Ranking the Lead Off Hitters

D.A.Senior Writer IMay 20, 2009

HOUSTON - APRIL 06:  Michael Bourn #21 of the Houston Astros at bat against the Chicago Cubs during the Opening Day game on April 6, 2009 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

I took each lead off hitter a plugged in numbers to a formula to determine who is the best lead off hitter. If the player was the best at the statistic, he would receive 30 points. If he was the worst, he would receive one point, and so on based on the player's ranking in the statistic of all lead off hitters.

The player's worth is = (batting average rank +ย  [2*on-base percentage rank] + [0.5*stolen bases rank] + [1.5*pitches per plate appearance rank])

The formula is set up this way in order of what's important for a lead off hitter:
Most important: on-base percentage
Second most important: pitches per plate appearance
Third most important: batting average
Fourth most important: stolen bases

Without further ado, here are the rankings:

30. Jody Gerut, San Diego
29. Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia
28. Chris Getz, Chicago (a)
27. Kelly Johnson, Atlanta
26. Ryan Sweeney, Oakland
25. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland
23. Rafael Furcal, Los Angeles (n)
23. Rickie Weeks*, Milwaukee
22. Skip Schumaker, St. Louis
21. Emilio Bonifacio, Florida
19. Alfonso Soriano, Chicago (n)
19. BJ Upton, Tampa Bay
17. Willy Taveras, Cincinnati
16. Dexter Fowler, Colorado
15. Curtis Granderson, Detroit
14. Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle
13. Jose Reyes, New York (n)
12. Coco Crisp, Kansas City
11. Cristian Guzman, Washington

10. Derek Jeter, New York (a)
Jeter has a stat line of .276 avg, .354 OBP, eight stolen bases, and four pitches per plate appearance.

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9. Marco Scutaro, Toronto
Scutaro is the best lead off hitter in terms of on-base percentage (.411). His other stats include .283 avg, three stolen bases, and 3.85 pitches per plate appearance.

7. Felipe Lopez, Arizona
Lopez has the third best batting average amongst lead off hitters (.313) and ninth best OBP (.370). He also has four stolen bases and sees 3.96 pitches per plate appearance.

7. Brian Roberts, Baltimore
Roberts is top 10 amongst lead off hitters in batting average (.293), on-base percentage (.371), and stolen bases (10). He also sees 3.96 pitches per plate appearance.

6. Ian Kinsler, Texas
Kinsler is fourth amongst lead off hitters in batting average (.306) and sixth in on-base percentage (.376). He also has nine stolen bases and sees 3.88 pitches per plate appearance.

5. Chone Figgins, Los Angeles (a)
Figgins leads all leads all lead off hitters with 18 stolen bases and is sixth in pitches per plate appearance (4.02). He is also batting .281 with a .367 on-base percentage.

4. Denard Span, Minnesota
Span is fourth amongst lead off hitters in on-base percentage (.381) and ninth in batting average (.295). He also has nine stolen bases and sees 3.96 pitches per plate appearance.

3. Fred Lewis, San Francisco
No lead off hitter sees more pitches per plate appearance (4.28). He has yet to steal a base, but is second amongst lead off hitters in on-base percentage (.387) and has a .287 batting average.

2. Nyjer Morgan, Pittsburgh
Morgan is top eight in all four the important lead off categories. He's fifth in on-base percentage (.380) and pitches per plate appearance (4.03). He also has a .303 batting average with ten stolen bases.

1. Michael Bourn, Houston
Bourn is the best lead off hitter in baseball. He's third in stolen bases (13) and pitches per plate appearance (4.13). He is also sixth in batting average (.304) and seventh in on-base percentage (.373).