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RedsFanInBama
08-02-2010, 02:06 AM
I've always felt like I had a good knowledge of the game of baseball. I played the game from the time I was 5 and kept playing through college. I've stayed close to the game since I stopped playing. I watch a bunch of baseball.

Still, some of the latest statistical vernacular has me confused. I was hoping to get some explanations of a few different terms that I read on here and perhaps some insight into their significance.

Hopefully this will be useful to others rather than just myself.

OPS+
WAR
BABIP

If anyone else can think of some they see used on here and don't know, feel free to add them so that I don't feel too dumb by myself.

sabometrics
08-02-2010, 02:18 AM
BABIP - Batting Average on Balls In Play. Pretty self-explanatory once you know what it stands for. MLB average is just above .300, so if someone is significantly above/below that mark after a statistically significant number of AB's then you can begin to deduce that the player may/may not be getting lucky by finding holes with seeing-eye singles or bloop hits. There are a number of other different stats (in combination with extensive observations if available) you need to consider before you make any definitive conclusions as to whether a player is the beneficiary of good/bad luck, but this is a good starting point.

WAR - Wins Above Replacement (level player). Basically it is derived from a combination of a number of different stats, considering hitting, fielding, and positional imbalances that determine how many Runs Above Replacement (RAR) a player is worth. 9.7 RAR = roughly 1 WAR. It is not without it's own shortcomings, but it is a new-wave stat that attempts to quantify exactly how valuable a player is in Wins/losses.

OPS+ - this is League/Park adjusted OPS. An OPS+ of 100 is league average. Above = better, below = worse.

GIDP
08-02-2010, 02:28 AM
OPS+ basically takes the league OPS and averages it to out farther to match park factors. So say someone has a .700 OPS in San Diego, their OPS+ would be better than someone who plays in Chicago. OPS+ = 100 * ( OBP/lgOBP + SLG/lgSLG - 1)/BPF

BABIP is the rate of which balls that are put in play, land for hits. the reason people bring it up is because for the most part the player has no real control over it and the league average is almost always around .300. LD rates can increase it. Speed can as well. The things to watch out for is if someone is rolling around with a .400 BABIP you know that they are probably performing at a pretty lucky level.

WAR is basically a comparison of a players value compared to a replacement level player. A replacement level player is basically the lowest talent a player can have and be in the majors. WAR stands for Wins above replacement. Its a little more complicated to explain the formula because each position has an adjustment. Basically its harder to be be a replacement level first baseman than it is a 2nd baseman. I hope it help explains it but basically WAR is kind of complicated because you have to use league averages and stuff along those lines to calculate it completely.

Kingspoint
08-02-2010, 03:11 AM
I find BABIP to be a real joke, as anyone who's been around baseball as long as I have knows that players do have control of where a ball is put into play after they hit it.

It's a constant adjustment between batters, pitchers, catchers, managers, coaches, and scouts on the effect of what pitch a player chooses to swing the bat on and how every at-bat is set up by a batter versus each pitcher.

Having watched two of the very best ever in the history of the game at this, Edgar Martinez and Ichiro have had a huge effect on where a ball was going to land. It was never "blind luck" as so many people spout all the time whenever referring to BAbip. How much of an "effect" each batter has in this area is the difference in each batter's ability to post Batting Averages, On-Base Averages, and Slugging Averages.

How much sense does one have to have to know that an "Adam Dunn" type of swing is going to result in fewer hits than a "Tony Gwynn" type of swing? About as much common sense as it takes to boil an egg.

sabometrics
08-02-2010, 03:28 AM
I find BABIP to be a real joke, as anyone who's been around baseball as long as I have knows that players do have control of where a ball is put into play after they hit it.

It's a constant adjustment between batters, pitchers, catchers, managers, coaches, and scouts on the effect of what pitch a player chooses to swing the bat on and how every at-bat is set up by a batter versus each pitcher.

Having watched two of the very best ever in the history of the game at this, Edgar Martinez and Ichiro have had a huge effect on where a ball was going to land. It was never "blind luck" as so many people spout all the time whenever referring to BAbip. How much of an "effect" each batter has in this area is the difference in each batter's ability to post Batting Averages, On-Base Averages, and Slugging Averages.

How much sense does one have to have to know that an "Adam Dunn" type of swing is going to result in fewer hits than a "Tony Gwynn" type of swing? About as much common sense as it takes to boil an egg.

True, the best hitters in the game are so good that they regularly have BABIP numbers around .330-.340, but if you go significantly farther up than that for them then you know something could possibly be helping them out. And if someone like Jon Jay has a BABIP of .450 then you know something may also be going on.

Generally when I look at the stat, if the number is anywhere between .250 or .350 I don't think anything of it. When you get below .250 and above .350 and there are a lot of AB's involved, that's when it may be appropriate to look into matters.

Kingspoint
08-02-2010, 03:32 AM
True, the best hitters in the game are so good that they regularly have BABIP numbers around .330-.340, but if you go significantly farther up than that for them then you know something could possibly be helping them out. And if someone like Jon Jay has a BABIP of .450 then you know something may also be going on.

Generally when I look at the stat, if the number is anywhere between .250 or .350 I don't think anything of it. When you get below .250 and above .350 and there are a lot of AB's involved, that's when it may be appropriate to look into matters.

It is useful in that sense. There's obviously a certain amount of luck whether the ball goes two feet towards a player or two feet away from a player. But, when you look at Hanigan's Double against Atlanta that won the game for us. I think he knew he was going to hit it deep to Left-Center instantly before he made contact with the ball. It wasn't going to Right-Center and it wasn't going to be a ground-ball or line-drive to the Shortstop.

757690
08-02-2010, 03:48 AM
I find BABIP to be a real joke, as anyone who's been around baseball as long as I have knows that players do have control of where a ball is put into play after they hit it.

It's a constant adjustment between batters, pitchers, catchers, managers, coaches, and scouts on the effect of what pitch a player chooses to swing the bat on and how every at-bat is set up by a batter versus each pitcher.

Having watched two of the very best ever in the history of the game at this, Edgar Martinez and Ichiro have had a huge effect on where a ball was going to land. It was never "blind luck" as so many people spout all the time whenever referring to BAbip. How much of an "effect" each batter has in this area is the difference in each batter's ability to post Batting Averages, On-Base Averages, and Slugging Averages.

How much sense does one have to have to know that an "Adam Dunn" type of swing is going to result in fewer hits than a "Tony Gwynn" type of swing? About as much common sense as it takes to boil an egg.

Actually, most in the Saber world agree with you. There is widespread acceptance of the fact that hitters can control their BABIP, for all the reasons you stated.

While .300 is the average for all all hitters, there is a wide range between individual hitters. The common belief is that hitters do control their BABIP, mostly with factors that GIDP pointed out, line drive rate and speed, and the stat should be best used to compare a players current BABIP with his career BABIP.

For instance, Chris Dickerson has a very high career BABIP .371, which is similar to his one in the minors. He should maintain one around .350 for his career. If he were to have one at around .310 in the first half of one year, you would expect his numbers to increase in the second half, as his BABIP is likely to rise back to around .350, and bring up most of his other numbers as well.

Ryan Hanigan, on the other hand, has a career .310 BABIP, and this year it is .340 so far. That means his numbers are likely to decline over the rest of the season, as his BABIP drops down to where it usually ends ups.

So the key is using BABIP to compare where a hitter is today, with his career BABIP, and adjusting his future numbers likewise.

Hope that helps and was not too confusing.

texasdave
08-02-2010, 06:52 AM
Three points with BABIP:
1) It doesn't take into account walks. Batters do have some control over how many times they walk and it is kinda important to get on base.
2) It doesn't take into account strike outs. Two players could have the same BABIP and if one is striking out 10% of the time and the other person 30% of the time, then the batter with the lower K% is putting the ball in play much more often and getting many more hits.
3) It doesn't take into account home runs. Yeah, hitting home runs is a skill and it is sorta an important one at that.

I am not sure why anyone would look at BABIP to be honest.

GIDP
08-02-2010, 08:01 AM
Three points with BABIP:
1) It doesn't take into account walks. Batters do have some control over how many times they walk and it is kinda important to get on base.
2) It doesn't take into account strike outs. Two players could have the same BABIP and if one is striking out 10% of the time and the other person 30% of the time, then the batter with the lower K% is putting the ball in play much more often and getting many more hits.
3) It doesn't take into account home runs. Yeah, hitting home runs is a skill and it is sorta an important one at that.

I am not sure why anyone would look at BABIP to be honest.

BABIP is only to show the rate of which balls find the field and a player get on base. Why would it include walks, why would it include strike outs?

a player hitting .200 with a BABIP under .200 has probably been an unlucky player. I dont know why this is so hard to understand.

Only the best hitters have higher BABIPs and its because they either have higher speed than most or they hit more line drives, or they consistently play against poorer defenses. Its completely rare to see a guy have a BABIP a ton higher than .350 for the course of his career.

Dont make the stat harder than you have to make it guys.

texasdave
08-02-2010, 08:11 AM
BABIP is only to show the rate of which balls find the field and a player get on base. Why would it include walks, why would it include strike outs?

a player hitting .200 with a BABIP under .200 has probably been an unlucky player. I dont know why this is so hard to understand.

Only the best hitters have higher BABIPs and its because they either have higher speed than most or they hit more line drives, or they consistently play against poorer defenses. Its completely rare to see a guy have a BABIP a ton higher than .350 for the course of his career.

Dont make the stat harder than you have to make it guys.

I understand the stat perfectly. I just think it is useless.

GIDP
08-02-2010, 08:14 AM
I understand the stat perfectly. I just think it is useless.

No I really dont think you do.

texasdave
08-02-2010, 08:19 AM
No I really dont think you do.

Here is just one example:

Jay Bruce in 2009 OPSed .773 and everyone said he was unlucky because of his .221 BABIP.
Fast forward to 2010. Now Jay has a robust .321 BABIP. He must be tearing things up. His BABIP is 100 points higher. Bruce is OPSing .743.

Explain that one with your BABIP magic.

scott91575
08-02-2010, 08:23 AM
I understand the stat perfectly. I just think it is useless.

It's not used as "hey, this player is better than that one because his BABIP is better." It is simply used to judge future performance. If a guy is well above his normal BABIP you know his stats are slightly inflated (assuming his other stats like line drive rate are in line with his usual stats). So you cannot assume his overall stats will stay where they are at. The opposite is also true. If you are looking for a guy who should perform better that his stats in the future, look for a buy who has been hitting below his normal BABIP.

scott91575
08-02-2010, 08:26 AM
Here is just one example:

Jay Bruce in 2009 OPSed .773 and everyone said he was unlucky because of his .221 BABIP.
Fast forward to 2010. Now Jay has a robust .321 BABIP. He must be tearing things up. His BABIP is 100 points higher. Bruce is OPSing .743.

Explain that one with your BABIP magic.

His walk rate is down, and his HR's are way down. Strike out rate is up. You don't look at it in a vacuum.

Reds
08-02-2010, 08:28 AM
When was WAR first recorded? I swear the stat is less than a decade old, and I have no way to calculate it. I've never seen it broken down. I think it's great to say this guy is worth 6 wins, but I've never been sure of the formula, which must change with position and league average and stuff.

GIDP
08-02-2010, 08:47 AM
Here is just one example:

Jay Bruce in 2009 OPSed .773 and everyone said he was unlucky because of his .221 BABIP.
Fast forward to 2010. Now Jay has a robust .321 BABIP. He must be tearing things up. His BABIP is 100 points higher. Bruce is OPSing .743.

Explain that one with your BABIP magic.

Well first of all his .221 was low but since his LD rate was at 14% it wasnt super low. He should have had a .270ish based off his LD%.

This year his LD% is up making his BABIP higher simple as that.

The reason his OPS is lower is because he is hitting for less power. If he was hitting his homers at the same rate his OPS would probably be around .850. Thats the reason why his OPS is down but his BABIP is up.

For an example if his BABIP was around .270 last year and you only added the hits as singles, 23 more singles would push the BABIP to .273 and would have increased his slash line to this

.261/.337/.507 = .844 OPS

Compare that to what his OPS would be this year if he was hitting for the same power. I doubt this will help you understand because you seem to not care either way but it certainly matters.

texasdave
08-02-2010, 08:58 AM
His walk rate is down, and his HR's are way down. Strike out rate is up. You don't look at it in a vacuum.

That is exactly what I stated in my first post.

scott91575
08-02-2010, 09:12 AM
That is exactly what I stated in my first post.

and if you have a stat that could have predicted that, let me know.

BABIP is just a useful tool to figure out luck, and to help make future predictions. As with any predictor stat, it is not 100% foolproof. A guy may start or stop using drugs, could put on or take off weight, may get divorced or his favorite pet dies, whatever. Heck, he just may be a young guy and pitchers figure out some weaknesses. Things change. Yet BABIP combined with line drive rate is a decent indicator if a guy is getting lucky or not. There still may be other things that change in the future, but luck tends to even out (as you have seen with Bruce).

We get it, you don't like it. You pretty much don't like predictor stats, and only like historical stats. Hey, hindsight is 20/20, so in comparison of course how BABIP is used is not going to be like looking into the past. Yet if you want to figure out future performance, understanding a players luck is rather helpful in the big picture.

BTW....Bruce is the perfect example, so you really picked the wrong guy. He went from bad luck for balls put in play to good luck. It is averaging out. Strikeouts, walks, and HR's are not predicted by BABIP. Like I said, if you have a predictor stat for that, let me know.

scott91575
08-02-2010, 09:41 AM
In case you want a truly perfect example of BABIP....

Jonny Gomes. First of all, he has a larger sample size than Bruce. Second, he is traditionally a low babip guy. His performance has followed his BABIP. Last year, .309. Well above what he normally does. The first half of this year, .322. As predicted, he is trending back down in the 2nd half of this year. His luck is averaging out, as is his overall performance.

Gomes has enough mlb at bats to know what he is, so it's a better example than Bruce (although Bruce is a good example from a pure luck standpoint). No one really knows what kind of hitter Bruce truly is, therefore it makes BABIP worse for an overall predictor.

bleedsred
08-02-2010, 09:51 AM
Anyone know Brett Butler's career BABIP? Seems like he was always getting bunt/ infield hits. Speaking of Brett Butler, he would make a great tutor for Stubbs IMO....

scott91575
08-02-2010, 10:13 AM
Anyone know Brett Butler's career BABIP? Seems like he was always getting bunt/ infield hits. Speaking of Brett Butler, he would make a great tutor for Stubbs IMO....

.319.

Those types of batters always have above average BABIP, and that is taken into consideration. Ichiro is another example of a guy with higher than normal BABIP (his is a ridiculous .357).

GIDP
08-02-2010, 11:36 AM
Anyone with speed normally has a higher BABIP simply because of the infield hits.

sabometrics
08-02-2010, 07:57 PM
.319.

Those types of batters always have above average BABIP, and that is taken into consideration. Ichiro is another example of a guy with higher than normal BABIP (his is a ridiculous .357).

Whoever said Dickerson would have a BABIP of around .350 for his career should take heavy consideration of this fact: only truely elite hitters are good enough to make sure their BABIP is that high. Dickerson, with his speed from the left hand side of the plate can achieve an above-average for the duration of his career, but he will not be around .350 when all things are said and done.

Revering4Blue
08-02-2010, 08:11 PM
The Stat That Will Revolutionize Baseball: Introducing UVI

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/17934-the-stat-that-will-revolutionize-baseball-introducing-uvi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Value_Index

sabometrics
08-02-2010, 08:17 PM
I'm wary of any stat that begins with "Ultimate"

That's some pretentious statistics right there.

757690
08-03-2010, 09:44 AM
I'm wary of any stat that begins with "Ultimate"

That's some pretentious statistics right there.

Considering it was developed 4 years ago, and really hasn't caught on, let alone "revolutionized" the stat world, I'd say it is wise to be wary of it.

And yeah, .350 might be high for Dickerson, but I know in the minor league forum, others have said that his BABIP was close to that in the minors as well.
I know it's only 45 AB's but his BABIP this season is .360, even though his BA is .205. He so far in his career has a very high LD rate (21%) that matches with his BABIP, actually higher than Ichiro's, and just below Votto's.

If he ever does cut down on his K's it will probably effect his BABIP by lowering it as he'll have more balls in play.

redssince75
08-03-2010, 10:05 AM
BABIP - Batting Average on Balls In Play. Pretty self-explanatory once you know what it stands for. MLB average is just above .300, so if someone is significantly above/below that mark after a statistically significant number of AB's then you can begin to deduce that the player may/may not be getting lucky by finding holes with seeing-eye singles or bloop hits. There are a number of other different stats (in combination with extensive observations if available) you need to consider before you make any definitive conclusions as to whether a player is the beneficiary of good/bad luck, but this is a good starting point.

I'm trying to understand what to do with this stat. There came a time in my baseball career when the pitching advanced beyond my physical skills and talents as a hitter. Basically, this was late teens, the American Legion level. But even at that time, I very rarely struck out. I cut down on my swing and made contact. BUT, I grounded out over and over and over again to 2nd base or shortstop. My BABIP must have been pathetic. I put it in play nearly every single time, and got out nearly every single time.

There was another player, a Paul Bunyan type. When he hit the ball, it might go 5 miles. HIs BABIP must have been .500 or better. But he was pretty worthless because he rarely made contact, he struck out 75% of the time.

What do I do with our relative BABIPs? How do I evaluate it?

GIDP
08-03-2010, 10:28 AM
I'm trying to understand what to do with this stat. There came a time in my baseball career when the pitching advanced beyond my physical skills and talents as a hitter. Basically, this was late teens, the American Legion level. But even at that time, I very rarely struck out. I cut down on my swing and made contact. BUT, I grounded out over and over and over again to 2nd base or shortstop. My BABIP must have been pathetic. I put it in play nearly every single time, and got out nearly every single time.

There was another player, a Paul Bunyan type. When he hit the ball, it might go 5 miles. HIs BABIP must have been .500 or better. But he was pretty worthless because he rarely made contact, he struck out 75% of the time.

What do I do with our relative BABIPs? How do I evaluate it?

(H-HR)/(AB-K-HR+SF) is the formula for BABIP

If you hit nothing but soft grounders your BABIP is going to low. BABIP doesnt have anything to with a players batting average really. Ground balls generally get turned into outs 70% of the time. Flyballs are around 80% and Line drives only get turned into outs 25% of the time. My data might be a little outdated on those stats but I cant imagine them being all that different unless defense has become great or awful recently.