• Laying It On The Line

    Posted by on December 16th, 2005 · Comments (6)

    One of the fun things about The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006 is the studies that they do with Plate Appearance Outcome data from Baseball Info Solutions.

    For example, in the book they list the percentages of walks, whiffs, groundballs, flyballs, infield flies, and line drives produced by hitters and allowed by pitchers in 2005. Of these choices, line drives are the key for me because, as the book tells us, each line drive is worth .356 of a run – which is the biggest “run impacting outcome” of all the results.

    If you buy the book, you also get information on how to find this data online. So, today, I decided to look at the 2005 “line drive” results for all the Yankees hitters and pitchers. Here it is:

    bballs.jpg

    According to the book, the major league average “line drive” percentage was 15%.

    The one result that jumps out the most to me here is how below average A-Rod is in his percentage. (For the record, David Ortiz was at 15% last year.) Now, some might say “Well, Alex hits mostly flyballs and most of them go a long way.” But, in truth, according to the data, Rodriguez hit a flyball 24% of the time – which was not even tops on the Yankees. Matsui, Sheffield, Posada and Williams each hit flies more frequently than Alex.

    What Rodriguez did often was strike out – 19% of the time. Among “regulars” on the team, only Sierra (23%) and Giambi (20%) were worse. In fact, Alex whiffed as often (19%) as John Flaherty in 2005.

    Giambi is pretty much in the A-Rod boat – in terms of whiffs and liners. But, to his credit, Jason walked 23% of the time (compared to Alex’s 15% in walks).

    On the pitching-side, there were less surprises for me. One thing I did notice is the placement of Pavano, Mussina, Small and Chacón on this list – just about league average. If their line drives allowed in 2005 is any sign as to what to expect in 2006, the Yankees may be looking at a long summer in the Bronx. This is just another indicator of how Mussina and Pavano are keys to the Yankees success in 2006.

    Comments on Laying It On The Line

    1. Raf
      December 16th, 2005 | 1:53 pm

      Unless Cashman makes some more moves, it’s going to be a long season in the Bx…

    2. DFLNJ
      December 16th, 2005 | 2:06 pm

      So I’m confused, does this mean that sabermetrically, Cano IS a good player now? Or still no? Or does this just muddy the waters some more?

      And isn’t this kind of data awfully subjective? Are there any hard and fast rules for what makes a line drive as opposed to a fly ball?

    3. December 16th, 2005 | 2:09 pm

      I think it’s one of those you know it when you see it calls…….but, that is a good question.

      On Cano, if he walks some more, yes. If not, no.

    4. Marcus
      December 16th, 2005 | 2:43 pm

      Also, do they have historical data on these stats? Is line drive percentage consistent from year to year for most hitters and/or pitchers?

    5. December 16th, 2005 | 2:46 pm

      They only give 2005. And, IIRC, BIS has only been tracking it for a few years.

    6. December 16th, 2005 | 2:58 pm

      Also, FWIW, Nomar was at a 21% LD rate last year.

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