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Stripping the “luck” out of luck: Cleveland’s 2013 xBABIP (3.15.14)

15 Mar

A hitter times the pitcher perfectly and smashes a line drive up toward left field, only for the shortstop to leap up and catch the ball at the apex of his jump.

The next time up, the hitter gets jammed by the same pitcher, only to see his weakly hit fly ball find a way to fall between the third baseman, the shortstop, and the left fielder.

Sometimes baseball just is not fair — both to hitters and defenders — and some players are more fortunate than others in any given season. This “luck” is often represented by BABIP, though just chalking a player’s BABIP up to luck is too blunt.

Hitters can control their BABIP to an extent. Speedy runners who slap a ton of ground balls to the opposite field will likely be able to sustain a higher BABIP. Same goes for a hitter with a smooth line drive stroke. On the other hand, slower runners who hit a lot of fly balls — which outfielders have tons of time to catch — typically end up with lower-than-average BABIPs.

Point being, there is plenty of variation with BABIP and regressing everyone to league-average is too broad of a solution. It’s not one size fits all.

So what does this mean for Cleveland in 2014? Well, both good and bad things. Read More…

From Indians Baseball Insider, March 15, 2014

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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in ZN. March 2014

 

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