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De-Lucker! or Josh Hamilton is Under-Performing


DATA!

Let us delve once again into the numbers. The season is now two months aged and we have more stories unfolding than we have enough digital ink to cover: Will the Red Sox ever find an outfielder? Is Adam Jones the new Matt Kemp? Can the White Sox really make a playoff push in a rebuilding year? And will the 2012 Pirates really go down as one of the worst offenses in modern history?

We will not truly know the answers to these questions for some time, but we can peer into the murky mirror-mirror that is the De-Lucker! and at least get a better feel for the state of everything. Much of the offensive fluctuations in the early part of the season come from strange movements in BABIP. The De-Lucker! attempts to smooth those fluctuations and give us a better guess as to who is doing well and who is not.

And Josh Hamilton, you will see, is in both categories.

Methodology

Combining Fielding Independent wOBA (FI wOBA for shortsies) and slash12’s xBABIP, we can get a specific wOBA calculation that strips away unusual luck, whether good or bad. It is important to remember these are both regression-based calculators, so they are backward-looking, not forward looking. Please do not pester me in 3 months when “[X Player] didn’t suck like you said he would! lulzlulzlulz, ur dum!”

Is BABIP the only stat that has a lot of luck in it? No. Stuff like home run rates can be wild early too. And moreover, BABIP is many parts skill, several parts luck. But there is more luck (or random variation) in BABIP than probably any other hitter stat out there. That is why it is worth focusing on it here.

For this latest rendition of the De-Lucker, I have tweaked slash12’s xBABIP formula. As the average leaderboard fiend will already know, we are in the midst of the lowest BABIP season since 2002. The venerable slash12 invented his xBABIP calculator near the crest of the BABIP hill, so it is biased a little upward. A lot upward in fact.

Though the best method for adjusted this would be to go through and adjust down for the players getting shifted the most, that method is both tedious and possibly impossible (good shift data is hard to find). So, instead we will adjust the whole league down according to the xBABIP formula’s over-optimism. The net result should be relatively pessimistic numbers, but it’s better to be pessimistic in this case, say I.

All told, I present, once again:

The De-Lucker!

SORTABLE! FILTERABLE! DOWNLOADABLE! (Note: Minimum 100 PA.)

Reactions to the De-Lucker results:

What else?

As always, you can download my workbook using the Excel icon at the bottom of the De-Lucker. And if you’re feeling frisky, refer to the first De-Lucker article for details on how to use your own data for the De-Lucker.