FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball


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  1. This is awesome. Thanks so much for doing this. I think this should actually be a regular fangraphs post, because it concerns more than just fantasy implications, but a leaguewide strategy of increased shifting. Some commentators have been calling this the “year of the shift,” and I think you have shown here that it makes a clear difference in BABIP. The next thing I wonder is if it affects extra bases: I know some players talk about taking the ball the other way to beat the shift for infield singles that roll down the line where no one is playing. But that takes away the possibility of the extra base hit or HR down the pull side.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — June 18, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

  2. Maybe, but Eno is a slave driver and I need to get my post quota to him every week.

    Comment by Jeff Zimmerman — June 18, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  3. Two quick reactions:

    1. The league-wide BABIP already reflects the overall amount of shifting being done, so comparing BABIP to xBABIP for an individual player where his xBABIP has been calculated from a regression over the entire league (i.e. one which includes both shifted and non-shifted defenses) may not actually tell us how the shift is affecting that player unless we know exactly how many more shifts he is facing than league average (and this is before we even consider the small sample size issues with an individual BABIP over even an entire season).

    2. The year-to-year volatility in the calculated xBABIP constants makes me rather uneasy. There doesn’t seem to be a good real-world explanation for why e.g. OFFB should have led to 60% more hits in 2010 than 2009, which leads me to believe the regressions may be over-fit.

    3. If 2012 is the year of the shift as many are saying, shouldn’t we expect the league-wide BABIP to be lower than last year? I find it puzzling that it isn’t, unless (drum roll) the general effectiveness of the shift has been overstated.

    Comment by mcbrown — June 18, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  4. Er, 3 quick reactions.

    Comment by mcbrown — June 18, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  5. In response to your #2, I wonder if batted ball classification bias has anything to do with it. Perhaps in 2009 more “flyball/liner in betweeners” were classified as Line drives, and maybe in 2010 more of the same hits were classified as fly balls. Similarly GB’s look out of whack in 2009 as well (indicating more “ground ball/line drive in beetweeners” went the ground ball route. Do we know how accurate, and consistent the batted ball classification systems are? That would be another interesting thing to research.

    Comment by slash12 — June 18, 2012 @ 7:03 pm

  6. Great tool and study – I think Ichiro is an interesting case. Is BABIP a declining skill (waning speed, less solid contact)? If I did this right (and I think I did), Ichiro’s xBABIP for 2012 is .320 (a bit off from his career norms) and his BABIP is .263 leaving a -0.074 differential.

    So would one expect regression in Ichiro’s BABIP (in the best possible meaning of the word) or is this the sign of a rapidly declining skillset (or both)?

    Comment by etrain — June 19, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  7. Interesting…

    On a side note, I really hate the expression “eating crow”. And I only see it on this site.

    Comment by R M — June 19, 2012 @ 11:32 am

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