A Quick Review of the 2022 UC Irvine Anteaters Baseball Offense


As a UC Irvine professor, it should be no surprise that I wanted to use my Fair Credit Baseball statistics to evaluate the UC Irvine Anteater baseball team. Just who was the most productive run contributor during the 2022 season? And who was the most valuable offensive player?

Production and value are closely related in baseball. The most productive offensive player is the player who most helped their team score runs, while the most valuable offensive player is the player whose production was most important for winning games. Because scoring runs is needed to win, production and value are strongly related both conceptually and statistically, and we correctly conclude that a particular player is valuable because they have made sizeable contributions to their team’s overall run production.

However, the most productive player and most valuable player are not always the same because not all run contributions are equally important, in their context, for winning games. A quick review of Shapley Run Credits (SRC) and Offensive Shapley Win Credits (OSWC) reveals that such is the case with the 2022 UC Irvine Anteaters baseball team (32-24, 16-14). The most productive Anteater in 2022 was Nathan Church, but the most valuable offensive player was Justin Torres.

Which Anteater Produced the Most Runs?

Table 1 lists several of traditional counting statistics (AB, R, H, RBI, etc.) as well as the additive SRC and OSWC Fair-credit Baseball statistics. Season totals that led the team are bolded for easy reference, and the table is sorted by OSWC. From the traditional statistics it is clear that the largest run producers were Justin Torres, Nathan Church, Woody Hadeen, and Dub Gleed, but which one actually produced the most runs?

Table 1: 2022 UC Irvine Anteaters Offensive Counting Statistics

As seen in the SRC column, Nathan Church was the most productive run producer with 47.09 SRC. That is, of the 334 runs scored by the Anteaters in 2022, Church’s total credit share for those runs is 47.09. Perhaps this is not a surprise. He played in almost all of the team’s games (53 out of 56), so he was relatively healthy for the duration of the season and had many opportunities to contribute to run scoring. Because he was widely known for being a good hitter, he also always batted near the top of the lineup (I usually saw him bat 2nd) near the team’s other best hitters in the lineup. This spot in the lineup gave him a further boost in opportunities. Players right ahead of him in the lineup had a good chance of being on base for him to bat them in, and players right behind him in the lineup had a good chance of batting him in should he get on base.

Church’s 47.09 SRC is 14% of the 334 runs scored by the team. To put this in perspective, let us do a back-of-the-envelope calculation to identify how many runs a typical regular player on the team would contribute.

A team has several players who are every-day starters who essentially always start when they are healthy. It also has some periodic but regular starters who frequently appear in the starting lineup to take advantage of specific matchups or to give other players regular rest. Finally, there are some players who play infrequently enough to not be considered regular starters. For UC Irvine, 12 is a good estimate for the number of every-day and regular starters. Notice that 12 players had 91 or more PA, and the remaining 3 players with at least 1 PA had a combined 87 PA. We thus have 12 effective starters plus one composite starter for 13 of what I will call starter equivalents. Dividing 334 by 13 suggests that an Anteater starter equivalent produced 25.69 runs on average.

Six Anteaters had SRC greater than 25.69 — Church, Torres, Gleed, Ben Fitzgerald, Hadeen, and Taishi Nakawake. Church’s 47.09 SRC is an impressive 183% of the average Anteater equivalent starter. It is 6.47 runs higher than the next highest SRC total for the team (Torres 40.62 SRC), and it means that he contributed an average of 0.89 runs across the 53 games in which he appeared.

Which Anteater Provided the Most Valuable Offense?

Although Church was the most productive offensive player, he was not the most valuable offensive player. As seen in Table 1 above, that distinction goes to Torres whose 4.58 OSWC edged out Church’s 4.32 OSWC. Torres is thus the 2022 UC Irvine Anteaters Offensive MVP. He not only amassed the largest OSWC, he is also credited with the highest OSWC per game played (0.085), slightly edging out Church (0.082) as seen in Table 2. Although Church was more productive than Torres, Torres’s offense was slightly more valuable to the team than Church’s over the course of the season because his offense contributions were, in their context, more consequential for winning games.

Table 2: 2022 UC Irvine Anteaters Offensive Rate Statistics

Using 13 as the number of starter equivalents again, the average starter equivalent win credits for a player on the team is 32 team wins divided by 13, which equals 2.46 win credits per starter equivalent. We again have six Anteaters above this average — Torres, Church, Hadeen, Gleed, Nakawake, and Luke Spillane.

Any Other Notable Performers?

Spillane is the one Anteater who provided above-average offensive value while providing less-than-average run production. In fact, Spillane had the team’s highest OSWC per SRC. His 0.118 OSWC per SRC means that his run contributions were especially valuable to the team in that they were highly consequential in winning games when they occurred. This is a terrific accomplishment for a player who, according to his 0.617 OPS and 0.303, was a below-average hitter for the team during the season.

Caden Kendle was the Anteaters’ triple-slash-crown winner, i.e., he led the team in all three categories of the AVG/OBP/SLG triple-slash batting line with 0.328/0.465/0.533. His also had the team’s highest weighted On Base Average (wOBA) with 0.459 (wOBA more accurately accounts for hitting than the triple-slash batting line), so he was the most skilled hitter on the team on a per-plate-appearance basis. By the end of the season, Kendle had earned a spot as an every-day, top-of-the-lineup starter, but he was not an every-day starter at the beginning of the season. So he had fewer opportunities to accrue SRC and OSWC at the start of the season than the team leaders in those categories.

That Nakawake was both more productive and more valuable than the average, starter-equivalent Anteater is also notable because he is known for being a stellar defensive shortstop and not for being a great offensive player. He generally batted ninth in the lineup, a spot that is often reserved for one of the team’s worst hitters. However, the ninth batter can also be an effective table setter by helping to move runners into scoring position for the top the lineup. Indeed, Nakawake led the team and the Big West Conference with 15 sacrifice bunts (the next highest in the conference was Hadeen with 9).


According to the OSWC and SRC Fair Credit Statistics, Justin Torres was the 2022 UC Irvine Anteaters offensive MVP, and Nathan Church was the most productive offensive Anteater. Yet, there were other notable contributions by other players on the team. SRC and OSWC help us to identify these more surprising offensive contributors and show how baseball is a team sport in which many players make important contributions.

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