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Seasons With 502+ PA & BABIP >=.400

Posted by Steve Lombardi on May 13, 2011

Here's a fun list.  It's batters who had seasons with 502+ PA and a Batting Average on Balls In Play of .400 or better.

The list:

Rk Player BAbip PA Year Age Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Babe Ruth .423 699 1923 28 NYY AL 152 522 151 205 45 13 41 131 170 0 93 4 3 0 0 17 21 .393 .545 .764 1.309 97/83
2 Rogers Hornsby .422 640 1924 28 STL NL 143 536 121 227 43 14 25 94 89 0 32 2 13 0 0 5 12 .424 .507 .696 1.203 *4
3 George Sisler .422 654 1922 29 SLB AL 142 586 134 246 42 18 8 105 49 0 14 3 16 0 0 51 19 .420 .467 .594 1.061 *3
4 Nap Lajoie .418 582 1901 26 PHA AL 131 544 145 232 48 14 14 125 24 0 9 13 1 0 0 27 0 .426 .463 .643 1.106 *46
5 Ty Cobb .416 612 1922 35 DET AL 137 526 99 211 42 16 4 99 55 0 24 4 27 0 0 9 13 .401 .462 .565 1.026 *8
6 Harry Heilmann .414 626 1923 28 DET AL 144 524 121 211 44 11 18 115 74 0 40 5 23 0 0 9 7 .403 .481 .632 1.113 *93
7 Jesse Burkett .414 673 1901 32 STL NL 142 601 142 226 20 15 10 75 59 0 69 10 3 0 0 27 0 .376 .440 .509 .949 *7
8 Ty Cobb .412 654 1911 24 DET AL 146 591 147 248 47 24 8 127 44 0 0 8 11 0 0 83 0 .420 .467 .621 1.088 *8
9 Rogers Hornsby .409 674 1921 25 STL NL 154 592 131 235 44 18 21 126 60 0 48 7 15 0 0 13 13 .397 .458 .639 1.097 *4/7653
10 Rod Carew .408 694 1977 31 MIN AL 155 616 128 239 38 16 14 100 69 15 55 3 1 5 6 23 13 .388 .449 .570 1.019 *3/4D
11 George Stone .407 658 1906 29 SLB AL 154 581 91 208 25 20 6 71 52 0 79 7 18 0 0 35 0 .358 .417 .501 .918 *7
12 Jose Hernandez .404 582 2002 32 MIL NL 152 525 72 151 24 2 24 73 52 5 188 4 0 1 19 3 5 .288 .356 .478 .834 *6
13 Manny Ramirez .403 532 2000 28 CLE AL 118 439 92 154 34 2 38 122 86 9 117 3 0 4 9 1 1 .351 .457 .697 1.154 *9D
14 Roberto Clemente .403 632 1967 32 PIT NL 147 585 103 209 26 10 23 110 41 17 103 3 0 3 15 9 1 .357 .400 .554 .954 *9/8
15 George Sisler .401 692 1920 27 SLB AL 154 631 137 257 49 18 19 122 46 0 19 2 13 0 0 42 17 .407 .449 .632 1.082 *3/1
16 Ty Cobb .401 545 1919 32 DET AL 124 497 92 191 36 13 1 70 38 0 22 1 9 0 0 28 0 .384 .429 .515 .944 *8
17 Ty Cobb .401 609 1912 25 DET AL 140 553 120 226 30 23 7 83 43 0 0 5 8 0 0 61 34 .409 .456 .584 1.040 *8
18 Shoeless Joe Jackson .401 641 1911 23 CLE AL 147 571 126 233 45 19 7 83 56 0 0 8 6 0 0 41 0 .408 .468 .590 1.058 *98
19 Luke Appling .400 618 1936 29 CHW AL 138 526 111 204 31 7 6 128 85 0 25 1 6 0 0 10 6 .388 .474 .508 .981 *6
20 Bill Terry .400 710 1930 31 NYG NL 154 633 139 254 39 15 23 129 57 0 33 1 19 0 0 8 0 .401 .452 .619 1.071 *3
21 Ty Cobb .400 669 1917 30 DET AL 152 588 107 225 44 24 6 102 61 0 34 4 16 0 0 55 0 .383 .444 .570 1.014 *89
22 Benny Kauff .400 667 1914 24 IND FL 154 571 120 211 44 13 8 95 72 0 55 8 16 0 0 75 0 .370 .447 .534 .981 987
23 Heinie Zimmerman .400 619 1912 25 CHC NL 145 557 95 207 41 14 14 99 38 0 60 6 18 0 0 23 0 .372 .418 .571 .989 *53
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/13/2011.

.
It's happened just 4 times since 1937.  That's a good trivia question - naming the four to do it.  Not many would guess Jose Hernandez (who is the last man to do it).

This entry was posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011 at 12:21 pm and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

70 Responses to “Seasons With 502+ PA & BABIP >=.400”

  1. Library Dave Says:

    Some of these BABip calculations don't seem correct. It doesn't seem possible that you can have a higher BA than BABip (like Hornsby, Cobb and Lajoie do). Am I missing something?

  2. #1 - More homeruns than strikeouts is how you get a BABIP higher than BA. It should be noted that the 1911 and 1912 seasons by Cobb and Joe Jackson record 0 strikeouts, which I don't believe is correct.

  3. @Dave...it's definitely possible if you aren't hitting very many HRs, but still getting a ton of hits.

  4. What I really meant was that if a player's HR/(HR+K) is higher than their BA.

  5. You don't have to have more HR than strikeouts, just have the % be higher than babip. e.g. Hornsby 25 HR, 32 K = 25/57 = .438.

    With apologies to Stone and Kauff, Jose Hernandez really stands out on that list.

  6. Neil Paine Says:

    It makes sense that some high-strikeout guys like Hernandez show up here... In order to reach 502 PAs, you typically need to be productive offensively. Strikeouts are completely unproductive PAs, so in order to still be a viable hitter you have to maximize the damage done in your non-strikeout PAs, and that's a big part of what BABIP is measuring.

  7. It's funny to me how very few on the list snuck over the 502 PA threshold; with a percentage stat, it shoudl tend to be something that's a bit easier at lower numbers. Although I guess if anyone has a .400 BABIP for an extended stretch, they aren't going to sit much, it's still surprising a few more injury/strike shortened seasons don't make it, at least to me.

  8. Jose Hernandez might be my least favorite baseball player of all-time.

    Jerk sits out the last week of that 2002 season to avoid setting the all-time strikeout record.

    No, the season didn't matter. Actually, the Brewers lost 106 games.

    But it's still ridiculous that you would bench yourself and not help out your team, all to avoid a meaningless distinction.

  9. 1941 Ted Williams had enough PAs, but his BAbip was .378- 37 HR, 27 KK (and 147 BB!).

    As a measure of hitting performance, BAbip can be rather deceiving.

  10. JCarbo76 Says:

    One thing that pops into mind that I haven't seen discussed before is perhaps illustrated by these numbers.

    Does the fact that the BABIP numbers are SO weighted to the old-timers indicate that defense has improved steadily over the years?

    I think the argument can be made for several reasons: 1) Improved quality of gloves 2) Improved quality of fields (fewer bad hops, etc.) 3) Better athletes in the field to "rob" hits.

  11. Neil Paine Says:

    #10 - Here's the progression of MLB Defensive Efficiency (the opposite of BABIP) over time:

    Year Tms DER Year Tms DER Year Tms DER Year Tms DER
    2011 30 0.691 1975 24 0.690 1939 16 0.679 1903 16 0.641
    2010 30 0.683 1974 24 0.691 1938 16 0.679 1902 16 0.643
    2009 30 0.682 1973 24 0.692 1937 16 0.673 1901 16 0.630
    2008 30 0.681 1972 24 0.702 1936 16 0.667 1900 8 0.629
    2007 30 0.678 1971 24 0.700 1935 16 0.674 1899 12 0.628
    2006 30 0.679 1970 24 0.693 1934 16 0.672 1898 12 0.638
    2005 30 0.685 1969 24 0.696 1933 16 0.686 1897 12 0.617
    2004 30 0.683 1968 20 0.705 1932 16 0.677 1896 12 0.617
    2003 30 0.686 1967 20 0.700 1931 16 0.672 1895 12 0.603
    2002 30 0.686 1966 20 0.697 1930 16 0.660 1894 12 0.589
    2001 30 0.682 1965 20 0.699 1929 16 0.670 1893 12 0.623
    2000 30 0.678 1964 20 0.694 1928 16 0.676 1892 12 0.639
    1999 30 0.676 1963 20 0.699 1927 16 0.670 1891 17 0.623
    1998 30 0.678 1962 20 0.692 1926 16 0.675 1890 25 0.613
    1997 28 0.676 1961 18 0.693 1925 16 0.663 1889 16 0.605
    1996 28 0.676 1960 16 0.697 1924 16 0.670 1888 16 0.626
    1995 28 0.680 1959 16 0.696 1923 16 0.668 1887 16 0.594
    1994 28 0.678 1958 16 0.698 1922 16 0.667 1886 16 0.599
    1993 28 0.683 1957 16 0.700 1921 16 0.661 1885 16 0.605
    1992 26 0.693 1956 16 0.700 1920 16 0.664 1884 33 0.572
    1991 26 0.692 1955 16 0.701 1919 16 0.676 1883 16 0.574
    1990 26 0.690 1954 16 0.699 1918 16 0.686 1882 14 0.592
    1989 26 0.692 1953 16 0.694 1917 16 0.682 1881 8 0.599
    1988 26 0.695 1952 16 0.703 1916 16 0.677 1880 8 0.603
    1987 26 0.687 1951 16 0.697 1915 24 0.671 1879 8 0.585
    1986 26 0.689 1950 16 0.693 1914 24 0.662 1878 6 0.578
    1985 26 0.695 1949 16 0.696 1913 16 0.662 1877 6 0.571
    1984 26 0.688 1948 16 0.693 1912 16 0.644 1876 8 0.569
    1983 26 0.690 1947 16 0.697 1911 16 0.642 1875 13 0.557
    1982 26 0.692 1946 16 0.695 1910 16 0.658 1874 8 0.521
    1981 26 0.697 1945 16 0.693 1909 16 0.666 1873 9 0.515
    1980 26 0.688 1944 16 0.692 1908 16 0.679 1872 11 0.533
    1979 26 0.689 1943 16 0.699 1907 16 0.669 1871 9 0.529
    1978 26 0.695 1942 16 0.699 1906 16 0.667
    1977 26 0.687 1941 16 0.689 1905 16 0.661
    1976 24 0.694 1940 16 0.683 1904 16 0.663
  12. Using the formula: DER = (BFP-H-K-BB-HBP-Errors)/(BFP-HR-K-BB-HBP)

  13. Joe Garrison Says:

    I still find it amazing how consistently BABip has been about a 31-69 proposition over the course of baseball history.

  14. Ken Williams Says:

    What I don't get is why homers aren't included in this calculation. Sure, the ball leaves the park so it's not technically "in play", but a run scores on a hit, so how can that not be considered in play? If a player goes 2-4 with two homers and no k's, his babip is .000. How is that a true measure of what he did when he hits the ball in fair territory? What about inside the park homers? Just wondering.

  15. Neil Paine Says:

    #14 - The idea is that, other than inside-the-park HRs (and perhaps robbable flies at the wall), the defense can't possibly make a play on a home run. BABIP is measuring batting average on balls the defense could potentially turn into an out.

  16. John Autin Says:

    I agree that Jose Hernandez is the most striking member of the list, in that his .288 overall BA is the only one below .351.

    But how about Roberto Clemente with 103 strikeouts? Having never looked into that specific aspect of his stats before, I would have guessed that he never whiffed 100 times in a season, but he did it in both 1966 (his MVP season) and '67 (the one shown here).

    Clemente's career BABiP was .343. Nice.

  17. So Neil, it looks like B-R needs to have BABIP+ to adjust for the change in BABIP over time?!

  18. Joe Garrison Says:

    Looking up George Brett's 1980 season, I see he hit 24 homers and only struck out 22 times. His batting average on those at-bats alone was 24 out of 46 (.521 batting average).

    That helped lower his BABip down to .368

    @ 2 - So... if you have more Homers than strikeouts your BABIP will be LOWER than your Batting Average in all likelihood. All it takes is your HR/HR+SO rate to be higher than your overall batting average.

  19. Ken, it's meant to measure what happens when fielders have a shot — however remote — at making the play. In other words, it could give a clue if a pitcher has poor defense behind them or has been unlucky.

  20. Babe Ruth's season is something else. For all of those people (I'm looking at you, Ty Cobb) who thought he was just a big galoot slamming homers, he actually had the most productive season ever on balls in play. Oh, and he did hit a few homers that year, too.

  21. Interesting how Cobb is the oldest, and one of the youngest, on there. Speed kills.

  22. Jerk sits out the last week of that 2002 season to avoid setting the all-time strikeout record.

    It was reported at the time that Hernandez was pissed that he was benched for the last game of the season. The Brewers manager (Royster?) thought he was doing him a favor.

  23. Charles Saeger Says:

    Neil@12: Only about 60% of errors put a man on base (57% to be a little more exact). Using a sample of seasons from the Retrosheet era by position:

    Pitcher = 3 in 7
    Catcher = 1 in 16
    First base = 2 in 3
    Second base = 7 in 10
    Third base = 5 in 6
    Shortstop = 7 in 9
    Outfield = 1 in 4

    I assume these numbers would hold up going back to the deadball era. I have no idea what the proportions would have been in the 19th century, though I know the Chicago Tribune did carry the times each hitter reached on error in its box scores in the 1890s.

  24. Charles Saeger Says:

    Note the two Cobb and one Shoeless Joe Jackson seasons in the 1911-1912 era, where the AL didn't count strikeouts.

  25. @8 and @22

    It doesn't sound like Jose Hernandez "benched himself." I don't recall that being the case at the time, I thought the manager did-
    http://a.espncdn.com/mlb/news/2002/1003/1440998.html

    Seems to confirm that.

  26. Thanks Jiffy, that was my point. The first part of my post was a quote from post #8.

  27. "But it's still ridiculous that you would bench yourself and not help out your team, all to avoid a meaningless distinction."

    Are we sure Hernandez was helping his team out...?

  28. The change over time could also have to do with field dimensions. If fields are bigger (or had no fences, as they once did), you'll have more balls in play that are likely unplayable.

  29. Do foul ball outs count as "balls in play"? I have to assume they do. Should that be?

  30. John Autin Says:

    BSK -- Why wouldn't foul outs count as balls in play? The ball is in play; runners can tag up and advance after a catch in foul ground. Am I overlooking something?

  31. I didn't fully think it through. But I guess there is zero chance of getting a hit on a foul ball. Just like there is zero chance of making an out on a home run ball. BABiP SEEMS to propose to measure the ratio of hits to outs on balls that could result in either. It's nitpicking, really.

  32. If foul balls count I think homers should count.

    After all some would be homers get caught. Thus if you hit a ball that only goes 2 feet over the wall, you could potential have an 0-1 babip, but you could not have a 1-1 babip, unless, I suppose, the outfielder leaps up, knocks it down, but doesn't make the catch.

    Also, the way it is setup, foul balls that get caught are 0-1, but all other foul balls are 0-0. Seems weird.

  33. I'd be interested in seeing the opposite side of the coin: seasons by pitchers with exceptionally high (or low) BABIPs.

  34. John Autin Says:

    Re: foul balls -- It may well be true that there's some illogic in how they are counted towards BABIP.

    But foulouts were less than 2% of all PAs last year -- a dozen or so per everyday hitter. Is it worth the effort to figure out the most logical way to count them? However they're counted, the spread just isn't enough to make a significant difference in BABIP.

  35. John Autin Says:

    @33, Jason W -- The spread of BABIP for pitchers is much smaller than for hitters. The highest pitcher BABIP in a qualifying season is .358 by Kevin Millwood in 2008. (Millwood also had a .340 mark in 2007; he's the only pitcher with 2 seasons at .340 or higher.)

    Keep in mind that there's a selection bias (sorry if that's not the right statistical term) against pitchers qualifying for the ERA title with a very high BABIP. Those pitchers don't last as long per game, and are more likely to be yanked from the rotation.

    I'll try to post a list of the highest pitcher BABIPs in my next post, though it may come out ugly.

  36. John Autin Says:

    Highest BABIPs by qualifying pitchers, 1919-2010:

    Rk Player BAbip Year Tm G GS CG W L IP H BB SO ERA ERA+ HR
    1 Kevin Millwood .358 2008 TEX 29 29 3 9 10 168.2 220 49 125 5.07 88 18
    2 Kevin Brown .357 1994 TEX 26 25 3 7 9 170.0 218 50 123 4.82 101 18
    3 Ian Snell .355 2008 PIT 31 31 0 7 12 164.1 201 89 135 5.42 78 18
    4 Glendon Rusch .355 2001 NYM 33 33 1 8 12 179.0 216 43 156 4.63 91 23
    5 Aaron Sele .354 1999 TEX 33 33 2 18 9 205.0 244 70 186 4.79 107 21
    6 Rick Waits .353 1981 CLE 22 21 5 8 10 126.1 173 44 51 4.92 75 7
    7 Darryl Kile .352 1996 HOU 35 33 4 12 11 219.0 233 97 219 4.19 93 16
    8 Scott Olsen .349 2007 FLA 33 33 0 10 15 176.2 226 85 133 5.81 75 29
    9 Chris Holt .349 1999 HOU 32 26 0 5 13 164.0 193 57 115 4.66 96 12
    10 John Burkett .349 1997 TEX 30 30 2 9 12 189.1 240 30 139 4.56 105 20
    11 Livan Hernandez .347 2008 TOT 31 31 2 13 11 180.0 257 43 67 6.05 71 25
    12 Jack Lamabe .345 1964 BOS 39 25 3 9 13 177.1 235 57 109 5.89 65 25
    13 James Shields .344 2010 TBR 34 33 0 13 15 203.1 246 51 187 5.18 76 34
    14 Javier Vazquez .344 2000 MON 33 33 2 11 9 217.2 247 61 196 4.05 119 24
    15 Paul Wagner .344 1994 PIT 29 17 1 7 8 119.2 136 50 86 4.59 94 7
    16 Nate Robertson .343 2008 DET 32 28 0 7 11 168.2 218 62 108 6.35 71 26
    17 Jeff Francis .343 2005 COL 33 33 0 14 12 183.2 228 70 128 5.68 84 26
    18 LaTroy Hawkins .343 1999 MIN 33 33 1 10 14 174.1 238 60 103 6.66 76 29
    19 Jaime Navarro .343 1997 CHW 33 33 2 9 14 209.2 267 73 142 5.79 76 22
    20 Jeff Fassero .343 1995 MON 30 30 1 13 14 189.0 207 74 164 4.33 100 15
    21 Bob Veale .343 1969 PIT 34 34 9 13 14 225.2 232 91 213 3.23 108 8
    22 Doug Drabek .341 1996 HOU 30 30 1 7 9 175.1 208 60 137 4.57 85 21
    23 Scott Erickson .341 1994 MIN 23 23 2 8 11 144.0 173 59 104 5.44 90 15
    24 Kevin Millwood .340 2007 TEX 31 31 0 10 14 172.2 213 67 123 5.16 89 19

  37. John Autin Says:

    I'll try the pitcher BABIP list with commas, though it won't look much better:

    Rk, Player, BAbip, Year, Tm, G, GS, W, L, IP, H, R, BB, SO, ERA, ERA+, HR
    1, Kevin Millwood, .358, 2008, TEX, 29, 29, 9, 10, 168.2, 220, 104, 49, 125, 5.07, 88, 18
    2, Kevin Brown, .357, 1994, TEX, 26, 25, 7, 9, 170.0, 218, 109, 50, 123, 4.82, 101, 18
    3, Ian Snell, .355, 2008, PIT, 31, 31, 7, 12, 164.1, 201, 107, 89, 135, 5.42, 78, 18
    4, Glendon Rusch, .355, 2001, NYM, 33, 33, 8, 12, 179.0, 216, 101, 43, 156, 4.63, 91, 23
    5, Aaron Sele, .354, 1999, TEX, 33, 33, 18, 9, 205.0, 244, 115, 70, 186, 4.79, 107, 21
    6, Rick Waits, .353, 1981, CLE, 22, 21, 8, 10, 126.1, 173, 74, 44, 51, 4.92, 75, 7
    7, Darryl Kile, .352, 1996, HOU, 35, 33, 12, 11, 219.0, 233, 113, 97, 219, 4.19, 93, 16
    8, Scott Olsen, .349, 2007, FLA, 33, 33, 10, 15, 176.2, 226, 134, 85, 133, 5.81, 75, 29
    9, Chris Holt, .349, 1999, HOU, 32, 26, 5, 13, 164.0, 193, 92, 57, 115, 4.66, 96, 12
    10, John Burkett, .349, 1997, TEX, 30, 30, 9, 12, 189.1, 240, 106, 30, 139, 4.56, 105, 20
    11, Livan Hernandez, .347, 2008, TOT, 31, 31, 13, 11, 180.0, 257, 129, 43, 67, 6.05, 71, 25
    12, Jack Lamabe, .345, 1964, BOS, 39, 25, 9, 13, 177.1, 235, 123, 57, 109, 5.89, 65, 25
    13, James Shields, .344, 2010, TBR, 34, 33, 13, 15, 203.1, 246, 128, 51, 187, 5.18, 76, 34
    14, Javier Vazquez, .344, 2000, MON, 33, 33, 11, 9, 217.2, 247, 104, 61, 196, 4.05, 119, 24
    15, Paul Wagner, .344, 1994, PIT, 29, 17, 7, 8, 119.2, 136, 69, 50, 86, 4.59, 94, 7
    16, Nate Robertson, .343, 2008, DET, 32, 28, 7, 11, 168.2, 218, 124, 62, 108, 6.35, 71, 26
    17, Jeff Francis, .343, 2005, COL, 33, 33, 14, 12, 183.2, 228, 119, 70, 128, 5.68, 84, 26
    18, LaTroy Hawkins, .343, 1999, MIN, 33, 33, 10, 14, 174.1, 238, 136, 60, 103, 6.66, 76, 29
    19, Jaime Navarro, .343, 1997, CHW, 33, 33, 9, 14, 209.2, 267, 155, 73, 142, 5.79, 76, 22
    20, Jeff Fassero, .343, 1995, MON, 30, 30, 13, 14, 189.0, 207, 102, 74, 164, 4.33, 100, 15
    21, Bob Veale, .343, 1969, PIT, 34, 34, 13, 14, 225.2, 232, 93, 91, 213, 3.23, 108, 8
    22, Doug Drabek, .341, 1996, HOU, 30, 30, 7, 9, 175.1, 208, 102, 60, 137, 4.57, 85, 21
    23, Scott Erickson, .341, 1994, MIN, 23, 23, 8, 11, 144.0, 173, 95, 59, 104, 5.44, 90, 15
    24, Kevin Millwood, .340, 2007, TEX, 31, 31, 10, 14, 172.2, 213, 111, 67, 123, 5.16, 89, 19

  38. John Autin Says:

    Meanwhile, we have our first double-CG of the 2011 season:
    Jeremy Hellickson (TB) shut out Baltimore on 4 hits, while Jeremy Guthrie went the distance in the loss, allowing 3 runs in 8 IP.

    There were 7 double-CG last season (none involving Halladay!); 4 in 2009 and 3 in '08.

    Hellickson (4-2, 2.98 this year) picked up his first CG and shutout in his 11th career start.
    Guthrie, who fell to 1-6, 3.99 on the season, now has 3 CG in 130 starts.
    Matt Joyce had the big blow, a 2-run HR; his OPS is now over 1.000.

  39. Timmy Patrick Says:

    @25 Jiffy - That's correct, it was not Jose that took himself out. Jose might be a great guy, but he is the poster child for the new brand of baseball being played. The high strikeout totals hurt the game in my opinion. I think the game is going through an adjustment period after the steroid era, and I hope contact hitters make a comeback in the next few years. Since Jose is retired, the new poster child is Rickey Weeks, he's bad! Interesting fact is that Jose Hernandez played in more all-star games than Juan Pierre.

  40. @38
    JA, we are entering the era of the pitcher.

    There will be at least 7 double-CG this season, IMHO.

    Matt Joyce is still over 0.275 behind Jose Bautista in OPS, based on tonight's statistics (He just a bomb out of the Target Center.)

  41. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Enough of this. When he can stay healthy, Weeks is a very fine player. If you don't like his strikeouts, pick on the many players who strike out even more. If it's something else, what could it possibly be to overcome his .272/.361/.480 line since 2009?

  42. Timmy Patrick Says:

    Well I don't like his strike outs from the lead off spot, esp in the NL. Plus he wears 12 pounds of braids in his hair. His .366 OBP is counting a league leading 25 HBP last year. He is no longer a threat on the bases, and his defense, once improving is now again bad.

  43. Timmy Patrick Says:

    Target Center, that's where the Timberwolves play.

  44. @43
    Thank you, Timmy P. I did get my sports wrong. Target Field vs. Target Center. Jose Bautista hit a blast out of a hockey arena/basketball court.

    My bad.

  45. Timmy Patrick Says:

    Actually Target Center is just a basketball court, the Minnesota Wild play in St. Paul.

  46. What if it bounces off the outfielder's head and into the stands? Is that a bip? ;)

  47. @46
    Travis, you are thinking of the infamous Jose Canseco play, are you not?

  48. I wonder if part of the reason we are having a pitchers era is because so many hitters just swing for the fences, and with steroid strength that seemed to work. Without the steroids, those guys aren't clearing the fences enough to make up for their all or nothing batting style.

  49. JA-

    I noted that it was a bit of nitpicking since, as you said, it's a rare occurrence (if I had to guess, I would have guessed even rarer!). I guess I was more getting at what the stat meant and whether that was 100% consistent with how it was calculated.

    Timmy Patrick-
    "Plus he wears 12 pounds of braids in his hair." What the hell does that matter?

  50. JA-

    Would you say that, in general, we see less of a spread in pitcher stats relative to hitter stats?

    For example, BA tends to run between .200 and .400 with the league average probably settling somewhere in the .260's (I'm guessing). We often see elite pitchers get below even .200, but I don't know that I've ever seen a guy with a BAA approaching .400 for a full season.

    HRs also seems to follow this trend. HRs range for 0 to 60+. The most HRs allowed ever is 50 and only 22 guys have allowed more than 40 (I'd venture to guess we've approached 20+ guys in a single year hitting that many recently).

    For the reasons you stated and/or others, would you say that the trend we say in BABiP holds true across most/all pitching stats?

  51. @48
    Jimbo, strikeouts as a % of AB is rising steadily. At the same time, HR as a % of AB is declining. An unusual trend which may support your speculation.

  52. Timmy Patrick Says:

    @49 12 pounds of braids might be the reason he's no longer a threat to steal. All those K's in the lead off spot and it's no wonder the Brewers are the biggest disappointment in the NL. I'm pretty hard on Prince Fielder also, but if you look at his numbers, he's a good hitter. Now last year Fielder had only 83 RBI's. Might be because of the number of times Weeks K'd, or the large number of solo shots he hit leading off an inning (14) because Weeks strikes out so much.

  53. Wow, really, is that the entire list? I thought there would have been a few more UFO type seasons over the years. Jose Hernandez certainly sticks out as not fitting with most of the rest, who were for the most part great hitters.

    We almost had another addition just last season. Austin Jackson had a .396 BABIP in 675 PAs, but only hit .293 on the season. It was obvious even if he still had a high BABIP of .350 this year, his BA was going to fall through the floor. He currently has a .227 BA and a .327 BABIP.

    So for the most part it looks like only great hitters can pull this off without having a collapse. I'm still surprised by how few, though. If you expanded the list out to .390 BABIP with 502 or more PAs, does the complexion change much? I'm wondering if we'll see more weird, outlier seasons as we saw from Jackson, or if the list will still be populated by great hitters.

  54. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Now last year Fielder had only 83 RBI's. Might be because of the number of times Weeks K'd, or the large number of solo shots he hit leading off an inning (14) because Weeks strikes out so much.

    Yet Weeks managed to score 112 runs, despite never reaching base. Only 6 active players (min 1000 PA) have scored more runs per game.

    Isn't it possible Fielder's RBI total has something to do with his slugging .301 with RISP?

    Get over your biases and deal with facts. I don't care if you don't like Weeks; I have plenty of players I hate for completely subjective reasons. I feel like vomiting every time I watch Kevin Pukeilis play. I can't deny he's somehow a very productive hitter despite the ugliest swing in baseball.

  55. Detroit Michael Says:

    I don't know how to suggest a topic for the blog, so I'll have to just add a comment here and hope Andy or Steve reads it.

    David Schoenfield asks whether Brandon League pitched the worst week ever at http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/10868/a-league-of-his-own-worst-week-ever. More precisely, has any other pitcher ever lost 4 games in 5-game span before?

    I don't think so, but then I'm not a play index whiz. I figured it probably would be a reliever in 4 consecutive appearances. Running that inquiry, Tom Zachary lost five straight relief outings, but that was over a long time period interspersed with starts. League ties for the lead with four and checking the calendar dates plus a bit of looking up and it does appear to me that he's the first player in the regular season to have lost 4 games in a 5-game period.

    Perhaps you can check it more rigorously.

    Also, how are we supposed to suggest topics?

  56. Timmy Patrick Says:

    Runs scored is the most overrated (individual) stat in baseball. Weeks might be a nice guy, but he should be batting 7th. Look at the company he had on the SO leader board last year. The only two guys with more were Reynolds and Dunn. BTW I'm really routing for Reynolds in Baltimore. I heard they retooled his swing and hopefully he can hit a few singles now and then and cut down on the Ks. He has great power and that can't be taught, but all those Ks will just kill a team. Dan Uggla! My goodness he strikes out so much and is rewarded with $50 million plus. A .260 hitter, 170 Ks, no SB threat, below average fielder. Florida is a better team without him this year.

  57. Timmy Patrick Says:

    Nice line for Uggla last night against the Phils.
    0 for 5, 3 Ks, 6 LOB, AVG .199 Money well spent ATL!

  58. Tim, if you really think that Weeks has 12 pounds of braids and that slows him down on the basepaths, you're a moron.

    Do you also object to Jason Werth's beard and hair? How about Lincecum's coif? Did Johnny Damon suffer under the weight of his caveman look? Or is it somehow the fact that he has BRAIDS what set him apart? Hm...

  59. No one is discussing the "luck" theory of BABIP on this thread, yet I read about it all the time. When you look at this list (and I imagine if you dropped the threshold to, say .380 as well) you see mainly great hitters. Great hitters hit more -- duh -- line drives, which in turn are more likely to result in hits vs., say, a rollover grounder to second. And yes, quite likely the large number of players from the early years reflects defensive limitations back then -- smaller gloves, less athleticism.

    So, can we put this "luck" concept to rest? And can someone run the same list at .380 so we can see if the list is still populated with mostly great hitters?

  60. joe baseball Says:

    when i saw the title, i thought bobby bonds 1970 season would make it, but it fell short

  61. @ #55 - Detroit Michael

    I have a post on that scheduled to publish around 10 am today.

  62. Paul-

    There is still a certain element of luck. Perhaps no moreso than in any other area of the game, but we can't completely dismiss the role of luck.

    However, when people discuss "luck", I think they are often referring to something more akin to "fortuitousness". For instance, a great line driver hitter might have a career BABiP of .350. In any given year, with no observable change to his talent or his line drive hitting ability, he may have years of .380 or .320 or .400 or .300. In the years where he is significantly above his career norm with no discernible reason why, we attribute it to good luck. In the years where he is significantly below his career norm with no discernible reason why, we attribute it to bad luck. So, the issue is not "luck" in the sense that the guy is lucky to have a career .350 BABiP; but more so the fact that there will be great variance in this number which, in turn, will lead to great variance in more traditional stats. As such, a guy may seem to be having a far better or worse year than his standards when in reality, he is competing at the same level but things either are or are not going his way at the "typical" rate.

    Basically, Player Y may be talented enough to, on average, have 35% of the balls he puts in play fall for hits. He is able to hit the ball well enough that his percentage of batted balls for hits is higher than most guys. However, he still only has so much control over the outcome of an individual batted ball. So, when he has variance from his career norm, we say he is either lucky or unlucky. If he hits .400 one year on BABiP, we have two possible conclusions: he hit the ball better that year OR he was lucky. Without evidence to the former, we must conclude the latter. Which is not a knock on the guy (as many people interpret the label of "lucky"); just an acknowledgment of the various factors at play.

    Traditionally, there was an understanding that ALL hitters averaged out to around the same and anyone above or below that was coined lucky or unlucky. We now understand that there is much greater variance, particularly among batters, and each has an individual baseline from which luck must be determined.

  63. [...] Michael recently asked if any pitcher had a week like the one Brandon League had this week.  And, the answer is [...]

  64. John Autin Says:

    I respectfully disagree with the poster who said that individual runs scored is the most overrated stat in the game. I think it is actually much closer to being the most underrated stat.

    Comparing Runs and RBI in terms of general esteem:
    -- Most baseball fans know that Hack Wilson holds the season RBI record with 191. Fewer know that Ruth holds the modern Runs record with 177.
    -- The Triple Crown includes RBI, not Runs.
    -- Without doing a count, I'd venture to say that season RBI leaders have won far more MVP Awards than Runs leaders.

    Perhaps the poster meant that Runs is overrated by some particular group. But it's hard to find any evidence that Runs is generally overrated.

  65. JA-

    I suppose it depends on how you rate Rs. I've always considered Rs and RBIs to be over equal evaluative value, which is to say, not much. If that is the case, Rs is indeed overrated, since any valuing of it likely overvalues it. Is it as overrated as RBIs? Certainly not.

    Now, I may be operating from a false premise, namely that the problems with RBIs are also the problems with Rs: too context specific, too reliant on other players, too reliant on batting order position.

  66. Mark Reynolds is not a .260 hitter.

    I'm not even sure if he's a .200 hitter anymore.

    .198 last year
    .178 this year
    .239 career

    And, he doesn't strike out 170 times a year....he strikes out 218 times a year!!!

    His days are numbered if he doesn't right the ship.

  67. Timmy Patrick Says:

    @66 I was not talking about Mark Reynolds, I was talking about Dan Ugly. I am routing for Mark Reynolds because you are correct, his days are numbered.
    As far as runs vs. RBI? The RBI is the most important stat in baseball, maybe in sports. It's the hardest to accomplish, and along with number of hits, and strike outs, is the first thing I look at when evaluating a player.
    Beards vs. Braids, Jimmy Rollins use to have braids, he got rid of them, then went on to have an MVP year, is the leader of his team, and is a great SS. Damon had a crazy beard but he shaved it off and now it looks like he will be in the HOF. The Yankees have it right, no long hair, no facial hair! BTW anybody notice what a great year Micheal Young is having? 2000 hits before his 35th birthday, 7 time all-star incl 2011. DHing might save some wear and tear on his body. Still with his great year the Rangers have really missed Hamilton. Goes to show that with all the great things Young can do, the big HR guy is still the straw that stirs the drink.

  68. Timmy Patrick Says:

    @64 Your point is taken, runs are probably not overrated. When you start looking for MVP's, all-stars, ROYs and such, it is often overlooked. The fact that Rickey Week's seems to score runs does not make up for the many other problems in his game. Weeks has some good tools, but so many K's in the leadoff spot in the NL, I think hurts the Brewers. If ever there was a team that could use an old time manger, it's the Brewers.

  69. @68 Rickie Weeks strikeouts really aren't the big problem with the Brewers. A bit of solidity in the bullpen and some clutch hitting would be nice. But to the Weeks point, its a leadoff man's job to get on base and produce runs. In the 2010 season, the only player in Milwaukee with a higher OBP was Prince Fielder, and he's never been a leadoff guy. He lead the team in runs scored, and also drove in his share. The same amount as Prince in fact. So to the big point about leading off, getting on base and scoring runs, he does it better than anyone else in Milwaukee.

    Would he be better of cutting out the strikeouts? Of course. Nobody wants to strike out. But there's certainly nothing wrong with Weeks's ability to lead off.

  70. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Runs scored is the most overrated (individual) stat in baseball.

    YOU were the one who brought up RBI!

    OK, now I read #67 and see you think RBI are much more important than R. All I can say is, you are wrong. RBI and R are equally important (or unimportant, for those who believe that). You will find it difficult to drive in any runs if no one scores them.
    ========================
    No one is discussing the "luck" theory of BABIP on this thread, yet I read about it all the time.

    What you read about is "luck" in re *pitchers'* BABIP. (Personally, I hate the term "luck" when talking about such things. I prefer "chance." Or as BSK mentioned, sometimes "variance" is appropriate. Regardless...)

    Batters have a much wider spread in BABIP talent than pitchers. League average BABIP is usually around .300. A hitter can have a BABIP of, say, .350 for year after year, and it's more likely that is his true talent. It is probable that no pitcher's true talent in BABIP is .250. If you see a pitcher put up a .250 one season, it's probably due more to defense and chance than his actual ability, and it will regress the next season.