Thursday, January 13, 2011

BABIP and the Blue Jays

For those who are scared off or don't really understand the new fangled so called important statistics, BAPIP, or Batting Average on Balls In Play is actually a straight forward fairly simple idea.  In layman's terms BAPIP is a players batting average when they hit the ball and it stays inside the park, thus strike outs and home runs don't count, but sacrifice flies do.  The idea behind BABIP is to understand how lucky or unlucky a player has been, because generally the percentage of balls that drop for hits should remain fairly consistant.  There are aspects that can influence the range of BABIP from player to play, such as speed and line drive rates etc. but whenever a players BABIP varies from his career norms it is mainly a result of luck.

So now that you have a complete understanding of BABIP, let's take a look at how this applies to the Jays players and who among this years team was lucky or unlucky last year.  Simply put, those in the chart below that have a BABIP below their career average (or negative variance) are unlucky and vice versa.

Toronto Blue Jays BABIP Ranked from Most Unluck to Luckiest
2010 BAPIP
Career BAPIP
J. P. Arencibia
Jose Molina
Mike McCoy

J.P. Arencibia had a small number of at bats which sometimes results in wonky results as shown, and I used his career minor league BABIP since 2010 was his only major league season.

For those that did not know, Aaron Hill's BABIP was historically low and what does this all mean at the end of the day? Most likely Hill and others with low BABIP's should rebound to their career norms next year. That if they had hit to their career BABIP averages this past year and all those balls that didn't get through at their normal rate actually went for singles, their 2010 stats should have looked as follows:

Ranked in Order of Highest to Lowest Adjusted OPS
2010 Actual
2010 Adjusted
Edwin Encarnacion
Aaron Hill
*Travis Snider
*Adam Lind
John McDonald
J. P. Arencibia
Yunel Escobar
Rajai Davis
Jose Molina
*Corey Patterson
Mike McCoy

If we remove the luck, all of a sudden Aaron Hill's season doesn't look so bad and maybe Edwin Encarnacion at DH isn't the worst idea in the world.  As well, Corey Patterson still shouldn't be on a major league roster for his hitting abilities.

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