Friday, 29 August 2014

2014 Tigers' Hitters' Batted Balls in Review #2

I haven't posted any of my batted ball or fielding surveys for quite a while, so I thought I'd start a new cycle with the Tigers, who have been most on my mind of late. 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 and the third the positive or negative difference.

J.D.  Martinez         60     41    +19
Victor  Martinez      91     78    +13
Alex  Avila           43     35    + 8
Miguel  Cabrera       87     81    + 6
Rajai  Davis          48     49    - 1
Torii  Hunter         59     60    - 1
Ezequiel  Carrera      3      4    - 1
Eugenio  Suarez       25     26    - 1
Tyler  Collins         0      1    - 1
Alex  Gonzalez         1      4    - 3
Bryan  Holaday         9     12    - 3
Danny  Worth           1      5    - 4
Andrew  Romine        12     20    - 8
Nick  Castellanos     52     60    - 8
Don  Kelly            13     23    -10 
Austin  Jackson       49     60    -11
Ian  Kinsler          68     91    -23
JD-Mart continues to be fortunate on the outcomes of his batted balls, although his luck has faded quite a bit. At the other end of the scale, Ian Kinsler has slumped quite a bit. Most of the other players have moved slightly up or down, although Victor Martinez has continued to hit above his batted-ball weight at about the same pace. I predicted last time that a slump might lead to a run production problem, which as I discussed earlier in fact happened after the All-Star break. I think it is important to note that Rajai Davis has been an adequate replacement for Austin Jackson with the bat — especially with such a strong showing from Eugenio Suarez at shortstop and slight improvement from Torii Hunter — but let's see what the fielding numbers tell us about his defence.

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