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Fangraphs on HR/FB Ability

So believe it or not, Fangraphs has actually been doing some good analytical work lately, on the issue of whether there's such a thing as an ability to have a low HR/FB rate. You can read about it here: Part 1 and Part 2. In short, the answer seems to be "partly yes." HR/FB rates, while obviously affected a lot by luck and park factors, also seem to correlate with some actual skills. In case you were wondering, Matt Cain has the third-lowest predicted HR/FB rate in major league baseball (behind Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander), partly because of his ballpark but also partly because of his abilities. It would be nice if they could also come up with a ballpark-neutral version of predicted HR/FB.

There's a little bit of good news for the Phillies here. No Phillies' pitchers appear in the Top 10 or Bottom 10, either for predicted HR/FB rate or for HR/FB luck, but three pitchers from division rivals (Anibal Sanchez, Tommy Hanson, and Johan Santana) were among the top 5 luckiest pitchers in 2010 according to the Fangraphs equation. I'd like to see what Jair Jurrjens' predicted HR/FB rate comes out as.

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