Jay Bruce

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Top Home Run Hitters In The Past 28 Days

Posted on 09 September 2012 by John Unity

With both real and fantasy teams making a push for the playoffs, the long ball can easily make the difference in crucial games.  Below are your hottest home run hitters over the last 28 days.

9 Home Runs: Edwin Encarnacion, Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, and Chase Headley

Edwin Encarnacion continues to amaze.  Prior to this season, the most home runs he had hit in a season was the 26 he posted in 2008.  He currently has 38 home runs and is having a career year to say the least.  Over the past 28 days, Edwin is batting 0.270 with a 0.9904 OPS. Fantasy wise, it’s too bad that he will lose his 3B eligibility next season, having only played third base once this season.  Those of you in keeper leagues need to take note of this.  His average is probably a little high, based on his hitting style, but the 38+ home runs is hard to argue with.

Hanley Ramirez is enjoying the West coast.  In the past 28 days, Hanley is hitting 0.269 with a 0.9051 OPS.  Since joining the Dodgers, he is hitting 0.272 with 10 home runs in just 162 at-bats.  He had 14 home runs in 353 at-bats, with Miami, while batting just 0.246.  He’s still not the player he was prior to the 2011 season, but at least we are seeing improvement.  Maybe the change in team is just what he needed.  For you fantasy buffs, Hanley will still have shortstop eligibility (in most leagues) next season, which amplifies his fantasy value.

Ryan Braun has done everything in his power to prove that he deserved last season’s MVP title, and that PEDs had nothing to do with his performance.  In the last 28 days, Braun is batting 0.333 with a beautiful 1.0676 OPS.  Braun has blasted 38 home runs so far this season, with 91 runs, 100 RBI, and 23 stolen bases.  The 38 home runs is a career high and he’s still going strong.  Braun has put together another MVP caliber season, although I would be shocked to see the MLB give him the award after what happen this past offseason.  Braun will be a Top 5 pick in next season’s fantasy baseball drafts.  He should be the first outfielder taken off the board, but Trout could challenge that.

I’m almost as impressed in Chase Headley as I am in Edwin Encarnacion.   Like Edwin, Headley is having a breakout season, mainly in the power department.  Prior to this season, Headley’s top home run season was in 2009, where he hit 12 home runs.  He has currently hit 26 this season.  In the past 28 days, Headley is also batting 0.320 with a 0.9721 OPS.  Unfortunately, it seems that PetCo Park is slowing him down a bit.  He has hit only 9 of his 26 home runs at home.  It would amazing to see what he would be able to do if he didn’t play at that field.  Either way, in fantasy drafts, Headley could find himself taken as a Top 5 third basemen next season.


10 Home Runs: Giancarlo Stanton

Giancarlo Stanton is having a great 3rd season of his career.  Even though he missed close to 5 weeks of the season due to injury, he is still on pace to put up his greatest home run total of his career.  In the past 28 days, Giancarlo is batting 0.282 with a 0.9905 OPS.  This season he’s batting 0.285, a nice jump from the 0.262 average from last season.  He will be turning just 23 this offseason; it is scary to think how good this guy could get over the next few years.  There’s no reason not to believe that he will break 40 homeruns in 2013.


11 Home Runs: Adrian Beltre, Mark Reynolds, and Jay Bruce

Adrian Beltre has continued to be a beast for the Rangers.  He’s on pace to have his best home run total since the 2004 season where he hit 48 homeruns for the Dodgers.  He’s on pace to hit 34 home runs this season, but at the rate he has been hitting over the last month, he could easily break that.  Over the last 28 days, Beltre is hitting 0.387 with a ridiculous 1.2272 OPS.  Fantasy wise, Beltre will be the 2nd third basemen taken off the board, in next season’s draft.

Mark Reynolds is trying to salvage a terrible season.  He’s on pace to have his lowest home run total since his rookie season.  However, in the last 28 days, he has managed to blast 11 home runs while batting 0.317 with an incredible 1.1911 OPS.  In fact, he has more home runs in the past month than he had in the 4.5 months of the season.  In his past 8 games, Reynolds has hit at least 1 home run in 5 of the games, and has hit 2 home runs in 3 of those 5 games.  In fantasy baseball, Reynolds is a great pickup to grab while he has a hot bat.  However, Reynolds is very streaky and this hot streak can end as fast as it got started.

Jay Bruce was one of my favorite sleeper picks in the postseason.  Bruce struggled with his batting average through most of the season, and I had said that a low BABIP was to blame.  Bruce is making up for the low BABIP now, and what a perfect time to step up for fantasy owners.  Over the last 28 days, Bruce is batting 0.358 with a monstrous 1.247 OPS.  In the offseason, I predicted that he will have 90 runs, 105 RBI, 36 HRs, and bat 0.271 – he is currently on pace for 92 runs, 108 RBI, 36 HRs, and a 0.264 average.  At only 25 years old, I believe he could be even better next season.  Don’t be surprised when he breaks the 40 home run total in 2013.

Check out my other writing at JoeBlowBaseball.com, too.

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Top 5 Fantasy Disappointments in 2012 – Hitters and Pitchers

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Top 5 Fantasy Disappointments in 2012 – Hitters and Pitchers

Posted on 19 August 2012 by John Unity

I’m a fantasy baseball nut. During the preseason I spend more time studying than someone who is getting ready for the Bar Exam.  I eat, sleep, and breathe fantasy baseball, but no matter how much I study I will never be able to hit 100% on my predictions.  An educated analysis can only take you so far, and then real life takes over.  No one can foresee the unexpected: injuries, trades, weather, off-field issues, stress, etc.  There are a lot of great surprises during the season, like Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen.  However, there are a lot of disappointments that leave fantasy owners scrabbling to make adjustments and some that just make you want to rip your hair out.  Let’s take a look at the 5 biggest disappointments of both hitters and pitchers this season.  Side notes: to be fair, I didn’t include players affected by injuries, and the list is based on preseason and current fantasy rankings.


#5 – Dan Uggla
Last season, Uggla had a lot of issues as he hit below a 0.200 average and only 12 homeruns in the first 3 months of the season.  However, he came back nicely and hit 0.290 and 24 homeruns in the 2nd half of the season.  This season, Uggla has been just as streaky, but with a lot less power.  He’s on pace to finish the season with 0.211 average and 20 homeruns, both career lows.  He’s also striking out 28% of the time, another career worst.  In fact, the worst average and homerun totals he has ever posted were a 0.233 average last season and 27 homeruns in 2006, his rookie season.  Hopefully he will be able to find a sudden power burst as he did in August 2011, where he exploded for 10 homeruns.  Fantasy owners will take anything at this point as they are making their runs towards the playoffs.

#4 – Eric Hosmer
Hosmer had a very impressive rookie season as he hit 19 homeruns, scored 66 runs, 78 RBI, stole 11 bases, and hit for a 0.293 batting average.  All this without playing in the first month of the season.  Fantasy owners couldn’t wait to see how the 22-year old would respond in his 2nd season.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t responded too well.  He’s on pace to hit just 13 homeruns with a 0.233 batting average.  Hosmer is suffering from a very bad BABIP of 0.258. In this situation, it seems he is suffering mostly from bad luck.  He may not be able to make a difference the rest of this season for fantasy owners, but could be a nice sleeper for next season.  He should bounce back nicely in 2013.

#3 – Michael Young
Young is having his worst season since 2002.  He’s a career 0.302 hitter, but is only hitting 0.270 in 2012.  His biggest disappointment this year has been the fact that he has only hit 3 homeruns, on pace for 4. Prior to this season, his lowest homerun total was 9 in both 2007 and 2002.  This season he has also posted a BABIP under .0308 for the first time since his rookie season in 2001. As he’s turning 36 in October, he may have lost a few steps in his game.  We may be seeing the end of Young having any value in fantasy baseball.

#2 – Mike Napoli
In 369 at-bats last season, Napoli blasted 30 homeruns and hit for a 0.320 average.  No one thought he would be able to repeat his numbers from last season, but in the Texas ballpark and lineup most fantasy owners believed he would still put up great numbers for a catcher.  Instead, Napoli has posted his career worst batting average of 0.223.  He’s also on pace for 23 homeruns, which is still below most fantasy predictions.  He’s currently on the DL and is expected back on August 28th.  The short trip to the DL might be the time he has needed to clear his head, but I wouldn’t count on it at this point.

#1 – Carlos Santana
Last season Santana hit 27 homeruns and had a 0.239 batting average.  However, he also posted a 0.263 BABIP, which a lot of fantasy projectors saw this as a sign of better things to come.  Unfortunately, his lower BABIP seems to be the real deal.  This season he has posted a 0.266 BABIP and in 2010 he posted a 0.277 BABIP.  His low BABIP is caused mainly by his 40% fly ball rate.   Santana is one of those players that you live or die on his long ball, but this season is on pace for only 17 homeruns.  In the first 3 months, he only hit 5 homeruns that left fantasy owners cursing at the computer.  He has been hot the last 4 weeks, so hopefully he can keep it up for the fantasy owners that are still in the postseason run.



#5 – Cliff Lee
Lee’s disappointment doesn’t really come from his doing, but mostly his team’s offense.  He didn’t receive his first win until July 4th.  He has only won 2 games this season with a 2-7 record.  In Lee’s defense, Lee has been a workhorse and in 15 of his 21 games he has gone at least 7 innings.  In fact, on April 18th, he went 10 innings without giving up an earned run, and still ended up with a no decision.  His ERA (3.83) is the highest it’s been since 2007, but you can’t really blame the guy; frustration has to play a major role. The Phillies are not a team that will simply accept failure.  You can expect them to make the necessary adjustments in the offseason, which will give Lee a nice bounce back year in 2013.

#4 – Roy Halladay
Halladay’s ERA isn’t terrible, but it’s a huge disappointment for his standards.  He has posted a highest ERA (3.80) since 2004.  Like Lee, his wins have taken a hit due to run support as well.  In the majority of fantasy leagues, Halladay was taken in the first round, however he currently finds himself ranked around #65 in pitchers.  Prior to the season starting, I heard a lot about the possibility that Halladay could find himself on the decline, due to his age.  I’m not completely against this idea.  There’s one thing that really worries me about Halladay this season, and that is his 0.273 BABIP paired with the 3.80 ERA.  The 0.273 BABIP is the lowest of his career.  I hate to say it, but he may be lucky that he doesn’t have a 4.00+ ERA at this point. Like Lee, the Phillies should make the necessary moves this offseason to give Halladay a decent bounce back year.  However, we may never again see the Halladay that we all got used to.

#3 – Jon Lester
With about 4 weeks left in the regular fantasy baseball season, Lester finds himself with his worst loss total of his career.  In the four seasons prior, Lester never lost more than 9 games, however he currently finds himself with a 6-10 record.  He has a career worst 5.20 ERA and finds himself sporting an elevated BABIP of 0.323.  Batters are hitting 0.272 against him, also a career worst.  You have to wonder if there is an injury or other problem that is affecting him.  He is a completely different pitcher than we’ve seen over the prior 4 seasons.  One thing that we need to make a point about, Lester struggled in the final month of last season, posting a 5.40 ERA.  Keep a close eye on him for the remainder of the season, and consider what you see before drafting him too high in 2013.

#2 – Dan Haren
Fantasy owners expected a lot of Haren after he posted a 3.17 ERA last season, and the fact the Angels acquired Albert Pujols.  Many people predicted the Angels would make it to the World Series.  Some fantasy owners were hoping that Haren could post 20 wins this year, but at this point Haren would be lucky to get more than 10 wins this season.  He’s posted his worst ERA since his rookie season in 2003, sitting at 4.90.  He has been a complete disaster the last 3 months, with ERAs of 7.16, 4.96, and 7.62, respectively.  He didn’t make it out of the 3rd inning in his last two starts, which has a lot of people wondering if he’s having more back issues.  The Angels are much better than their records show, and should do much better next season.  Haren could end up performing a lot better than where he will be drafted next season.

#1 – Tim Lincecum
Lincecum has been a complete disaster.  This year he has posted a 5.45 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 0.326 BABIP, 42% ground ball rate, 12% HR/FB rate, 25.7% line drive rate, and a 6-13 record… all career worst’s.  He is still striking out hitters at a high rate of 9.43 per 9 innings.  MLB’s Official Fantasy Magazine had Lincecum listed as the #6 starting pitcher; he currently finds himself ranked around #105 in starting pitchers this season.  Lincecum, like Haren, could find himself outperforming his draft position in 2013.  The Freak will write this season off and find himself again as one of the MLB’s elite pitchers next season.

Check out my other writing at JoeBlowBaseball.com, too.

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Mike Fiers

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Top 10 ERAs Over The Last 28 Days – Starting Pitchers

Posted on 12 August 2012 by John Unity

With approximately only 50 games left in the season, teams are starting to feel the heat and are making the push to win their divisions.  I am going to take a look at and discuss what starting pitchers have helped their teams out the most over the last 28 days.  My only requirement to make this list is that the pitcher had to start a minimum of 5 games over that period (7/14 – 8/10).

#10 – 1.862 ERA – Jordan Zimmermann – WASH


Jordan has started 5 games over the last 28 days, going 3-0 with 30 strikeouts in 29 innings.  Even more impressive, he has posted the 3rd lowest WHIP on this list at 0.86.  Over that period, the Nationals have had a record of 20-9 (with 2 double headers).  Everyone always knew that Jordan had a ton of potential, and he is determined to prove that last year was no fluke.  Combined with Strasburg, G. Gonzalez, E. Jackson, and Detwiler (who would have been #12 on this list), the Nationals have quietly put together one of the game’s best rotations.  There are reasons why they own the best record in baseball, and Zimmermann is one of them.

#9 – 1.817 ERA – Hiroki Kuroda – NYY

Kuroda has been very impressive over his last 5 starts, but has been a victim of poor run support.  He has gone 2-1 over that period.  The one loss was to Seattle, where he gave up only 1 run over 6.1 innings.  In the mean time, Kuroda has lowered his ERA to 3.24.  He has been a nice addition this season and should continue to help produce wins and a decent ERA for the first place Yankees.

#8 – 1.787 ERA – Clay Buchholz – BOS

Clay’s season ERA is the worst since his rookie season.  He currently sits at an ERA of 4.24.  What you can’t see by looking at this number is that has been amazing over the last 2.5 months. Since June 1st, Clay has posted a 2.031 ERA in 75+ innings.  He has also posted a 10-3 record on the season.  Over the last 28 days, he has gone 2-1 with a 0.77 WHIP in 6 games.  He too has been a victim of poor run support, having no decisions in 3 of those games.  In those 3 games, he has pitched 22 innings and has only given up 2 earned runs.  He has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the last 2.5 months, and could have been in CY Young talks if it wasn’t for a disastrous April and May.

#7 – 1.734 ERA – Adam Wainwright – STL

In Adam’s last 5 games, he has gone 3-1, with 35 strikeouts in 36.3 innings.  In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, Adam has shown flashes of his old self.  He has had a couple rough months this season, but the past month and a half has helped lower his ERA to 3.90 on the season.  The Cardinals need him now more than ever as they find themselves 6 games out of 1st and 2.5 games out of the wildcard race. If Wainwright is back, this could be the extra boost the Cardinals need to get to the postseason.

#6 – 1.711 ERA – Felix Hernandez – SEA

The King continues to show why he is always the hottest name that floats around during the trade deadline.  Felix is having another Cy Young worthy season, accounting for 20% of Seattle’s wins and only 8% of their losses.  He has a season ERA of 2.74 with a 1.10 WHIP.  Over the last 28 days he has a 4-0 record with 2 complete games.  He also owns the lowest WHIP on this list, with an incredibly low 0.772 WHIP over his last 6 games.  It seems to be a bit of a waste for the Mariner’s to hold on to him, but he loves Seattle, and they love him.  Imagine what this guy could do on a team with run support.

#5 – 1.486 ERA – David Price – TB

Price has been lights out almost this whole season, and the last 28 days have been no exception.  In his last 5 starts, he has gone 3-0 with a 0.908 WHIP. He has also struck out 41 batters in 36.3 innings.  Price continues to help the Rays make a push for the postseason, who now find themselves only 0.5 games back from the wildcard.  Price is possibly having his best season of his career, and barring injury, look for that to continue as they take over the Orioles in the AL East.

#4 – 1.467 ERA – Matt Moore – TB

Here’s another guy who had a disastrous start to the season and has made the necessary changes to become an elite pitcher over the last 2.5 months.  Moore came into this season as a sleeper and has shown why over the last 28 days, as he has gone 4-1 with a 1.04 WHIP.  He and Price have been the main reasons for the Rays recent success. In the past month, the Rays have a record of 15-10; Moore and Price have combined for a 7-1 record.  Moore is a future ace and he’s proving it now.

#3 – 1.406 ERA – Ben Sheets – ATL

Sheets’ last full season was in 2008, where he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA. The 34-year old has just joined the Braves this past month and has only started 5 games this season.  In these 5 games, Sheets is proving that he is back.  He has gone 4-1 and has struck out 23 batters in 32 innings.  As of right now, Atlanta finds themselves sitting in a wildcard spot.  They will need to have Sheets and the next guy on this list to continue producing in order to make it to the postseason.  Sheets will most likely have his ERA rise a bit before the end of the season, but there’s no reason to expect him to have a complete meltdown at this point.

#2 – 1.397 ERA – Paul Maholm – ATL

Maholm’s last 5 games have helped lower his ERA down to 3.50 on the season.  In that period, he has a 3-1 record and a 0.776 WHIP (second lowest WHIP on this list).  He has only started two games for the Braves, since being traded, going 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA.  The Braves need as much help as possible and Maholm could end up being just what they needed.  He won’t keep up this pace, but a 3.50 ERA for the rest of the season isn’t out of the question.

#1 – 1.080 ERA – Mike Fiers – MIL

In the past 28 days, Fiers has a 3-1 record in 5 games, 30 strikeouts in 33.3 innings, 1.080 ERA, and a 0.930 WHIP.  Mike Fiers is something special.  This season he has started 12 games and has had 10 quality starts.  He has a 6-4 record and has also posted a 1.80 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, with 80 strikeouts in 80 innings.  The Brewers have said that they will keep a close eye on his innings and may cut him off at some point. He has never logged more than 94 innings in his baseball career.  The Brewers find themselves 11.5 games out of wildcard, so it only makes sense to cut him off.  For you fantasy baseball buffs, this is a kid to keep a close eye on.  For you in keeper leagues, he may be someone you should consider holding on to.

Check out my other writing at JoeBlowBaseball.com, too.

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Top And Bottom 5 BABIPs In The MLB

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Top And Bottom 5 BABIPs In The MLB

Posted on 05 August 2012 by John Unity

This is my first post as a contributor for Full Spectrum Baseball, so what better way to start off my weekly column than to write about my favorite topic, BABIP.  For those of you unfamiliar with BABIP, it is short for Batting Average on Balls In Play.  Simply put, BABIP equals a player’s batting average when the player makes contact with the ball minus home runs.  To a point, it is a measure of luck, since a player has no control of the ball once they make contact.  The league average floats around 0.300.  Players with a BABIP much higher that 0.300 tend to be considered lucky and the players with a much lower BABIP tend to be considered unlucky.  With that being said, there are a lot of factors that could affect the BABIP for the positive and negative.   Line drive, ground ball, and fly ball rates, opponent’s defensive skills, hard/weak hit balls, etc.

BABIP greatly affects a player’s batting average.  A great example of a player who had incredible luck, but eventually came back down to Earth is Bryan LaHair.  In the first month of the season, LaHair had a batting average of 0.390 in 59 at-bats. However, he also had a BABIP of 0.600, twice the average of the MLB… meaning that LaHair got a hit 60% of the time that he connected with the ball.  So, how is LaHair doing now?  He now has batting average of 0.267 with a 0.370 BABIP.  His BABIP is still rather high, but that is mostly due to the fact that he had such an incredible April. As you can see, as his luck diminished, his batting average came down to a normal level for a player of his caliber.

In this article, I am going to take a look at both the top 5 highest and lowest BABIPs in the current season.  I will discuss if the BABIP is the real deal, if the layer is victim to good or bad luck, or if there are other factors playing a role.

Top 5 BABIPs in the MLB

#5 - Melky Cabrera – 0.386 BABIP

I will be the first to admit that I said that Melky will be a bust this year.  I will also admit that because of it, I believe he has waged a personal vendetta against me to prove me wrong.  Melky has been on an absolute tear this season, especially in the months of May and July where he hit for 0.429 and 0.355 averages, respectively.  This season Melky has had high line drive and ground ball rates, and a low fly ball rate.  Combine that with his low strikeout rate and this is what you get.  At 27 years old, Melky is showing everyone that he is the real deal and that last season was no fluke.  Melky won’t be able to keep up at this pace every season that follows, but don’t be surprised to see him fall somewhere between this season’s and last season’s numbers.

Verdict: Pure skill, with a pinch of luck

 - Austin Jackson – 0.396 BABIP


Austin Jackson is turning into something really special for the Detroit Tigers.  In fact, Jackson has a 4.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), higher than both Price Fielder (2.4) and Miguel Cabrera (4.3).  Last season, Jackson posted a 0.249 AVG with a BABIP of 0.340.  A few big changes have occurred between this season and last season.  This season, Jackson is walking more and striking out less.  Not only has he made changes to his swing, he has also become more patient at the plate and is swinging at better pitches.  This has led to a nice increase in his line drive rate and a slight decrease in both his ground ball and fly ball rates. At only 25 years old, this kid could get better in the years to come.  He could end up becoming one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.  In his three seasons, Jackson has a career BABIP of 0.375 and a batting average of 0.281.  He probably won’t be able to maintain the 0.375 BABIP, but with his skills he could end up somewhere in the 0.350 – 0.360 range.  However, don’t let the lower BABIP scare you… as he matures he should begin to lower his strikeout rate, which will raise his batting average.  He could easily become a career 0.300 – 0.310 hitter.

Verdict: Great skill, with a pinch of luck, and great potential to get better

Mike Trout – 0.397 BABIP


I love me some Trout, and who doesn’t?  Mike Trout is arguably the most exciting player in baseball.  Not only is he batting 0.342, but he also has 19 HRs and 33 stolen bases in 387 plate appearances.   At only 20 years old and only 522 plate appearances in his career, it is hard to get a truly accurate reading on him.  However, the one thing I can say about Trout is that this kid is a beast… and the scary thing is that he could end up getting better.

Trout’s 0.397 BABIP, which recently dipped below 0.400, is extremely high.  In the past 75 years, only 4 players finished a season of a BABIP over 0.400 (with a minimum of 500 PAs):

Rod Carew (1977) – 0.408
Jose Hernandez (2002) – 0.404
Manny Ramirez (2000) – 0.403
Roberto Clemente (1967) – 0.403

It would be truly amazing if Trout could finish the season with a BABIP above 0.400, considering his age and the fact that he is a rookie.  I personally don’t see him doing it, but Mike Trout will be a force for years to come.  Trout could put up several seasons with a BABIP close to 0.400, but he should find himself hovering around 0.360 for most of his career, especially if he cuts down on the strikeouts (2012: 20%).

Verdict: He might be a T-800 – Cyborg with human flesh, AKA The Terminator

Joey Votto – 0.398 BABIP

Prior to getting injured, Joey Votto was on pace to rival his 2010 MVP season.  He had posted his highest BABIP (0.398) and batting average (0.342) of his career.  He had also posted the 2nd highest line drive, rate of 30.2%, in the MLB (also highest of his career).  There is little or no luck involved in his BABIP, Votto was just simply seeing the ball well and hitting it hard.  Will Votto do this every season?  No… but he could easily do this again and do it often.  It will be interesting to see how he does when he comes back from his knee surgery, but as for now we are calling him the real deal.

Verdict: Part human, part machine

Andrew McCutchen – 0.423 BABIP


With all the attention Mike Trout has received, Andrew McCutchen has been somewhat overlooked.  McCutchen has been having the most impressive hitting season since Larry Walker’s batting average of 0.379 in 1999.  McCutchen is hitting 0.373 this season, and there is no doubt luck has a lot to do with it.  The greatest BABIP in history was in 1923 when Babe Ruth had a 0.423 BABIP (same as McCutchen’s current BABIP).

This season Andrew McCutchen has a slightly high strikeout rate (18.5%) and a slightly low walk rate (9.5 %).  He does have nice line drive, ground ball, and fly ball rates, but not good enough to explain his BABIP.  Not to slam McCutchen’s amazing season, but luck is playing a big part of it.  He will most likely see his BABIP and AVG drop a bit before the end of the season.  However, while Trout’s BABIP has been dropping over the last few weeks, McCutchen’s hasn’t and could easily find himself becoming the 5th player in the last 75 years to post a BABIP over 0.400.

Verdict: Pure talent with a ton of luck

Bottom 5 BABIPs in the MLB

#5Ike Davis – 0.230 BABIP

Throughout Ike’s career in both the majors and minors, he has never posted a BABIP under 0.318.  This season he has posted a BABIP of 0.230 and a batting average of 0.209. So what happened?  Last season ended very early for Ike due to injury and he hasn’t been the same man since he has come back.  Ike is walking less (8.6%) and striking out more (26.3%) than he has ever in his career.  However, Ike is hitting more line drives and ground balls, and less fly balls, which is all good.  You have to wonder if last season’s ankle injury is still causing problems for Ike, both physically and mentally.

Ike Davis is too good of a player for this season to define him.  He has shown flashes of improvement, like his 9 HRs in the month of July, but I don’t expect him to save this season.  I do, however, expect him to make a nice return, in 2013, to the man he really is.

Verdict:  Good player who is experiencing a bit of bad luck, mixed in with physical and mental struggles.

#3 (tied)
Brian McCann – 0.227 BABIP

Brian McCann is having an abnormal season based on his standards.  He is a career 0.282 hitter and is batting 0.242 this season.  He is floating around his career average in walk, strike out, line drive, ground ball, and fly ball rates.  McCann seems like the perfect example of a player that is flat out having bad luck.  Expect to see him recover a bit and hopefully salvage this forgettable season.

Verdict:  Great offensive catcher with a truck load of bad luck

(tied) – Casey Kotchman – 0.227 BABIP

Casey Kotchman has never really been known for his offense.  In fact, his career BABIP is a low 0.275.  In his nine seasons in the MLB, Casey has posted a BABIP under 0.250 four times.  He has a career isolated power rating of 0.130, so he rarely hits the ball very hard.  He doesn’t walk much, but he doesn’t strikeout much either.  Almost 60% of his batted balls are ground balls.  When you hit a lot of soft ground balls, you’re going to find yourself getting out a lot.

Casey is a great defensive first baseman, although he’s had some issues this season.  He will never be the normal power hitting first basemen that most of us are so used to.

Verdict:  Let’s just say, he’s not in the MLB for his offense, and leave it at that 

Jose Bautista – 0.217 BABIP

Yes… the 2010 and 2011 homerun leader finds himself with the 2nd lowest BABIP in the league.  Why and how, you ask?  Simply put, he has fallen in love with the homerun ball. 50% of his batted balls are fly balls and only 14% of his batted balls are line drives.  He is literally trying to hit a homerun every time he comes up to bat.  The 0.217 BABIP doesn’t come as much as a surprise as you would think.  In 2010, when he hit 54 homeruns, he had a BABIP of 0.233.  In fact, last season’s BABIP of 0.309 and 0.302 average could be considered “lucky”.  Bautista will more than likely post a BABIP in the 0.220 – 0.240 range for the rest of his career.  And why not? “Chicks love the long ball”.

The interesting thing with Bautista is that his career could end up being cut short.  He is turning 32 years old in October.  If and when his strength starts to fade, he will see the homerun totals start to fall.  At that point he could be in trouble, because all he knows how to do is skyrocket a ball into the seats.  When his strength does diminish, we’ll probably see the pre-2010 Bautista that we all knew before.

Verdict:  No bad luck, just a man who loves his homeruns

#1 Justin Smoak – 0.211 BABIP

With a BABIP of 0.211 and a batting average of 0.189, it’s easy to understand why the Mariners sent Justin Smoak back down to AAA.  He has posted his lowest walk rate (7.7%) in his professional career, including in the minors.  He has also posted his 2nd highest strikeout rate (22.7%) and lowest isolated power (0.131).  He has a pathetically low line drive rate of 15% and a high fly ball rate of 43.8%.  Combine all this together and you can see that back luck has little to do with his struggles.  He is impatient at the plate, swings at bad pitches, and is not making good contact with the ball. In 2010, MLB listed Smoak as the #9 in their top prospects list.  He has yet to live up to his potential, so hopefully he will be able to figure things out with a little more conditioning in the minors.

Verdict: Not MLB material right now, but could be at some point

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