Wow, great chart. Sometimes I feel like BABIP is not used correctly and this really helps give context to what type of BABIP we can expect to come down. Think you are dead on with Alex Gordon but was most intrigued by this chart!
your list makes it appear as if only 3 players had a BABIP over .350 for 2 consecutive seasons from 09-11
Ichiro, Votto and Upton.
am i reading that right?
and is it true that not a single player in all of baseball who had a BABIP of 350 or higher, improved that number the following season?
if so, what is the highest BABIP that actually improved the next year?
IF you set the line at .350 BABIP, there are approx 20-30 players who have EVER had a .350+ BABIP and then a HIGHER one in the following year and they all tend to be A-list HOFers. That’s not surprising in the least bit. Here’s who i looked up (and reflects by thinking on the greatest hitters ever + plus my childhood hero the Big Hurt)
Here’s a sampling
Ty Cobb did four times
Hornsby did it three times (man that man could rake–he hit over .400 three times)
Gwynn did it twice
Mantle did it once, Teddy Ballgame once, Gehrig once, Musial once, Fox once, Joe Jackson once
Ruth never, Frank Thomas never, Bonds never, DiMaggio never,
Ya the guys like Bonds, Pujols, Ruth etc never did it because big time power guys always have really low BABIP relative to their batting average.
Rememebr, HRs dont count as balls in play. (Which is a pretty stupid way to calculate things if you ask me)
This is exactly why Gordon’s high BABIP last year doesn’t have that much bearing on his overall projection. He was among the league leaders in HR distance, and in the second half he really started hitting for more over the fence power. It’s a mistake to call that luck or random variation. Through June he was really feeling his way through a total swing revamp. In the second half he was staying on slow curves on the outer half and just flicking them over the 400 sign in left-center. If he maintains that approach, I think 30 HRs is easily within reach, at which point a .330 BABIP is just trivia.
Nice article. I figured I’d look up the reason Gordon had a high BABIP and saw he had 49 extra base hits, which suggests a lot of deep fly balls, and deep fly balls have a waaay higher BABIP than average. Sure enough he had a .225 BABIP on fly balls which is around 8% over the norm, I think. I wonder if there is a way of predicting if a guy will continue to hit deep consistently, or if some of those deep hits will turn into home runs since it seems his power was increasing in the second half of 2011.