Power-Speed Number
Stat of the Week
by Peter Liubicich
Power-Speed Number
This post was written by Peter Liubicich on August 6, 2012
Posted Under: Stat of the Week

One aspect of baseball that is too often ignored is the psychology of the sport and what goes on in the six inches between a player’s ears day in and day out (Click here for an interesting article by Michael Lewis on psychology and baseball).  Players are often criticized for being unclutch in playoff races or in the playoffs (namely Alex Rodriguez before redeeming himself in the 2009 playoffs), but some players like A.J. Burnett have been noted for needing to be in the right environment to succeed.  Burnett suffered through some rough times playing in the Bronx included incidents such as him cutting his hand punching clubhouse doors and ended this past offseason by being traded to the Pirates for two minor leaguers and covering almost $20 million of the $31.1 million left on Burnett’s contract.  Burnett won his 14th game yesterday and now has a 3.19 ERA and a great 1.15 WHIP.  It appears that a change of scenery has done Burnett a world of good and has realized his potential as a dominant starter with electric stuff.

This week we’ll look at a stat created by Bill James that looked to evaluate a hitter’s speed and power called the Power-Speed Number (PSN).

The formula for PSN is:           (2 x HR x SB)/(HR + SB)

One quick note about the statistic is that if a player either hits no home runs or steals no bases in a season, their PSN will be zero and that Home Runs and Stolen Bases are weighted equally.

In the 1980s and 1990s the idea of the 40-40 club was on everyone’s minds as players like Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez would either knock the ball out of the park when they got up to the plate or if they only got on base, they would be stealing the next bag.  While this statistic may not help in terms of building a team, but it is fun to see the most powerful and fastest players in the league and throughout history.

Barry Bonds holds the all-time career high for PSN in a career at 603.17 and Alex Rodriguez holds the record for highest PSN in a season at 43.91.  On Thursday we will look at both Bonds’ career and Rodriguez’s single-season record and who could possibly break these records in the future.

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