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An Open Letter To ESPN.com's Jim Caple

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An Open Letter To ESPN.com's Jim Caple

Dear Jim Caple,

You are dumb. In your January 25 ESPN.com column, “Runs Remain The Most Important Stat,” you attempt to argue in favor of the titular point. This was a silly undertaking, as your argument is about as compelling as listening to a retarded person stumble his way through REM’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” and your conclusion makes no sense.

Do you really believe that runs scored is “a simple and underrated tool for measuring a player’s value?” In 2009, Chone Figgins finished third in the major leagues in runs scored.

Are you really of the opinion that he, as well as Aaron Hill, Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, and 14 other players were better than Hanley Ramirez in 2009? Ramirez led the majors in runs scored in 2008 despite having a nearly identical season in ’09.

The principle issue with the runs-scored stat is that individual players’ runs-scored totals are heavily dependent on the lineup that surrounds the player.

The variance from year to year in players’ runs-scored totals should be obvious to a person who is paid to write about baseball on one of the visible sports media outlets in the world, as just two of the top-10 run scorers in 2008 remained in the top 10 in 2009 (Pedroia and Chase Utley). It’s no coincidence that seven of 2009’s top 10 run scorers played for playoff teams.

The fact that so much of scoring runs is out of an individual player’s hands relegates individual run totals to that same dustbin of obsolete stats as RBI, which has been long dismissed by thinking baseball fans as insignificant in player evaluation. Waitnever mind, you’re “not saying that RBIs aren’t important,” and believe that “a better stat, of course, is runs plus RBI.” How does it make any sense to evaluate a player’s ability based on things that require other players on the team to make happen?

Listen dude, I don’t mean to come down so hard on you, but ESPN.com is a pretty influential sports media outlet and when you post some stupid thing about how runs scored are awesome, a lot of people are exposed to your misguided opinions that have no basis in logic or reality.

There are three examinable components to a baseball player’s offensive performancegetting on base, hitting for power, and running the bases. All are important, and there are numerous metrics, complicated and otherwise, that allow even casual baseball fans to evaluate a player’s prowess in any of them.

Sincerely,

Jake Rake

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