Yesterday, I took a look at the hitters whose BABIP marks most exceed their xBABIP marks. Aside from a looming batting average decline, a lower rate of hits on balls in play could take a bite out of a hitter’s RBI and run totals, which all combined could really take a toll on his rest of season fantasy value. Today I check in on the opposite side of the coin, those hitters whose BABIP marks are most below their xBABIP marks. These could potentially be your group of buy low candidates.
|Player||Batting Average||Career BABIP||2013 BABIP||xBABIP||Diff|
Adam Dunn‘s BABIP has really jumped around throughout his career. It makes sense though as he doesn’t put a whole lot of balls in play, so the smaller the denominator, the more room for random variation. In fact, he hasn’t posted a BABIP above .246 since 2010. He’s hitting a couple fewer line drives this year, but making up for it by posting a career best IFFB%. Unfortunately, even if his BABIP does jump a bit, a .220 or .230 batting average is still going to kill your fantasy team, so he remains a two category contributor, while the runs scored category hovers around replacement level depending on the depth of your league.
David Murphy is the exact same hitter he has always been, with the exception of fewer balls finding the holes. While the one steal is discouraging, he does still offer a decent power/speed combination with a history of solid batting averages. He makes for an excellent buy low in AL-Only leagues.
Back in May, I shared why I wasn’t buying B.J. Upton. The reasoning primarily came down to the fact that even if he rebounded at the plate, he may very well be stuck toward the bottom of the Braves batting order. Well sure enough, he was basically himself again in June, wOBAing .350 with 4 homers and steals, but he recorded just 11 RBI and scored only 7 runs. His BABIP was also .281, which was pretty close to his current xBABIP. Since the major rebound still has not come, his cost is likely down significantly. Since he could still offer power and speed, I would buy low if it’s cheap enough, but he may only contribute in two categories.
Excluding this year, Edwin Encarnacion‘s BABIP has sat below .270 in half of his eight seasons in the Majors. It has only been above the league average twice. That’s not that surprising of course given that he sports an extreme fly ball rate coupled with lots of popups. This year, however, his line drive rate is at its highest mark since his 2005 debut, while his IFFB% is at the second lowest rate of his career. Surely, he deserves better than a .244 BABIP. If he could maintain his improved K% and has a bit better BABIP luck, he has an outside chance to hit .300 the rest of the way.
It’s pretty crazy that xBABIP still sees Ichiro Suzuki as a BABIP monster, coming in at .356. But he hasn’t posted a BABIP above .300 since 2010. It doesn’t appear to be a loss of speed because his IFH% and BUH% are still the same as they have always been. The difference though does appear to be a dramatic increase in popups and some extra fly balls. For a hitter with limited power, more fly balls is not a good thing. It’s hard to take that .356 xBABIP seriously, but it does suggest that Ichiro may not be done quite yet.
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