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The results of the blind BABIP test are in. How did you do? And what can we learn from your answers?

On Friday, many of you took the blind BABIP test. I gave you 18 GIFs, in nine sets of two, each set comprising two batted balls. One was a hit. The other was an out. You guessed which was which, but you couldn’t see the outcome; the GIFs cut off at the frame just as contact was made, or just before contact was made. This was supposed to tell us something. I’ll get to the big result first: We’re the worst at this!

I tallied 82 full sets of answers, which is 738 individual guesses, of which 387 were correct. That is 52 percent correct. Closing our eyes and pointing would theoretically have earned us 369 correct answers.  All the wisdom of the 82 of you was worth 18 extra correct answers. So that's the big thing first.

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Mike continues his investigation of HITf/x data to glean more insights into whether pitchers can prevent hits on balls in play.

In the first part of this study, I used detailed batted ball speed information from HITf/x to examine the degree of skill that batters and pitchers had in quality of contact made or allowed. Here, I will look deeper into the question of why some batted balls fall for hits and others do not.

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When a batter and pitch face off, which has a greater effect on how hard the ball is hit, and what can that tell us about pitcher BABIP?

The last decade has seen much discussion and evolution in sabermetric thought around the relative abilities of batters, pitchers, fielders, and Lady Luck to control the outcome of batted balls. Data collected by Sportvision and MLBAM sheds new light on this question, but before we tackle that data, let’s review some of the history of how we came to our current state of knowledge.

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Park adjustments show than line-drive and fly-ball rates can be affected by the scorers.

Let’s talk about batted balls.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the category labels that we use to describe batted balls—ground balls, line drives, fly balls, and popups. Precise definitions vary, but David Cortesi gives a succinct set of criteria:

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March 23, 2010 10:42 am

Ahead in the Count: Predicting BABIP, Part 1

26

Matt Swartz

BABIP isn't as luck-driven as many suggest, not after you drill down into the numbers.

If you don’t put your bat on the ball, you’re not going to get a hit, and if you don’t hit the ball over the wall, someone might catch it. This series begins with what happens the rest of the time as I develop a model to predict a hitter’s Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP). In Part 2, I will explain some of the current BABIP superstars then some of the players where my system differs from PECOTA will be the topic of Part 3.

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September 15, 2009 2:24 pm

Ahead in the Count: The BABIP Superstars

17

Matt Swartz

Projecting who's reliably good at getting happy outcomes on balls in play.

It is well known that pitchers have little control over Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP), and that an easy way to know a pitcher is due to improve or regress is to look at his BABIP and see whether it is significantly different than the league average of about .300. If he has surrendered hits on balls in play at a rate significantly above .300, he is probably going to see that come down, and if his BABIP is significantly below .300, he is probably going to return from whatever depths. It is also well known that hitters have more control over their BABIP, but not that much; a starting position player will hit about 500 balls in play per season, meaning that the standard deviation of his yearly BABIP is probably about .020, meaning that much of observed differences in hitter BABIP are fleeting, as one-third of players' BABIP marks belie their true skill level by .020 points or more. Even still, there are many hitters who consistently put up high BABIP rates.

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October 16, 2006 12:00 am

Future Shock: Monday Morning Ten-Pack

0

Kevin Goldstein

Kevin checks out the newsmakers in the winter leagues.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160988517_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 16, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Six

0

Joe Sheehan

Our servers, like the Cardinals bullpen and the A's, crashed. Only two of those get to come back.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1161098296_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 14, 2006 12:00 am

Future Shock: Where Did the Tigers and the Athletics Come From?

0

Kevin Goldstein

Even Alexis Gomez came from somewhere (Kansas City). Kevin tells us how the Tigers and A's acquired the rest of their postseason difference-makers.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160846402_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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October 14, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: LCS, Day Four

0

Joe Sheehan

The NLCS becomes a battle just as the ALCS is edging towards an end.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160835748_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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Jim digs back and looks at the best starting efforts by the Mets and Cardinals in the era of divisional play.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160845280_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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The Mets and Cardinals finally got underway in a game that no player on either team had the biggest effect on.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160760884_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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