In general, groundball pitchers tend to give up a higher BABIP than their flyball contemporaries (flyballs put in play are converted into outs more often than grounders).

Here’s a nicle little excerpt from an outstanding primer put together by out own Dave Cameron at USS Mariner:

“An outfield fly becomes an out 77.7% of the time. A groundball becomes an out 74.8% of the time. A line drive becomes an out only 26.4% of the time, which is why it’s the worst possible outcome for a pitcher. An infield fly becomes an out 98.8% of the time. Because of this, flyball pitchers will post more outs on balls in play than groundball pitchers, and it won’t be a fluke. However, the non-outs that flyball pitchers give up are more harmful, and thus, the quality of the hits against flyball pitchers outweighs the relative lack of quantity.”

The chart that Dave is referring to is elsewhere in the article. A groundball put in play is a positive outcome for the pitcher, with an average run value of -.101 runs (a negative figure is good for the pitcher). A flyball on the other hand is worth +.035 runs, a net positive for the batter.

Here’s a link to the entire article- it’s an awesome read:

http://ussmariner.com/2006/08/29/evaluating-pitcher-talent/

Sorry for the long-winded answer, but I guess we can sum it up as this: groundball pitchers surrender a higher BABIP on average than flyball pitchers, but the run value of those grounders is significantly lower than that of the flyballs. There are other factors that have to be considered (such as park factors and the quality of the pitcher’s defense), but keeping the ball on the ground is usually a positive for the pitcher.

]]>One other thing, watching every Tiger game last year, i can tell you this, that leaving runners on base was Galarraga’s saving grace.

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