Thursday, June 23, 2005
i.e., Luck. The old timers (cough, Larry Bowa, cough) call it skill and stubbornly cling to the idea that .300 hitters are .300 hitters because they are skilled at what they do. Sabremetricians scoff and note that there is a fair amount of luck involved for some players. Some players are just luckier than others.
A nice stat I take a look at, from time-to-time, is BABIP, or Batting Average of Balls Put Into Play. It gives you an idea about how lucky a batter is. Here are the Phillies BABIP stats:
(Min. 100 Plate Apperances)
RF Abreu: .353
SS Rollins: .296
LF Burrell: .357
3B Bell: .298
2B Utley: .345
1B Thome: .279
C Lieberthal: .236
IF Polanco: .322
OF Michaels: .324
CF Lofton: .435
There is a fair amount of luck out there for guys like Kenny Lofton. What is striking to me is how Jimmy Rollins continues to struggle. A .316 OBP doesn’t cut it for a leadoff guy, and he can’t chalk up his struggles due to bad luck at the plate. The sole Phillie really struggling at the plate with bad karma is Mike Lieberthal. I think he’ll improve, but it is appropriate that the Phillies hard-luck case is a catcher … just like Crash Davis.
For all you fantasy baseballers, you might want to drop Kenny Lofton from your teams. He’s not going to continue at his blistering pace.
So as you can see from above, the Phillies are slightly lucky. Here are the team BIBIPs:
San Francisco: .304
St. Louis: .300
New York: .299
San Diego: .298
Los Angeles: .296
I think it ought to be worrisome to Florida fans to see their team struggle while having some luck: if you think runs are hard to come by now…
Quick word on the pennant races. As I write this the standings are:
New York: 34-36
If we were working off pythagorean win-losses, it would be…
New York: 35-35
Quite a role-reversal. My thoughts are this: this pennant race is far from over. Any of these teams can win it and I think that the only team on borrowed time are the Nats. Buckle up, because we’ve got a heck of a ride!
Are you really saying that there's no skill involved in consistently hitting .300? Luck averages out over time. Get a large enough sample size and a hitter's stats will reflect their offensive ability. Ty Cobb batted .366 over his career not because he was lucky but because he was an extraordinarily talented hitter.
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