Grand Slam: From BOP to BAM

Barry Codell's categories revealing the "Most Valuable Hitters" (MVH's) of 2007, as well as his "Batters Hall of Fame," begin with the B-BOP (Batting Base Out Percentage), an offshoot of 1977's original Base-Out Percentage. In the classic book, Insider's Baseball (Scribners, 1983), he portrayed the B-BOP as "calculating BOP just on the basis of batting." The simplicity and comprehensiveness of the formula is a welcome retreat from "faith based" sabermetrics. It exemplifies Codell's original theses: 1) reached bases are avoided outs, and 2) total bases are augmented reaches.

Batting Bases are comprised of total bases, walks and hit-by-pitches, enumerated in the numerator. At-bat outs (at bats minus hits) comprise the denominator. Consciously or not, each batter seeks to accumulate bases while avoiding outs. This is perfectly captured in the B-BOP, as well as Codell's early reminder that arithmetically, baseball would have done better to chronicle hits subtracted from at bats (to determine those crucial outs!) rather than hits divided by at bats (to figure that superfluous batting average!). The B-BOP formula, like all of his stats, remains the same to this day:

Batting BOP  =  
(TB + BB + HBP)
(AB - H)

The B-BOP gives a superior assessment of individual batting accomplishments, but it was literally a first base. Codell knew the area of team-scoring contribution needed to be addressed, and he did so resoundingly with his publishing of the groundbreaking Runs Tallied (RT) concept in 1990. RT, like its BOP predecessor, astounded with its "right before our eyes" quality: home runs are the only runs scored solo; all others are contributory, hence halving runs and RBI! By merely averaging Runs and RBI:

RT  =  
(R + RBI)

the individual scoring in any game added to more than 99% of team scoring and provided a deeper definition of baseball's proverbial .300 average when Codell showcased the scoring average, combining two inventions:

SCAV  =  
(AB - H)

Tallies per outs (Babe Ruth leading all at .397), like the BOP (bases per outs) had indeed helped supplant batting average in astute observers' minds, and a 100 Runs Tallied year became the barometer for scoring production.

After outs, bases and tallies, a fourth innovation created the "common ground" for the Most Valuable Hitters and Batters' Hall of Fame percentages. The translation from Tallies to Tallied Bases (RT x 4), combined with giving exactly equal weight to individual accomplishment and team contribution, by averaging with batting bases, naturally gave equal weight to actual and theoretical, creating what Codell calls the crucial "irreal number"--averaged bases! Averaged Bases, the mean between Batting Bases and Tallied Bases, ½ (BaBa and TaBa), account for all traditional offensive categories and leads to all the "upshots and offshoots" which will be revealed in the "Barry Code."

Codell was the first ever to track outs (his Base-Out Percentage Guide's depiction 30 years ago, calling Pete Rose "Baseball's Greatest Out-Maker" is still regarded as the classic "new statistic" breakthrough), and his subsequent use of this "most uncommon common denominator," fuels the compact computations of his charts. B-BOP, B-TOP (Bases Tallied per Out Percentage), and the resultant averaging of the two, the BAM (Batting Mean), follow each other perfectly when Batting Bases, Tallied Bases, and Averaged Bases take their places in the respective ratios' numerators. (And what, for example, do they say? The Babe, per 100 outs, accumulates 142 bases, tallied 158 bases, and averages 150 bases!)

The "dewy decimal system" this produces is the sure-fire way to rate both seasonal (as in 2007's MVH's) and career (The Batters' Hall of Fame) supremacy, always adhering to Codell's admonition to both players and fans to "seek more bases than outs!"

Note: See "Key to Formulae" Link.

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