Thursday, November 22, 2007

Grounders, Liners and Flies in 2007

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. In the past, the data have summarized in tables and essays in The Hardball Times Annual. If you want even more detail on individual batters, check out Dan Fox's BIPChart application. 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 different batting events in the American League in 2007. Table 2 lists the average rates for batted ball types.

The first table shows that approximately one out of four (26%) plate appearances in 2007 resulted in a walk, a strike out or a hits batsmen. The rest (74%) 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%). Outfield fly balls (29%), line drives (19%) and pop ups (9%) happened less frequently.

Table 1: AL Averages for Batting Events Per Plate Appearance

BB/PA 9%
K/PA 16%
BIP/PA 74%

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

Ground ball 44%
Outfield fly 29%
Line drive 19%
Infield pop up 9%

Tables 3-14 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

Brandon Inge 26%
Marcus Thames 25%
Craig Monroe 25%

Table 4: Lowest K/PA for Tigers

Placido Polanco 5%
Sean Casey 8%
Magglio Ordonez 12%

Table 5: Highest BB/PA for Tigers

Gary Sheffield 14%
Mgglio Ordonez 11%
Carlos Guillen 9%

Table 6: Lowest BB/PA for Tigers

Ivan Rodriguez 2%
Marcus Thames 5%
Craig Monroe 5%

Table 7: Highest GB% for Tigers

Jacque Jones 58%
Ivan Rodriguez 53%
Sean Casey 46%

Table 8: Lowest GB% for Tigers

Curtis Granderson 34%
Craig Monroe 35%
Marcus Thames 38%

Table 9: Highest outfield FB% for Tigers

Curtis Granderson 38%
Craig Monroe 35%
Carlos Guillen 34%

Table 10: Lowest FB% for Tigers

Jacques Jones 13%
Ivan Rodriguez 22%
Sean Casey 24%

Table 11: Highest LD% for Tigers

Placido Polanco 24%
Edgar Renteria 23%
Brandon Inge 22%

Table 12: Lowest LD% for Tigers

Marcus Thames 16%
Craig Monroe 17%
Gary Sheffield 17%

Table 13: Highest infield Pop up % for Tigers

Marcus Thames 16%
Gary Sheffield 15%
Craig Monroe 12%

Table 14: Lowest infield Pop up % for Tigers

Magglio Ordonez 5%
Ivan Rodriguez 6%
Edgar Renteria 6%

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