Grounded Success

This morning, RJ took a look at the ridiculously high BABIP belonging to David Wright, noting that nobody since 1954, with 300+ AB has ever exceeded .408, let alone .450 or .460. Though hitters tend to exert more influence over their BABIP than pitchers, not necessarily falling prey to the standard regression to .300, it is less likely for a hitter to post a .450+ BABIP than it is for Adam Eaton to pull a Johnny Vander Meer. One of the primary culprits of Wright’s BIP success is an otherworldly batting average on groundballs.

To date, Wright has a .471 BA on grounders. The league average is right around .240 over the last several seasons. Wright has essentially doubled that mark so far, recording hits on almost half of his grounded balls. Over the last few seasons, his GB% has held relatively steady with raw numbers in the 180-210 range. Given that his current pace falls in line with past results, a query for his contemporaries will stipulate a minimum of 160 groundballs.

Of those with 160+ GB from 2003-08, here are the highest GB-BAs:

Willy Taveras    2007  .413
Ichiro Suzuki    2007  .379
Norris Hopper    2007  .364
Akinori Iwamura  2007  .361
Carlos Gomez     2008  .359

Only one player with as many grounders as Wright has bested a .400 BA and only eight others have even exceeded .350. Suffice to say, Wright is currently in uncharted territory. There is no way he will sustain his seasonal line, but even with a severe regression, Wright is on par for an historical season in a few different areas.

Most of the players atop this groundball success leaderboard are speedsters, the guys known more for stealing bases than mashing longballs. Ironically, and somewhat comically, with his current tally of both steals and home runs, as well as his high BA on grounders, Wright has been performing more like the theoretical leadoff hitter than the powerhouse corner infielder we have come to expect.



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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.


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Joe
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Joe
7 years 29 days ago

Will be interesting to see the rest of Wright’s season with his K% (8pts higher than career avg) and contact % a few pts below average in a year where he’s batting .350 and a crazy high BABIP…very peculiar to me

CH
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CH
7 years 29 days ago

Am I the only one who can’t see the Wright article at all? I click on it, and it says “this page can’t be found” or something similar.

I can’t be the only one. It has zero comments. Literally zero.

Anybody?

CH
Guest
CH
7 years 29 days ago

Also, you mean to tell me Wright’s batting average isn’t a result of him being such a clutch and gritty team leader who wills the ball to fall in unmanned areas of the field?

My worldview has been shaken.

Andy S
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Andy S
7 years 29 days ago

nope, me too CH. It’s mislinked or something. I was able to read it but only through the main page.

Nick
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7 years 29 days ago

This is a really weird phenomenon. It’s not like he’s even getting that many IFH; just 6 this year compared to 16 last year and 12 the year before. It appears that just a ton of his grounders are finding holes.

KingKirkpatrick
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KingKirkpatrick
7 years 29 days ago

Kind of off-topic, but Miguel Olivo had a HR/FB of 24.4%..with the league average being 7.7% (according to another site). and he just went deep in his only at bat tonight…bumping it over 25% maybe. How insane is that?

KingKirkpatrick
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KingKirkpatrick
7 years 29 days ago

Hell…according to this site, 29.4%. How high is that..is that historic, or just really high but nothing to write home about?

walkoffblast
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walkoffblast
7 years 29 days ago

Anyone see if Mets in general are experiencing this uptick on GB hits? Just wondering if its got one of those angels and line drives scoring bias involved too.

kris
Guest
7 years 29 days ago

How does Wright’s BABIP on grounders compare to the rest of the Mets? Seeing the Mets’ line-up, and their defense for that matter, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the ground-crew is cutting Citifield’s infield really tight.

We’re also dealing with 70 instances, which is pretty small — I mean, we’re only talking about 11 or 12 instances ending in a hit rather than an out compared to a .290 average. It’s neat, maybe even uncharted territory, but statistically speaking — It’s not crazy.

The fact that Wright’s a doubles machine, and defenses are probably guarding lines, also can’t hurt.

Mike
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Mike
7 years 29 days ago

What happened to Wright’s power? Is it just the result of the new bigger park?

Brian Cartwright
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Brian Cartwright
7 years 28 days ago

Without looking it up, I would also say that Taveras, Suzuki, Hopper and Gomez pad their totals with bunts.

Brian
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Brian
7 years 28 days ago

Does anyone have access to the hitf/x data? Is Wright crushing his ground balls? It would be interesting to see where he ranked on horizontal ball speed on ground balls or maybe what percent of his ground balls were over, say, 80mph horizontally, then compare that to his peers. My guess is that horizontal ground ball speed correlates pretty well with BABIP on ground balls.

Doug S.
Guest
7 years 28 days ago

Looks like the Reds weren’t aware of Taveras’ GB-BA (.417) in 2007 when he had a “decent” year. They evidently were counting on him to return to his 2007 numbers when they signed him to that rediculous 2 yr. contract.

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