Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Grounders, Liners and Fly Balls

A lot of times you hear people talk about how their favorite player does not have good stats but he's been hitting the ball hard and has just been unlucky. For years, there was no way to measure how well players were hitting the ball and all we could do was go by memory. Now, with more advanced play by play data collected by companies like Baseball Info Solutions, it has become possible to to answer questions about the frequency of line drives, ground balls or fly balls players are hitting.

This data has been aggregated and made available year round by The Hardball Times (THBT) site. The data are also summarized in tables and essays in The Hardball Times Annual. As an introduction to batted ball data, I am presenting data from THBT for the Tigers in the tables below. To give the Tigers data some context, Table 1 lists the average rates of frequency for differnt batting events in the American League in 2006. Table 2 lists the average rates for batted ball types.

The first table shows that one out of four plate appearances in 2006 resulted in a walk, a strike outs or a hits batsmen. The other three quarters of plate appearances yielded batted balls which turned into hits or outs. We can see in the second table that the most common batted ball type of all balls put in play was a ground ball (44%). Fly balls (36%) and line drives (20%) happened less frequently.

Table 1: AL Averages for Batting Events Per Plate Appearance

BB/PA 8%
K/PA 16%
BIP/PA 75%

Table 2: AL Averages for Batted ball Types Per Balls in Play

GB% 44%
FB% 36%
LO% 20%

Tables 3-12 list the Tigers leaders and trailers for each batting event. So what does this all mean? Which Tigers were lucky or unlucky? For today, I'll let you draw your own conclusions. I'll give you the answers (or at least the theoretical answers) in my next post.

Table 3: Highest K/PA for Tigers

Chris Shelton 26%
Curtis Granderson 26%
Marcus Thames 24%

Table 4: Lowest K/PA for Tigers

Placido Polanco 5%
Sean Casey 11%
Magglio Ordonez 13%

Table 5: Highest BB/PA for Tigers

Carlos Guillen 12%
Marcus Thames 11%
Curtis Granderson 10%

Table 6: Lowest BB/PA for Tigers

Placido Polanco 5%
Ivan Rodriguez 5%
Craig Monroe 6%

Table 7: Highest GB% for Tigers

Placido Polanco 51%
Ivan Rodriguez 50%
Magglio Ordonez 45%

Table 8: Lowest GB% for Tigers

Marcus Thames 26%
Chris Shelton 33%
Craig Monroe 38%

Table 9: Highest FB% for Tigers

Marcus Thames 59%
Chris Shelton 48%
Brandon Inge 46%

Table 10: Lowest FB% for Tigers

Placido Polanco 28%
Ivan Rodriguez 28%
Sean Casey 34%

Table 11: Highest LD% for Tigers

Sean Casey 23%
Curtis Granderson 22%
Ivan Rodriguez 21%

Table 12: Lowest LD% for Tigers

Brandon Inge 14% (lowest in league)
Marcus Thames 15%
Magglio Ordonez 18%

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