Friday, 18 July 2014

2014 Tigers' HItters' Batted Balls in Review #1

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.

J. D. Martinez       43     18    +25
Victor  Martinez      64     58    + 6
Alex  Avila           32     26    + 6
Miguel  Cabrera       63     58    + 5
Rajai  Davis          36     36      0
Eugenio Salazar      15     15      0
Bryan  Holaday         8      9    - 1
Tyler  Collins         0      1    - 1
Alex  Gonzalez         1      4    - 3
Danny  Worth           1      5    - 4
Torii  Hunter         37     42    - 5
Ian  Kinsler          57     64    - 7
Don  Kelly            10     17    - 7 
Andrew  Romine         9     16    - 7
Nick  Castellanos     35     45    -10
Austin  Jackson       37     50    -13
JD-Mart has been massively fortunate on the outcomes of his batted balls, making up for the bad luck of Castellanos and A-Jax. The optimist will say all this will even out in the end. The pessimist, however, would say that the more extreme result is more likely to regress to the mean, possibly creating a run-production problem during the second half of the season. They could be the keys to the hitting during the second-half.

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