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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Fly Ball Revolution Is Hurting As Many Batters As It’s Helped

So there is definitely a fly-ball revolution underway in baseball. But that revolution is not without its discontents. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto recently disparaged the trend towards fly-ball hitting in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer. “I see it with a lot of guys. Everyone tells the good stories, but there’s a lot of s—ty stories of guys who are wasting their time trying things,” Votto said, as quoted in the Enquirer.

Votto is right; being a more productive hitter really isn’t as simple as “elevate to celebrate.” Over the last three years, just as many hitters have suffered by increasing their fly-ball rate as have benefited. Here’s a chart showing each hitter’s change in fly-ball rate from the previous year, in comparison with his change in weighted On-Base Average (wOBA).

Among players who increased their fly-ball rate, it was almost exactly a toss-up as to whether their wOBA would get better or worse.1 Similarly, players who decreased their fly-ball rate had about a 50/50 split of improving and worsening wOBAs. Overall, the correlation between a batter’s changing fly ball rate and his subsequent change in production is nonexistent. That same lack of correlation holds if you use the more advanced metrics (such as launch angle) tracked by MLB’s StatCast system.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2017 at 05:04 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fivethirtyeight, flyball revolution

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Drexl Spivey Posted: May 17, 2017 at 08:22 AM (#5457249)
.
   2. Lassus Posted: May 17, 2017 at 08:41 AM (#5457255)
;
   3. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: May 17, 2017 at 08:54 AM (#5457261)
ಠ_ಠ
   4. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: May 17, 2017 at 09:15 AM (#5457274)
Those Canadians, with their salty stories.

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