Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Early BABIP Leaders/Trailers

After almost an entire month of baseball there are some pretty extreme BABIPs out there. Some players have extremely high BABIPs, and should expect some regression. Others are suffering from extremely low BABIPs, and look to overturn their misfortune in the coming games.

Right off the bat we'll look at the hottest player in baseball, Matt Kemp. So far Matt Kemp's BABIP is an outrageous .500, obviously that won't continue as the season goes on but let's see why he's had such a high BABIP so far. His LD% is 22% so far this season, right around his career average 21% LD%. His GB% is what really sticks out so far though. For his career his GB% is 41%, but this year it's almost 47%. It's widely known that players with a higher GB%, and higher FB% tend to have a higher BABIP, and Kemp's career BABIP is .345, but sooner or later he will regress. Michael Cuddyer's BABIP is also really high so far, coming in at .404. It's a small sample size, but so far Cuddyer has a LD% of 25%, 7% higher than his career average. He's also hitting groundballs at an unsustainable rate, as of today his GB% is 50%. Another factor that comes into play is that that Cuddyer has played 9 of his 15 games at home so far. World Series hero David Freese also falls into the category with his .429 BABIP. In over 700 plate appearances Freese has posted a career .370 BABIP, largely due to his high GB%. This year he looks to be on the same path. Unlike previous years though he is hitting more flyballs, and less groundballs. He's only played in 15 games though, so at this point these results should be taken with a grain of salt.

On the other hand some players are struggling, and have a low BABIP as a result. So far this season Jose Bautista's BABIP has been extremely low, coming in at .191. If you take a look at his batted ball profile, it's not bad at all. His FB% is a little low, but he's hitting more line drives. Luck is still a part of baseball, so for Bautista that might be the best explanation for his results. J.J. Hardy on the hand is a different story. His BABIP is an unsustainable .160. A large part of that can be contributed to his 7% LD%. He's hitting more groundballs then last year, and Hardy isn't that fastest player so that also could have something to do with his low BABIP. Second year first baseman Eric Hosmer has also had his troubles. Right now his BABIP is .184, and his batted ball profile isn't much different then last year. He's hitting a few more flyballs, but again this might be a time where luck as well as opposing defenses come into play. As the season goes on he should correct his mistakes.

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