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Monday, May 20, 2019

Cody Bellinger’s speed is key to his .400 batting average | MLB.com

Cody Bellinger is pretty, pretty good.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 20, 2019 at 08:27 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cody bellinger, dodgers

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: May 20, 2019 at 09:45 PM (#5844027)
He's a lot faster than I realized (don't see him much). Still, while it's technically true that assuming all his IF hits would be outs for a normal player he would not be hitting 400, he would still be hitting 374 which, last I checked, was pretty darn good. His BABIPs have gone 299, 313, 405 and, if anything, it looks like this will be his worst year for infield hits (certainly so far his lowest GB/FB ratio). The BA is probably tied more to his insane 41% LD rate and huge drop in K-rate (26.6, 23.9, 14.4%).

Bellinger 2019 vs Williams 1941

BABIP 405 378
BA 405 406
HR% 8.8 6.1
GO/AO 0.60 1.05
IP% 62 65
K% 14.4 4.5
BB% 13.9 24.3 (not a typo)
   2. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: May 21, 2019 at 06:31 AM (#5844115)
Javy Baez and Brandon Lowe also both have a BABIP over .400. But they're on pace to strike out 200+ times and so are hitting .319 and .291, respectively. They're reminiscent of Jose Hernandez in 2002 -- a .404 BABIP (2nd highest since the 1920s), but 188 Ks and so a .288 average.
   3. eric Posted: May 21, 2019 at 10:08 AM (#5844145)
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Cody Bellinger will not hit .400. In fact, I will say he won't even hit .350. Wild and crazy, that's me.
   4. Booey Posted: May 21, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5844167)
I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Cody Bellinger will not hit .400. In fact, I will say he won't even hit .350. Wild and crazy, that's me.


No one's even hit .350 in 9 years (Josh Hamilton 2010). The 8 straight seasons without a .350 hitter from 2011-2018 easily surpasses the previous longest drought of 5 years (1962-1966).

Prediction: Bellinger does end up challenging for the batting title...but with an AVG around .330.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: May 21, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5844170)
I'm gonna go the other way. I think he'll hit .450
   6. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5844236)
Prediction: Bellinger does end up challenging for the batting title...but with an AVG around .330.


I'm gonna go the other way. I think he'll hit .450


I'd take the over on .350.
   7. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:09 PM (#5844251)
I'd take the over on .350.


Bellinger has played 46 of 48 games so far. If he stays healthy and plays, say, 110 of the last 114 games, he will end up with about 553 ab at his current ab/g pace. To finish over .350 in 553 ab, he needs 194 hits. He already has 66. So, 128 hits in approx 390 ab. That's about .328 the rest of the way. Bellinger was a .263 career batter coming in to the season.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5844253)
I assume no .350 hitter has ever hit .260 in the prior year?

edit: I see the aforementioned Hamilton was .268 in a partial year before hitting .359.
   9. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:15 PM (#5844254)
Bellinger has played 46 of 48 games so far. If he stays healthy and plays, say, 110 of the last 114 games, he will end up with about 553 ab at his current ab/g pace. To finish over .350 in 553 ab, he needs 194 hits. He already has 66. So, 128 hits in approx 390 ab. That's about .328 the rest of the way. Bellinger was a .263 career batter coming in to the season.


fair enough. I guess that wouldn't be a great bet.
   10. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5844257)
fair enough. I guess that wouldn't be a great bet.


Yeah, not saying he won't do it, but, there is a lot of ball left to be played and regression to the mean can be a b____. Career babip going into this season was about .306. He is at .405 right now.
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5844260)
his xBA is .346, which is astonishing. not all luck so far, by any means.

HQ projects him .291 rest of season and .324 overall.
   12. Booey Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:23 PM (#5844262)
I assume no .350 hitter has ever hit .260 in the prior year?

edit: I see the aforementioned Hamilton was .268 in a partial year before hitting .359.


Too lazy to look it up, but I'd guess Norm Cash was close. I know that his .361 in 1961 was one of the big fluke batting average seasons of all time.


Edit: Fine, I'll stop being lazy! Looks like Cash hit .286 the year before (his 2nd highest total), and .243 the year after. He was a .271 career hitter.
   13. DCA Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:24 PM (#5844263)
HQ projects him .291 rest of season and .324 overall.

That seems remarkably plausible.
   14. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5844265)
Too lazy to look it up, but I'd guess Norm Cash was close. I know that his .361 in 1961 was one of the big fluke batting average seasons of all time.


Cash: 1960 - .286, 1961 - .361, 1962 - .243

edit: that .286 in 1960 was the 2nd highest BA of his career
   15. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:31 PM (#5844271)
John Olerud was a .269 career hitter going into 1993 (.284 in 1992). Then hit .363 in 1993.

Career .309 babip. .375 in 1993

edit:

Andres Gallarraga, 1992: .243 in an injury plagued season in St. Louis. Then .370 in a healthy season in Mile High Stadium. well, relatively healthy. only 120 games played
   16. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5844272)
Two fun ones--

Darin Erstad (1999: .253 2000: .355 2001: .258)

Andres Galarraga (1991: .219 1992: .243 1993: .370)
   17. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5844281)
Erstad's 2000 was one of the flukiest flukes that ever fluked.
   18. Davo Has Marianne Mindset Posted: May 21, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5844291)
Ooh found another great one: Harry "The Hat" Walker

1946: .237 in 385 PAs
1947: .363 in 597 PAs
   19. PreservedFish Posted: May 21, 2019 at 02:06 PM (#5844295)
If you had to choose between starting both Cody Bellinger and Clay Bellinger on your team, or two random average players, which pair would you choose? You can't just cut Clay Bellinger, you have to play him.
   20. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 02:08 PM (#5844297)
Miguel Dilone got a mention in a recent thread about fluky performances.

1978: .229 in 292 PA
1979: .220 in 137 PA
1980: .341 in 566 PA
1981: .290 in 289 PA
1982: .235 in 412 PA
1983: .183 in 81 PA
   21. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 02:14 PM (#5844302)

John Olerud was a .269 career hitter going into 1993 (.284 in 1992). Then hit .363 in 1993.

Olerud was kind of remarkable in that he batted over .350 twice (.354 for the Mets in 1998 as well), neither in strike or injury-shortened seasons, and never hit higher than .302 otherwise. Maybe it isn't that remarkable; he was an excellent player who had two incredible seasons with the bat. One of my favorite Mets.
   22. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: May 21, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5844303)
If you had to choose between starting both Cody Bellinger and Clay Bellinger on your team, or two random average players, which pair would you choose? You can't just cut Clay Bellinger, you have to play him.

Clearly, the Bellingers. Cody by himself has already put up 2 average seasons' worth of value. And while I imagine a 50-year-old Clay could put up some seriously negative WAR, it's worth noting that playing him for even one game guarantees your team will make the World Series.
   23. DCA Posted: May 21, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5844311)
Erstad's 2000 was one of the flukiest flukes that ever fluked.

It didn't seem like it at the time, though.

Looking only at offense (the moving around between 1B where he was fine and OF where he was excellent makes the WAR trend more of a function of usage than performance):

Erstad was quite good in his first two full seasons, 1997 and 1998, 297/357/476 for a 113 OPS+. Then he was pretty bad in 1999, 253/308/374 for a 74 OPS+. 2000 was only as good as 1999 was bad, combined 1999-2000 he was 308/363/464 for 108 OPS+, almost exactly in line with his prior career.

It was only in retrospect that 1999 looks like a normal Erstad season. From 2001 on, he never put up an OPS+ above 100, or even hit 13 HR (his total in 1999, a career low up to that point).
   24. Sweatpants Posted: May 21, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5844315)
Couple of close(ish) ones:
Mickey Vernon hit .353 in 1946. He didn't actually play in 1945 or 1944, but he hit .268 in 1943.
Matty Alou hit .342 in 1966 (and that's a deadball .342) after a .231 in 1965.
   25. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 21, 2019 at 03:11 PM (#5844331)
Bellinger and Joey Gallo have very similar batted ball lines so far this year. The big difference is that Bellinger has K'd 14.4% of the time to Gallo's 35.2%.

I also saw that, according to Statcast, Bellinger has the fastest calculated Home to 1B time this year (3.88 seconds) so he can get down the line as fast as anyone.
   26. The Mighty Quintana Posted: May 21, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5844339)
Ohtani and Bellinger don't look like they are running all that hard, but both get down that line quick.

Strawberry and Von Hayes also had that similar stride. They are all 6'4"-6'5" 200 guys who are just fluid...
   27. SandyRiver Posted: May 21, 2019 at 03:43 PM (#5844341)
Bellinger and Joey Gallo have very similar batted ball lines so far this year. The big difference is that Bellinger has K'd 14.4% of the time to Gallo's 35.2%.

Similar BABIP, too - .405 for Cody and .403 for Joey. However, Bellinger's BABIP was over .300 for 17-18, while Gallo's was .256 prior to this year so he's got a lot more room for regression.
   28. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5844354)
Cody has a 41% LD percentage, while Gallo is at 30%. Those are both way above their career averages, although Gallo has been on a steady upward progression over the past few years (17-22-24-30). I suspect both are due for a bit of a regression.
   29. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 21, 2019 at 05:00 PM (#5844362)
Fangraphs has Bellinger at 32.8% and Gallo at 30.5%. Where are you seeing 41%?
   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 05:19 PM (#5844369)


Fangraphs has Bellinger at 32.8% and Gallo at 30.5%. Where are you seeing 41%?


Baseball-Reference, under his Ratio Batting stats. Not sure why there is a discrepancy.
   31. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: May 21, 2019 at 05:53 PM (#5844378)
BRef and Fangraphs must be calculating this differently. It is not ideal that there is such a significant difference.
   32. Walt Davis Posted: May 21, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5844383)
If I added correctly, that one season added 12 points to Cash's career BA. Erstad's added 10 points.

(I know you grammar nazis are wondering how Erstad's big season added 10 points to Cash's BA ... but it happened!)
   33. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 21, 2019 at 06:07 PM (#5844385)
BRef and Fangraphs must be calculating this differently. It is not ideal that there is such a significant difference.

For all the other ratio numbers they appear to be using the same data, even if they define things a bit differently. But it appears that they have a different number for Line Drives.

As in, I don't think they are defining/calculating the ratio differently -- I think they have a different data source. Because I can't get to the 41% ratio using the underlying raw numbers that FG provides. But I'm not positive since BB-Ref doesn't provide the underlying numbers.
   34. eric Posted: May 22, 2019 at 12:44 AM (#5844500)
I just noticed that last year Gallo hit >=40 HR with < .500 SLG. Seemed to me to be a hard combination to do. And it is: for only 7 player seasons in history has that happened. Adam Dunn was the pioneer in 2006 with a 40/.490, while the rest of the occurrences have been since 2012--including Dunn, again. Curtis Granderson has the record for most HR with a sub-.500 SLG, with 43/.492 in 2012. Todd Frazier has the record for lowest SLG with >= 40 HR with 40/.464 in 2016. Carl Yastrzemski of all people held the record for lowest SLG during a 40 HR season for 28 years when his 40/.507 in 1969 wasn't, er, surpassed? undercut? whatever, until Jay Buhner nipped him at 40/.506 in 1997.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: May 22, 2019 at 01:47 AM (#5844502)
Possibly the difference in LD ratios is tied to the different defensive/batted ball data that underlie the different defensive numbers as well.

Or a couple of years ago there was an article, I think on fangraphs, re-defining LDs using statcast data, narrowing the launch angle for a LD, basically making it (nearly?) impossible to hit a HR on a LD. I'm not aware they implemented any such change ... but I don't follow them closely.

Anyway, it's definitely a categorization issue. B-R has him with 56 LDs and 40 FBs (including 3 SFs) while fg puts him at 45/51, so same total in the air. 5 of that difference is HRs -- b-r lists him with 5 HRs on LDs, fg with 0. B-R also gives him 2 more doubles and his triple on LDs while fg calls those FBs. So that's 8 of the shifted balls. Therefore FG has him hitting just 622/800 on LDs while b-r puts it at 643/1125 ... but he's hitting much better on FBs at fg.

But it wouldn't seem to be that no HR can be hit on LDs. League splits at fg put the AL on 49 HR on 2914 LDs and the NL on 27 in 2951 ... why such a large discrepancy? Still I wouldn't be surprised if fg (or their data supplier) is trying to define these based on launch angle.

   36. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 22, 2019 at 07:40 AM (#5844518)

Thanks Walt. Where did you find those underlying numbers for B-R?
   37. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 24, 2019 at 02:48 PM (#5855406)
Bellinger dropped below .350 yesterday. Still having a good season though. :-)
   38. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: June 24, 2019 at 03:30 PM (#5855434)
fair enough. I guess that wouldn't be a great bet.


In Bellinger's case, he has made a clear change to his approach (standing closer to the plate), which has made him noticeably more productive on the outer side of the plate, and decreased his K-rate. The Athletic had a feature on this a couple of weeks ago.
   39. Rally Posted: June 24, 2019 at 05:44 PM (#5855488)
Hitting .266 since this article was posted. Still an excellent 385/560 rate stats, plus walking as often as he strikes out.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 24, 2019 at 06:19 PM (#5855498)
Hitting .266 since this article was posted.
Clearly he must be getting slower with age. Happens to all of us.
   41. eric Posted: June 24, 2019 at 09:56 PM (#5855552)
His career average entering this season was .263, so .266 sounds about right. If he stays at that level, given the season is just about half over, he'd end up in the .300-.310 range.

For yet one more wild'n'crazy prediction: this season will be Cody's career high in BA over a full season.
   42. TomH Posted: June 25, 2019 at 07:25 AM (#5855599)
yeah, that stinky Ted Williams never did increase his batting avg after peaking at age 22
   43. TomH Posted: June 25, 2019 at 07:27 AM (#5855600)
re: Cash 1961 and both Olerud & Galaraga 1993; notice they were expansion years.

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