It is no secret that the American League scores more runs than the National League. After all, the National League still forces its pitchers to hit. When we think of the National League, we think of ugly people in the stands and teams trying to play little ball at the bottom of the order because what else can you do when a position in the lineup can’t hit but try to manufacture runs? Back in the day when Sir Barry Lamar Bonds was still allowed to play, Manufactured Runs was a derisive term because Billy Beane write that book. Today, with shrinking offenses (and swollen testicles), Manufactured Runs have become fashionable again because of teams like the Kansas City Royals. According to the data in the 2014 Bill James Handbook, the AL manufactured more runs than the NL this year.
AL Manufactured Runs: 2332
NL Manufactured Runs: 2184
That really isn’t a surprise because the more times you bat through the order, the more opportunities you will have to manufacture runs,
Let’s take a took at the top five teams in each league in Manufactured Runs:
The Angels were the top offense in the AL last year in terms of runs scored. The Tigers were second, and the Twins fifth. The Royals and Rangers were eighth and ninth. In the NL, the Rockies were first, the Dodgers second, the Giants fifth while the Diamondbacks were twelfth. This doesn’t mean the manufacturing runs leads to being a top offense — manufactured runs are very dependent on the ability to get a guy on base. Good offenses are going to have more opportunities to manufacture runs.
Let’s look at the bottom five teams in each league now:
The only above average offense in terms of runs scored in that bunch was the Orioles. I know some of my more impatient readers are screaming, “C’mon Bads85, those are just counting stats. Get to the meat!” Well, I am not sure there is going to be any meat, so you might have to have a salad and like it, Faithful Reader.
Let’s take a look the percentage of Manufactured Runs/Total Runs:
The Tigers dropped out of the top five, down to ninth with Tampa moved in. Other than that, not much change.
The Padres, which were one of the worst offenses of all time, had the highest percentage of MR/TR. Arizona and Atlanta had lousy offenses also. The question is did those teams have lousy offenses because they were trying to manufacture runs, or were they manufacturing runs because they couldn’t score anyway. I don’t knwo definitively (have you salad and like it!). If I did, big shots like Colin Wyers would throw obscene amounts of money at me to come work for them. I would say it is a combination of both though.
Let’s look at the bottom five:
Despite having the fourth most MR in the NL, the Rockies were last in MR/TR. Pittsburgh, Washington,Oakland, and Baltimore had good offenses, but appear to have elected not to attempt to manufacture runs as much as other teams, almost certainly due to roster construction.
Look, this is a fluff piece — I just threw some numbers out there. However, since baseball is returning to a DEADER ERA, things like MR are something that people are going to have studies, lest teams rush to emulate the Royals without really understanding why.