Wednesday, 23 July 2014

2014 Marlins' Hitters' Batted Balls in Review #1

For reasons I hope to explain at some point later on, I am returning some comment on the Miami Marlins to this blog. I am quite enthusiastic about the information in my batted balls' surveys, so I'll resume coverage with a look at these.

This review uses a method involving batted balls to examine whether hitters might be regarded as 'unlucky'. Another way to think about it is to see who might be hitting over their heads, or who might be suffering from an excess of 'at 'em' balls and may be likely to improve.

As anyone familiar with sabermetrics knows, one can evaluate batting events by means of linear weights. What this means is that a single is worth about two-fifths of a run while a home run, because it can drive in the men on base, is worth over three times a single. Research has revealed that types of batted balls can assign similar values. Line drives are worth a lot, while infield flies are almost as good as strike outs. There is a problem in deciding what category to place a batted ball sometimes, especially the difference between a fly ball and a liner, as symbolised by the neologism 'fliner'. So one needs to treat these numbers with a degree of circumspection.

What this chart shows is the difference between a batted-ball linear weight and Fangraphs' wRC. wRC gives a supposed aggregate number of runs that should have been scored based on hitting events. Some people have flares falling in, while others hit the ball hard, but see it caught. The batted ball number also includes Ultimate Base Running, to make it more compatible with wRC. Note that the chart excludes pitchers' hitting. The first column is wRC, the second the batted ball expected runs.

Giancarlo  Stanton        76    57    19
Marcell  Ozuna            50    37    13
Christian  Yelich         50    41    13
Jarrod  Saltalamacchia    31    28     3
Henderson  Alvarez         2     3   - 1
Rafael  Furcal             1     3   - 2
Greg  Dobbs              - 1     1   - 2
Casey  McGehee            58    61   - 3
Derek  Dietrich           21    24   - 3
Jeff  Baker               14    18   - 4
Jeff  Mathis               8    12   - 4
Jake  Marisnick            0     4   - 4
Reed  Johnson             12    17   - 5
Donovan  Solano           11    16   - 5
Garrett  Jones            41    47   - 6
Ed  Lucas                 10    16   - 6
Adeiny  Hechavarria       27    39   -12

Stanton's offensive contribution to the team has been splendid this season, but he's been hitting a bit over his head. Ozuna and Yelich have also been exceeding reasonable expectations. By contrast Hechavarria has struggled to get his maximum hitting value. But what really interests me in comparing the Marlins to the other two teams I have been looking at, is how the sort of range which falls within what I would consider random variation is largely negative for the marlins. Only Saltalamacchia has been doing a little bit better. This could be a harbinger of a slight improvement in the Marlins' offensive fortunes, provided those first three hitters keep having such good fortune.

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