No. 9 wrote:
jaybee24 wrote:
BABIP against the team is .266, against a league average of .298. So either we have a very good defense, or a regression is on the horizon.
I'm not necessarily ruling out the defense...LaRoche has been excellent with the glove so far this year. But other than that, we are fielding essentially the same guys as last year, and I don't know if replacing our third baseman alone can explain a BABIP that is over 30 points below the league average.
Jaybee -
If I'm reading this right . . . according to league average . . . if a batter puts his bat on the ball . . . he will (on average) safely get a hit almost 30% of the time. Right?
No. 9
That's the basic idea, excluding home runs, which are not considered "in play" as far as BABIP is concerned. The idea there is that if a ball is hit so hard that it goes over the wall, it doesn't matter if it was hit toward someone or not.
Anyway, I'm a little skeptical of the concept of BABIP to measure how lucky a pitcher has been or how good his defense is. It doesn't take into account how hard the ball was hit...a slow grounder or a popup are obviously a lot different than a hard grounder or a line drive. Stats like ground ball and line drive percentages should be taken into account when discussing BABIP. However, a significant deviation from the league average BABIP is at least a red flag, and thirty points qualifies.
No. 9 wrote:
How does one induce weak grounders and lazy fly balls? By keeping hitters off balance. How does a pitcher keep a hitter off balance? Changing speeds, working ahead in the count, consistently throwing strikes and keeping the ball low in the strike zone. I don't understand how this is not a "sustainable skill."
It's not intuitive, but a significant amount of statistical work has shown that pitchers simply do not have the sustained ability to control where the ball is going. They have run correlation studies on pitchers plotting BABIP versus other established indicators of pitching success and have found no correlation whatsoever.
Voros McCracken was the first to come up with this concept, I believe. It was discussed at length in Moneyball, and the hard statistical work behind it is discussed in Baseball Prospectus's "Baseball Between the Numbers" (which is the best book I've ever read about baseball, I highly recommend).
Here's a short summary by BP:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/gloss ... arch=babip