J.P Arencibia and All or Nothing Hitting

J.P. likes to admire his own work. - USA TODAY Sports

J.P Arencibia's relies fairly heavily on the long ball but is he the league's top "all or nothing" hitter?

To be frank, J.P. Arencibia is a pretty easy target for statistically inclined Blue Jays fans. The fact he currently has a K% of 33.2, a BB% of 2.5%, an OBP of .238 and sports a career WAR of 1.9 in 1139 at bats is enough to make a lot of fans feel pretty secure in their opinion of Toronto's starting catcher. Those numbers don't even seriously address criticisms of Arencibia's defense, of which there are many. However, for all the Arencibia's faults he still has his one standout tool. Arencibia's power is impressive and at times he can make hitting home runs look so very easy. He has become arguably the biggest "all or nothing" hitter in the big leagues. However, I'm not interested in whether he is arguably the biggest all or nothing hitter in the big leagues, I want to know if he is definitively the biggest all or nothing hitter in the big leagues. To determine this I had to come up with a working definition of the all or nothing hitter. I very non-scientifically crafted such a definition for the purposes of this article and it has three conditions:

1) The hitter must be in the bottom 30 in league batting average.

This rule weeds out guys who hit a lot of singles and doubles. While singles and doubles are great they are not a part of the proverbial "all" in this case.

2) The hitter must strike out at least 30% of the time.

There is a strong implication of strikeouts in the "nothing" aspect of the phrase "all or nothing".

3) At least ¼ of the hitter's hits must go for homeruns.

If I cut off at a particular home run total it would look like cherry picking so I went with a condition based on the percentage of the player's hits that went for homeruns.

There are currently 6 players in the big leagues that fit my criteria: Adam Dunn 1B (CWS), Dan Uggla 2B (ATL), Pedro Alvarez 3B (PIT), Chris Carter 1B/OF (Hou), Mark Reynolds 1B/3B (CLE) and our very own J.P. Arencibia. To determine who is the greatest all or nothing hitter in the big leagues I subtracted home runs from the lines of all these players to see who was the worst hitter in absence of the home run. It stands to reason that the player who is left with the worst line without the longball is the biggest all or nothing hitter because they are the most reliant on the dinger and provide the least without it.

(Players are ranked by lowest OPS without home runs)

1. Adam Dunn

Current Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.183

.280

.451

.268

.731

0 Home Run Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.112

.226

.141

.029

.367

Dunn is pretty impressively awful without the assistance of the longball. His walks are something of a saving grace but he hits virtually no doubles and triples just aren't in this cards for this slugger. The .141 slugging percentage really jumps off the page and without the home run ball Dunn hits worse than most pitchers. Definitely worse than R.A Dickey. You might have guessed that Dunn would top these power rankings but you might not have realized just how useless he is when the ball stays in the yard.

2. Pedro Alvarez

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.213

.283

.454

.242

.737

0 Home Run Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.151

.233

.177

.028

.410

Sliding in just above J.P. is Pittsburgh's slugging third baseman. Alvarez has a respectable walk rate but does not offer much of anything in the way of doubles and triples.

3. J.P. Arencibia

Current Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.216

.238

.445

.229

.683

0 Home Run Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.167

.191

.221

.054

.412

I thought that due to his lack of walks Arencibia would be higher than third on this list, but his ability to hit more singles and doubles gives him the slight edge, even though his OBP lags quite a bit. We can still see that without the home run there really isn't much to Arencibia's game, not that this should come as a surprise. Arencibia also benefits by the use of OPS because it weighs slugging and on base percentages equally even though on base percentage is more valuable. His .412 OPS is almost certainly less valuable than Alvarez's .410 OPS.

4. Dan Uggla

Current Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.188

.319

.399

.211

.718

0 Home Run Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.135

.281

.165

.030

.437

Dan Uggla has a pretty impressive walk rate which helps salvage his non home run production, but much like Adam Dunn he doesn't hit much in the way of singles or doubles (he does have two triples though). His OBP without his homeruns is 43 points higher than Arencibia's normal OBP which is kind of sad.

5. Chris Carter

Current Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.217

.302

.438

.221

.740

0 Home Run Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.165

.262

.203

.038

.465

Without the benefit of his homeruns Carter's line looks a great deal like Uggla's but with more base hits and fewer walks. As we go down the line these 0 home run batting lines are starting to look less like pitchers and more like Munenori Kawasaki last year.

6. Mark Reynolds

Current Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.229

.309

.442

.212

.751

0 Home Run Line

AVG

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

.180

.270

.212

.032

.482

I'm sure there have been years where Reynolds would have ranked much higher on this list but his healthy walk rate and surprising amount of singles keeps him in sixth.

When I did this exercise I really expected Arencibia to be the number one all or nothing hitter in the league due to his lack of walks, but to his credit has hit more doubles than anyone on this list. That doesn't exonerate him for his pitiful walk rate but it is an interesting thing to note. One thing that jumps out is how similar the other five hitters are. All five have managed to be somewhere in the ballpark of average offensively by stacking up on the three true outcomes while hitting very little in the way of singles, doubles and triples. Arencibia's willful ignorance of one of these outcomes puts him at risk of the title of the MLB's greatest all or nothing hitter, but for now the title rests with Adam Dunn. Somehow no one is surprised.

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