The Angels are Creating Outs in September

I was previewing the Angels and Mariners series that began on Tuesday, kicking off the final nine games of the season for both teams, when I noticed how well the Angels ranked in my metrics. That the Angels are good is no surprise, but the magnitude to which they had improved since they last played the Mariners at the beginning of September caught my notice.

Since that last preview, the Angels went 15-7 with a massive 104-58 run differential. But where did has the dominance burst forth? Over those 22 games, the offense posted a .734 OPS which is only three points above the American League average. On the pitching side, the staff has a 21.7% strikeout rate, a 6.4% walk rate and 3.4% home run rate compared to league averages of 19.4%, 8.2% and 2.8%. That’s an above average line, but not an outright dominant one.

Lacking a breakout in either the bats or arms, it really highlights how well the defense has played. The Angels are now tops in UZR and they’re a close third in my own team-based defensive measurements. They’d be first if not for a slight park adjustment I make grading how easy/difficult it is to turn balls into outs.

The Angels weren’t this good a month ago. To get a clearer look, I turned to the game logs. Over these past 22 games the Angels have surrendered 118 hits on 522 balls in play for a .226 ball in play average (BABIP).

That’s a low rate. As regular consumers of baseball stats stuff, we have an internalized notion of context for BABIP. We know that around .300 is average, that .250 is low and that .350 is high. So we can see .226 and instantly know it’s very low.

But beyond average, and maybe poking around at how the best and worst teams are faring this season, that’s all I had available to provide context. That’s lackluster, so I went scrolling through the entire 2012 season to date and, sticking with 25-day stretches, pulled out every team’s defensive performance. As it turns out, coincidentally, this stretch of .226 BABIP from the Angels is the best that any team has put up over any 25-day stretch, in the entirety of 2012.

The next best stretch came from the Athletics from mid-June to early-July when they posted a .233 BABIP. The worst comes from the Rockies, on multiple occasions. From late-April to mid-May the Rockies surrendered a whopping .374 BABIP, but from mid-May to early-June the Rockies didn’t improve much, only to a .359 BABIP. And over the same period (Aug 31-today) as the Angels’ best run, the Rockies have a .357 BABIP. They are the three worst non-overlapping stretches in baseball this season and they all belong to Colorado.



Print This Post



Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
PDQ
Guest
PDQ
4 years 1 day ago

It might be interesting to measure the serial correlation of 25-day stretches of BABIP. Maybe then we could have learned something from this otherwise largely uninformative article.

jon
Guest
jon
4 years 1 day ago

I was thinking kinda the same thing, but I wasn’t gonna be an ass about it. It’s still a interesting piece and it picked out the Rockies as the worst which shouldn’t suprise anyone.

Matty Brown
Member
Member
Matty Brown
4 years 1 day ago

Thanks useless

Jeff Sullivan
Editor
Member
4 years 1 day ago

Why don’t you give the research a try? Maybe then we could learn something from this otherwise largely uninformative FanGraphs commenter.

PDQ
Guest
PDQ
4 years 15 hours ago

I would love to, where can I get the data?

MauerPower
Member
4 years 17 hours ago

Don’t read it then?

Bret
Guest
Bret
3 years 11 months ago

Ah, FanGraphs – where someone always complains about a free article written by a fabulous human being on an amazing free site where we all lose hours geeking out to our favorite sport. PDQ’s case here is almost worse than the usual fare – s/he even brings up a valid points, and decides to couch it in obnoxious, fighty, and catty language.

Never ceases to amaze nor infuriate me.

RMD
Guest
RMD
4 years 1 day ago

Is there a chance we can see team wide pitchers Babip – xBabip?

Snoth
Guest
Snoth
4 years 1 day ago

Well, thanks?

DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy
Guest
DodgersKingsoftheGalaxy
4 years 1 day ago

So how did that team miss the playoffs?

Ivan Grushenko
Guest
Ivan Grushenko
4 years 18 hours ago

I was trying to see whether there was a lineup change during these past 25 games but I don’t see one. Trumbo seems to be still in LF.

KCDaveInLA
Guest
KCDaveInLA
4 years 14 hours ago

Gives a lot of weight to Scioscia’s assertion that Torii Hunter deserves a Gold Glove. Give one to Mike Trout and Erick Aybar as well (with apologies to Alcides Escobar). Thanks for a good article.

wpDiscuz