Saturday, November 21, 2015

All Time Greatest Breakouts

Jeff Sullivan ran a post for Fangraphs/Fox Sports suggesting Bryce Harper's 2015 season was a breakout for the ages. This is undoubtedly true, but I ran a few queries that seem to better quantify the "breakoutness" of a breakout.

Jeff did a number of year 1/year 2 queries that look at the greatest improvements from one year to the next. This can be misleading in terms of a breakout season because the player could just as easily have had an off-year or an injury year prior to his "breakout" and create the illusion of a major jump in performance.

So here we are looking at the greatest jumps in wRC+ from a player's breakout year to his previous high. I used the same 300 PA requirement used in the article for both seasons.

Harper falls to 29th on the list of greatest breakouts by this method, comparing his 197 wRC+ in 2015 season with his previous high of 137 in 2013 nets him a jump of 60 points, not quite as high as the top ten:

All time Breakouts 
#NameAgeSeasonwRC+PAprevios high wRC+JUMPprevious high seasonprevious high PAYears since previous highYears since breakout
1Al Kaline2019551566817680195453512
2Tito Francona2519591684439276195650033
3Cito Gaston2619701446296876196941913
4Chick Hafey2419271593948475192537523
5Fernando Tatis2419991416396774199835012
6Eli Marrero2820021004462674199934335
7Fred Dunlap25188421447814272188136934
8Clyde Barnhart2719231503867872192150523
9Devin Mesoraco2620141464407472201335213
10Danny Thompson2519721006242971197031822

Devin Mesoraco's showing inside the top ten is surprising to me, perhaps he's been forgotten about already since a dismal injury-plagued follow-up in 2015.

Al Kaline jumps from fifth in the article to number one here, but with just two full seasons before his breakout year.

Other recent notables include Jose Bautista's 2010 breakout at #19, Justin Turner and Brandon Moss at #26 and Alex Avila's standout 2010 tied with Harper.

And personal favorite John Lowenstein broke out in his 12th year as a major leaguer to hit for a 173 wRC+ 65 points higher than his next best performance previously. He was 35 years old.

Here is the top 100:

Here is a picture of a face, parts of it belonging to the author, parts to John Lowenstein:

No comments:

Post a Comment