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The Total Runs Leaderboard and the MVP Race

September 27, 2017

As the 2017 regular season winds down, the debate over major league awards like Most Valuable Player (MVP) will intensify. With that in mind let’s take a look at the MVP race using the Total Runs leaderboard. Total Runs is a statistic created by Baseball Info Solutions that combines offense, defense, baserunning, and an adjustment that allows for comparison across positions into one number in order to evaluate the total contribution of each player*.


American League Total Runs Leaders
Player Total Runs
Aaron Judge, NYY 158
Mookie Betts, Bos 156
Jose Altuve, Hou 154
Francisco Lindor, Cle 146
Andrelton Simmons, LAA 146
Jose Ramirez, Cle 145
Note: through games of September 26


Let’s start with the American League (AL) Total Runs Leaderboard. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez have had tremendous seasons on an Indians team that has refused to lose consecutive games for well over a month now; Aaron Judge has shattered the AL rookie home run record to go along with a first half performance that saw him have an OPS of 1.139; while Jose Altuve has been the most consistent player on a Houston Astros team that has a chance to win 100 games for the first time since 1998. The remaining two players on the AL Total Runs Leaderboard, Mookie Betts and Andrelton Simmons, aren’t quite as obvious. While the other AL Total Runs leaders are offensive monsters, Betts and Simmons derive much of their value through their sublime defense. Simmons and Betts rank first and second in 2017 Defensive Runs Saved with 33 and 31 runs, respectively, providing their teams excellent defense on a nightly basis.


National League Total Runs Leaders
Player Total Runs
Charlie Blackmon, Col 167
Nolan Arenado, Col 162
Giancarlo Stanton, Mia 152
Kris Bryant, ChC 149
Paul Goldschmidt, Ari 145
Joey Votto, Cin 144
Note: through games of September 26


A pair of Colorado Rockies pace the top of the National League (NL) Total Runs Leaderboard. Nolan Arenado, who ranked first in NL Total Runs in 2016, has had another excellent all-around season in 2017. However, this year Arenado isn’t even the highest-rated player on his team. Charlie Blackmon has had an unbelievable season, ranking first in the major leagues in Runs Created and Total Runs. Potential 60-home run hitter Giancarlo Stanton ranks third on the NL Total Runs Leaderboard on the strength of his second half OPS of 1.093. Defending NL MVP Kris Bryant ranks just below Stanton in the rankings, while two stellar first basemen, Paul Goldschmidt and Joey Votto, round out the top six in NL Total Runs.

*Please note: Runs Created, the offensive component included in Total Runs, is not park adjusted


COMMENTS (5 Comments, most recent shown first)

Good question, metsfan17. Most of the players on both leagues' lists play in parks that are either run-friendly or homer-friendly.

I have serious reservations about WAR, but compared to Total Runs it looks like Holy Writ.
4:46 PM Sep 28th
If its not park adjusted then what's the point.
2:30 PM Sep 28th
Brock Hanke
John, this is not snark, but a real question. If you include defense, why do you make positional adjustments? I know that BB-Ref WAR dos it, but their system is very granular. In general, isn't defense supposed to be the answer to the question of why shortstops don't hit as well as first basemen (as a group)?
7:26 AM Sep 28th
Blackmon, away from Coors, has a slash line of .276/.337/.447, about the same as the away slash line of another centerfielder, Denard Span (.284/.341/.441), who wouldn't even be in the MVP discussion of his own team, the worst in baseball.
12:32 AM Sep 28th
I am surprised to see Kris Bryant so high on this list.
4:26 PM Sep 27th
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