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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The totality of Rafael Devers, who is eclipsing everything thought possible

Devers won’t be able to sustain his current play forever. (His .377 BAbip would rank him 3rd all time.) Nevertheless, he looks like a great young player who has great bat-to-ball skills and an ability to make adjustments. I am looking forward to watching his career.

For reference, he’s the top 30 in BAbip (minimum 1000 PA):

Jim Furtado Posted: August 22, 2017 at 07:26 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: notes, rafael devers, red sox

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   1. McCoy Posted: August 22, 2017 at 07:57 AM (#5518296)
Everybody that has a .377 BABIP or higher looks like they have great bat to ball skills and has the ability to make adjustments.
   2. TomH Posted: August 22, 2017 at 07:58 AM (#5518297)
Devers; highest OPS ever (at the moment!) for players <21 with a min of 60 PA. Teddy is the only other player OPS>1.000 when under 21.
   3. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 22, 2017 at 08:20 AM (#5518301)
Small sample sizes abound of course and that BABIP is skewed by the fact that 15 of his 22 MLB games have been played at Fenway which I would expect be a park that results in higher BABIP because of the wall (not sure how to find that out). He's got a .457 BABIP there and .222 on the road.

He's been awfully impressive. His K rate isn't unreasonable and while he's not good defensively I've been surprised at how well he's adapting to the speed of the game. He rarely looks out of control and seems to have a good sense of how much time he has and backs that up with a good arm. I don't think it's a particularly strong arm but his throws are accurate.
   4. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2017 at 08:36 AM (#5518308)
Fenway which I would expect be a park that results in higher BABIP because of the wall (not sure how to find that out)

Here. BABIP at Fenway this year is .319, second in MLB and tops in AL for 2017, assuming you don't count the one game in Williamsport earlier this week.

EDIT: The next table down has ballpark platoon splits. BABIP for LHB at Fenway is .334 this year.
   5. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 22, 2017 at 09:18 AM (#5518326)
That is a LOT of end-of-deadball/mashing-20s greats and current era players. Would it be crazy if Devers put up DJ LaMaheiu's BABIP, though?
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 22, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5518354)
The totality of Rafael Devers, who is eclipsing everything thought possible


That's a pretty Lovecraftian headline to apply to a rookie on a hot streak.
   7. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: August 22, 2017 at 09:54 AM (#5518355)
Dansby Swanson had great bat-to-ball skills until he suddenly didn't.
   8. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 22, 2017 at 10:48 AM (#5518418)
Devers would have to OPS .316 for his next 52 AB to equal Swanson's first year stats. A better comp would be someone like Gary Sanchez from last year. And if Devers sophomore season is a 122 OPS+ with 20+ dingers, I think most people would be ok with that even if we dream of him being an immediate superstar.
   9. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 22, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5518429)
I love Miguel Sano on the BABIP list. He's the apotheosis of modern hitting technique. Take a fair number of pitches, when you do swing at something swing hard so you hit the crap out of the ball if you make contact. A fair number of walks, some monster home runs, a great BABIP, and a #### ton of strikeouts. A .360 career BABIP and a .255 career AVG is nuts.
   10. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5518434)
Dansby Swanson had great bat-to-ball skills until he suddenly didn't.

ALL RISE FOR AARON JU- oh, ok, you can sit down.
   11. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: August 22, 2017 at 11:10 AM (#5518443)
Would it be crazy if Devers put up DJ LaMaheiu's BABIP, though?

FWIW, DJ's BABIP is .382 in Coors and .319 everywhere else.
   12. SoSH U at work Posted: August 22, 2017 at 01:18 PM (#5518566)
Fenway which I would expect be a park that results in higher BABIP because of the wall


And the tiny amount of foul territory.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: August 22, 2017 at 02:02 PM (#5518623)
Yasiel Puig had a .370 BABIP, and then he had a .300 BABIP.

Would it be crazy if Devers put up DJ LaMaheiu's BABIP, though?

No. It also wouldn't be crazy if he put up Jose Bautista's BABIP, or Edwin Encarnacion's, or Mark Teixeira's.
   14. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: August 22, 2017 at 03:56 PM (#5518707)
Devers would have to OPS .316 for his next 52 AB to equal Swanson's first year stats.


Well certainly having a 20-year-old wet behind the ears rookie OPS 316 over 50 at bats is way more unlikely than having that guy OPS 1.000+ over 84 at bats.
   15. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 22, 2017 at 04:17 PM (#5518727)
I think Devers is going to be terrific but as with all players I don't fully buy him until I see a slump and a bounceback. The good news so far is that even if you normalize BABIP and his home run rate he's still been decent. Obviously the .377 BABIP and 29% HR/FB rates aren't going to continue though it would be enjoyable if they did.
   16. Rickey! the first of his name Posted: August 22, 2017 at 04:39 PM (#5518752)
I have no idea if Devers is a flash in the pan, a reasonably solid major league regular, or AROD reborn. But I ain't taking 80-some at bats as proof positive of the latter.
   17. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 22, 2017 at 04:53 PM (#5518769)
Clearly he's already got one foot in the Hall of Fame. Can't we just enjoy him** until he proves he's only human?

** As long as his production doesn't lead to too many Red Sox wins. In that case forget the "enjoy" part.
   18. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2017 at 04:59 PM (#5518776)
I have no idea if Devers is a flash in the pan, a reasonably solid major league regular, or AROD reborn. But I ain't taking 80-some at bats as proof positive of the latter.
You should take that up with all the people who are doing that.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2017 at 05:37 PM (#5518813)
C'mon, #14 on that list is the real shocker. I never would have guessed #16 either.

No idea if it applies to Mr. Devers but speed and GB will help a BABIP (why is Billy Hamilton still hitting the ball in the air?)

And none of this really matters yet but 222/276/481 on the road -- excellent power.

For those 20 or younger, min 100 PA, leaders in ISO:

Ott 306
TWilliams 281
Gregg Jeffries 275 (hmmmm)
ARod 273
Horner 272
FRobinson 267
Ruth 261
Stanton 248
Conigliaro 244
Conigliaro 240
Trout 238
Correa 233

Jeepers that's darn good company already. Other than Jeffries and Ruth, everybody had at least 350 PA. Andruw is next with a 226 ISO in 113 PA. It's "easier" to hit for ISO these days but it's a heck of a start. He's probably got another 140 or so PAs coming his way this year so we'll get a somewhat better read on where he belongs in this list. But if Jeffries, Horner and Conigliaro are his worst-case comps, that's a darn good ballplayer.
   20. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: August 22, 2017 at 06:17 PM (#5518840)
Conigliaro 244
Conigliaro 240

He was seeing double at the time, so he counted them twice?

Too soon?
   21. Jose is an Absurd Doubles Machine Posted: August 22, 2017 at 07:08 PM (#5518863)
No idea if it applies to Mr. Devers but speed and GB will help a BABIP (why is Billy Hamilton still hitting the ball in the air?)


This is why I looked up the home/road splits. Devers is slow and hits the ball in the air but of course at Fenway he benefits some from the monster which is how he has 3 of his 4 doubles also.
   22. You're a clown, RMc! I'm tired of it! Posted: August 22, 2017 at 07:49 PM (#5518901)
In 1999, when David Dellucci hit .394 in 109 AB, his BAbip was a cool .500. (And I had his Strat-o-Matic card. Ooooh, baby!)
   23. Wahoo Sam Posted: August 22, 2017 at 08:16 PM (#5518922)
The fact that Austin Jackson is in the top ten on that list (removing folks with less than 4,000 PA), tells us how trivial this stat is.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2017 at 09:48 PM (#5519013)
He was seeing double at the time, so he counted them twice?

Age 19 and age 20 if you didn't know.
   25. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2017 at 10:01 PM (#5519032)
The fact that Austin Jackson is in the top ten on that list (removing folks with less than 4,000 PA), tells us how trivial this stat is.

It's not so much trivial as it is just one of a few components of hitting. I agree there's not a lot of value in BABIP for hitters, better to use on-contact.

As to Jackson, he is a career 274 BA in a 258 league -- that ain't nothing. He just doesn't have much power and strikes out a lot. But with that K-rate and that power, he wouldn't be in MLB and certainly wouldn't have gotten over 4,000 PA without that BABIP. He also doesn't hit the ball on the ground probably as often as he should but his career LD rate is 4% higher than the league and that's a good thing. For the data we've got, his EV is perfectly healthy but the launch angles aren't in the HR territory ... if he came up today, they've probably teach him more of an uppercut.

Anyway, not every batter gets to be Barry Bonds. He has one above-average hitting skill (BABIP/BA/LD%), one slightly above average offensive skill (baserunning), one average offensive skill (walk rate), two below-average hitting skills (K and power) and well above-average defensive skills (7 dWAR). All of that adds up to 23.5 WAR, 9 WAA, what's not to like?
   26. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2017 at 10:19 PM (#5519057)
To put that another way, I get only 20 players in MLB history with at least 1000 PAs and at least 1 BB per 6 PA. This list includes some all-time greats of course, some very good players, a couple of not-so-good players ... and Randy Milligan with 2594 PA and 447 BB ... again that all added up to a pretty good player/hitter as a 390 OBP goes a long way. But nobody would consider him as remotely close to a top hitter but that doesn't mean that walk rate is a trivial stat.

The worst is probably Wes Westrum with a career 94 OPS+ given his 217 BA. Ken Phelps and Jack Cust are also here. Annoying guys like Yost, Bishop and Stanky are here.

Or HR ... there are only 21 players with at least 1 HR per 18 PA. This includes all-time greats Marcus Thames, Ron Kittle and Russ Branyan (and Kingman and other obvious names). Surely HR rate is a non-trivial stat.

Marcus Thames: 246/309/485, 105 OPS+
Austin Jackson: 274/335/402, 102 OPS+
Eddie Yost: 254/394/371, 109 OPS+

Different strokes for different folks. :-)

   27. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: August 23, 2017 at 09:47 AM (#5519215)

** As long as his production doesn't lead to too many Red Sox wins. In that case forget the "enjoy" part.


Eh, it's about separating the artist from the art, in a reversal of the usual formulation. I'd like to see Aaron Judge get back to what he was like in the first half of the season, for example. He's a lot of fun to watch, even if he play for the team that makes its home in King George's Mausoleum.

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