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Postby reiser » Fri Jun 24, 2005 2:12 am

beltrans_boy wrote: Ok, first of all, don't patronize me. I'd like to have a civilized discussion here.


it's difficult not to get frustrated. we just entirely disagree on your premise that BABIP is fundamental to evaluating hitting. so we are really just talking past each other. wait...it looks like you wrote 2 separate messages. let me see if i can combine this.

beltrans_boy wrote: So if Player A hits a sharp liner to CF and Andruw Jones makes a diving catch to rob him of a base hit, that's not unlucky? I'd argue that it is, especially when you compare it to Player B who knocks a bloop single into CF just over the second baseman's head off the handle of the bat.

Or what about a defensive alignment/shift (say, where the infield is in) that allows a batted ball that would normally be a routine out to become a base hit?


you just destroyed your whole argument for BABIP.
if Andruw makes a diving catch, why would you call that luck?
that argues for BABIP, instead of just a gold glove OF making a routine catch (for him). that's not luck. Andruw's done that for 5 years.

and think of a shift-that's just a manager playing the odds (good ones at that). that's not luck, that's the opposing team doing what's it's supposed to do-prevent hits/runs.

beltrans_boy wrote: Skill takes care of a large portion of batting, but luck does enter into the equation at one point or another. To ignore the factor of fortune is ridiculous.

finally...
beltrans_boy wrote: I believe his batting average of .395 is largely the result of luck, yes.


that's fine. actually, based on his BABIP number, his AVG should be higher, so he is unlucky, right? see, this is just noise.

I think it's interesting though that you are thinking about measures of predicting someone's hitting. this actually may be a case where there are better numbers on pitching than on hitting.
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Postby WittyC » Fri Jun 24, 2005 2:14 am

HOOTIE wrote:
WittyC wrote: This can be settled with an answer to a single question: Do you think D-Lee's success has a great deal to do with luck right now?

I'm not going to argue the value of BABIP, I think in Lee's case, he's really not getting lucky. "Hittin' it where they ain't," can be a skill. There's no way to argue that Ichiro can do this, and I think D-Lee's doing it in a much different manner.


If Ichiro can do it, why is he hitting under .300, when he hit .423 the 2nd half last year? Hit rate % doesn't predict, but it can paint somewhat of a picture on what happened. Ichiro has had hit rate % of

37
35
33
40.

As you can se, his 40% suggests he was a bit lucky, he was out of his norm. Now people can ignore it, but what it tells me was his last season average was a bit of a fluke, and there was a good chance he regresses from it, provided the luck stops. We can't predict luck. Lee could in theory have a great hit rate % the rest of way. But the odds could also catch up to him. In the last 5 years, Lees hit rate % have been real consistent.

33
33
33
31
31

To say that Lee is hitting .395 with no luck involved is crazy.


I'm just saying that stats don't always tell the whole story. If there were a stat for, let's say, "quality struck balls" or something, I think it could level out your hit rate.

I believe he's hitting .390 because he's working counts, seeing the ball increadibly well and making solid, fundamentally sound swings. I'm not saying there's "no" luck involved here, but I will say that there's been very little luck involved in his success.

In fact, I'd say that he's been flat out unlucky... he should have well over 80 RBI's right now! :-D
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Postby beltrans_boy » Fri Jun 24, 2005 2:28 am

reiser wrote:
beltrans_boy wrote: Ok, first of all, don't patronize me. I'd like to have a civilized discussion here.


it's difficult not to get frustrated. we just entirely disagree on your premise that BABIP is fundamental to evaluating hitting. so we are really just talking past each other. wait...it looks like you wrote 2 separate messages. let me see if i can combine this.

beltrans_boy wrote: So if Player A hits a sharp liner to CF and Andruw Jones makes a diving catch to rob him of a base hit, that's not unlucky? I'd argue that it is, especially when you compare it to Player B who knocks a bloop single into CF just over the second baseman's head off the handle of the bat.

Or what about a defensive alignment/shift (say, where the infield is in) that allows a batted ball that would normally be a routine out to become a base hit?


you just destroyed your whole argument for BABIP.
if Andruw makes a diving catch, why would you call that luck?
that argues for BABIP, instead of just a gold glove OF making a routine catch (for him). that's not luck. Andruw's done that for 5 years.

Right, but from the hitter's perspective it's bad luck that he hit it to Andruw, and it's bad luck that Andruw made a spectacular play to rob him of a would-be hit. If it were, say, Bernie Williams in CF, the EXACT same ball would have fallen in for a hit. It's just bad luck that Jones happened to be patrolling CF instead of Bernie. I don't understand how this "destroys my argument for BABIP." If the same EXACT hits produce different results, luck is the wildcard. There's no way around that.

reiser wrote:and think of a shift-that's just a manager playing the odds (good ones at that). that's not luck, that's the opposing team doing what's it's supposed to do-prevent hits/runs.

It's the same as the above scenario. If the defensive alignment had stayed the same, the ball would have resulted in an out. That's not lucky?

reiser wrote:
beltrans_boy wrote: Skill takes care of a large portion of batting, but luck does enter into the equation at one point or another. To ignore the factor of fortune is ridiculous.

finally...
beltrans_boy wrote: I believe his batting average of .395 is largely the result of luck, yes.


that's fine. actually, based on his BABIP number, his AVG should be higher, so he is unlucky, right? see, this is just noise.

BABIP doesn't take strikeouts or HRs into account. BABIP is not a substitution for batting average, it's a tool to help us understand the factors that go into batting average. It's safe to say, however, that the higher the BABIP is, the higher the batting average is going to be. There's a positive correlation between the two metrics.

reiser wrote:I think it's interesting though that you are thinking about measures of predicting someone's hitting. this actually may be a case where there are better numbers on pitching than on hitting.

Huh? Sure, BABIP is a better measure for pitching, but it can also
be used to determine a hitter's luck factor.

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree and revisit this thread at the end of the season. If Lee's BABIP is still hovering around .425, I'll admit that you were right and that luck has nothing to do with batting average. Until then, I'm going to assume that I'm right, and you're going to assume that you're right, and we'll part ways and agree to disagree, ok?

;-D
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Postby beltrans_boy » Fri Jun 24, 2005 2:33 am

WittyC wrote:I'm just saying that stats don't always tell the whole story. If there were a stat for, let's say, "quality struck balls" or something, I think it could level out your hit rate


There's a Line Drive % metric which is similar to "quality struck balls." Derrek Lee is 5th in the majors at 25.7% behind Brian Roberts, David Wright, Mark Kotsay and Grady Sizemore.

Line drives (as defined by this metric) usually fall for a hit around 75% of the time. Therefore, it's no coincidence that Lee has a high BABIP. All I'm saying is that it's a little *too* high.

You can find LD% and other stats here

;-D
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Postby reiser » Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:34 am

beltrans_boy wrote: Right, but from the hitter's perspective it's bad luck that he hit it to Andruw, and it's bad luck that Andruw made a spectacular play to rob him of a would-be hit. If it were, say, Bernie Williams in CF, the EXACT same ball would have fallen in for a hit. It's just bad luck that Jones happened to be patrolling CF instead of Bernie. I don't understand how this "destroys my argument for BABIP." If the same EXACT hits produce different results, luck is the wildcard. There's no way around that.


so now you are calling the schedule luck-it's just unlucky that the Mets drew the Braves and Andruw, instead of feasting on say the DRays and Dirty Sanchez? Or maybe it's just laziness...couldn't a batter have spent some extra time in the cage working on LD down the line?

reiser wrote:and think of a shift-that's just a manager playing the odds (good ones at that). that's not luck, that's the opposing team doing what's it's supposed to do-prevent hits/runs.

beltrans_boy wrote: It's the same as the above scenario. If the defensive alignment had stayed the same, the ball would have resulted in an out. That's not lucky?


really, this is just absurd-you are now definining every event that occurs on the field that results in an out as luck. or am i twisting around what you said? let's check!

beltrans_boy wrote: If the same EXACT hits produce different results, luck is the wildcard. There's no way around that.


nope, I think i got it right!


beltrans_boy wrote: BABIP doesn't take strikeouts or HRs into account. BABIP is not a substitution for batting average, it's a tool to help us understand the factors that go into batting average.


you mean a tool that strips them out right? (H-HR)/(AB-HR-SO)
what formula are you using for BABIP? there's at least 2 that i have seen.

by the way, I found another study of BABIP, but there's so much survivorship bias in the study it's hardly worth linking:
http://danagonistes.blogspot.com/2005/0 ... tters.html

We don't have to put an end to anything though. What I was suggesting above is that it interests me what can account for hitter's BA/OBP/OPS from one year to the next, and that I hadn't really thought about that before.

But to surmise:
BB- Believes BABIP is a useful tool for evaluating hitters, and quantifies all outs as unlucky.
Reiser-Disputes the use of BABIP..for pitching too!

maybe the mods will give us a stathead forum where we can not annoy the crap out of everyone else!
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Postby gabenterprises » Fri Jun 24, 2005 11:35 am

I still want to see a response from the person who disputes BABIP with BB to his questions I repost here:

"if a player has a BABIP of .000, what is his batting average going to be? .000 + whatever HRs he hits. Conversely, if a player has a BABIP of 1.000, what is his average going to be? 1.000. So we've determined that there is a relationship between BABIP and batting average, correct? It might be small, but there is a positive trend there."
Seems indisputable, just a question of how powerful you see this tool.

My 2 major points in this thread are:
1) That Lee's BABIP has inflated his batting average to the point that it's at right now.
2) That Lee's BABIP (projected over the course of the season) would be one of the highest marks in the history of the game.
Before I move on, would you care to dispute either of those points?

Well, would you dispute these quantitative questions? If not, then the question of luck and baseball has been answered. It's like that joke where the guy says "Would you sleep with me for $100.00? She says no. "HOw about ten million." She says ok. He says "How about a hot dog then." She says "What do you think I am?" He says, "We already determined that, now we're just haggling about the price."
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Postby cookman » Fri Jun 24, 2005 1:03 pm

Alright, this is my last post on the topic because we are starting to beat a dead horse.

My main contention is that I do not see how you can accurately utilize BABIP to determine a hitters "luck" when hitting. I don't dispute the fact that Lee has an uncharacteristically high BABIP right now, and that this is bringing his BA up. I do believe it will normalize a bit, although I don't naturely assume it will fall back to career norms. I also can see the use in this stat as a measure for pitcher's "luck", because over a projected period of time, all of the hitters (and hitting styles) a pitcher faces will normalize out to an "average" major league hitter, with an average BABIP of around .300 that can be analyzed.

When it comes to hitters, though, this is not the case. A hitter goes up to bat every time with the same hitting approach, and this has a lot more to do with a hitter's BABIP than luck. Is there luck involved? Sure, just like anything. But, just like most other stats (ERA, BA, etc), over time, that luck will tend to equilibrate, and a player's skill will be a much bigger factor. I just don't see luck being the MAIN determinant.

We've already stated that quick players tend to have higher a BABIP. You also just stated that line drive hitters (and you named Lee in that group) also tend to have a higher BABIP, because line drives fall at a higher rate than pop-ups (unless your contending that hitting line drives is lucky, but I would also have to disagree with that; from my years of baseball experience I can tell you there are definitely guys who are line drive hitters and guys with uppercut swings who tend to be fly ball hitters). So guys, like Lee or Brian Roberts, who have both of these attributes, will tend to have inflated BABIPs. That's not luck, that is a stat proving they are better in a certain area than average major leaguers. I have not seen a stat yet that proves (as I have seen with BABIP's use with pitching stats) that there is not a positive correlation between a hitter's BABIP from year to year. Like a players BA, common sense would tell me there is a pretty significant positive correlation from year to year. And until I see evidence to the contrary (which I don't think I will), I will continue to question it's usefulness when analyzing hitting statistics.
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Postby gabenterprises » Fri Jun 24, 2005 1:12 pm

Good explanation. I see the debate, and it will be interesting to see how it falls out. I tend to agree that BABIP can be related to skill as well as luck, making the connection between it and luck indirect, and so not necessarily a good stat by which to judge a players future potential.
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Postby reiser » Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:32 pm

gabenterprises wrote:I still want to see a response from the person who disputes BABIP with BB to his questions I repost here:


I guess that's me. so let me respond. Yes I absolutely dispute that BABIP has a bearing on BA, in that it is essentially a blunt instrument.
if we were talking about Ichiro, Eckstein etc., (pick a singles hitter)...sure, BABIP would be interesting to look at. and really that's the only type of player i could imagine it has any use for- all BABIP does is measure non-HR hits.

Lee is primarily a power hitter, clearly in the prime of his career. so does it make sense to focus on on whether he has gotten lucky on a few hits (my assertion: who cares?) or to discuss whether Lee's career high SLG (a good .237 above his normal SLG) can continue.
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Postby beltrans_boy » Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:40 pm

reiser wrote:
beltrans_boy wrote: Right, but from the hitter's perspective it's bad luck that he hit it to Andruw, and it's bad luck that Andruw made a spectacular play to rob him of a would-be hit. If it were, say, Bernie Williams in CF, the EXACT same ball would have fallen in for a hit. It's just bad luck that Jones happened to be patrolling CF instead of Bernie. I don't understand how this "destroys my argument for BABIP." If the same EXACT hits produce different results, luck is the wildcard. There's no way around that.


so now you are calling the schedule luck-it's just unlucky that the Mets drew the Braves and Andruw, instead of feasting on say the DRays and Dirty Sanchez? Or maybe it's just laziness...couldn't a batter have spent some extra time in the cage working on LD down the line?

reiser wrote:and think of a shift-that's just a manager playing the odds (good ones at that). that's not luck, that's the opposing team doing what's it's supposed to do-prevent hits/runs.

beltrans_boy wrote: It's the same as the above scenario. If the defensive alignment had stayed the same, the ball would have resulted in an out. That's not lucky?

really, this is just absurd-you are now definining every event that occurs on the field that results in an out as luck. or am i twisting around what you said? let's check!

No, you're not twisting around anything I said. The fate of a batted ball has an element of luck. I'd really like to see your evidence that backs up the claim that luck doesn't play a role in batting average or the fate of a batted ball. I never said that every result in the field is because of luck, but you're completely ignoring the factor of luck in the equation, and that's just poor logic. I'm just trying to show you 2 instances where fortune obviously played a role in the result of the batted ball.

reiser wrote:
beltrans_boy wrote:If the same EXACT hits produce different results, luck is the wildcard. There's no way around that.

nope, I think i got it right!

Yeah, aside from your lack of evidence and blatant disregard for logic.

reiser wrote:
beltrans_boy wrote: BABIP doesn't take strikeouts or HRs into account. BABIP is not a substitution for batting average, it's a tool to help us understand the factors that go into batting average.

you mean a tool that strips them out right? (H-HR)/(AB-HR-SO)
what formula are you using for BABIP? there's at least 2 that i have seen.

Well, first of all, I'm using (H-HR)/(AB+SF+SH-SO-HR), I already explained that earlier in the thread.

Second of all, it would be ridiculous to include HRs and strikeouts in a metric that measures batting average on balls in play. That's the reason why they're subtracted out of the calculation. I'm only concerned with what happens when balls are batted into the field of play and the results of those balls (outs, hits, errors, etc.).

reiser wrote:But to surmise:
BB- Believes BABIP is a useful tool for evaluating hitters, and quantifies all outs as unlucky.
Reiser-Disputes the use of BABIP..for pitching too!

Where did I say all outs were unlucky? I said that the fate of batted balls has an element of luck to it. Prove me wrong. So far, all you've done is tell me that I'm crazy and that my facts are flawed, but you haven't posted ANY evidence to support your claim.
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