Phillies hitters' BABIPs: More exploration

Last week, I noted that the Phillies team BABIP was abnormally low despite similar statistics in other categories, and hypothesized that perhaps the Phillies were due to see improvement in their run scoring.  After looking through the roster more completely, I have become even more convinced that this is the case.  I have noted previously that the bullpen has been the benefactor of great luck, and that the Phillies can expect some regression to the mean on that front.  This study of BABIP paints a counter-argument to the claim that the Phillies have been lucky thus far. 

A couple things to know about BABIP:

(1) BABIP is considerably higher on line dries than groundballs or flyballs (I believe around .700+ on line drives), and a tiny bit higher on groundballs than flyballs for most hitters.

(2) BABIP improves with plate discipline-- swinging at bad pitches out of the strike zone frequently results in weakly hit balls.

The number of hitters who seem to have unlucky BABIP’s is astounding, and that suggests that the team will improve its hitting during the second half

 

Name

BABIP

BB%

K%

LD%

GB%

FB%

HR/FB

AVG

OBP

SLG

Rollins 2008

0.288

8.5

9.9

24.5

42.9

32.6

7.1

0.274

0.340

0.438

Rollins career

0.301

7.3

13.4

21.7

41.8

36.5

7.8

0.277

0.332

0.441

Victorino 2008

0.302

9.1

11.3

18.6

44.2

37.2

4.9

0.279

0.350

0.408

Victorino career

0.302

7.2

13.4

18.6

46.3

35.1

6.5

0.275

0.339

0.405

Utley 2008

0.289

9.7

16.2

23.9

31.7

44.3

18.2

0.291

0.372

0.582

Utley career

0.324

9

18.1

21.5

36.9

41.6

14.2

0.299

0.374

0.532

Howard 2008

0.275

11.7

35.4

20.6

43.3

36.1

32.6

0.234

0.324

0.508

Howard career

0.337

14

34.1

23.1

39.6

37.3

34.4

0.279

0.383

0.59

Burrell 2008

0.301

18.1

24.9

20.6

33.2

46.2

20.9

0.275

0.404

0.575

Burrell career

0.307

14.9

28.2

21.1

32.5

46.3

17

0.259

0.37

0.489

Jenkins 2008

0.281

6.8

23.3

20.4

39.8

39.8

9.7

0.237

0.289

0.379

Jenkins career

0.325

8.1

25.3

22.7

41.9

35.4

16.7

0.275

0.344

0.491

Feliz 2008

0.270

7.0

10.3

15.7

46.5

37.8

11.1

0.270

0.320

0.442

Feliz career

0.272

5.2

16.9

16.7

43.8

39.4

11.7

0.254

0.292

0.434

Ruiz 2008

0.227

11.1

14.1

15.3

54

30.7

4

0.202

0.303

0.269

Ruiz career

0.265

10.1

13.2

17.5

48.5

34

5.9

0.242

0.326

0.362

Werth 2008

0.311

11.2

25.2

23.8

40.9

35.2

21.4

0.271

0.357

0.477

Werth career

0.338

11.7

30.2

24.2

38.4

37.5

14.4

0.261

0.353

0.439

Coste 2008

0.298

5.2

16.4

22.3

36

41.7

12.1

0.279

0.333

0.479

Coste career

0.324

4.5

15.9

23.4

39.5

37.1

12.3

0.299

0.345

0.474

Bruntlett 2008

0.261

9

14.1

19.8

47.1

33.1

5

0.232

0.314

0.317

Bruntlett career

0.288

9.4

18.9

20.8

40.7

38.5

5.8

0.246

0.321

0.353

Dobbs 2008

0.409

5.6

22

23.7

35.5

40.9

5.3

0.322

0.362

0.441

Dobbs career

0.329

6.5

20.5

19.7

37.4

42.9

6.1

0.276

0.323

0.416

Taguchi 2008

0.25

9.6

15.2

17.9

60.7

21.4

0

0.212

0.288

0.273

Taguchi career

0.314

7

14

21.4

48.6

30

5.5

0.28

0.333

0.386

 


Rollins has improved plate discipline relative to his career, an improved line drive drive, and yet, his BABIP is low.  Given how related BABIP is to line drive rate and to plate discipline, Rollins is likely to raise his BABIP.

Victorino’s BABIP is essentially unchanged despite improved BB% and K%.  That will likely go up a bit.

Utley’s plate discipline is clearly improved a lot and his line drive rate is high.  His HR/Flyball is higher than before, so I would guess he’s hitting the ball at least as hard as before, and probably harder.  He will probably see improved BABIP back towards his career levels.

Howard’s plate discipline is worse, and his line drive rate is down, but neither is so much so that his BABIP should be 62 points lower.  I’m not sure he’s headed back up to .337, but it should go up.

Burrell’s improved BB% and K% are improved and he should also see higher BABIP.

Jenkins’ BABIP is down but with lower BB% and K%, it’s likely a matter of poor swinging choices leading to lower LD%.  I think it should rebound a little, but not much.

Feliz’s improved BB% and K% will probably lead to a higher BABIP despite the fact that it is currently very similar to his career levels.

Ruiz is confusing.  His BABIP is so unnaturally low that you would have to assume it would regress to the mean on its own, but he clearly he is swinging at the wrong pitches and hitting everything on the ground.  His career average against groundball pitchers is so incredibly low that I think pitchers have started to figure out how groundball pitchers approach him, mimicked it, and now he needs to adjust his approach.

Werth has improved his K% a bit, but his BB% is the same and his line drive rate is the same.  His BABIP is way lower, though, so he should also see a higher BABIP.

Coste is below his career BABIP, but I’m not sure he has enough career at-bats to assume he’d have stayed there….298 sounds about right.

Bruntlett’s is a bit low (.261) and it should head back up as the rest of his numbers seem the same.

Dobbs’ BABIP is .400.  That’s no more sustainable than Ruiz’s .227.  He will regress to the mean.

Taguchi’s is low, but he is clearly finished, so .250 on balls in play sounds about right.

Batter by batter, it seems that nearly every single person in the starting line up, including both rightfielders, should see their BABIP go up.  Look for the Phillies to take the lead in runs scored again soon!

 

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