As I wrote this morning pitchers have a stat that can be calculated on how many balls put in play against them fall for hits. Well the same for hitters. Every ball that they put into play is calculated and falls into the BABIP category, along with other categories.
BABIP for hitters is a little different than it is for pitchers. The league average is around .310 instead of the .300. That is because hitters can influence their BABIP a bit more than pitchers can. For example a speedy hitter can have a higher BABIP than a slow four hole hitter. The more base hits you leg out, the better your average and BABIP will be.
Fly balls are less likely to fall in for hits, than ground balls, and ground balls less likely than line drives – remember that.
Here is how the Washington Nationals hitters ended up last season. To qualify for this list, the player had to have at least 170 plate appearances.
Jayson Werth – .358
Ian Desmond – .336
Ryan Zimmerman – .316
Denard Span – .313
Tyler Moore – .311
Anthony Rendon – .307
Bryce Harper – .306
Steve Lombardozzi – .284
Adam LaRoche – .277
Wilson Ramos – .270
Kurt Suzuki – .240
Five players for the Nats were above the league average in BABIP. This stat still depends on defense, luck and talent level, but that is still a good thing for the future.
Jayson Werth tops the list for the second straight day for offensive categories for the Nationals. Is he earning his contract yet? .350 is way above the league average and will most likely come back down to earth around .320 range next season. The reason Werth does so well in this statistic is because he is a pretty balanced hitter per say. He hits a good amount of ground balls, fly balls and line drives. His speed also plays a factor. He has average to above average speed on the base paths.
Ian Desmond was next as he finishes above the league average by a good amount. Looking back at yesterday’s post he finished 16 points above average in wRC+ and 26 points today. He had a rather low line drive rate, but a high ground ball. His speed played a huge factor in his BABIP. He has 5.3 speed on a 4 component scale. Another reason could be his ability to spray the ball all over the field. Defenses can’t position him just right because of this ability. The last two seasons Desmond has had a BABIP over .330. Hopefully that trend continues.
The big surprise on this list has to be Bryce Harper. He was below the league average in this category and a big reason is his fly ball and ground ball rates. They are a lot higher than his line drive rates. Also if you look at his spray chart a lot of the outs he made were ground balls to the right side that were made for an easy out. The weaker the ground ball is hit, the lower his BABIP is going to be. Remember, this can change drastically from season to season, all Harper has to do is make the adjustment.
Those were the big three that I saw that stuck out above everyone else. We are two offensive categories into this series and Jayson Werth seems to be running away from the pack. He gets a lot of grief for his contract and whether or not he deserved it, but according to my findings so far, he earned it and then some, based on his offense.