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BABIP discussion

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Postby Tavish » Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:11 pm

The biggest beef I have always had with BABIP (most normally when it is used in relation to pitchers and more specifically DIPs) is that one of the very tenants of the idea contradicts the idea itself. Somehow a pitcher can't control extra base hits but they can control HRs. The difference between a shot off the wall for a double (which isn't the pitcher's realm of responsibility) and a ball that lands in the first row pass the wall (which is the pitcher's responsibility) is a couple of feet. According to those who have total faith in BABIP the pitcher can control those couple of feet but has very little control on any other type of hit.

There is of course some very valid concepts in BABIP and DIPs but it is slowly becoming overemphasized and applied to far too many dissections of a player's ability and potential.
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Postby HOOTIE » Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:22 pm

TAVISH, i have to ask you. While we can't predict luck, don't you agree that hit rate % gives a idea, after the fact, if a players numbers were justified, or perhaps skewed. Two guys come to mind for me. Ichiros hit rate last year, and Zito. In 02 and 03, Zito had real nice (lucky) hit rates. His era was low and misleading. I figured once he was back to 30% or higher, his era would rise. And in 04 it did rise, with a 30% hit rate, instead of 25 %. Now sure his increased hr/9 rate increased and played a part, but i believe hit rate % can raise a big caution flag. JMHO.
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Postby beltrans_boy » Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:37 pm

Just for kicks, I calculated Derrek Lee's would-be batting average in 2005 using his career BABIP instead of his 2005 BABIP. This takes into account his refined K/BB ratio, increased power, etc.

Using his career BABIP (.318), Lee projects to have 64 non-HR hits. That comes out to a .320 batting average, which is a good 70 points lower than his current clip of .390. That's still a great average, but it's a little more reasonable than .400.

Lee had his highest BABIP in 2001 (.326), and that projects to 65 non-HR hits. That comes out to a .323 batting average. Again, it's still great, but it's not even close to .400.

I'm also less-than-optimistic that he can maintain this 50 HR pace that he's on right now, but that's another story. If the HRs drop, that batting average is bound to fall even further.

Basically, I'm just saying that Derrek Lee's BABIP isn't going to stay over .400, and as a result, we should expect a drop in batting average. Is there a chance that Derrek Lee has elevated his game to a level where he can maintain a .400+ BABIP? Sure, anything is possible. However, there is 8 year's (and more than 3500 at-bats) worth of data that suggests that he cannot and will not keep it up. I'm going to trust the 8-year data sample over the 2-month data sample.

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Postby JTWood » Sat Jun 25, 2005 12:41 am

BABIP is pretty worthless as a measuring device except at the extremes. As such, I've always thought that BABIP was a great tool to use just as BB did: To determine who is playing way over or under their head.
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Postby KolbSaves » Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:17 am

Tavish wrote:Somehow a pitcher can't control extra base hits but they can control HRs. The difference between a shot off the wall for a double (which isn't the pitcher's realm of responsibility) and a ball that lands in the first row pass the wall (which is the pitcher's responsibility) is a couple of feet. According to those who have total faith in BABIP the pitcher can control those couple of feet but has very little control on any other type of hit.

Pitcher's don't control home runs, they control ground ball / fly ball ratios. 11% of fly balls for ALL pitchers go out of the park. Numbers for most pitchers regress to that number every single year. If pitchers can keep the ball on the ground, those balls very well can't be hit for home runs.
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Postby Dawgpound 1613 » Sat Jun 25, 2005 4:24 am

beltrans_boy wrote:Just for kicks, I calculated Derrek Lee's would-be batting average in 2005 using his career BABIP instead of his 2005 BABIP. This takes into account his refined K/BB ratio, increased power, etc.

Using his career BABIP (.318), Lee projects to have 64 non-HR hits. That comes out to a .320 batting average, which is a good 70 points lower than his current clip of .390. That's still a great average, but it's a little more reasonable than .400.

Lee had his highest BABIP in 2001 (.326), and that projects to 65 non-HR hits. That comes out to a .323 batting average. Again, it's still great, but it's not even close to .400.

I'm also less-than-optimistic that he can maintain this 50 HR pace that he's on right now, but that's another story. If the HRs drop, that batting average is bound to fall even further.

Basically, I'm just saying that Derrek Lee's BABIP isn't going to stay over .400, and as a result, we should expect a drop in batting average. Is there a chance that Derrek Lee has elevated his game to a level where he can maintain a .400+ BABIP? Sure, anything is possible. However, there is 8 year's (and more than 3500 at-bats) worth of data that suggests that he cannot and will not keep it up. I'm going to trust the 8-year data sample over the 2-month data sample.

8-o


Agree. No one is saying DLee isn't a good player, but that right now he's playing above his established levels.

Whether this is "luck" or a new level of skill can be debated - but I agree with BB that I will take the 8 year data set over the 3 month data set, especially as the highest career BABIP I've seen is about 36%, and I'm not ready to believe DLee has even reached that level as he was a 32% player until this year.

As for pitcher BABIP, I do think pitchers have "some" control since some pitchers have shown the ability to maintain a BABIP under 30% most of their career, but I think the range is still smaller (28-32%) than for hitters, and that a pitcher above or below that range will regress to that range.
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Postby GotowarMissAgnes » Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:01 am

Tavish wrote:The biggest beef I have always had with BABIP (most normally when it is used in relation to pitchers and more specifically DIPs) is that one of the very tenants of the idea contradicts the idea itself. Somehow a pitcher can't control extra base hits but they can control HRs. The difference between a shot off the wall for a double (which isn't the pitcher's realm of responsibility) and a ball that lands in the first row pass the wall (which is the pitcher's responsibility) is a couple of feet. According to those who have total faith in BABIP the pitcher can control those couple of feet but has very little control on any other type of hit.

There is of course some very valid concepts in BABIP and DIPs but it is slowly becoming overemphasized and applied to far too many dissections of a player's ability and potential.


Well, there are some things here that I agree with, Tavish, but it does help to make sure everyone understands the idea. No one argues that pitchers have complete control over HRs and no control over BABIP. It is true, however, that there is more correlation between a pitcher's HR rates than a pitcher's BABIP from year to year. So, pitchers do seem to have more control over HR then BABIP.

Now, where I think we would agree is that I'd like to see more analysis of BABIP. For example, do pitchers have more control over slugging percentage of balls in play? I'd guess that the things that pitchers have less control over (like their fielder's ability to get to balls) might be more important for singles than for doubles and triples (but I could be wrong). Either way, I'd like to see a more detailed breakdown of pitcher hit rates that would show things like this.
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Postby reiser » Sat Jun 25, 2005 7:58 am

GotowarMissAgnes wrote:
Tavish wrote:The biggest beef I have always had with BABIP (most normally when it is used in relation to pitchers and more specifically DIPs) is that one of the very tenants of the idea contradicts the idea itself. Somehow a pitcher can't control extra base hits but they can control HRs. The difference between a shot off the wall for a double (which isn't the pitcher's realm of responsibility) and a ball that lands in the first row pass the wall (which is the pitcher's responsibility) is a couple of feet. According to those who have total faith in BABIP the pitcher can control those couple of feet but has very little control on any other type of hit.

There is of course some very valid concepts in BABIP and DIPs but it is slowly becoming overemphasized and applied to far too many dissections of a player's ability and potential.


Well, there are some things here that I agree with, Tavish, but it does help to make sure everyone understands the idea. No one argues that pitchers have complete control over HRs and no control over BABIP. It is true, however, that there is more correlation between a pitcher's HR rates than a pitcher's BABIP from year to year. So, pitchers do seem to have more control over HR then BABIP.

Now, where I think we would agree is that I'd like to see more analysis of BABIP. For example, do pitchers have more control over slugging percentage of balls in play? I'd guess that the things that pitchers have less control over (like their fielder's ability to get to balls) might be more important for singles than for doubles and triples (but I could be wrong). Either way, I'd like to see a more detailed breakdown of pitcher hit rates that would show things like this.


Tavish, your intuition is right. Pitchers *do* have control over BABIP. Though not to the extent that they can control Hr, K, and BB.

http://www.diamond-mind.com/articles/ipavg2.htm

That's an 80 year study of MLB pitchers that I consider definitive. But for some reason I still see people saying pitchers have no control over BIP.
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Postby reiser » Sat Jun 25, 2005 8:16 am

beltrans_boy wrote: Basically, I'm just saying that Derrek Lee's BABIP isn't going to stay over .400, and as a result, we should expect a drop in batting average.


BB-no one has disputed this, including myself. you do seem to be backing away from this statement however:

I believe his batting average of .395 is largely the result of luck, yes. The power that he's displayed is not, that's the result of a man possessed who is seeing and hitting the ball very well right now. The batting average, for the most part, is the result of luck.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Sat Jun 25, 2005 11:34 am

Some numbers that I've seen for Lee...

He's hitting 1/4 of his fly balls out of the park (vs an average for players of 11%...don't have the numbers for his previous seasons but a comparison here would be worthwhile).

He's hitting 26%+ of his contact for line drives (which fall in a league average of 70%+ of the time).

Those are two numbers that are very worthwhile to examine. Lee's HR's *could* be luck but they could also be someone finding a HR stroke. If the latter is the case and the 25% fly ball/hr ratio can hold up that will have a slight positive effect on his average.

If the 26% line drives is significantly higher than his career numbers that would also have a positive effect on his average given how often line drives go for hits.

Someone with all of the numbers in front of them should be able to determine a new baseline for Lee based on a higher fb/hr ratio and a higher line drive % assuming that he's found a way to hit the ball harder and more often for line drives than he has in the past. If I had to guess...assuming that he has done these things....I'd guess that he's going to be a .310-.320 hitter now.
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