Most Dominating Jays Seasons By Position

Monday, October 17 2011 @ 10:10 PM EDT

Contributed by: John Northey

Just was thinking about how dominating Bautista has been these last two years and got to thinking about which Jay had the most dominating season (vs teammates) all time? What about by position?

First you have to find a method to measure dominance then you need to get it for the team and individual to figure out who had the highest percentage of the team total each year by position (using primary position, thus Bautista in 2010 and 2011 is a right fielder). There are an assortment of ways to do this, from simple RBI's (ugh) to WAR (but which version?). To make life easy I am not worrying about their defense, just offense. A simple method is good old Runs Created. Not the #1 method, but it is easy to calculate and run with the Lahman database and it is close enough for our purposes here. I'll be using the 2002 method since it is marginally more accurate and still works easily within the database.

So for reference the biggest RC seasons for a Jays team (thus the hardest to dominate) are 1999 (890) and 2000 (877) while the lowest are the strike years and 1978 (590) - thus easier to dominate. The highest RC seasons ever for an individual Jay are Carlos Delgado 2000 (161) and (149). Lowest score is sub-0 for Joe Cannon (1980) at -2.7 with another 124 also sub-0

On to the results...
Name Year Position Runs Created % of Team RC
Darrin Fletcher 2000 C 73 8.31%
Carlos Delgado 2000 1B 161 18.33%
Roberto Alomar 1991 2B 105 14.79%
Kelly Gruber 1990 3B 97 12.82%
Alfredo Griffin 1979 SS 77 12.88%
George Bell 1987 LF 119 14.41%
Devon White 1991 CF 101 14.25%
Jose Bautista 2011 RF 134 18.61%
Paul Molitor 1994 DH 95 16.98%
Roger Clemens 1997 P 1 0.16%

Now I'm sure more than one of you, much like I did, are going 'that cannot be right' in some cases. How can Alfredo Griffin make any positive offensive list? How can Devo win in CF over Moseby & Wells? Quite simply, this is comparing them to their teams and the 1979 Jays had a horrid offense (to put it mildly). Plus during the post-strike era up until recently offense has been so high it takes an extreme to make it (Delgado & Fletcher 2000) and Wells wasn't able to as he had Delgado or Bautista or a solid team offense to deal with. What this chart shows is why guys like Alfredo Griffin were loved back in the early 80's - he was a key part of the (pathetic) offense early on thus seen as better than he was.

For reference here are the peaks for runs created, regardless of team context.
Name Year Position Runs Created % of Team RC
Darrin Fletcher 2000 C 73 8.31%
Carlos Delgado 2000 1B 161 18.33%
Roberto Alomar 1993 2B 120 14.13%
Eric Hinske 2002 3B 98 12.72%
Tony Fernandez 1986 SS 100 12.67%
George Bell 1987 LF 119 14.41%
Vernon Wells 2003 CF 123 14.17%
Jose Bautista 2011 RF 134 18.61%
Paul Molitor 1993 DH 130 15.27%
Roger Clemens 1997 P 1.04 0.16%

Another item of note: just how weak 3B has been in Jays history. Never getting 100 RC out of that slot is surprising. Glaus & Rolen both were very solid, but couldn't reach it during their limited time here. Gruber had injury issues. Mulliniks/Iorg split time there for years. Sprague just wasn't that good and Hinske had just one good year. For those wondering, Brett Lawrie was on pace for 112 over 150 games (given how he plays I doubt he'll ever play much more than 150 in a season).

This also shows just how amazing Delgado was in 2000 - to outproduce at a level like that when the team was amazing offensively outside of him is a major achievement.

For those who are also curious about career figures I checked % of team offense for 100+ game seasons (ie: I didn't count Delgado's and Wells' cups of tea against them).
Name RC Seasons Av % Per Season
Paul Molitor 306 3 14.74%
Carlos Delgado 1,024 9 14.18%
Dave Winfield 105 1 13.69%
Roberto Alomar 486 5 13.52%
Fred McGriff 390 4 12.90%
John Mayberry 234 3 12.80%
Ron Fairly 73 1 12.06%
George Bell 651 7 12.00%
Shannon Stewart 491 5 11.86%
Joe Carter 582 7 11.69%
Vernon Wells 792 9 11.25%
Raul Mondesi 87 1 11.18%
John Olerud 571 7 11.15%
Devon White 396 5 11.04%
Roy Howell 202 3 11.03%
Tony Fernandez 691 8 10.90%
Jose Canseco 91 1 10.87%
Shawn Green 425 5 10.87%
Willie Upshaw 498 6 10.78%

Again, it shows why some players were viewed as better than they were - because the team around them, well, stunk. To be viewed as great you need to be a solid player and the weaker your teammates the better you will be viewed.

A final reminder - I am not saying Runs Created is the best method of measuring offense, just that it is useful for an exercise like this - to try to understand who the dominate players are in Jays history and why some guys were viewed as great who were not (such as Alfredo Griffin - I loved watching him as a kid, but know he wasn't really that good).