BABIP is Batting Average for Balls In Play. And they do lie, sometimes. But who can resist a title alluding to a Shakira song? Not me! BABIP is a quick way to know how much luck a hitter is having. There’s more to it, but for the purposes of this, above .300 BABIP for a hitter and it means the hitter could hit a bloop single just over the pitcher’s head with a drawn in infield. Below .200 and the hitter could hit a line drive into the Grand Canyon and it would get caught by Alice on the back of a mule. Then there’s HR/FB%, which is a quick way to know if a hitter is hitting more home runs than what makes sense for that player’s amount of fly balls. Then there’s LD%, which is the percentage of hits that are line drives. Line drives are usually a sign of solid contact aka a player is hitting the ball hard. Finally, K% or the percentage a hitter Ks. So why all the fancy acronyms? Well, the other day a FOR (Friend of Razzball), jsp2014 threw this nugget into the comments:
“I was curious about who’s been lucky and unlucky so far for some buy low/sell high ideas, so I did a little research on Fangraphs. I figured this could be useful to others as well:
Min. 50 PAs
Lowest BABIP (look for the AVG to go up): Zaun, Byrnes, Berkman (.171), Rollins (.172), Encarnacion (.175), McCann (.176), Tulo (.176), Alex Gonzalez, Hardy (.178), Quentin (.184), Phillips (.184)
Highest BABIP (due to come back down to earth): F.Lewis (.543), Youk (.490), Flores, Votto (.469), Beltran (.464), B.anderson, Markakis (.441), Asdrubal, Abreu (.426), F.Sanchez, B.Roberts (.415)
Highest HR/FB (expect the HR pace to slow for most of these): Young (42%), Adrian Gonzalez (35%; career 16.5%), Quentin (32%; 21% last year), C.Davis (31%; 21% last year), Thome (31%; career 28%), Inge (30%; career 10%), Reynolds (29%; career 18%), Dye, Pena, Jeter, Overbay, Branyan, Fukudome, Uggla, Tulo
Highest LD% (unsustainable but means they’ve made a lot of solid contact): N.Johnson, Salty, Feliz, Fields, Rolen, Blum, Teahen, Fukudome, Bartlett, Asdrubal, Castillo, Dukes, Youk, Bourn, Andy LaRoche
Highest K-Rate: C.Davis (49%!), Maybin (42), Thome (38), Dickerson (38), Upton (38), Schafer (37), Salty (37), Flores (37), F.Lewis (36), Reynolds (36), Fielder (35), Fields (34), Upton (33)”
That’s a great comment right there, and I appreciate it. Now what can we gleam from this?
Fred Lewis – With his power and speed Crapolanco-like, his average is due to regress. Might want to get out while the gettin’ is good.
Lance Berkman – He’s been the anti-Fred Lewis. All power, no average. That will get better.
Kevin Youkilis – While he will continue to be solid, he won’t be this solid.
Adrian Gonzalez – He always seems to start the year on fire and cool off as the summer heats up (Maybe he needs a trade to San Francisco? It’s cold there in the summer.). This year probably won’t be any different.
Brandon Inge – Because he’s eligible at catcher, he’s not a straight sell candidate but the homers will eventually dry up.
Troy Tulowitzki – As a career .312 BABIP hitter, he’s due to explode at some point soon. Buy into the correction.
Cameron Maybin – His K% shows he’s struggling. Yeah, no kidding.
Jimmy Rollins – Maybe luck has knocked the wheels off of J-Roll in the early going.
Geovany Soto – Just missed the cutoff of 50 ABs, but he has a .161 BABIP. Shoulder might not be the only thing holding him back.
Jesus Flores – Don’t believe his early season flash, the pan’s coming soon.