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TOOTBLAN: Why TOOTB is more important than LAN

Disputes over just what constitutes a TOOTBLAN have arisen in recent weeks as the stat has become used more and more among different major league fanbases.

Basically, some believe that only mistakes on the basepaths should be counted as TOOTBLANs, while others – including the stat’s inventor (me) – count all non-force on-base outs.

Here’s a typical exchange on the issue:

Others weighed in, leading to this exchange:

And that’s about right.

First, a little history: As our background page says, the TOOTBLAN was invented as part of the Ryan Theriot Adjusted On-Base Percentage – which was created to help settle a dispute on the value of Ryan Theriot to the 2008 Cubs.

Theriot defenders routinely pointed to his high-ish on-base percentage. Detractors pointed to everything else.

In the interest of science, we devised an equation that subtracted caught stealing and on-base outs from his OBP, giving us the RTAOBP:

RTAOBP=(Hits+Walks+HBP-CS-Thrown Out On The Baseapths Like A Nincompoop)/Plate Appearances (AB+BB+HBP+SF).

The “nincompoop” part was added in a fit of whimsy – and the TOOTBLAN acronym was born.

Now, as we see above, that fateful decision has led to much discussion and debate on whether given plays are TOOTBLANs.

That, through no fault of either of the parties, misses the point: The important part of the TOOTBLAN is the TOOTB – not the LAN. The stat was created to help quantify the impact of all on-base non-force outs on a player’s on-base percentage.

The LAN, however, is probably what brought the stat attention, as discussed here:

So, that’s why we count the TOOTBLANs the way we do.

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