has been praised. The RBI is always one of the first statistics to be mentioned while summarizing a player’s year and career. The RBI is even in the most prestigious hitting award, The Triple Crown. Despite its strong reputation, over the last few years it has become clear that the RBI doesn’t answer “Which batsman is the best at batting in runs?” The RBI only answers “Who has batted in the most runs?” Although that may seem like a small wording change, the two questions are tremendously different. Read the rest of this entry »