Hitter’s Luck: Regulars

A while back, I released the methods and background on Luck. With the 2011 season over, final values can be calculated. Today I am going to look at some players with over over 500 PA in 2011.

Note: I have gone ahead and made the results available from the last 3 years for hitters (> 50 PA) and pitchers (> 25)


I will start looking at the established hitters in the league. The everyday players that racked up a season’s worth of stats. Here is a list of the top 10, bottom 10 and some extras I felt warranted discussion. Most of the player had enough at bats to have their HR/FB and xHR/FB close. Most of the Luck is attributed to differences in BABIP:

Rank Name Team Luck xBABIP BABIP HR/FB xHR_FB PA
1 Gonzalez Adrian Red Sox 6.1 0.332 0.380 16.4% 13.7% 715
2 Bautista Jose Blue Jays 4.8 0.286 0.309 22.5% 18.5% 655
3 Avila Alex Tigers 4.7 0.330 0.366 13.8% 11.0% 551
4 Upton Justin Diamondbacks 4.7 0.289 0.319 14.8% 12.3% 674
5 Cabrera Miguel Tigers 4.4 0.337 0.365 18.2% 15.1% 688
6 Peralta Jhonny Tigers 4.4 0.299 0.325 10.8% 8.8% 576
7 Reyes Jose Mets 4.3 0.319 0.353 3.9% 3.3% 586
8 Morse Michael Nationals 4.3 0.327 0.344 21.2% 17.0% 575
9 Gonzalez Carlos Rockies 4.0 0.310 0.326 20.8% 16.5% 542
10 Kemp Matt Dodgers 3.8 0.364 0.380 21.4% 17.8% 689
12 Gordon Alex Royals 3.7 0.333 0.358 12.6% 10.5% 690
14 Stanton Mike Marlins 3.4 0.307 0.314 24.8% 20.0% 601
120 Lind Adam Blue Jays -3.0 0.326 0.265 17.0% 13.5% 542
123 Kinsler Ian Rangers -3.4 0.297 0.243 12.5% 10.5% 723
124 Longoria Evan Rays -3.6 0.315 0.239 17.6% 14.2% 574
125 McGehee Casey Brewers -3.6 0.298 0.249 8.6% 7.0% 600
126 Pagan Angel Mets -4.4 0.333 0.285 4.1% 3.4% 532
127 Suzuki Ichiro Mariners -4.5 0.338 0.295 3.9% 3.4% 721
128 Escobar Alcides Royals -4.6 0.329 0.285 3.0% 2.6% 598
129 Rios Alex White Sox -4.9 0.293 0.237 7.0% 5.7% 570
130 Crisp Coco Athletics -5.0 0.337 0.284 5.1% 4.2% 583
131 Pierre Juan White Sox -5.0 0.337 0.294 1.4% 1.3% 711
132 Bartlett Jason Padres -5.0 0.342 0.291 1.7% 1.6% 618
133 Andrus Elvis Rangers -5.2 0.365 0.312 4.8% 4.1% 665
134 Polanco Placido Phillies -5.7 0.348 0.292 3.6% 3.0% 523

Some of the luckiest players are stars. They will be valued highly in 2012 (Gonzalez, Bautita, Cabrera and Kemp). Some of the unlucky players look to be good values. Here is my quick take on some of the players:

Alex Avila – I think he is good player, especially at catcher. Recently I noted that his 2011 BABIP is probably 30 points too high. I can see some sources hyping him up. Don’t buy the hype and sell high.

Jhonny Peralta – He never had a near 0.300 average in any previous season. The higher AVG wasn’t totally driven by BABIP. He has made some progress on lowering his K% from 22% to around 16.5% in the last couple of years.

Note: With either of these two, and any other players in the post season, don’t follow the post season hype. Several times this past season I saw Cody Ross available and thought back to his great 2010 post season. Then I remembered that the Marlins released him for a reason. He is not good.

Michael Morse – I liked him coming into 2011. He doesn’t have elite 1B skills, but is a good OF option. I am not sure what the feeling will be with him next season. I see some people staying away while others think they are buying low.

Alex Gordon – Sell. Sell. Sell. Following the Royals, I only see his value decreases. Lower lineup position (less SB, Runs, HRs) is being discussed by team. Losing 3B qualification is going to hurt his value quite a bit.

Mike Stanton – I am not sure if he is able to maintain the 25% HR/FB ratio. The other key for him will be how the new home stadium for the Marlins affects his home run rate.

Adam Lind – Perfect buy low candidate. 2011 was near the bottom (hopefully) for him. See if others value him at this low level and pick up a decent bargain.

Ian Kinsler and Evan Longoria – BABIPs around 0.240 and are being mentioned as top 10 picks. With a little better luck, they could end up as top 3 talents.

Ichiro Suzuki – Like Lind, I expect people will have no expectations from him. He is going to play quite a bit and hit at the top of the line up.

Alex Rios – Next season could the dead cat bounce with him. Pick him up for nothing and enjoy the possible upside.

Placido Polanco – He may get a little more love on draft/auction day because of the extra counting stats he will generate by being in the Phillies lineup. The downside of no home runs from 3B may be tough to manage.

Print This Post

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.

11 Responses to “Hitter’s Luck: Regulars”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. lexomatic says:

    Lind has 2 years running now that aren’t great… he may always have potential for more, but I expect he’s a heartbreaker, and that this is who he will be most years.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. GLP says:

    I actually don’t see the Royals moving Gordon out of leadoff, because they don’t like anybody else on the team there. Giavotella ain’t it, Escobar sure as heck ain’t it, and Melky will likely be gone. And they have already said they don’t see Cain as a leadoff hitter. Who’s left? Frenchy, Hosmer, Moustakas, Perez? Butler???? Gordon will be leading off. (You’re right about losing 3B as an eligible position for him hurting his value, though.)

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jeff Zimmerman says:
      FanGraphs Supporting Member

      I think is dumb, but both Yost and Moore have mentioned it in interviews at the end of the season.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. The Usual SusBeck says:

    Why would moving down in the lineup negatively affect Gordon’s HR production? Fewer first pitch fastballs?

    Also, Gordon had 45 2Bs. I’d like to see a HR tracker (forgetting the correct name if that isn’t it) analysis on whether or not those may turn into HRs next year.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. JimNYC says:

    My fantasy team in a snake draft this year, I took Evan Longoria third overall (after Pujols and Ramirez). He missed the first month of the season. I took Utley in the second round. He missed the first month of the season. My number one outfielder was Ichiro.

    Yeah, didn’t go particularly well.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • B N says:

      Erm… if you think that is a lost season, you must not have been playing fantasy all that long. Here’s an example of one of my squads from 2008 in a fairly deep league, in order of drafting:
      1. Holiday – Lost a month
      2. V-Mart – Lost over half the season (and sucked while playing)
      3. Carlos Lee – Lost a month
      4. Atkins
      5. Abreu
      6. Smoltz – Pitched 28 great innings, then season (~career) ending injury
      7. Konerko – Lost 1/3 of the season
      8. Renteria – Lost a month
      9. H. Matsui – Lost half the season
      10. Bret Myers – Sucked, but at least he was healthy!
      11. Rich Hill – 19 innings, then season (career?) ending injury
      My other top starter? Clay Buchholz: 6+ ERA, 76 innings.

      Which was not even the full extent of injuries just to my drafted players. I would have killed for a team that lost just a couple months to stars and had a mild underperformance by Ichiro. So… I donno. Especially in a standard depth league, none of that sounds like a kiss of death to me?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • André says:

        Yeah? In 2004 you should have seen the guys I took—all studs the year before who regressed to the mean. But making things even worse, my computer malfunctioned and I lost an eye? I guess things could always be worse?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jrogers says:

      Cool story, bro.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Julian Levine says:

    The Marlins did not *release* Cody Ross. They placed him on waivers.

    Vote -1 Vote +1