BABIP is Batting Average on Balls In Play. And they sometimes lie, even if Shakira sang, BABIPs Don’t Lie. 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, a high BABIP for a hitter and it means the hitter could hit a bloop single just over the pitcher’s head with the infield drawn in. 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? Is it just gas for your inevitable brain fart? Nah, we’re going to see if there’s any hitters out there that are being sucky because they’re unlucky or unsucky because they’re lucky. Anyway, here’s some hitters that have been lucky or unlucky so far for fantasy baseball:
Jorge Posada – His line drive rate is off the charts terrible-slash-everything he hits is a fly ball. So the BABIP of .081 is egregiously low, it might only get up to .220. Meaning Posada’s average will come up but it’s not going above .240.
Chone Figgins – His line drive rate isn’t off the charts terrible, he’s hitting a few too many fly balls and his walk rate is similar to a 95-year-old. Yet! His BABIP is way too low. He’s going to get much better. Say a hundred points better in average.
Brett Gardner – Last year’s BABIP was .340. In 2009, it was .311. This year it’s .179. He’s scuffling badly with strikeouts and lack of walks, but he can’t possibly get worse.
Carl Crawford – His fly ball rate, line drive rate, K-rate and walk rate are near his career averages. His career BABIP is .329. Right now, it’s .194. That’s silly low. He’s a .300 hitter temporarily hitting .170.
Russell Martin – His HR/FB% right now is 35%. His career rate is below 10%. He’s playing just a tad over his head.
Lance Berkman – His HR/FB% is 30%, which is way above his career rate, his fly ball rate is actually lower than his career rate, his infield hit percentage is almost four times higher than his career rate, his BABIP is sixty points above his career rate… I think you get the picture. At some point, the bottom will fall out hard.
Ian Kinsler – His line drive rate is fine, his ground ball rate is fine, his BUPKIS percentage is in line with his career rates, his BABIP is way too low and there is no BUPKIS percentage. If Kinsler stays healthy, he’s going to be absolutely fine.