Batter’s Batted Ball Tables

Derrek Lee had a heck of a year, didn’t he? What exactly happened anyway? Well, I don’t know, but I can give you a special look at what happened when he was at the plate. I’m going to use the same format that I used a couple of weeks ago while looking at pitchers.

Lee, Derrek

Net Runs per Ball % of Batted Balls %/OF %/PA Total Net Runs
BFP OF LD GB OF% LD% GB% HR K BB OF LD GB IF NIP Tot R/G
2002 688 0.11 0.47 -0.12 36% 24% 35% 15% 24% 15% 17.0 47.0 -17.8 -5.0 -15.6 25.6 1.4
2003 643 0.13 0.45 -0.11 31% 23% 42% 19% 20% 15% 17.3 44.1 -19.7 -3.0 -7.4 31.1 1.8
2004 688 0.15 0.33 -0.08 37% 19% 41% 16% 19% 11% 26.7 29.9 -15.6 -3.5 -13.4 24.1 1.3
2005 691 0.21 0.44 -0.02 36% 22% 39% 23% 16% 13% 36.6 47.1 -4.5 -4.3 -3.7 71.2 3.9
Avg. 678 0.15 0.42 -0.08 35% 22% 39% 18% 20% 14% 24.0 41.9 -14.8 -4.0 -9.9 37.2 2.1
vs. MLB 0.12 0.07 0.02 4% 1% -5% 8% 3% 4% 18.7 6.0 6.5 1.0 2.6

Let’s start in the middle of the table, with his strikeout and walk rates. As you can see, Lee’s strikeout rate (K’s per PA) has dropped each of the last four years, a pretty remarkable run. Plus, his walk rate has held relatively steady at 14%, which is four points better than the MLB average of 10%. Moving to the left, you can see that his home run rate (per outfield fly) took a big jump last year, to 23%. Overall, he’s averaged 18%, which is eight points more than average.

Nothing really remarkable happened in the frequency of batted balls, except that he did have a dip in line drives in 2004. However, we’ve uncovered some data issues with the batted-ball types that particularly seemed to affect line drive counts in 2004. So it’s hard to say whether his lower line drive rate that year was real or not.

Nevertheless, the real story is what happened when he hit those balls, as you can see in the left part of the table. His runs-per-outfield-fly rate has grown each of the past four years (thanks primarily to those home runs). He dipped in line drive run value in 2004 (when combined with his lower rate of line drives, a double whammy) but rebounded in 2005. And even his ground balls were perky last year, averaging only -0.02 net runs per ball, compared to the MLB average of -0.10.

The result of these highs and lows can be seen on the right. Lee was Ruthian last year, striking out less, getting more power out of his home runs and hitting line drives with frequency and panache. Can he keep it up? To some degree, I would say so. Those home run and line drive net run values may decline, but his strikeout rate does indicate a new approach to the plate. Let’s compare him to his archrival.

Pujols, Albert

Net Runs per Ball % of Batted Balls %/OF %/PA Total Net Runs
BFP OF LD GB OF% LD% GB% HR K BB OF LD GB IF NIP Tot R/G
2002 675 0.15 0.44 -0.12 30% 22% 43% 20% 10% 12% 23.5 50.4 -27.1 -6.5 5.2 45.2 2.5
2003 685 0.22 0.48 -0.07 30% 22% 41% 22% 9% 13% 36.1 56.6 -14.8 -7.5 8.8 79.4 4.4
2004 692 0.19 0.49 -0.06 35% 17% 41% 21% 8% 13% 36.7 47.0 -14.3 -8.3 13.0 74.7 4.1
2005 700 0.19 0.40 -0.08 32% 20% 42% 22% 9% 15% 32.0 42.7 -17.6 -8.3 13.9 62.8 3.4
Avg. 688 0.19 0.45 -0.08 32% 20% 42% 21% 9% 13% 32.0 49.3 -18.4 -7.6 10.2 65.6 3.6
vs. MLB 0.15 0.10 0.02 1% 0% -2% 10% -7% 4% 26.7 12.8 3.3 -2.6 22.9

Here’s some perspective: Lee averaged 3.9 net runs last year (3.9 runs more than average) per game. Pujols has averaged 3.6 net runs per game for the past four seasons. It’s hard to find fault in any part of his batted-ball table.

For another perspective, here’s another guy who had a surge in 2005, Milwaukee’s Brady Clark:

Clark, Brady

Net Runs per Ball % of Batted Balls %/OF %/PA Total Net Runs
BFP OF LD GB OF% LD% GB% HR K BB OF LD GB IF NIP Tot R/G
2002 87 -0.23 0.45 -0.17 28% 20% 48% 0% 13% 9% -4.1 5.8 -5.3 -0.5 -0.7 -5.0 -2.2
2003 356 0.00 0.35 -0.14 31% 19% 44% 7% 11% 8% -0.2 18.4 -16.5 -4.8 -2.0 -5.9 -0.6
2004 420 -0.01 0.29 -0.08 36% 20% 41% 6% 11% 15% -0.6 17.7 -9.7 -1.7 5.4 11.3 1.0
2005 674 -0.06 0.29 -0.08 33% 27% 36% 6% 8% 10% -10.1 42.3 -14.8 -5.8 4.6 14.3 0.8
Avg. 384 -0.04 0.32 -0.10 33% 23% 40% 6% 10% 11% -3.6 19.7 -10.5 -2.9 2.2 4.4 0.4
vs. MLB -0.07 -0.04 0.00 2% 2% -4% -5% -7% 1% -6.5 -0.7 1.6 0.0 9.3

Over the past two years, Clark has done a nice job of controlling the plate. In 2004, he walked a bunch of times. In 2005, he struck out less. But the real key to his 2005 surge was his 27% line drive rate. I kind of doubt he can keep that up, and I think a Brady Clark projection equal to his four-year average is about right.

Here’s one more guy who had a great 2005:

Giambi, Jason

Net Runs per Ball % of Batted Balls %/OF %/PA Total Net Runs
BFP OF LD GB OF% LD% GB% HR K BB OF LD GB IF NIP Tot R/G
2002 689 0.19 0.37 -0.14 39% 25% 30% 21% 16% 18% 34.4 42.3 -18.4 -6.0 6.1 58.4 3.2
2003 690 0.16 0.38 -0.16 46% 21% 27% 21% 20% 22% 29.8 31.9 -17.6 -6.3 6.2 44.1 2.4
2004 322 0.06 0.42 -0.14 46% 9% 40% 13% 19% 17% 5.7 8.0 -11.3 -1.5 -0.8 0.0 0.0
2005 545 0.24 0.38 -0.14 42% 19% 33% 24% 20% 23% 31.2 22.3 -14.6 -4.3 8.0 43.3 3.0
Avg. 562 0.18 0.38 -0.15 43% 20% 31% 20% 19% 20% 24.7 25.2 -14.9 -4.1 5.1 36.0 2.4
vs. MLB 0.14 0.03 -0.05 12% -1% -13% 9% 2% 11% 20.3 -4.6 2.8 0.0 15.5

Check out Jason Giambi’s net runs per outfield fly. The guy lives and dies by the outfield fly, and 2005 was a lively year for the controversial Giambi.

There are lots of stories like these, and I get kind of overwhelmed picking out specific examples for you. So I decided to get it all out of the way and post all of them over at the Baseball Graphs website. You can now find batted-ball tables for virtually all major league batters and pitchers, like this one:

Jacobs, Michael

Net Runs per Ball % of Batted Balls %/OF %/PA Total Net Runs
BFP OF LD GB OF% LD% GB% HR K BB OF LD GB IF NIP Tot R/G
2005 112 0.51 0.27 -0.12 32% 23% 41% 42% 20% 10% 12.8 4.8 -3.9 -1.0 -2.9 9.8 3.3
Avg. 112 0.51 0.27 -0.12 32% 23% 41% 42% 20% 10% 12.8 4.8 -3.9 -1.0 -2.9 9.8 3.3
vs. MLB 0.48 -0.09 -0.02 1% 2% -3% 31% 3% 0% 12.0 -1.2 -0.4 -0.2 -0.9

(I thought Marlins fans might appreciate seeing Jacobs’ batting line.) Anyway, you can click here to find the Baseball Graphs Batted-Ball Tables. It includes batted-ball tables for every batter and pitcher who racked up at least 100 plate appearances or batters faced. I’ll also post something about the tables on the Baseball Graphs blog, so you can add comments and questions if you’d like. Hopefully, you’ll find these stat tables interesting and useful.

References & Resources
The data comes from Baseball Info Solutions and the methodology for Net Runs was suggested by Tom Ruane’s research at Retrosheet.

Print Friendly
« Previous: Around the Majors: Spring training begins
Next: Around the Majors: Sosa’s retiring »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current day month ye@r *