Batted Ball Outliers: Regular Hitters

Batters have different hitting styles that allow unique batted ball profiles. Most hitters aren’t able to maintain extreme batted ball values over a few seasons. Here is a look at some regular hitters that should expect their 2010 batted ball data to regress some in 2011.

For hitters (pitchers soon), I looked at BABIP, LD%, and HR/FB for those with a min of 400 PA. To set the baseline, I took the league leading value from the past 3 seasons (min 1200 PA). Then, I selected any player that beat that bench mark. There are not a ton of players that exceed the values because most hitters had a long enough season to get to their true batted ball talent level.


Note: 3 year average leader is in bold.

HR/FB

Name HR/FB
Mike Napoli 25.4%
Mike Stanton 24.8%
Mark Reynolds 22.9%

Only two players break Mark Reynold’s 3 year mark.

Mike Napoli – I expect a huge regression from Mike next season. One possible advantage for him is that he has a good chance of playing DH or 1B when not catching. He can get full time PAs while being a catcher eligible player. I see people way over valuing him next season, but I would be interested for the right price.

Mike Stanton – The way he hits the ball, he may be the 3 year leader in this category soon.

LD%

Name LD%
Joey Votto 27.5%
Todd Helton 27.1%
Michael Bourn 26.6%
Michael Young 26.2%
Greg Dobbs 25.8%
Placido Polanco 25.7%
Nyjer Morgan 25.7%
Andre Ethier 25.3%
Yorvit Torrealba 25.0%
Todd Helton 24.9%

Michael Bourn – Much of his fantasy value requires him getting on bases (SB and Runs). If his LD% drops to around 20%, like it was the last 4 years (18%, 17%, 21%, 18%), his value drops. I expect his 2012 AVG to drop close to his career mark of ~0.270.

Nyjer Morgan – I never know what to think of him. He is so up and down. I don’t see two up years in a row.

BABIP

Name BABIP
Adrian Gonzalez 0.380
Matt Kemp 0.380
Emilio Bonifacio 0.372
Austin Jackson 0.369


Carlos Quentin 0.242
Adam Dunn 0.240
Evan Longoria 0.239
Mark Teixeira 0.239
Alex Rios 0.237
Vernon Wells 0.214

Emilio Bonifacio – Don’t be the sucker that over pays for his 2011 season. Just stay away.

Evan Longoria – Just think of the season he would have had if he had a 0.300 BABIP.

Mark Teixeira – Ideal buy low candidate. Some people are considering him down. Don’t buy it. Even if his HR and AVG are off, he will get plenty of Run and RBI opportunities in the Yankee’s lineup.

Adam Dunn, Alex Rios and Vernon Wells – If these 3 didn’t have large contracts, I wonder if they would still even be around. They will definitely be shunned on draft/auction day. I would not count on them to be any more than a bench player. I could see one, maybe 2, turn 2012 into something productive.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

8 Responses to “Batted Ball Outliers: Regular Hitters”

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  1. Meddler says:

    I’m not sure its fair to lump Dunn, Rios, and Wells into the same category. Maybe the latter two, but Dunn’s fall was so sudden, I’m sure someone would take a chance on him. I thought he was overrated coming into the year anyway unless you were in an OBP league. Rios is just hard to get handle on, his ups and downs have been so erratic, its hard to pin him down. I wouldn’t count on him, but neither would I be surprised if he put up a passable season, especially fantasy wise, since he still isn’t terribly far off from being both a power/speed asset and he doesn’t strike out at an absurdly high rate, despite how dreadful his season was he’s really not all that far off from being a productive five category player. With Wells its pretty clear who he is: a mediocre player with some pop, basically a modest 1-category fantasy asset who hurts you otherwise.

    Also in regard to Morgan: “I don’t see two up years in a row” sounds suspiciously gambler’s fallacy-ish. I’m not saying he won’t be overvalued, but the logic seems questionable. He’s not more likely to have a down year simply because he had an up year. In fact, he’s probably more likely to have an up year, especially if his usage is similar (platooned with Gomez), though its obviously unwise to expect him to be quite as good as he was, at least in AVG.

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  2. nosferatu says:

    Teixeira’s a curious case. Two years in a row with a sub-par BABIP; is it safe to assume there might be some park effects at work here in terms of him changing his swing to fit the new Yankee Stadium? Or just Yankee Stadium in general?

    Maybe his .300 BABIP in 2009 will end up looking like an outlier during his Yankee years. After all, his FB% has risen considerably since joining the Yankees.

    Still a worth early-round pick, but I wonder how high that batting average will get in the next few years.

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    • tdotsports1 says:

      Yankee stadium is good for his power but it has to rob him of singles and maybe doubles with the dimensions in right field.

      Also, I don’t know a team in the bigs that doesn’t play that monster shift on him which has seemingly affected his average negatively.

      I don’t see a .280+ avg anymore, but as the writer said, oh well he is still in a good park and lineup for HR/RBI/R.

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  3. Shaun Catron says:

    Austin Jackson is looking pretty mediocre. High BABIP and still pretty mediocre average, K’s way too much.

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  4. Greg says:

    I could see Napoli putting up 30 HR again. Factor in some regression in the HR/FB rate, but his BB% and K% are vastly improved and he’ll surely get more PA’s to accumulate better counting stats. So while I don’t think he’ll be quite as productive per game, his playing time should make up for it easily. Yes, his AVG will go down some, but lots of leagues don’t use AVG, including mine.

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  5. Andrew says:

    AJax didn’t have a BABIP of .369. His BABIP was .340. He’s a pretty terrible hitter, though – only a guy who strikes out 50% more than the average hitter and has almost no power could post a .249 AVG with a .340 BABIP.

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    • Andrew says:

      Nevermind, I’m dumb and didn’t realize that AJax was the baseline (though he hasn’t even played three years yet). My comments about his hitting still hold, though.

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