Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is Austin Jackson Getting Alot Of Infield Singles And Are They Partly Responsible For His High BABIP?

Jeff Passan at Yahoo mentions that Jackson has an historically high BABIP of .413 See Think you know baseball? No, you don’t.

It would be the highest since 1924. Jackson has a .161 AVG on balls in the infield according to Baseball Reference. But the league average is just .080. If we take half of his infield hits away, say 15, he then would be 16 for 191 on infield balls. That would lower his BABIP from 164/398 = .412 to 149/398 = .374. Still very high, but maybe not as historic.

He is fast with 10 3Bs this year as a RHB while stealing 24 with only 5 caught stealing. Maybe he beats out more grounders than average.

His average on hits to the outfield is .649 while the league average is .545. So he is above average here but not relatively as much as as in the infield. His GB/FB ratio is just about 2.22-1 while for the league it is about 1.23-1. Line drives are 27.3% of his non-bunt ABs while for the league it is 19.1%. His AVG on line drives is just about the league average, .722 vs. .725. So if you hit alot more line drives and you are fast, maybe you get a high BABIP. He strikes out 25.7% of the time while the league average is 17.5%. Maybe he just swings real hard, too.


Anonymous said...

This is very interesting. Even more interesting when I looked and saw that his BABIP isn't all that related to ballpark differences... as it's .420 in Detroit & .404 everywhere else. I see the diff, but he's over .400 everywhere?!? That's unusual! Somebody should figure out what his regular BA would be if he struck out at the league average rate or at least cut down his own rate by 10% or something.

I love Austin Jackson. One of my favorite young players.

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I don't think I ever had anyone post a comment so soon after I posted the article.

Good point about home/road.

To answer your question, see something Tom Tango (tangotiger) posted recently.

I also did some analysis on how average changes when strikeout rate changes. Go to

Here is the relationship I found

AVGChange = -.00036 - .274*(SO/AB)Change

If he dropped his rate to the league rate, a drop of about .08, it looks like his average would go up by .022.

And here is a comment I left at tango's site

I think my results showed that if you struck out 200 times in 600 ABs one year and then only 100 times in 600 ABs the next year, your average would go up .045. Now maybe that kind of change is far out of the normal range, so who knows.

But I dug up an old post I had the SABR list in 2003 where I looked at the biggest changes in SO rate from 1997-98. The biggest 11 drops in SO rate saw an average increase in their AVG of 21 points. Of course, I don’t really know if this is all a result of trying not to strike out. Maybe they all lifted weights, generated more bat speed and were able to make more contact.

One other thing I did there was to look at the top power hitters and the weakest power hitters. Both groups had a negative correlation between striking out and their offensive winning percentage.

Cyril Morong said...

In case you can't use those links, here they are again

Tom Tango on K's

My Analysis on K's

Anonymous said...

Great article; very encouraging to read SABR analysis focused on other than HR.

As a student of the game & saber, your analysis reveals a very real world paradox in defending Mr. Jackson.

If he only possessed speed, but no LD ability, opposition defenses could "cheat" in on him. Because of his very high LD rate, though, he's a very real threat against playing "in" as that opens up more hitting room for a LD hitter.

While the saber metrics may not yet capture all of that actual behavior, I believe dual threat players such as Austin Jackson may represent an exciting, but growing challenge to pre-positioned defensive alignment strategy; especially if he holds any added ability to spray his LD around.

Great work & I hope you share some of your simulation work on this topic of a lineup composed of 5 Austin Jacksons & 1 HR type.

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks for dropping by. Glad you liked it. I think you make a real good point about the dilemma the defense faces with Jackson. I had not thought of using my lineup analysis on this kind of question. I would have to put in some kind of variable for speed. I did use SB & CS in some of the regressions but that may not capture the full effect of speed. So that will require some more thought.