BABIP can be a great first guide for identifying potential buy low or sell high candidates. I’ve gathered BABIP information for qualified players for 2011 and compared it to their personal average from 2008-2010. For those of you new to the statistic, BABIP (batting average on balls in play) measures the percentage of plate appearances that result in a batted ball in play. This stat excludes home runs since they are not in play. While a league average BABIP can be calculated, the stat is better used to compare a player against himself over a period of time.
The tables below identify the top 10 2011 batters hitting above and below their 2008-2010 average BABIP. Only qualified hitters from 2008-2011 were included.
*Stats as of 6/22
Many of the players above are experiencing career worst seasons. While some of them may be horrible to begin with (Figgins, Tejada), they are still getting unlucky. I think several of these players are buy low candidates. While big names like Uggla and Ramirez are entrenched in season long slumps, most people agree they will begin to surface the second half of the season. Will they produce like you expected Opening Day? I don’t think so, but I do expect at least average production from them.
These players have apparently been spotting four leaf clovers all over their yards and should buy a lottery ticket. Oh wait, they make more than what the lottery pays out. The spike in BABIP isn’t as dramatic as the losses in the previous table. I’m also not sure I would be trying to trade any of the big names on this list as they show no signs of slowing down this year. So while I don’t necessarily suggest pursuing trades for most of these players, it wouldn’t hurt to listen to offers. You can expect most of them to slightly regress in BABIP the second half of the year.
For a more detailed look at Hunter Pence, check out Josh Shepardson’s Buyer Beware piece this week. It’s an excellent read.
Next week I’ll be diving into the starting pitchers receiving good and bad luck from BABIP.
Feel free to leave comments, I will respond to any questions.
Brandon can be found at home being a dad and novice landscaper, in the corporate office being a hamster, on the diamond being a softball coach, or at Fenway Park enjoying a frank. You can follow Brandon on Twitter (@bginda2g).
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