Apr 8, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Mets catcher Travis d

Has the Mets offense been unlucky in 2014?


With nearly 10% of the 2014 season in the books, we’re beginning to reach the time where samples aren’t so small anymore. Everyday players are nearing 50 plate appearances – still not enough to draw reasonable conclusions on, but enough to at least see discernible patterns. Given that the Mets’ offense has struggled some in the early going, we can begin to wonder if luck has played a part.

Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) gives us a reasonable prediction of how often batted balls should fall in for hits. By taking a player’s batted ball profile – line drive / ground ball / fly ball rates, among other things – we can compare how often these balls fall in for hits to an individual’s track record and see how they’ve fared. BABIPs for each of the three types range from year to year, but typically fall around these values:

Line Drives: .690

Ground Balls: .230

Fly Balls: .120

While the league average BABIP hovers around .300, an individual’s can vary wildly based on the quality of their contact. Below is a chart that shows how a player’s BABIP has compared to expectation, and how that actually measures up in terms of hits*:

Name

BABIP

xBABIP

Δ

Hits (in play)

xHits

ΔHits

Travis d’Arnaud

0.172

0.312

0.140

5

9

4

Ruben Tejada

0.258

0.386

0.128

8

12

4

Curtis Granderson

0.226

0.293

0.067

7

9

2

Eric Young

0.389

0.447

0.058

14

16

2

Ike Davis

0.211

0.267

0.056

4

5

1

Andrew Brown

0.235

0.260

0.025

4

4

0

David Wright

0.306

0.316

0.010

15

15

0

Daniel Murphy

0.354

0.325

-0.029

17

16

-1

Anthony Recker

0.333

0.293

-0.040

2

2

0

Lucas Duda

0.333

0.269

-0.064

8

6

-2

Juan Lagares

0.395

0.324

-0.071

15

12

-3

               For sake of discussion, players with fewer than 15 PA have been omitted

* Because home runs don’t end up in the field of play, they’re not considered in the chart above.

It’s probably not a surprise to see Travis d’Arnaud at the top of the list. Regular watchers have seen him make solid contact, only to send the ball directly at defenders. Ruben Tejada has been rewarded when he makes solid contact – 7 hits on 11 line drives, but he has yet to get a hit on a ground or fly ball.

Of course, there are multiple things at play here. Speed can help players beat out grounders (which likely has benefited Juan Lagares, who finds himself at the bottom of the list).

This chart doesn’t tell the entire story either – Tejada, d’Arnaud, Curtis Granderson, and Eric Young are all striking out in more than 20% of their plate appearances, which both draws their offensive numbers down and prevents them from putting balls in play to normalize these numbers.

On the aggregate, there’s some evidence to suggest that the Mets’ offense will improve from regression alone. As a team, they should have roughly eight more base hits than they do now – enough to raise the team batting average more than 15 points.

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Tags: Featured New York Mets Popular

  • http://www.vitamincm.com VitaminCM

    Not unlucky, just terrible players who suck at what they do.