Every sport progresses based on several stats and regulations. In baseball, there are several interesting stats, including at-bat (AB), double (2B), games played (G), runs batted in (RBI), on-base plus slugging (OPS), and batting average (AVG). These stats allow evaluators to assess players’ performance and plan strategies further.
A runs batted in (RBI) in baseball indicates the number of runs scored by a hitter under various circumstances like bases-loaded walk, outs, and hits by pitch. During an error or a double play, the run is not given to the hitter.
RBI is an offensive stat. If you are an avid baseball fan, you need to know how this works in detail. So, start scrolling further.
RBI Rules In Baseball
RBI is allocated as a result of a run or at-bat. In other words, a score is allocated when the batter hits the ball and also lets the runner progress towards the base for the respective hitter.
Let us understand this incident with an example.
The batter hits the ball. Meanwhile, the runner can progress from one base to another when the ball remains in flight mode. This is also the instance when the runner gets a run while the hitter gets an RBI, as he was the reason to move on to the first base of baseball.
Looking at the video below, you can understand that RBI is mentioned in synonymous terms like ribby, ribeye, and runs driven in.
So, what are the RBI rules? There are two important RBI rules explaining when an official scorer credits/discredit the batter in major league baseball. Let’s look at these rules.
- A batter is credited with an RBI when –
- During the play, there is an error letting the runner score from the third base.
- The runner gets his bases full.
- A safe hit or sacrifice fly/bunt occurs.
2. A batter is not credited with an RBI when –
- There is a double play spotted.
- An error is spotted on the fielder’s side.
Rule 9.04 in baseball is still used by the official scorer to decide on the RBI values of players.
What Is A Good Baseball RBI?
An excellent baseball RBI in a season is any number over 100, while an average to a good range of RBI in a season is 50-100.
It is time to look at history to understand the rationale behind these numbers.
Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Albert Pujols have scored the highest number of major league baseball career runs with values of 2,297, 2,213, and 2,150, respectively. From the season’s perspective, Hack Wilson scored 191 RBIs in one season in 1930. Lou Gehrig scored 185 RBIs, and Hank Greenberg scored 183 RBIs in 1931 and 1937, respectively. In this case, Hank Aaron has played for 23 years, while Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols played for 22 and 21 years, respectively.
As of the major league baseball 2021 season, Salvador Perez held the highest number of RBIs with 121. Further, about 20 players scored over 10 RBIs, while the players in the top 50 leaderboards held an average of 85 RBIs.
The fluctuation in the number of RBIs could also be due to the number of opportunities for an RBI experienced by a player in the team. Getting an RBI is comparatively difficult when base players are limited or rarely positioned.
Let us now move on to the RBI game record.
Considering the number of RBIs in single-game runs, Jim Bottomley and Mark Whiten scored 12 RBIs each.
Jim was the first to set this record of RBIs back in 1924 when he got three singles, a home run, a grand slam, and one double. After a very long gap, Mark Whiten was the next player to score an equal number of RBIs in 1993. In his case, all his four home runs accumulated 12 RBIs.
Fernando Tatis holds an RBI record. Back in 1999, in a game with St. Louis, he scored eight RBIs in the same inning (3rd inning in his game). This record remains untouched to date.
How To Calculate RBI In Baseball?
The easiest way to calculate RBI is –
RBI = Number of times a batter hits the ball in a season
Whenever a batter hits the ball from at-base, one RBI is counted. At the end of each season, the total number of RBIs is counted to rank the players.
If there are any runs due to double plays or errors, it needs to be omitted.
If you are a newbie to understanding stats in baseball, here is a video that we can review and calculate RBI.
As soon as the batter hits the ball at 00:10, the other player runs to a higher base, and by the time he reaches the home, he has scored 3 RBIs.
At 00:22, the player reaches the home and is then credited with 3 RBIs.
Isn’t that too easy to calculate? No hard formula, no painstaking calculation! Just observe and count the number of RBIs. You are done!
Is RBI Important In Baseball?
RBI is a useful and critical stat calculating the number of runners scoring because of sacrifice, hit, walk, and fielding. A player with a high RBI score is highly valued. But, it is overrated for several reasons like inconsistency, baseless scoring system, inaccuracy, and lack of reliability.
To consider RBI a useful stat, it needs to involve procedures with supporting pieces of evidence. This is not the case with RBI regarding the procedure followed to assess and calculate RBI.
The existing way of calculating RBI views timely hitting and regular hitting separately. However, this approach needs proper evidence.
It is calculated based on the number of opportunities a player receives. For instance, the offensive triple crown in baseball is achieved only when a player tends to lead the league in three aspects – batting average, RBI, and home runs. In many instances, players do not receive those many opportunities.
This means that RBI is not the only stat to measure the effectiveness of a hitter. It can interfere with the style and plate appearance of a hitter.
Sporting News published an interesting platform about the future of RBI and the need to shift to other stats. In the same season, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols had different evaluation systems for RBI. For instance, Trout finished tied in the season with a number of RBIs, similar to Jose Abreu and Carlos Gonzalez. Contrarily, Mike Trout is proudly called the consensus best player in major league baseball. This means he is way ahead of other players in terms of talent. Comparing his approach to other players sounds inappropriate and underestimates his potential.
In that season, Pujols beats out Mike Trout. As a cleanup hitter, Pujols had several opportunities to accumulate a number of RBIs. While he is a capable batter, he only batted third or cleanup. Contrarily, Trout played prior.
The valuation proved that it is feasible for a bad player to gain more RBIs than a good player. This affects the engagement of players. The article recommends replacing RBI with weighted runs above average (wRAA) to calculate a player’s productivity.
So, is it a useful stat? Not entirely! Baseball has several other stats like wRAA that fairly evaluates the player from multiple perspectives. RBI suffers in terms of clarity, consistency, and accuracy. It needs to be supported or replaced with other useful stats in baseball.
Is A Homerun An RBI?
Each time a home run is scored, the batter is credited with an RBI. Other players who scored during the play are also allocated an RBI each. Based on the number of runners on base, a player can have a maximum of four RBIs.
Is A Walk An RBI?
Bases on balls are counted as hits, and players receive an RBI. Run-scoring hits are common in baseball.
However, a walk is regarded as an at-bat since it does not explain the batting average. As per major league baseball rule, a player is not credited with an RBI for a walk if there is an error or a double play.
As you get hit with a pitched ball that is already loaded with bases, you move on to the base because of the at-bat. As the baserunner scores in this scenario, an RBI is awarded.
Is A Wild Pitch An RBI?
The scorer does not credit the player with an RBI on a wild pitch as he is not engaged in the runner’s score.
The Ole Ballgame has a detailed explanation for this scenario. When the pitcher makes a wild pitch and the runner takes 3rd score, the batter does not get credit for it. The batter holds no role as the runner moves from third base.
- What is OPS In Baseball?
- What Is ERA In Baseball?
- What Is Whip In Baseball?
- What Is Slugging Percentage In Baseball?
My Favorite Baseball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find my favorite baseball bat, baseballs, and a glove that I think will take your game to the next level!
- Bat: My favorite baseball bat is the Easton Project 3 Fuze. This bat has a composite end cap, reduced post-impact vibrations, balanced swing weight for the fastest swing speed, and a carbon core that makes this bat perform very well! As I’m not a professional baseball player, I like to use alloy bats as you can swing faster and hit further.
- Baseballs: Rawlings Competition Grade Practice Balls are my choice for something to hit. I love these balls because they fit all levels of play, so regardless of who you are playing with, you can use them. They come in a 6 or 12 balls box, and you can choose between raised or flat seams! I prefer flat seams as the balls tend to fly further!
- Glove: When it comes to the glove, my choice is the Rawlings Sandlot Glove. This glove is available for both lefties and righties. The same glove is also available for infielders, outfielders, pitchers, catchers, and 1B mitt. This glove has a nice vintage look, and it’s made from oiled leather. It has palm pads that protect your hand from impact, and it is pre-broken-in, so you are good to go as soon as you have it! A glove I’m proud to recommend.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.