Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand
Sunday, July 08, 2012
Yes. There is Ray Oyler.
And then there is everyone else.
I was randomly looking through some players statistics over at FanGraphs and happened to ask myself a certain question. The question was, how come some flyball hitters are prone to hitting popups, but other are not. I immediately thought the reason had to do with a player’s inherent skill in making hard contact because, as we all know, popups are pretty much infield flyballs. I surmised that since certain players seem to be skilled at not hitting popups and, yet they still manage to hit lots of flyballs, they must be hitting the ball harder than their counterparts who do manage to hit a decent amount of popups. In other words, not only do players who don’t hit popups not hit popups, but they also hit their flyballs harder. The skill isn’t avoiding hitting popups, the skill is hitting the ball hard. So I went on to analyze the data to see if my theory holds water.
...No surprise to see Joey Votto and Ryan Howard top the list, two very powerful fellows. More surprisingly are the likes of Derrek Lee and Brad Hawpe who, while having power, aren’t known for being prodigious power hitters or consistently hitting the ball hard. The likes of Jack Cust, Chris Davis and Matt Kemp are all known for being able to hit a baseball very far, meaning they make hard contact often. The three most interesting names, in my mind, are Alex Avila, Austin Jackson and Shin-Soo Choo. Like Lee and Hawpe, none of these players are considered sluggers so at first glance their inclusion in the top 10 might not make much sense. What really intrigues me is that they’re all young, they all have raw power and have had higher than average BABiPs in the past. Could it be that with an increase in flyball rate, their power numbers would take a large leap forward? It’s very possible.
for his generous support.
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