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Postby KolbSaves » Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:56 pm

The Loveable Losers wrote: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.

You are completely mistaken by the 11% number of flyballs that go for hr. This is an average of all hitters, and therefore is applicable to pitcher's statistics. This is NOT applicable to hitters, because some hit for over that number and some hit for under that number.

Likewise, BABIP varies from hitter to hitter based on hit types. Developments are rapidly occuring in advanced hitting metrics based on hit types.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Sat Jun 25, 2005 6:46 pm

Right, I was saying that the league average for fly ball/home run % is 11%. I was putting that there to illustrate how many more fly balls Lee is hitting out of the park than the average player. That's definitely going to have an inflationary effect on his average and if repeatable could change his baseline average from here on out.
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Postby KolbSaves » Sat Jun 25, 2005 6:48 pm

Gotcha
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Postby beltrans_boy » Mon Jun 27, 2005 12:17 am

reiser wrote:
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.


Well, if you don't dispute it, then why are you disagreeing with me? If the BABIP is because of an ability to "hit 'em where they aint" (like you said), then shouldn't we expect his BABIP to stay the same? If BABIP has nothing to do with luck, then it's due to a newfound set of skills. If he's established a new set of skills, then we can expect it to stay where it is, right? ...since it has nothing to do with luck (like you said). Why do you expect his BABIP to drop? Is Derrek Lee instanty going to un-learn this ability? Sounds like a fishy explaination.

You can't just say that the BABIP is going to drop off and ignore luck as a factor, especially after making a statement that infers that BABIP is influenced by skill, and not luck.

The truth is, his batting average has been helped, in a LARGE way, by luck. Considering his batting average with the current BABIP is 20% than his batting average should be with his career BABIP, I think we can safely make that assumption.

20% is significant, especially when you consider that the difference between a terrible hitter (.200) and an all-star hitter (.300) is only 33%. I'm not backing away from that statement at all. I'm saying that that 20% differential can be attributed to luck.

Derrek Lee is a borderlined .300 hitter, not a .390+ hitter. The batting average differential is largely due to luck.

(by the way, I might not be able to check this for a long time, so you'll have to excuse any delays in my response)
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Postby WittyC » Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:56 am

beltrans_boy wrote:
reiser wrote:
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.


Well, if you don't dispute it, then why are you disagreeing with me? If the BABIP is because of an ability to "hit 'em where they aint" (like you said), then shouldn't we expect his BABIP to stay the same? If BABIP has nothing to do with luck, then it's due to a newfound set of skills. If he's established a new set of skills, then we can expect it to stay where it is, right? ...since it has nothing to do with luck (like you said). Why do you expect his BABIP to drop? Is Derrek Lee instanty going to un-learn this ability? Sounds like a fishy explaination.

You can't just say that the BABIP is going to drop off and ignore luck as a factor, especially after making a statement that infers that BABIP is influenced by skill, and not luck.

The truth is, his batting average has been helped, in a LARGE way, by luck. Considering his batting average with the current BABIP is 20% than his batting average should be with his career BABIP, I think we can safely make that assumption.

20% is significant, especially when you consider that the difference between a terrible hitter (.200) and an all-star hitter (.300) is only 33%. I'm not backing away from that statement at all. I'm saying that that 20% differential can be attributed to luck.

Derrek Lee is a borderlined .300 hitter, not a .390+ hitter. The batting average differential is largely due to luck.

(by the way, I might not be able to check this for a long time, so you'll have to excuse any delays in my response)


My only issue with your argument is that it's very extreme to say that his average is largely due to luck.

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


I'd like to see this researched a little more deeply, because personally, I think this is key. His BABIP is not inflated because he's blooping singles all over the place, he is flat out driving the ball and scattering line drives. I believe this is the reason that both his BABIP and average appear to be inflated.

Now, as I've said before, I don't think he'll perform at this level for the remainder of the season. However, I believe that a significant dip in BABIP would correlate with a dip in his contact for line drives. In other words, he won't hit as many line drives, and therefore his BABIP and average will dip. This will almost certainly correlate with a dip in his HR's, as well.

Now, that being said, I don't believe that hitting line drives has much to do with luck. Of course there are times when a player might get fooled, takes a blind swing and manages to hit the ball on the head anyways. But this doesn't happen very often, especially against big league pitching. Therefore, I don't believe what he's done so far is based largely on luck.

I would like to look into this further, but I have no idea where to find the stats... what are some good sites I could look to for these oddball stats? I haven't really gotten into these additional metrics until this year, and don't really know where to look. :,-(
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Postby reiser » Mon Jun 27, 2005 8:35 am

beltrans_boy wrote: 20% is significant, especially when you consider that the difference between a terrible hitter (.200) and an all-star hitter (.300) is only 33%. I'm not backing away from that statement at all. I'm saying that that 20% differential can be attributed to luck.

Derrek Lee is a borderlined .300 hitter, not a .390+ hitter. The batting average differential is largely due to luck.

(by the way, I might not be able to check this for a long time, so you'll have to excuse any delays in my response)


well, let me put it to you like this. so you are also saying Eric Chavez was just really unlucky at the beginning of this year, and these aren't the normal variations you should expect to see over the course of a season? what about Johan Santana after the ASB last year? luck?

I think you are ignoring any possibility that this is in fact a breakout season-when someone has clearly improved their power game, this is just luck?
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Postby KolbSaves » Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:04 pm

I think you guys are just arguing over what each person means by the word "largely", which is pretty silly if you ask me.
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Postby The Loveable Losers » Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:15 pm

I'll make an attempt here at answering the question Kolb said you were all discussing. I'm going to have to do it with some non-standard stats (since I don't have access to the typically used numbers) but I think we can all agree on the basic premises that I'll list here before I get into the numbers.

1) The ratio of HR's to HR's + Fly Outs (couldn't get the total # of fly balls for past years) would be an almost entirely skill-based measurement. Hitting a HR instead of a fly out measures the ability to hit the ball very hard...not the ability to get lucky.
2) The percentage of line drives hit has little to do with luck and that the average line drive falls for a hit 75% of the time.

Here is my methodology for the following experiment. I'm going to take Derrek Lee's current season HR's to HR's + Fly Outs to adjust the number of home runs he hit...basically, I'll turn his past 3 season numbers into this season's numbers by changing an appropriate number of fly outs to home runs to compensate for the additional power he's shown this year as given by his HR's to HR's + Fly Outs ratio.

Then, I'll upwardly adjust his number of hits in previous years by adding in an appropriate number of hits to reward him exactly 75% of the additional line drives he would have had (based on the number of balls).

For the purposes of this discussion that's all I want to tackle...however we could also examine if he's striking out less often as well. For now though, we'll just examine the effect of Lee hitting his fly balls harder and hitting many more line drives. These two steps should give us a baseline for where his previous 3 seasons would have been with these numbers.

Past 3 Seasons:
HR - 90
H - 471
AB - 1725
FO - 440
K - 423
BA - .273
BIP (Balls in Play) - 1302
HR / HR + FO - 17%
Line Drive% - 19%

This year:
HR - 22
H - 108
AB - 278
FO - 65
K - 54
BIP (Balls in Play) - 224
HR / HR + FO - 25%
Line Drive% - 27%

Note: I've rounded some of the ratios to make things easier...close enough for government work.

Now, we have 90HR / 530HR + FO over the past 3 seasons. We want that ratio to be 25% instead of 17%. X / X + 440 = 25%. Saving everyone the headache of doing said math it comes out to about 147hr's instead of the 90 that he hit (49hr per year instead of 30). For the purposes of figuring out the batting average later that's going to be 57 extra hits or 19 hits per year. This would take him from .273 to .306 average over those years if taken by itself.

On the line drive % end of things we'll need to first figure the number of line drives hit and how many hits that would translate to with 75% of the line drives ending up as hits. Then we take the line drive % for this year, figure out how many line drives that would have been, translate that into hits and figure out the difference.
Actual Line Drives = 1302 balls in play * 19% = 247
Actual Line Drives for Hits = 247 * 75% = 185
Projected Line Drives = 1302 balls in play * 27% = 352
Projected Line Drives for Hits = 352 * 75% = 264
Projected Extra Hits = 79
79 extra hits alone would raise his average from .273 to .319.

Now, I think we can all agree that there would not be any overlap between these extra hits. The only extra home runs we awarded him came out of his fly ball outs. The only extra regular hits we awarded to him came from his regular outs that changed to line drives (75% of which became hits). So taking those two ratios and applying them to Lee's numbers from 2002-2004 gives him 136 more hits. This would make him a .352 hitter over those 3 years.

Now, we can all agree that Derrek Lee is a notoriously streaky hitter. He may cool down some. But taking the luck completely out of the equation...looking only at his ability to drive fly balls out of the park and his ability to hit line drives...his past 3 seasons would not have been ridiculously off from his current pace. Derrek Lee may not be able to do a 25% HR/FO ratio and a 27% line drive percentage forever. But he's showed the ability to do it for about half of a season so far. Even if those numbers drop off a bit, I still think we could legitimately be looking at a guy that could put up .310-.320 average year in and year out. It's not unreasonable to consider given the numbers we're looking at once luck is removed from the equation.
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Postby beltrans_boy » Sun Jul 03, 2005 9:22 pm

Ok guys, I just got back from New York. I thought I'd ressurrect this...

reiser wrote:
beltrans_boy wrote: 20% is significant, especially when you consider that the difference between a terrible hitter (.200) and an all-star hitter (.300) is only 33%. I'm not backing away from that statement at all. I'm saying that that 20% differential can be attributed to luck.

Derrek Lee is a borderlined .300 hitter, not a .390+ hitter. The batting average differential is largely due to luck.

(by the way, I might not be able to check this for a long time, so you'll have to excuse any delays in my response)


well, let me put it to you like this. so you are also saying Eric Chavez was just really unlucky at the beginning of this year, and these aren't the normal variations you should expect to see over the course of a season?

Without looking at Chavez' BABIP numbers, I really can't say that he was getting lucky or unlucky. He was underperforming though, that's for sure.

reiser wrote:what about Johan Santana after the ASB last year? luck?

Actually, if memory serves, Santana actually suffered from quite a bit of bad luck in the 1st half of last year. Again, without looking at the numbers, I'd be taking a shot in the dark if I said that Santana was lucky or unlucky in the 2nd half of last year.

I don't know what those 2 examples have to do with 2005's Derrek Lee though...I mean, yes, baseball is a game of skill, but luck plays a part in it. If we can remove the luck from the equation, we can get a better picture of what's happening on the field. That's what I'm trying to do here.
reiser wrote:I think you are ignoring any possibility that this is in fact a breakout season-when someone has clearly improved their power game, this is just luck?

Power isn't the issue. It's Derrek Lee's batting average that concerns me. And yes, it looks as though Derrek Lee has taken his game to a whole new level, but I think the odds are stacked quite heavily against the idea that he'll be able to sustain this kind of production over the course of the entire season. Derrek Lee is clearly having a breakout season, but a jump from mediocre 1B to HOF-worthy numbers? I think that's a little far fetched.

Keep in mind, I'm strictly about batting average here. Power has very little to do with luck, but batting average is a very luck-dependent statistic, and all the evidence of Derrek Lee's 2005 performance points to a very high, and very luck-driven batting average. That's all I'm saying.

I really hope he proves me wrong and goes on to hit .380+ for the rest of the year. That would be quite an accomplishment and great for baseball. I just don't think he can do it.
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