|08-06-2006, 10:39 PM||#1|
Winning the Human Race
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Titletown, FL
The Myth of BABIP
Our resident stat mongers here at RZ frequently refer to a pitcher's BABIP during discussions about his effectiveness.
Until about 2 weeks ago, I had no idea what BABIP even was.
For those of you in the dark like I was, BABIP = Batting Average of Balls hit In Play.
Those that explained it to me were also quick to point out that a pitcher has no control whatsoever of his BABIP.
I respectfully and calmly disagree.
Theoretically, a batting tee and Johan Santana both have measurable BABIP.
I do not think anyone here will disagree when I assert that it is obvious on its face that a batting tee will have a higher BABIP than Santana should all other variables be constant. The degree of difficulty in hitting a Santana changeup is quite bit higher than that of hitting a stationary baseball off a waist-high tee.
Taking that line of thinking a step further, it is then logical to believe that Johan Santana will have a lower BABIP than Dave Williams as Johan is 100x the pitcher Williams is and, it is therefore more diffucult to hit his pitches well.
I do acknowledge that BABIP does not consider walks and strikeouts, and I do know that most pitcher's ultimate goal is to miss bats. However, accepting the tack that a pitcher does not have any control over his BABIP means that one has to accept that a pitcher who pitches to contact using good location and changing speeds cannot ultimately succeed. Greg Maddux is a perfect example.
Can it not be logically inferred that well-pitched balls are more difficult to hit than poorly pitched balls? Many here are actually using Majewski's high BABIP as a mitigating factor towards his performance to date a Red. "Hell, he's been unlucky! Check his BABIP! It's bound to come down!"
While I do agree that his ERA & BABIP are both likely to come down, I assert that (warning, overused RZ phrase following) it would be due to GM "regressing to the mean." The guy simply will not maintain this 19.00 ERA (or whatever the hell it is). He will eventually get more guys out, and his ERA and BABIP will see a resultant drop. I fear many are confusing the effect for the cause.
That's my thought on the matter. It seems too obvious to me, which tells me there might be something else used to calculate BABIP of which I am unaware. However, if I am understanding it correctly, it seems to be a bit of a Straw Man.
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