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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks is BABIP?

Thanks to kylepeak for compiling the data and coming up with the idea for the post -

BABIP, or batting average on balls in play, is a way to measure the relative luck of any given team vs. the rest of the league. In other words, a high BABIP relative to the league average would be difficult to maintain throughout the season and, thus, might be described as being lucky.

It is traditionally used to spot unusual seasons by pitchers, but may also be used in other ways, such as determinig hitting units that are getting lucky. BABIP is calculated as follows: (hits minus home runs) divided by (at bats minus strike outs minus home runs plus sacrifice flies). For our league, we have an average BABIP of .300. The Top 10 BABIP teams are as follows (stats as of the 10/25 PM Cycle):

1. Los Angeles (.337)
2. Montgomery (.336)
3. Chicago (.330)
4. New Orleans (.328)
5. El Paso (.326)
6. Honolulu (.325)
7. Pittsburgh (.323)
8. Salt Lake City (.322)
9. Cleveland (.319)
10. New Britain (.317)

The Bottom 10 BABIP are as follows:

1. Philadelphia (.232)
2. Montreal (.251)
3. Kansas City (.271)
4. Dover (.273)
5. San Antonio (.274)
6. Norfolk (.280)
7. Boston (.285)
8. Oklahoma City (.286)
9. Baltimore (.289)
10. Scottsdale (.290)

However, this does not tell the whole story. Obviously, some players are more adept at hiting a ball in play than others. So, let's add team batting average to find the teams that are truly getting lucky:

1. Salt Lake City .0477(BABIP of .3217 minus Team Batting Average of .2740)
2. New Britain .0441
3. Montgomery .0406
4. Pittsburgh .0404
5. Baltimore .0402

And the ones that are truly unlucky:

1. Montreal .0088
2. Santa Cruz .0131
3. Boston .0157
4. Buffalo .0158
5. Dover .0160

OK, but what does uit mean? If teams were stocks, it would be wise to buy Montreal, Santa Cruz, etc. and sell SLC, New Britain, etc. It will be difficult for both groups to maintain, and they will likely both move towards the mean.

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