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BABIP: Checking In On The Over- And Under-Achievers

Back in the middle of May, I looked at BABIP - short for Batting Average on Balls in Play. That's a statistic which can be used to project what pitchers are over-achieving and likely to regress, or conversely, are the victims of bad luck and might get better. With another couple of months now in the book, figured it was time to check back in with the ten players highlighted there, and see how they're doing.

Stats for each player are their BABIP then and now, and the same for their ERA.

Overachievers

  1. Livan Hernandez. BABIP: .181/.277.  ERA: 1.04/3.12.
  2. Mat Latos. BABIP .213/.240. ERA: 3.32/2.48
  3. Phil Hughes. BABIP: .223/.289. ERA: 1.38/4.04
  4. Jeff Niemann. BABIP:.223/.245. ERA: 2.27/2.95
  5. Jonathan Sanchez. BABIP: 224/.273. ERA: 2.66/3.35

All five have seen their BABIP regress towards the mean, by an average of 52 points, though all are still below it (the major-league mark is .299). The two taking the biggest hit, Hernandez and Hughes, have also seen their ERAs rise by more than two runs apiece, and the average increase is more than a run. Latos was the exception, shaving .84 runs off his number. However, he is still the #4 lowest BABIP, so I'm not done looking for regression. The current top five: Trevor Cahill (.216), Tim Hudson (.235), Jamie Moyer (.239), Latos and CJ Wilson (.242).

Underachievers

  1. Bud Norris. BABIP: .391/.362. ERA: 6.03/6.08
  2. Jonathon Niese. BABIP: .375/.312. ERA: 4.58/3.54
  3. Brandon Morrow. BABIP: .370/.350. ERA: 6.69/4.71
  4. Aaron Harang. BABIP: .367/.327. ERA: 6.02/5.02
  5. Gavin Floyd. BABIP: .367/.314. ERA: 6.92/3.87

Similar here. BABIP regression in all cases, averaging 41 points, and an improvement in ERA of 1.40 runs. Floyd is the poster-boy for this measure: since we picked him as likely to improve from a 6.92 ERA, he has made 13 starts with a 2.45 ERA. Though if you picked up Norris for fantasy purposes, I can only apologize. He doesn't have enough innings - he missed a month with bicep tendinitis - but that .362 BABIP beats all qualifying pitchers. The top five right now: Francisco Liriano (.356), Morrow, Tommy Hanson (.348), Dan Haren (.341) and Justin Masterson (.339).

We'll look in on the current heroes and villains of BABIP towards the end of the season, and see how they are doing one more time.