Pete Palmer is a well-known sabermetrician. His best-known books are Total Baseball and The Hidden Game of Baseball. He is best known, however, for his creation of the Linear Weights system of evaluating player's offensive contributions to baseball, and the extension used by Total Baseball, Total Player Rating. The linear weights system is based on the assumption that any given event in a baseball game, over the course of a season or a career, is worth a fixed number of runs on average. Palmer calculated what the values of each event would be under this assumption, both for players' batting records and their pitching/fielding records, and the sum of the run contributions from each of these is expressed in Total Baseball as the Total Player Rating. From memory, here are the salient points of linear weights:

  • Walk: 0.25 runs
  • Single: 0.33 runs
  • Double: 0.5 runs
  • Triple: 1 run
  • Home run: 1.4 runs
  • Out: around -0.15 runs, but defined such that the weighted sum of all offensive events for a population (season, generally) is zero
  • Stolen Base: has varied from 0.25 to 0.10 runs, depending on the year
  • Caught Stealing: same as any other out

I find that Palmer's work carries more appeal than that of Bill James, as Palmer's assumptions tend to be significantly simpler and provide almost identical levels of accuracy. Compare Linear Weights and Runs Created.

Palmer doesn't have much biographical information available. Additions/corrections are, as always, encouraged--/msg WRW and I'll incorporate them.

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