RBI Production - A New Look at an Old Stat

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RBI Production - A New Look at an Old Stat

People who take their baseball statistics seriously usually have little patience for the RBI. It often measures opportunity more than production and has been used by fans to prop up the reputations of some pretty mediocre hitters. The player that comes to mind first in this context is Joe Carter and for good reason. Here is a list of the worst hitters (ranked by OPS divided by league OPS) to knock in 100 runs:

Year Name               RBI   OPS  LOPS  OPS+
1997 Joe Carter         102  .683  .768  .889
1895 Lave Cross         101  .684  .761  .899
1993 Ruben Sierra       101  .678  .745  .910
1894 Lou Bierbauer      107  .743  .814  .913
1893 Farmer Vaughn      108  .703  .736  .955
1936 Marv Owen          105  .750  .784  .957
2000 Paul O'Neill       100  .760  .792  .960
2004 Tony Batista       110  .728  .756  .963
1996 Travis Fryman      100  .766  .795  .963
1990 Joe Carter         115  .681  .704  .967
1983 Tony Armas         107  .707  .728  .972
1929 H. Kelly           103  .760  .783  .972
1897 Kid Gleason        106  .722  .741  .975
1897 Billy Shindle      105  .723  .741  .976
1934 Ray Pepper         101  .732  .750  .977
1899 Herman Long        100  .697  .710  .982
1896 Heinie Reitz       106  .728  .741  .982
1996 Joe Carter         107  .782  .795  .983
1953 Ray Jablonski      112  .735  .747  .985
2000 Joe Randa          106  .781  .792  .986
 
Where: OPS  - the player's OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) that year
       LOPS - the league's OPS that year
       OPS+ - OPS / LOPS

Not only does Joe Carter top this list, but he is the only player listed more than once, holding down the 10th and 18th slots as well. If I had extended this list to the worst 200 seasons (out of the 1625 seasons with 100 or more RBIs), Joe Carter would have had seven entries on the list and no one else would have appeared more than three times. This combination, mediocre hitting and high RBI totals, have caused many people in the baseball research community to view Carter as a highly overrated player. But was he? How much of Carter's success was due to the hitters getting on base ahead of him and how much to his performance in RBI situations? My first attempt at answering this was to take his performance in 1990 (when he knocked in 115 runs with a .232 batting average) and break it down by each of the 24 game situations (with outs ranging from zero to two and men on base going from bases empty to full). I next tackled the age-old question: how many RBIs would Joe have had batting cleanup for the 1967 White Sox? Here's the inevitable chart leading up to my guess. On the left is the number of plate appearances Carter had in each of the 24 game situations and the number of RBIs he got in them. On the right, is the number of plate appearances the clean-up hitter for the 1967 White Sox had in the same situations:

        ------ Joe Carter ------      1967 CHI A
          Times Up       RBIs          Times Up
MenOn     0   1   2    0   1   2       0   1   2
  ---   154 101  81    5   2   3     208  83  84
  F--    31  46  53    3   8   7      29  38  54
  -S-     5  21  26    1   7   3      12  25  41
  FS-     8  28  29    1   5  11      11  16  13
  --T     4   4  15    1   0   6       3   8  24
  F-T     4  13  16    4   8   3       0   7   5
  -ST     3  15  15    4   7   3       2  10   1
  FST     4  10  11    3  14   6       1   1   7

Assuming Carter hit as well as each of the 24 situations (and we wouldn't want to detract from his clutch ability), our 1967 version would've produced 82 RBIs instead of 115. The surprising conclusion from all of this is that it's better having Roberto Alomar and Tony Gwynn hitting in front of you than Ken Berry and Tommy McCraw.

But what if we had replaced Carter in the San Diego lineup with someone else? How many runs would an average hitter had driven in while batting in the same situations as Carter? To determine this, I first figured out the average number of RBIs in each of the 24 game situations. Next, I calculated the number of times each hitter got up in these situations and, using the data from the first step, came up with the RBIs an average hitter would've ended up with. Finally, I subtracted his expected from actual RBIs to yield his RBI production. This method effectively levels the playing field--a lead-off hitter is no longer hurt by batting so frequently with the bases empty, and the expectations for a hitter like Carter, who got up over 240 times in 1990 with men in scoring position, would rise in accordance with his opportunities to drive in those extra runs.

To continue picking on Joe Carter, here's his breakdown, compared to the league average RBIs in each situation:

        ------ Joe Carter ------         1990 NL
          Times Up       RBIs         Average RBIs/AB
MenOn     0   1   2    0   1   2        0     1     2
  ---   148  96  77    5   2   3     .023  .020  .021
  F--    29  44  50    3   8   7     .061  .070  .067
  -S-     5  20  22    1   7   3     .130  .140  .169
  FS-     8  26  26    1   5  11     .220  .252  .242
  --T     4   4  15    1   0   6     .484  .492  .223
  F-T     4  13  16    4   8   3     .537  .579  .313
  -ST     3  15  15    4   7   3     .518  .505  .289
  FST     4  10  11    3  14   6     .733  .828  .503

Now, the left-hand side of this table is a little different than the my earlier one because, except for the bases-loaded case, I've removed walks and hit-by-pitches from the equation. My feeling is that I didn't want to penalize hitters with a good eye (or an elbow in the strike zone). I suppose some might disagree with this, but one criticism of RBIs is that it rewards players who swing at everything. One example: from 1995 to 1997, Barry Bonds walked 122 more times than Joe Carter with men in scoring position. Part of this was a huge disparity in intentional walks and in a lot of other cases Bonds' reputation caused pitchers to simply pitch around him. For years, Boston sportswriters criticized Ted Williams for not expanding his strike zone with men in scoring position. I tend to side with Ted on this one.

Back to the chart, an average hitter with 148 times up with no outs and none on would be expected drive in about three and a half runs. Carter drove in five. If you complete the table, you end up with an expected RBI total of 89. Subtracting this from the 115 runs he actually drove in, it turns out that he accounted for 26 MORE runs than an average player would've in the same situations. Frankly, this is not what I expected to find. I mean, this is a guy who hit .232 and, while he had some power, 24 home runs is not a tremendous amount for an outfielder. He hit somewhat better with men in scoring position, but a .267 batting average (with 7 home runs) doesn't seem to account for all those extra RBIs. In the 1991 Elias Baseball Analyst, they tried to explain this by noting the extra opportunities and concluding that "RBIs are not an equal opportunity statistic." But given the same opportunities, an average hitter would've had 26 fewer RBIs.

How did he do it? Here's how he hit with each of the eight combinations of men on base:

MenOn   AB   H  2B  3B  HR  SF RBI  ERBI
  ---  321  68  12   0  10   0  10   7.6
  F--  123  28   7   0   7   0  18   8.7
  -S-   47  11   2   0   1   0  11   8.6
  FS-   60  14   3   0   2   0  17  15.7
  --T   18   5   0   0   2   0   7   5.9
  F-T   26   8   0   1   0   4  15  14.8
  -ST   18   6   2   0   0   2  14  11.0
  FST   21   7   1   0   2   2  23  16.7

A single isn't going to do much for your RBI totals with a man on first. In those situations, Carter produced 9.3 more RBIs than expected, despite a .228 batting average, by hitting a lot of doubles and home runs. He exceeded expectations nearly as much with the bases loaded, courtesy of two grand-slams and a batting average over .300. It's not too hard to see why Elias missed this: the first situation was lumped with the bases-empty case, while the 22 at-bats with the bases loaded were too few to noticeably raise his average with men in scoring position.

One other thing that helped was the performance of his runners on base. In 1990, a runner typically scored from second on 60.9% of singles. Joe Carter hit 25 singles that year with a man on second. The runner scored 23 times, or 8 more than you'd expect. This might be due to the speed of the runners ahead of him (Bip Roberts, Roberto Alomar and Tony Gwynn), the type of singles Joe Carter hit (or more to the point, how deep the outfielders played when he was at the plate), or the luck of the draw.

Finally, one of the reason why people viewed Joe Carter as a mediocre hitter was his low on-base percentage, which was primarily due to his low walk totals. An inability to walk, however, does not prevent you from driving in runs. As mentioned above, we try not to penalize batters who drew a lot of walks by ignoring all but bases loaded walks from our study, but at the same time we do not in any way penalize batters who seldom walk.

Here are the top marks in RBI production from 1960 to 2004Note 1:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO
Barry Bonds       2001 SF  N   137  52.3  84.7
Mark McGwire      1998 STL N   147  65.6  81.4
Sammy Sosa        1998 CHI N   158  78.1  79.9
Mark McGwire      1999 STL N   147  68.7  78.3
Roger Maris       1961 NY  A   141  67.2  73.8
Harmon Killebrew  1969 MIN A   140  67.7  72.3
Sammy Sosa        2001 CHI N   160  88.4  71.6
Jim Gentile       1961 BAL A   141  72.0  69.0
Andres Galarraga  1996 COL N   150  81.9  68.1
Willie Stargell   1971 PIT N   125  59.0  66.0
Carl Yastrzemski  1967 BOS A   121  55.2  65.8
Billy Williams    1972 CHI N   122  56.4  65.6
Barry Bonds       2002 SF  N   110  44.4  65.6
Mickey Mantle     1961 NY  A   128  63.3  64.7
Willie Mays       1962 SF  N   141  76.4  64.6
Willie McCovey    1969 SF  N   126  61.7  64.3
Luis Gonzalez     2001 ARI N   142  77.9  64.1
Ken Griffey       1997 SEA A   147  83.0  64.0
Jason Giambi      2000 OAK A   137  73.4  63.6
Orlando Cepeda    1961 SF  N   142  78.9  63.1
 
Where: ERBI - expected RBIs
       RPRO - RBIs minus expected RBIs

I thought it was odd that four of the top 20 marks were from 1961.

And the worst marks:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO
Mike Caruso       1999 CHI A    35  72.9 -37.9
David Eckstein    2004 ANA A    35  72.7 -37.7
Luis Castillo     2000 FLA N    17  53.1 -36.1
Darren Lewis      1999 BOS A    40  74.1 -34.1
Joey Cora         1998 SEA-CLE  32  65.8 -33.8
Omar Vizquel      1993 SEA A    31  64.0 -33.0
Gary Disarcina    1997 ANA A    47  79.9 -32.9
Sonny Jackson     1966 HOU N    25  57.8 -32.8
Felix Fermin      1989 CLE A    21  53.7 -32.7
Cristian Guzman   1999 MIN A    26  58.5 -32.5
Gary Pettis       1987 CAL A    17  49.2 -32.2
Rey Sanchez       2000 KC  A    38  70.1 -32.1
Brian Hunter      1999 DET-SEA  34  65.6 -31.6
Ryan Freel        2004 CIN N    28  59.4 -31.4
Tony Womack       1998 PIT N    45  76.2 -31.2
Enzo Hernandez    1971 SD  N    11  42.0 -31.0
Tom Goodwin       1996 KC  A    35  65.6 -30.6
Harold Reynolds   1987 SEA A    35  65.5 -30.5
Brian Hunter      1997 DET A    45  75.1 -30.1
Larry Bowa        1977 PHI N    41  71.0 -30.0

The league leaders from 1960 to 2004:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO
Roger Maris       1960 NY  A   112  64.1  47.9
Roger Maris       1961 NY  A   141  67.2  73.8
Harmon Killebrew  1962 MIN A   126  68.4  57.6
Al Kaline         1963 DET A   101  59.1  41.9
Mickey Mantle     1964 NY  A   111  58.2  52.8
Willie Horton     1965 DET A   104  61.9  42.1
Frank Robinson    1966 BAL A   122  63.3  58.7
Carl Yastrzemski  1967 BOS A   121  55.2  65.8
Frank Howard      1968 WAS A   106  59.9  46.1
Harmon Killebrew  1969 MIN A   140  67.7  72.3
Frank Howard      1970 WAS A   126  66.1  59.9
Harmon Killebrew  1971 MIN A   119  72.2  46.8
Dick Allen        1972 CHI A   113  52.0  61.0
Reggie Jackson    1973 OAK A   117  72.9  44.1
Jeff Burroughs    1974 TEX A   118  71.0  47.0
George Scott      1975 MIL A   109  65.0  44.0
Lee May           1976 BAL A   108  66.6  41.4
Reggie Jackson    1977 NY  A   110  67.8  42.2
Jim Rice          1978 BOS A   139  76.6  62.4
Fred Lynn         1979 BOS A   122  65.9  56.1
George Brett      1980 KC  A   118  61.7  56.3
Eddie Murray      1981 BAL A    78  50.3  27.7
Hal McRae         1982 KC  A   133  79.1  53.9
Jim Rice          1983 BOS A   126  85.6  40.4
Dave Kingman      1984 OAK A   118  75.1  42.9
Don Mattingly     1985 NY  A   145  93.0  52.0
Jose Canseco      1986 OAK A   117  79.7  37.3
George Bell       1987 TOR A   134  89.1  44.9
Jose Canseco      1988 OAK A   124  77.9  46.1
Ruben Sierra      1989 TEX A   119  82.8  36.2
Cecil Fielder     1990 DET A   132  79.4  52.6
Cecil Fielder     1991 DET A   133  83.6  49.4
Mark McGwire      1992 OAK A   104  54.4  49.6
Frank Thomas      1993 CHI A   128  76.8  51.2
Frank Thomas      1994 CHI A   101  60.9  40.1
Albert Belle      1995 CLE A   126  76.3  49.7
Albert Belle      1996 CLE A   148  92.7  55.3
Ken Griffey       1997 SEA A   147  83.0  64.0
Albert Belle      1998 CHI A   152  91.6  60.4
Rafael Palmeiro   1999 TEX A   148  85.1  62.9
Jason Giambi      2000 OAK A   137  73.4  63.6
Jim Thome         2001 CLE A   124  71.7  52.3
Alex Rodriguez    2002 TEX A   142  80.3  61.7
Carlos Delgado    2003 TOR A   145  86.4  58.6
David Ortiz       2004 BOS A   139  90.3  48.7
Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO
Eddie Mathews     1960 MIL N   115  63.2  51.8
Orlando Cepeda    1961 SF  N   142  78.9  63.1
Willie Mays       1962 SF  N   141  76.4  64.6
Hank Aaron        1963 MIL N   115  58.1  56.9
Willie Mays       1964 SF  N   111  55.0  56.0
Willie Mays       1965 SF  N   112  56.7  55.3
Willie Mays       1966 SF  N   103  53.2  49.8
Hank Aaron        1967 ATL N   105  51.2  53.8
Willie McCovey    1968 SF  N   105  58.9  46.1
Willie McCovey    1969 SF  N   126  61.7  64.3
Johnny Bench      1970 CIN N   148  87.1  60.9
Willie Stargell   1971 PIT N   125  59.0  66.0
Billy Williams    1972 CHI N   122  56.4  65.6
Willie Stargell   1973 PIT N   119  57.2  61.8
Mike Schmidt      1974 PHI N   116  67.0  49.0
Willie Stargell   1975 PIT N    90  49.3  40.7
Joe Morgan        1976 CIN N   111  64.3  46.7
George Foster     1977 CIN N   149  93.1  55.9
Dave Parker       1978 PIT N   117  62.2  54.8
Dave Winfield     1979 SD  N   118  66.8  51.2
Mike Schmidt      1980 PHI N   121  68.6  52.4
Mike Schmidt      1981 PHI N    91  47.8  43.2
Dale Murphy       1982 ATL N   109  73.3  35.7
Dale Murphy       1983 ATL N   121  69.1  51.9
Mike Schmidt      1984 PHI N   106  68.5  37.5
Dave Parker       1985 CIN N   125  80.5  44.5
Mike Schmidt      1986 PHI N   119  68.2  50.8
Andre Dawson      1987 CHI N   137  81.4  55.6
D. Strawberry     1988 NY  N   101  61.2  39.8
Kevin Mitchell    1989 SF  N   125  66.9  58.1
Barry Bonds       1990 PIT N   114  64.8  49.2
Will Clark        1991 SF  N   116  63.0  53.0
Darren Daulton    1992 PHI N   109  58.7  50.3
Barry Bonds       1993 SF  N   123  61.5  61.5
Jeff Bagwell      1994 HOU N   116  61.5  54.5
Dante Bichette    1995 COL N   128  76.8  51.2
Andres Galarraga  1996 COL N   150  81.9  68.1
Jeff Bagwell      1997 HOU N   135  79.4  55.6
Mark McGwire      1998 STL N   147  65.6  81.4
Mark McGwire      1999 STL N   147  68.7  78.3
Todd Helton       2000 COL N   147  88.6  58.4
Barry Bonds       2001 SF  N   137  52.3  84.7
Barry Bonds       2002 SF  N   110  44.4  65.6
Albert Pujols     2003 STL N   124  69.8  54.2
Barry Bonds       2004 SF  N   101  41.7  59.3

The highest RBI Production value from 1960 to 2004 was Barry Bond's 84.7 in 2001. In the past few years, Bonds has had amazingly few RBI opportunities, since he is walked often with men on base. Here is the chart again showing how Joe Carter hit with men on base:

MenOn   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  SF  RBI  ERBI
  ---  321   68  12   0  10   0   10   7.6
  F--  123   28   7   0   7   0   18   8.7
  -S-   47   11   2   0   1   0   11   8.6
  FS-   60   14   3   0   2   0   17  15.7
  --T   18    5   0   0   2   0    7   5.9
  F-T   26    8   0   1   0   4   15  14.8
  -ST   18    6   2   0   0   2   14  11.0
  FST   21    7   1   0   2   2   23  16.7

The same chart for Bonds in 2001:

MenOn   AB    H  2B  3B  HR  SF  RBI  ERBI
  ---  278   82  12   2  46   0   46   9.7
  F--  109   40   9   0  14   0   32  10.1
  -S-   27   12   5   0   4   0   13   5.2
  FS-   31   10   2   0   3   0   16   8.4
  --T   11    4   0   0   3   1   10   6.7
  F-T   12    3   1   0   1   0    5   5.9
  -ST    2    1   1   0   0   0    2   1.5
  FST    6    4   2   0   2   1   13   4.9

Because of all his walks, Bonds got up much less in all situations, but he got up far less frequently in RBI opportunities. Carter got up 198 times with men in scoring position. Bonds managed to knock in 137 runs in 2001, despite getting up only 91 times with men in scoring position. If Bonds had had the same opportunities as Joe Carter, and had performed at the same level in those additional opportunities, Barry Bonds would have driven in 233 runs that year.

This got me to wondering who had the highest expected RBI total from 1960 to 2004.

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO
Miguel Tejada     2004 BAL A   150 114.3  35.7
Mike Sweeney      2000 KC  A   144 113.9  30.1
Paul Molitor      1996 MIN A   113 111.6   1.4
Bret Boone        2001 SEA A   141 111.3  29.7
Derek Bell        1996 HOU N   113 107.8   5.2
Manny Ramirez     1999 CLE A   165 104.1  60.9
Carlos Delgado    1999 TOR A   134 104.1  29.9
Dean Palmer       1998 KC  A   119 103.9  15.1
Jay Buhner        1996 SEA A   138 103.2  34.8
Jim Rice          1986 BOS A   110 102.1   7.9

It's probably not too surprising that most of these are from the last ten years.

The league trailers each year from 1960 to 2004:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO
Ken Hamlin        1960 KC  A    24  50.0 -26.0
Nellie Fox        1961 CHI A    51  76.2 -25.2
Luis Aparicio     1962 CHI A    40  66.8 -26.8
Nellie Fox        1963 CHI A    42  66.9 -24.9
Billy Moran       1964 LAA-CLE  21  39.4 -18.4
Dick Howser       1965 CLE A     6  22.9 -16.9
Zoilo Versalles   1966 MIN A    36  53.5 -17.5
Ruben Amaro       1967 NY  A    17  37.1 -20.1
Mark Belanger     1968 BAL A    21  47.4 -26.4
Bert Campaneris   1969 OAK A    25  48.7 -23.7
Horace Clarke     1970 NY  A    46  70.0 -24.0
Ed Brinkman       1971 DET A    37  57.0 -20.0
Rick Auerbach     1972 MIL A    30  49.1 -19.1
Mark Belanger     1973 BAL A    27  54.3 -27.3
Dave Chalk        1974 CAL A    31  55.6 -24.6
Paul Blair        1975 BAL A    31  53.7 -22.7
Bob Randall       1976 MIN A    34  55.8 -21.8
Bert Campaneris   1977 TEX A    46  70.6 -24.6
Julio Cruz        1978 SEA A    25  48.6 -23.6
Alfredo Griffin   1979 TOR A    31  60.6 -29.6
Rick Burleson     1980 BOS A    51  73.5 -22.5
John Wathan       1981 KC  A    19  35.3 -16.3
Larry Milbourne   1982 3 Teams  26  48.6 -22.6
Rick Manning      1983 CLE-MIL  43  69.0 -26.0
Jackie Gutierrez  1984 BOS A    29  56.5 -27.5
Jack Perconte     1985 SEA A    23  51.9 -28.9
Spike Owen        1986 SEA-BOS  45  71.2 -26.2
Gary Pettis       1987 CAL A    17  49.2 -32.2
Ozzie Guillen     1988 CHI A    39  62.0 -23.0
Felix Fermin      1989 CLE A    21  53.7 -32.7
Pete O'Brien      1990 SEA A    27  50.4 -23.4
Luis Sojo         1991 CAL A    20  46.6 -26.6
Omar Vizquel      1992 SEA A    21  45.9 -24.9
Omar Vizquel      1993 SEA A    31  64.0 -33.0
Mark McLemore     1994 BAL A    29  52.7 -23.7
Otis Nixon        1995 TEX A    45  72.2 -27.2
Tom Goodwin       1996 KC  A    35  65.6 -30.6
Gary Disarcina    1997 ANA A    47  79.9 -32.9
Joey Cora         1998 SEA-CLE  32  65.8 -33.8
Mike Caruso       1999 CHI A    35  72.9 -37.9
Rey Sanchez       2000 KC  A    38  70.1 -32.1
David Eckstein    2001 ANA A    41  69.8 -28.8
Neifi Perez       2002 KC  A    37  63.4 -26.4
Luis Rivas        2003 MIN A    43  67.3 -24.3
David Eckstein    2004 ANA A    35  72.7 -37.7
Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO
Julian Javier     1960 STL N    21  45.3 -24.3
Maury Wills       1961 LA  N    31  57.1 -26.1
Julian Javier     1962 STL N    39  66.0 -27.0
Julian Javier     1963 STL N    46  66.3 -20.3
Maury Wills       1964 LA  N    34  53.2 -19.2
Glenn Beckert     1965 CHI N    29  52.1 -23.1
Sonny Jackson     1966 HOU N    25  57.8 -32.8
Sonny Jackson     1967 HOU N    24  43.7 -19.7
Hal Lanier        1968 SF  N    27  49.0 -22.0
Hal Lanier        1969 SF  N    35  57.2 -22.2
Glenn Beckert     1970 CHI N    36  63.5 -27.5
Enzo Hernandez    1971 SD  N    11  42.0 -31.0
Marty Perez       1972 ATL N    28  50.5 -22.5
Felix Millan      1973 NY  N    37  65.6 -28.6
Larry Bowa        1974 PHI N    36  65.8 -29.8
Tim Foli          1975 MON N    29  54.5 -25.5
Frank Taveras     1976 PIT N    24  45.0 -21.0
Larry Bowa        1977 PHI N    41  71.0 -30.0
Ivan DeJesus      1978 CHI N    35  61.5 -26.5
Larry Bowa        1979 PHI N    31  59.0 -28.0
Ozzie Smith       1980 SD  N    35  62.3 -27.3
Ozzie Smith       1981 SD  N    21  37.1 -16.1
Ozzie Smith       1982 STL N    43  64.1 -21.1
Doug Flynn        1983 MON N    26  53.3 -27.3
Doug Flynn        1984 MON N    17  36.8 -19.8
Rafael Santana    1985 NY  N    29  56.5 -27.5
Vince Coleman     1986 STL N    29  56.1 -27.1
Vince Coleman     1987 STL N    43  65.6 -22.6
Willie McGee      1988 STL N    50  67.5 -17.5
Vince Coleman     1989 STL N    28  50.6 -22.6
Jose Uribe        1990 SF  N    24  46.0 -22.0
Brett Butler      1991 LA  N    38  54.7 -16.7
Brett Butler      1992 LA  N    39  58.3 -19.3
Otis Nixon        1993 ATL N    24  50.0 -26.0
Darren Lewis      1994 SF  N    29  49.1 -20.1
Kevin Stocker     1995 PHI N    32  56.5 -24.5
Rey Ordonez       1996 NY  N    30  57.3 -27.3
Edgar Renteria    1997 FLA N    52  73.3 -21.3
Tony Womack       1998 PIT N    45  76.2 -31.2
Tony Womack       1999 ARI N    41  70.5 -29.5
Luis Castillo     2000 FLA N    17  53.1 -36.1
Placido Polanco   2001 STL N    38  62.7 -24.7
Doug Glanville    2002 PHI N    29  52.0 -23.0
Cesar Izturis     2003 LA  N    40  66.1 -26.1
Ryan Freel        2004 CIN N    28  59.4 -31.4

One of the things that struck me about the leaders above was the presence of several members of the Colorado Rockies. So it seems that a park factor is in order here. I used the same three-year averaged park factor that I used in my article on the Value Added method. At the same time I decided to take into account the level of offense in each league when comparing across eras. With an assist from Ralph Caola, I decided to divide each player's park adjusted RBI Production by the average number of runs scored in the league that season to determine his RBI Production "Wins" that season. Note 2 The top seasons after this adjustment:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO ParkF  ER/P  RP/P  RPRW
Barry Bonds       2001 SF  N   137  52.3  84.7  .926  48.4  88.6   9.4
Mark McGwire      1998 STL N   147  65.6  81.4  .990  64.9  82.1   8.9
Harmon Killebrew  1969 MIN A   140  67.7  72.3 1.034  70.0  70.0   8.5
Dick Allen        1972 CHI A   113  52.0  61.0 1.037  53.8  59.2   8.5
Roger Maris       1961 NY  A   141  67.2  73.8  .949  63.8  77.2   8.4
Sammy Sosa        1998 CHI N   158  78.1  79.9 1.037  81.0  77.0   8.4
Willie Stargell   1971 PIT N   125  59.0  66.0 1.021  60.2  64.8   8.3
Willie McCovey    1969 SF  N   126  61.7  64.3  .989  61.0  65.0   8.0
Carl Yastrzemski  1967 BOS A   121  55.2  65.8 1.117  61.7  59.3   8.0
Mark McGwire      1999 STL N   147  68.7  78.3  .985  67.7  79.3   7.9
Sammy Sosa        2001 CHI N   160  88.4  71.6  .967  85.5  74.5   7.9
Jim Gentile       1961 BAL A   141  72.0  69.0  .972  70.0  71.0   7.8
Billy Williams    1972 CHI N   122  56.4  65.6 1.109  62.5  59.5   7.7
Willie Stargell   1973 PIT N   119  57.2  61.8  .966  55.2  63.8   7.7
Frank Robinson    1966 BAL A   122  63.3  58.7  .992  62.8  59.2   7.6
Kevin Mitchell    1989 SF  N   125  66.9  58.1  .972  65.0  60.0   7.6
Frank Howard      1970 WAS A   126  66.1  59.9  .960  63.4  62.6   7.5
Barry Bonds       2002 SF  N   110  44.4  65.6  .970  43.1  66.9   7.5
Hank Aaron        1963 MIL N   115  58.1  56.9 1.000  58.1  56.9   7.4
Mickey Mantle     1961 NY  A   128  63.3  64.7  .963  61.0  67.0   7.3
 
Where: ParkF - park factor
       ER/P  - expected runs adjusted for park factor
       RP/P  - RBI production adjusted for park factor
       RPRW  - RBI production wins
 

The worst seasons:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO ParkF  ER/P  RP/P  RPRW
Neifi Perez       2000 COL N    71  90.6 -19.6 1.291 117.0 -46.0  -4.6
Neifi Perez       1998 COL N    59  79.6 -20.6 1.250  99.5 -40.5  -4.4
Walt Weiss        1995 COL N    25  48.5 -23.5 1.333  64.7 -39.7  -4.3
Ivan DeJesus      1978 CHI N    35  61.5 -26.5 1.128  69.4 -34.4  -4.3
Walt Weiss        1996 COL N    48  66.2 -18.2 1.289  85.4 -37.4  -4.0
Larry Bowa        1974 PHI N    36  65.8 -29.8 1.050  69.1 -33.1  -4.0
Felix Fermin      1989 CLE A    21  53.7 -32.7 1.019  54.7 -33.7  -3.9
Mark Belanger     1968 BAL A    21  47.4 -26.4 1.003  47.5 -26.5  -3.9
Glenn Beckert     1970 CHI N    36  63.5 -27.5 1.129  71.7 -35.7  -3.9
Larry Bowa        1971 PHI N    25  53.3 -28.3 1.026  54.7 -29.7  -3.8
Joey Cora         1998 SEA-CLE  32  65.8 -33.8 1.053  69.2 -37.2  -3.7
Enzo Hernandez    1971 SD  N    11  42.0 -31.0  .955  40.1 -29.1  -3.7
Larry Bowa        1977 PHI N    41  71.0 -30.0 1.039  73.8 -32.8  -3.7
Julian Javier     1962 STL N    39  66.0 -27.0 1.105  72.9 -33.9  -3.7
Mike Caruso       1999 CHI A    35  72.9 -37.9 1.012  73.8 -38.8  -3.6
Neifi Perez       2002 KC  A    37  63.4 -26.4 1.132  71.8 -34.8  -3.6
Sonny Jackson     1966 HOU N    25  57.8 -32.8  .947  54.8 -29.8  -3.6
David Eckstein    2004 ANA A    35  72.7 -37.7  .972  70.6 -35.6  -3.5
Omar Vizquel      1993 SEA A    31  64.0 -33.0 1.008  64.6 -33.6  -3.5
Tony Womack       1998 PIT N    45  76.2 -31.2 1.016  77.4 -32.4  -3.5

The league leaders:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO ParkF  ER/P  RP/P  RPRW
Roger Maris       1960 NY  A   112  64.1  47.9 0.932  59.7  52.3   5.9
Roger Maris       1961 NY  A   141  67.2  73.8 0.949  63.8  77.2   8.4
Harmon Killebrew  1962 MIN A   126  68.4  57.6 1.035  70.7  55.3   6.2
Al Kaline         1963 DET A   101  59.1  41.9 1.042  61.6  39.4   4.8
Mickey Mantle     1964 NY  A   111  58.2  52.8 1.010  58.8  52.2   6.4
Willie Horton     1965 DET A   104  61.9  42.1 1.026  63.5  40.5   5.1
Frank Robinson    1966 BAL A   122  63.3  58.7 0.992  62.8  59.2   7.6
Carl Yastrzemski  1967 BOS A   121  55.2  65.8 1.117  61.7  59.3   8.0
Frank Howard      1968 WAS A   106  59.9  46.1 0.967  57.9  48.1   7.0
Harmon Killebrew  1969 MIN A   140  67.7  72.3 1.034  70.0  70.0   8.5
Frank Howard      1970 WAS A   126  66.1  59.9 0.960  63.4  62.6   7.5
Harmon Killebrew  1971 MIN A   119  72.2  46.8 1.029  74.3  44.7   5.7
Dick Allen        1972 CHI A   113  52.0  61.0 1.037  53.8  59.2   8.5
Reggie Jackson    1973 OAK A   117  72.9  44.1 0.933  68.0  49.0   5.7
Jeff Burroughs    1974 TEX A   118  71.0  47.0 0.981  69.6  48.4   5.9
George Scott      1975 MIL A   109  65.0  44.0 1.013  65.9  43.1   5.0
Lee May           1976 BAL A   108  66.6  41.4 0.945  62.9  45.1   5.6
Reggie Jackson    1977 NY  A   110  67.8  42.2 0.985  66.8  43.2   4.7
Jim Rice          1978 BOS A   139  76.6  62.4 1.107  84.8  54.2   6.4
Fred Lynn         1979 BOS A   122  65.9  56.1 1.072  70.6  51.4   5.4
George Brett      1980 KC  A   118  61.7  56.3 0.997  61.5  56.5   6.3
Tony Armas        1981 OAK A    76  48.7  27.3 0.951  46.3  29.7   3.6
Hal McRae         1982 KC  A   133  79.1  53.9 1.004  79.4  53.6   6.0
Cecil Cooper      1983 MIL A   126  91.8  34.2 0.931  85.5  40.5   4.5
Dave Kingman      1984 OAK A   118  75.1  42.9 0.930  69.9  48.1   5.4
Don Mattingly     1985 NY  A   145  93.0  52.0 0.974  90.5  54.5   5.9
Jose Canseco      1986 OAK A   117  79.7  37.3 0.930  74.1  42.9   4.6
Mark McGwire      1987 OAK A   118  76.7  41.3 0.927  71.1  46.9   4.7
Jose Canseco      1988 OAK A   124  77.9  46.1 0.963  75.0  49.0   5.6
Bo Jackson        1989 KC  A   105  70.4  34.6 0.982  69.1  35.9   4.1
Cecil Fielder     1990 DET A   132  79.4  52.6 1.025  81.4  50.6   5.8
Jose Canseco      1991 OAK A   122  76.7  45.3 0.940  72.1  49.9   5.6
Mark McGwire      1992 OAK A   104  54.4  49.6 0.961  52.3  51.7   6.0
Frank Thomas      1993 CHI A   128  76.8  51.2 0.986  75.7  52.3   5.5
Frank Thomas      1994 CHI A   101  60.9  40.1 0.981  59.8  41.2   3.9
Albert Belle      1995 CLE A   126  76.3  49.7 0.987  75.3  50.7   4.9
Albert Belle      1996 CLE A   148  92.7  55.3 0.996  92.4  55.6   5.1
Ken Griffey       1997 SEA A   147  83.0  64.0 1.001  83.1  63.9   6.4
Albert Belle      1998 CHI A   152  91.6  60.4 1.002  91.8  60.2   5.9
Rafael Palmeiro   1999 TEX A   148  85.1  62.9 1.055  89.8  58.2   5.5
Jason Giambi      2000 OAK A   137  73.4  63.6 0.975  71.5  65.5   6.1
Jason Giambi      2001 OAK A   120  70.3  49.7 0.990  69.6  50.4   5.1
Alex Rodriguez    2002 TEX A   142  80.3  61.7 1.091  87.6  54.4   5.6
Carlos Delgado    2003 TOR A   145  86.4  58.6 1.036  89.5  55.5   5.7
David Ortiz       2004 BOS A   139  90.3  48.7 1.080  97.6  41.4   4.1
Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO ParkF  ER/P  RP/P  RPRW
Eddie Mathews     1960 MIL N   115  63.2  51.8 0.925  58.4  56.6   6.7
Orlando Cepeda    1961 SF  N   142  78.9  63.1 0.981  77.4  64.6   7.1
Willie Mays       1962 SF  N   141  76.4  64.6 0.989  75.5  65.5   7.2
Hank Aaron        1963 MIL N   115  58.1  56.9 1.000  58.1  56.9   7.4
Willie Mays       1964 SF  N   111  55.0  56.0 1.008  55.4  55.6   6.9
Willie Mays       1965 SF  N   112  56.7  55.3 1.049  59.5  52.5   6.5
Willie Mays       1966 SF  N   103  53.2  49.8 1.020  54.3  48.7   5.9
Hank Aaron        1967 ATL N   105  51.2  53.8 1.015  52.0  53.0   6.9
Willie McCovey    1968 SF  N   105  58.9  46.1 0.995  58.6  46.4   6.8
Willie McCovey    1969 SF  N   126  61.7  64.3 0.989  61.0  65.0   8.0
Johnny Bench      1970 CIN N   148  87.1  60.9 1.004  87.5  60.5   6.7
Willie Stargell   1971 PIT N   125  59.0  66.0 1.021  60.2  64.8   8.3
Billy Williams    1972 CHI N   122  56.4  65.6 1.109  62.5  59.5   7.7
Willie Stargell   1973 PIT N   119  57.2  61.8 0.966  55.2  63.8   7.7
Johnny Bench      1974 CIN N   129  84.7  44.3 0.980  83.0  46.0   5.5
Willie Stargell   1975 PIT N    90  49.3  40.7 0.991  48.9  41.1   5.0
Joe Morgan        1976 CIN N   111  64.3  46.7 1.031  66.3  44.7   5.6
George Foster     1977 CIN N   149  93.1  55.9 1.021  95.0  54.0   6.1
Dave Parker       1978 PIT N   117  62.2  54.8 1.058  65.9  51.1   6.4
Dave Winfield     1979 SD  N   118  66.8  51.2 0.938  62.6  55.4   6.5
Mike Schmidt      1980 PHI N   121  68.6  52.4 1.069  73.4  47.6   5.9
Mike Schmidt      1981 PHI N    91  47.8  43.2 1.076  51.4  39.6   5.1
Jack Clark        1982 SF  N   103  70.6  32.4 0.976  68.9  34.1   4.2
Dale Murphy       1983 ATL N   121  69.1  51.9 1.069  73.9  47.1   5.7
Gary Carter       1984 MON N   106  72.6  33.4 0.947  68.7  37.3   4.6
Dave Parker       1985 CIN N   125  80.5  44.5 1.049  84.4  40.6   5.0
Mike Schmidt      1986 PHI N   119  68.2  50.8 1.050  71.6  47.4   5.7
Andre Dawson      1987 CHI N   137  81.4  55.6 1.041  84.7  52.3   5.8
D. Strawberry     1988 NY  N   101  61.2  39.8 0.940  57.5  43.5   5.6
Kevin Mitchell    1989 SF  N   125  66.9  58.1 0.972  65.0  60.0   7.6
Barry Bonds       1990 PIT N   114  64.8  49.2 0.970  62.9  51.1   6.0
Will Clark        1991 SF  N   116  63.0  53.0 0.956  60.2  55.8   6.8
Darren Daulton    1992 PHI N   109  58.7  50.3 1.000  58.7  50.3   6.5
Barry Bonds       1993 SF  N   123  61.5  61.5 0.963  59.2  63.8   7.1
Jeff Bagwell      1994 HOU N   116  61.5  54.5 0.948  58.3  57.7   6.2
Barry Bonds       1995 SF  N   104  59.7  44.3 0.980  58.6  45.4   4.9
Barry Bonds       1996 SF  N   129  66.5  62.5 0.964  64.2  64.8   6.9
Mike Piazza       1997 LA  N   124  69.0  55.0 0.924  63.8  60.2   6.5
Mark McGwire      1998 STL N   147  65.6  81.4 0.990  64.9  82.1   8.9
Mark McGwire      1999 STL N   147  68.7  78.3 0.985  67.7  79.3   7.9
Sammy Sosa        2000 CHI N   138  88.1  49.9 0.974  85.7  52.3   5.2
Barry Bonds       2001 SF  N   137  52.3  84.7 0.926  48.4  88.6   9.4
Barry Bonds       2002 SF  N   110  44.4  65.6 0.970  43.1  66.9   7.5
Jim Thome         2003 PHI N   131  78.8  52.2 0.932  73.4  57.6   6.2
Barry Bonds       2004 SF  N   101  41.7  59.3 1.036  43.2  57.8   6.2

And finally, the league trailers:

Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO ParkF  ER/P  RP/P  RPRW
Ken Hamlin        1960 KC  A    24  50.0 -26.0 1.007  50.3 -26.3  -3.0
Nellie Fox        1961 CHI A    51  76.2 -25.2 0.994  75.8 -24.8  -2.7
Luis Aparicio     1962 CHI A    40  66.8 -26.8 0.970  64.8 -24.8  -2.8
Nellie Fox        1963 CHI A    42  66.9 -24.9 0.980  65.5 -23.5  -2.9
John Kennedy      1964 WAS A    35  52.7 -17.7 1.024  53.9 -18.9  -2.3
Rich Rollins      1965 MIN A    32  48.6 -16.6 1.028  49.9 -17.9  -2.3
Zoilo Versalles   1966 MIN A    36  53.5 -17.5 1.074  57.4 -21.4  -2.8
Jose Tartabull    1967 BOS A    10  25.3 -15.3 1.120  28.4 -18.4  -2.5
Mark Belanger     1968 BAL A    21  47.4 -26.4 1.003  47.5 -26.5  -3.9
Larry Brown       1969 CLE A    24  45.4 -21.4 1.009  45.8 -21.8  -2.7
Ed Brinkman       1970 WAS A    40  64.0 -24.0 0.961  61.5 -21.5  -2.6
Ed Brinkman       1971 DET A    37  57.0 -20.0 1.034  59.0 -22.0  -2.8
Doug Griffin      1972 BOS A    35  50.2 -15.2 1.077  54.1 -19.1  -2.7
Mark Belanger     1973 BAL A    27  54.3 -27.3 1.003  54.4 -27.4  -3.2
Dave Chalk        1974 CAL A    31  55.6 -24.6 0.945  52.5 -21.5  -2.6
Jim Sundberg      1975 TEX A    36  54.5 -18.5 0.996  54.3 -18.3  -2.1
Bob Randall       1976 MIN A    34  55.8 -21.8 1.020  56.8 -22.8  -2.9
Rick Burleson     1977 BOS A    52  73.8 -21.8 1.137  84.0 -32.0  -3.5
Rick Burleson     1978 BOS A    49  68.0 -19.0 1.109  75.5 -26.5  -3.1
Alfredo Griffin   1979 TOR A    31  60.6 -29.6 1.024  62.1 -31.1  -3.3
Rick Burleson     1980 BOS A    51  73.5 -22.5 1.052  77.4 -26.4  -2.9
Alfredo Griffin   1981 TOR A    21  35.3 -14.3 1.076  38.0 -17.0  -2.1
Alfredo Griffin   1982 TOR A    48  68.5 -20.5 1.095  74.9 -26.9  -3.0
Glenn Hoffman     1983 BOS A    41  65.7 -24.7 1.064  69.9 -28.9  -3.2
Jackie Gutierrez  1984 BOS A    29  56.5 -27.5 1.071  60.6 -31.6  -3.5
Jack Perconte     1985 SEA A    23  51.9 -28.9 1.003  52.1 -29.1  -3.2
Spike Owen        1986 SEA-BOS  45  71.2 -26.2 1.019  72.5 -27.5  -3.0
Harold Reynolds   1987 SEA A    35  65.5 -30.5 1.052  68.9 -33.9  -3.4
Ozzie Guillen     1988 CHI A    39  62.0 -23.0 0.997  61.8 -22.8  -2.6
Felix Fermin      1989 CLE A    21  53.7 -32.7 1.019  54.7 -33.7  -3.9
Al Newman         1990 MIN A    30  51.0 -21.0 1.075  54.8 -24.8  -2.9
Manuel Lee        1991 TOR A    29  52.4 -23.4 1.046  54.8 -25.8  -2.9
Omar Vizquel      1992 SEA A    21  45.9 -24.9 1.007  46.2 -25.2  -2.9
Omar Vizquel      1993 SEA A    31  64.0 -33.0 1.008  64.6 -33.6  -3.5
Mark McLemore     1994 BAL A    29  52.7 -23.7 1.053  55.5 -26.5  -2.5
Otis Nixon        1995 TEX A    45  72.2 -27.2 1.037  74.8 -29.8  -2.9
Darryl Hamilton   1996 TEX A    51  78.7 -27.7 1.055  83.0 -32.0  -3.0
Gary Disarcina    1997 ANA A    47  79.9 -32.9 1.019  81.4 -34.4  -3.4
Joey Cora         1998 SEA-CLE  32  65.8 -33.8 1.053  69.2 -37.2  -3.7
Mike Caruso       1999 CHI A    35  72.9 -37.9 1.012  73.8 -38.8  -3.6
Rey Sanchez       2000 KC  A    38  70.1 -32.1 1.048  73.4 -35.4  -3.3
David Eckstein    2001 ANA A    41  69.8 -28.8 1.027  71.7 -30.7  -3.1
Neifi Perez       2002 KC  A    37  63.4 -26.4 1.132  71.8 -34.8  -3.6
Luis Rivas        2003 MIN A    43  67.3 -24.3 1.012  68.1 -25.1  -2.6
David Eckstein    2004 ANA A    35  72.7 -37.7 0.972  70.6 -35.6  -3.5
Name              Year Team(s) RBI  ERBI  RPRO ParkF  ER/P  RP/P  RPRW
Julian Javier     1960 STL N    21  45.3 -24.3 1.093  49.5 -28.5  -3.3
Maury Wills       1961 LA  N    31  57.1 -26.1 1.063  60.7 -29.7  -3.3
Julian Javier     1962 STL N    39  66.0 -27.0 1.105  72.9 -33.9  -3.7
Julian Javier     1963 STL N    46  66.3 -20.3 1.096  72.7 -26.7  -3.5
Curt Flood        1964 STL N    46  60.6 -14.6 1.105  67.0 -21.0  -2.6
Glenn Beckert     1965 CHI N    29  52.1 -23.1 1.040  54.2 -25.2  -3.1
Sonny Jackson     1966 HOU N    25  57.8 -32.8 0.947  54.8 -29.8  -3.6
Tommy Helms       1967 CIN N    35  48.4 -13.4 1.125  54.4 -19.4  -2.5
Hal Lanier        1968 SF  N    27  49.0 -22.0 1.000  49.0 -22.0  -3.2
Hal Lanier        1969 SF  N    35  57.2 -22.2 1.000  57.2 -22.2  -2.7
Glenn Beckert     1970 CHI N    36  63.5 -27.5 1.129  71.7 -35.7  -3.9
Larry Bowa        1971 PHI N    25  53.3 -28.3 1.026  54.7 -29.7  -3.8
Marty Perez       1972 ATL N    28  50.5 -22.5 1.082  54.6 -26.6  -3.4
Larry Bowa        1973 PHI N    23  49.4 -26.4 1.044  51.5 -28.5  -3.4
Larry Bowa        1974 PHI N    36  65.8 -29.8 1.050  69.1 -33.1  -4.0
Tim Foli          1975 MON N    29  54.5 -25.5 1.068  58.2 -29.2  -3.5
Frank Taveras     1976 PIT N    24  45.0 -21.0 1.011  45.4 -21.4  -2.7
Larry Bowa        1977 PHI N    41  71.0 -30.0 1.039  73.8 -32.8  -3.7
Ivan DeJesus      1978 CHI N    35  61.5 -26.5 1.128  69.4 -34.4  -4.3
Larry Bowa        1979 PHI N    31  59.0 -28.0 1.022  60.3 -29.3  -3.5
Omar Moreno       1980 PIT N    36  61.7 -25.7 1.032  63.6 -27.6  -3.4
Ivan DeJesus      1981 CHI N    13  27.3 -14.3 1.069  29.1 -16.1  -2.1
Ozzie Smith       1982 STL N    43  64.1 -21.1 1.017  65.2 -22.2  -2.7
Doug Flynn        1983 MON N    26  53.3 -27.3 0.992  52.9 -26.9  -3.3
Larry Bowa        1984 CHI N    17  34.3 -17.3 1.094  37.5 -20.5  -2.5
Rafael Santana    1985 NY  N    29  56.5 -27.5 0.979  55.3 -26.3  -3.2
Vince Coleman     1986 STL N    29  56.1 -27.1 0.994  55.8 -26.8  -3.2
Vince Coleman     1987 STL N    43  65.6 -22.6 1.011  66.4 -23.4  -2.6
Willie McGee      1988 STL N    50  67.5 -17.5 1.010  68.1 -18.1  -2.3
Vince Coleman     1989 STL N    28  50.6 -22.6 1.026  52.0 -24.0  -3.0
Billy Hatcher     1990 CIN N    25  45.3 -20.3 1.041  47.2 -22.2  -2.6
Brett Butler      1991 LA  N    38  54.7 -16.7 0.989  54.1 -16.1  -1.9
Mark Lemke        1992 ATL N    26  43.0 -17.0 1.043  44.9 -18.9  -2.4
Otis Nixon        1993 ATL N    24  50.0 -26.0 1.001  50.0 -26.0  -2.9
Walt Weiss        1994 COL N    32  48.7 -16.7 1.186  57.7 -25.7  -2.8
Walt Weiss        1995 COL N    25  48.5 -23.5 1.333  64.7 -39.7  -4.3
Walt Weiss        1996 COL N    48  66.2 -18.2 1.289  85.4 -37.4  -4.0
Kirt Manwaring    1997 COL N    27  41.0 -14.0 1.233  50.6 -23.6  -2.6
Neifi Perez       1998 COL N    59  79.6 -20.6 1.250  99.5 -40.5  -4.4
Neifi Perez       1999 COL N    70  80.1 -10.1 1.293 103.5 -33.5  -3.4
Neifi Perez       2000 COL N    71  90.6 -19.6 1.291 117.0 -46.0  -4.6
Juan Pierre       2001 COL N    55  70.0 -15.0 1.226  85.8 -30.8  -3.3
Juan Pierre       2002 COL N    35  56.2 -21.2 1.184  66.5 -31.5  -3.5
Jose Hernandez    2003 3 Teams  57  77.0 -20.0 1.070  82.4 -25.4  -2.8
Ryan Freel        2004 CIN N    28  59.4 -31.4 0.953  56.6 -28.6  -3.1

The career leaders in RBI Production Wins:

Name               RBI   ERBI   RPRO ParkF   ER/P   RP/P   RPRW
Barry Bonds       1843 1053.0  790.0  .974 1025.8  817.2   90.4
Hank Aaron        1594  937.0  657.0 1.012  948.1  645.9   79.5
Willie Stargell   1492  902.6  589.4 1.002  904.4  587.6   72.6
Willie McCovey    1518  952.7  565.3  .993  946.4  571.6   70.8
Mark McGwire      1414  809.4  604.6  .966  782.2  631.8   66.5
Reggie Jackson    1702 1189.5  512.5  .966 1149.1  552.9   65.7
Harmon Killebrew  1448  891.7  556.3 1.038  925.8  522.2   64.4
Mike Schmidt      1595 1029.2  565.8 1.036 1065.8  529.2   64.1
Frank Robinson    1444  950.7  493.3 1.000  951.2  492.8   60.3
Eddie Murray      1917 1459.6  457.4  .978 1427.1  489.9   55.5
Willie Mays       1194  744.0  450.0  .994  739.3  454.7   55.2
Sammy Sosa        1530 1037.6  492.4 1.003 1040.6  489.4   52.1
Billy Williams    1465  986.4  478.6 1.065 1050.4  414.6   51.7
Dick Allen        1119  708.3  410.7 1.008  713.7  405.3   51.7
Jeff Bagwell      1510 1045.3  464.7  .987 1032.2  477.8   51.6
Frank Howard      1111  724.6  386.4  .982  711.3  399.7   50.0
Dave Winfield     1833 1445.0  388.0  .969 1399.8  433.2   49.9
Boog Powell       1187  806.6  380.4  .987  795.8  391.2   49.5
Ken Griffey       1444  955.8  488.2 1.015  970.6  473.4   48.0
Frank Thomas      1439  972.3  466.7  .998  970.3  468.7   47.2

And the career trailers:

Name               RBI   ERBI   RPRO ParkF   ER/P   RP/P   RPRW
Larry Bowa         525  843.5 -318.5 1.040  877.3 -352.3  -42.8
Don Kessinger      527  717.7 -190.7 1.075  771.7 -244.7  -29.9
Omar Vizquel       715  986.5 -271.5 1.012  998.6 -283.6  -29.2
Alfredo Griffin    527  779.2 -252.2 1.005  783.4 -256.4  -28.7
Mark Belanger      390  631.1 -241.1  .973  614.3 -224.3  -27.5
Ozzie Smith        793 1029.0 -236.0  .986 1014.4 -221.4  -27.0
Otis Nixon         318  544.0 -226.0 1.019  554.4 -236.4  -24.8
Brett Butler       578  804.8 -226.8  .987  794.2 -216.2  -24.8
Walt Weiss         386  567.2 -181.2 1.083  614.4 -228.4  -24.7
Maury Wills        437  654.9 -217.9  .968  633.8 -196.8  -23.9
Willie Wilson      585  799.3 -214.3 1.001  800.2 -215.2  -23.6
Neifi Perez        400  516.1 -116.1 1.205  621.6 -221.6  -23.1
Ozzie Guillen      619  841.9 -222.9  .990  833.8 -214.8  -22.4
Rey Sanchez        387  592.8 -205.8 1.012  600.0 -213.0  -21.9
Bud Harrelson      267  450.8 -183.8  .985  443.9 -176.9  -21.6
Tim Foli           501  660.9 -159.9 1.028  679.7 -178.7  -21.5
Mark McLemore      615  823.5 -208.5 1.009  831.3 -216.3  -21.4
Luis Aparicio      603  766.0 -163.0 1.015  777.3 -174.3  -21.3
Ed Brinkman        461  617.6 -156.6 1.009  623.4 -162.4  -20.3
Bert Campaneris    646  835.2 -189.2  .971  810.8 -164.8  -20.0

When I wrote an earlier version of this article years ago (and a link to it is here) I did an extra adjustment for the position played by the hitter, but I'm not going to do that this time around. In addition to raising or lower each player's expected RBI based upon the position he played, I also considered and rejected doing a similar adjustment based upon his slot in the batting order. Despite my decision not to do these adjustment, I thought it might be interesting to display the cumulative RBI production numbers both by batting order and defensive position. First, by batting order:

          -------------- Batting Order Position --------------
Year LG      1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
1960 NL    -86   -41   184   185    77    15   -65   -38  -232
1961 NL   -164   -80   145   219   138    81   -42   -80  -218
1962 NL   -140  -121   197   249   164    52    13   -98  -315
1963 NL    -83    -7   177   178   122    55   -58  -101  -282
1964 NL    -76   -64   162   285   158    -4   -47   -97  -317
1965 NL    -50    -5   193   186   104    23   -77   -98  -276
1966 NL    -81   -94   184   210   146    17    21   -77  -326
1967 NL    -78   -45   200   242    81    47   -44  -120  -283
1968 NL    -41   -75   177   223    72    47   -27  -149  -226
1969 NL    -43   -43   244   333   143    12   -78  -194  -375
1970 NL    -71  -179   309   375   131    64   -81  -161  -388
1971 NL   -130   -79   266   349    68    32   -36  -166  -303
1972 NL    -96   -17   179   299   145    30   -75  -117  -348
1973 NL    -26   -91   184   294   110    90   -46  -189  -326
1974 NL    -79  -162   246   252   167    52   -46  -109  -320
1975 NL    -47  -102   133   292   189    80   -86  -155  -306
1976 NL    -69   -96   204   187   151    58   -22   -88  -326
1977 NL   -136  -140   233   274   230    85   -72  -132  -342
1978 NL    -84  -151   209   315   166    17   -16  -154  -303
1979 NL    -64  -122   196   356   121    47   -33  -119  -380
1980 NL   -120  -139   169   286   173    81   -54  -102  -294
1981 NL    -61   -46   154   203    78   -10   -65   -74  -178
1982 NL   -119   -71   141   289   182    77   -36  -132  -332
1983 NL    -72   -51   180   217   174    27     2  -148  -329
1984 NL   -101     4   164   242   157    16     1  -165  -318
1985 NL    -71   -60   163   253   146    63    -3  -148  -343
1986 NL   -100   -47   146   236   123    37    30  -101  -325
1987 NL    -87   -11   185   302   134   101   -43  -210  -372
1988 NL     13   -48   202   203   127     5   -25  -133  -345
1989 NL    -70   -18   176   315    63    16   -22  -116  -345
1990 NL    -75    11   157   284   186     2   -52  -147  -366
1991 NL   -101   -16   190   273   230    -9   -71  -148  -350
1992 NL    -67   -50   216   250   138     9   -36  -157  -303
1993 NL   -169   -77   154   295   227   175   -48  -105  -451
1994 NL   -136   -60   229   287   116    40   -62   -77  -337
1995 NL   -142  -117   286   309   170    45   -29  -155  -367
1996 NL   -182   -65   402   388   166    75  -115  -186  -484
1997 NL   -149   -82   356   257   177   114   -36  -156  -481
1998 NL   -161   -87   320   407   295    64  -111  -179  -548
1999 NL   -215   -85   436   457   237    74  -114  -197  -594
2000 NL   -284   -91   444   436   259   116  -113  -187  -580
2001 NL   -215  -122   581   431   161    66   -75  -229  -597
2002 NL   -167   -87   412   382   128    49  -104  -123  -490
2003 NL   -217   -39   376   431   159    55   -24  -168  -574
2004 NL   -140   -95   317   347   281    70   -48  -147  -585
          -------------- Batting Order Position --------------
Year LG      1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9
1960 AL    -47   -25   140   192    27    73   -44  -101  -214
1961 AL   -137   -93   199   301   128    58   -45   -93  -318
1962 AL    -75    -8   169   247    78     1   -13  -104  -295
1963 AL    -82   -84   121   128   128   128   -27   -46  -266
1964 AL    -81   -69   115   250   125    41   -60   -54  -267
1965 AL    -68  -110   198   185   142    37   -61   -60  -263
1966 AL    -63   -23   176   175   102    -8   -42   -39  -279
1967 AL   -107   -35   161   182    79    60   -25   -75  -240
1968 AL    -59   -51   156   185    96    11   -27   -87  -223
1969 AL    -71   -47   248   315   136   -27   -87  -117  -351
1970 AL    -24   -28   232   219   131    14   -31  -167  -347
1971 AL    -26   -80   242   198    99    63   -12  -157  -326
1972 AL   -131   -18   200   193    78    71    -2  -135  -255
1973 AL    -86  -104   129   200   147     4   -40   -91  -158
1974 AL   -128   -66   128   187   112    78   -62   -75  -174
1975 AL    -57   -60    95   181    42   104   -32  -133  -141
1976 AL    -98   -54   144   169    98   -21   -56   -16  -165
1977 AL   -177  -142   128   187   179   111   -36   -74  -177
1978 AL   -211   -61   183   263   135    25   -20  -140  -173
1979 AL   -141   -89   234   228   176    49   -27  -191  -239
1980 AL   -192   -66   236   271   106    78   -66  -163  -204
1981 AL    -91   -51   109   146    15    24   -13   -50   -89
1982 AL   -166    -6   184   284    81    10   -15  -146  -227
1983 AL   -164   -14   243   229   150    24   -58  -186  -224
1984 AL   -204    14   247   202    83   116   -41  -146  -272
1985 AL   -151   -52   221   246    79    64    21  -148  -280
1986 AL    -79   -67   238   117   146    86   -27  -139  -274
1987 AL   -135   -68   190   209   112    93   -18  -139  -245
1988 AL   -114  -108   230   197   146    33   -33  -140  -211
1989 AL   -166  -161   279   224    85    87   -39  -107  -204
1990 AL   -100   -29   147   250    50    -2     0  -123  -193
1991 AL   -111     7   215   254   104    50   -52  -228  -238
1992 AL   -111    35   191   250    78   -29   -55  -135  -225
1993 AL   -162  -112   260   320   131    50  -126  -137  -224
1994 AL   -137   -91   240   191   152    -3   -48  -146  -158
1995 AL   -138   -64   231   251    74    47   -44  -128  -229
1996 AL   -152  -113   232   328   130    92   -71  -144  -303
1997 AL   -192   -99   281   222   215    71   -84  -166  -248
1998 AL   -175   -54   232   364   116   -45   -87  -111  -241
1999 AL   -191   -91   218   308   172    12    -6  -165  -257
2000 AL   -146  -138   241   327    39    69     5  -127  -270
2001 AL   -190  -114   289   272   170   -28   -24  -126  -250
2002 AL   -149   -87   277   325    99    36   -88  -190  -222
2003 AL   -102   -24   268   198    54    33   -77  -161  -188
2004 AL   -135   -36   197   248    32    25   -65   -50  -214

Nothing too earth-shaking here. The middle of the order features the hitters with the power necessary to drive in more than their expected number of RBIs. I did expect to see the ninth slot in the American League improve more than it did in 1973, when it stopped being filled with pitchers. On the other hand, the ninth in the NL has gotten much worse over the last ten years and AL hasn't.

RBI Production by position:

Year LG      P     C    1B    2B    3B    SS    LF    CF    RF    PH
1960 NL   -230     4   108  -100    75   -35    83    29    85   -18
1961 NL   -192   -46   142  -120    61   -93    89    50   160   -49
1962 NL   -284    38   160  -168     0  -161   162   109   195   -52
1963 NL   -269    66   125  -107     8  -144   144   100   114   -35
1964 NL   -297    -1   180  -102    98  -108   146    12   129   -57
1965 NL   -252    19   126   -79   102  -149    32   111   132   -42
1966 NL   -269    52   184   -76    47  -130    54    87   126   -75
1967 NL   -243   -42   116   -83   119  -125   126    65   123   -59
1968 NL   -203    27   146   -71    41  -141   111    24    90   -25
1969 NL   -342   -58   300  -146    69  -166   155    25   213   -51
1970 NL   -341    14   312  -208   108  -203   150    66   157   -55
1971 NL   -278     8   264   -69    94  -256   115    20   166   -63
1972 NL   -302    -1   243  -105    86  -165   140    83    81   -60
1973 NL   -315   -32   152   -87   129  -193   187    56   119   -15
1974 NL   -288    -4   233  -119    63  -164   118    92   118   -47
1975 NL   -292    -6   268   -75    55  -194    59    33   176   -26
1976 NL   -295   -27   205   -76   105  -127   159    -3   117   -57
1977 NL   -304    82   273  -133    59  -262   150    29   147   -43
1978 NL   -285     7   225   -93    32  -194    81     5   195    27
1979 NL   -330    31   198  -114   116  -148   138     1   169   -60
1980 NL   -271    88   145  -136    89  -173   113     1   202   -58
1981 NL   -182     5   129   -87    71   -94    82    19    62    -4
1982 NL   -297    43   208   -88    58  -131    49    29   162   -33
1983 NL   -330    44   143  -101   130  -141    92    91    76    -3
1984 NL   -308    84   146  -111    80  -134    46    40   200   -44
1985 NL   -312    68   143   -21    31  -128    83    17   172   -53
1986 NL   -305    17   179   -85   144  -106    56    20   127   -46
1987 NL   -344     8   228   -54   140  -188    37    57   182   -67
1988 NL   -295    -1   174   -31    75   -87    67     2   180   -82
1989 NL   -303   -36   228   -53    75   -64   128   -55   148   -68
1990 NL   -327   -34   185   -28    58  -127   118    13   202   -60
1991 NL   -291   -22   152   -28   109   -90   127   -55   158   -61
1992 NL   -276   -16   173   -61   124  -130    92     5   123   -34
1993 NL   -391    62   198   -98   158  -161   193   -28   158   -92
1994 NL   -335    21   206   -60    77   -85   111   -73   145    -9
1995 NL   -346    15   207   -96    98  -141   181  -118   232   -32
1996 NL   -414    49   234  -180   152  -182   250    -4   156   -59
1997 NL   -428    82   273   -93   140  -158    96   -14   189   -87
1998 NL   -492     8   398  -126   137  -221   150     0   241   -95
1999 NL   -507   -55   312  -104   191  -218   241     1   251  -111
2000 NL   -531   -12   369  -152    98  -210   223    16   271   -71
2001 NL   -526   -90   295  -103   111  -197   258    20   335  -102
2002 NL   -459   -33   243  -129    61  -151   329    -7   247  -103
2003 NL   -496    -6   337   -75    73  -200   246    22   178   -79
2004 NL   -511  -100   287   -36   169  -161   237    53   137   -73
Year LG      P     C    1B    2B    3B    SS    LF    CF    RF    DH    PH
1960 AL   -204   -41   185   -92    29   -53   171    -6    48     x   -37
1961 AL   -280    31   242  -147   -44  -122    90    80   177     x   -27
1962 AL   -276   -34   139   -96    14   -68   185    19   157     x   -40
1963 AL   -236    62   130  -108    -8   -75    69    44   177     x   -53
1964 AL   -247    -4   143  -123    21   -44   152    21   131     x   -50
1965 AL   -233   -57   175   -63   -13   -59   181     8   113     x   -51
1966 AL   -250   -26   162  -120    53   -81   116    35   136     x   -25
1967 AL   -216   -47   177   -82     2   -80   173   -23   109     x   -12
1968 AL   -196    20   159   -60   -10  -121   151    -1    95     x   -38
1969 AL   -313   -55   231   -71    88  -113   133    13   150     x   -65
1970 AL   -321    19   109  -119    82   -96   245     9   141     x   -70
1971 AL   -288    38   206   -75    79  -186   103    45   119     x   -43
1972 AL   -250    30   296  -106     7  -114    42    48    88     x   -43
1973 AL     -0    21   137  -110    10  -231    52    17    14   118   -26
1974 AL     -1   -53   140   -87   -17  -151    43   -27   152    43   -41
1975 AL     -1     7   115  -100    45  -154    24   -54    63    71   -16
1976 AL     -0   -74   159  -110    -1  -157    49   -41    96    89    -9
1977 AL     -1   -14   152  -218    65  -266    39    -2   154    99    -9
1978 AL     -0   -29   124  -201    42  -191   131    11    36   123   -46
1979 AL      0   -48   114  -131     2  -269    77    38   129   143   -55
1980 AL     -0   -63   201  -204    65  -227   114   -75    67   122     2
1981 AL      x   -40    15   -78    23   -97    34    -1   114    57   -27
1982 AL      x   -69    64  -214    21  -150   146    19    56   162   -35
1983 AL     -0   -69   118  -160   -36  -139   134   -44    66   160   -28
1984 AL     -1   -63   203  -197    -6  -232    65    -7   143   147   -53
1985 AL     -0   -54   224  -194    45  -212    54   -47    76   180   -73
1986 AL     -0   -78   124  -167    81  -211    27   -62   169   134   -15
1987 AL     -1  -104   279  -234    25  -163    88   -35    96    84   -34
1988 AL     -0   -15   188  -215   -36  -161    28   -28   171   115   -47
1989 AL     -0   -19   209   -81   -93  -201    71   -30   104    81   -40
1990 AL     -0   -23   172  -137   -32  -156    15    21   102    86   -46
1991 AL      0   -45   135  -166   -32  -154    55   -52   171   137   -49
1992 AL      x   -66   170  -105    23  -214    39    21    28   137   -33
1993 AL     -1     2   241  -147   -44  -178    63   -77    42   131   -31
1994 AL      1   -35   182  -146    21  -164    40  -112   109   133   -27
1995 AL     -0   -43   297  -188     6  -163   -36  -124   119   157   -24
1996 AL     -1   -90   247  -254    12  -135    74  -117   189   127   -54
1997 AL      2   -88   345  -202   -34  -213    51   -76   176    86   -47
1998 AL      x  -118   251  -171   -44  -159     9   -53   188   131   -34
1999 AL     -0  -105   178  -174   -49  -122    13   -68   183   197   -52
2000 AL     -0   -68   246  -233   -25  -140    23    41   106   104   -56
2001 AL     -0  -111   233  -138    26   -93   -34   -13    17   128   -16
2002 AL      x  -176   229  -177    17   -28    36   -26   104    62   -41
2003 AL      x   -65    89  -163    21   -75    65   -57    73   129   -20
2004 AL      x   -34   154  -187    64  -103    63   -77     7   113    -1

Note: the league of a game is determined by the league of the home team for the purposes of these charts. This is only a problem when dealing with the dreaded inter-league play.

Again, nothing shocking in these charts. I found it mildly interesting looking at the change in some of the positions through the years, most notably center-field and left-field.

So where does all this leave Joe Carter? Well, for all his 100 RBI seasons, he's wasn't among the career leaders in RBI Production. Since 1960, Carter was the 85th best hitter in this category. The hitters surrounding him on the list:

Name               RBI   ERBI   RPRO ParkF   ER/P   RP/P   RPRW
George Hendrick   1111  895.2  215.8  .999  894.4  216.6   26.1
Joe Carter        1445 1190.5  254.5 1.012 1204.3  240.7   26.0
Tony Oliva         947  715.7  231.3 1.042  745.5  201.5   25.6

Which probably isn't bad company to be in.

All in all, I'm still not a fan of the RBI, even in this form. If we are going to go to all the trouble of looking at the context of a player's performance, it probably makes more sense to use something like the Value Added approach, since RBI Production focuses on one part of the offensive equation while ignoring others, like how all those RBI opportunities got on base to begin with. Still, even if the argument for this new statistic might have been less than compelling, I hope that at least some of the material presented was interesting.

Seasonal and career RBI Production data for all players from 1960 to 2004 is here.

Notes

Note 1:

It should be noted that we don't not have complete play-by-play coverage for all these years. See the article on the Value Added method for a discussion of the missing games. In this article, we are going to ignore missing games since we have no way of knowing the situations each batter appeared in. In our charts, then, if a player is credited with fewer RBIs than he actually had, it is because we are missing some of his games.

Note 2:

The number of runs per 9 innings in each league from 1960 to 2004:

NL      xxx0  xxx1  xxx2  xxx3  xxx4  xxx5  xxx6  xxx7  xxx8  xxx9
196x    8.50  9.14  9.04  7.64  8.08  8.06  8.19  7.68  6.84  8.17
197x    9.07  7.83  7.75  8.30  8.30  8.27  7.98  8.79  8.04  8.46
198x    8.06  7.79  8.15  8.24  8.15  8.14  8.34  9.08  7.75  7.88
199x    8.46  8.24  7.75  9.04  9.31  9.30  9.42  9.24  9.21  9.99
200x   10.07  9.47  8.92  9.32  9.34
 
AL      xxx0  xxx1  xxx2  xxx3  xxx4  xxx5  xxx6  xxx7  xxx8  xxx9
196x    8.79  9.16  8.91  8.16  8.14  7.91  7.79  7.39  6.84  8.19
197x    8.37  7.78  6.96  8.60  8.23  8.63  7.99  9.12  8.49  9.45
198x    9.03  8.17  9.00  9.03  8.90  9.20  9.31  9.90  8.79  8.68
199x    8.69  8.98  8.68  9.50 10.54 10.24 10.84  9.98 10.17 10.63
200x   10.77  9.85  9.79  9.80 10.11