From The Fantasy Oracle 2016 MLB Draft Guide Is Here! 

BABIP: Outliers

BABIP can help lead us to some hidden gems as well as overperformers in the early season.

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What is BABIP? I addressed that in a previous piece. As to how it's impacting players in 2014, that's what this article will be speaking to. Which players may be having success based on an artificially high BABIP? Which players are struggling and part of the blame must be placed on an artificially low BABIP? So glad you asked.

NOTE: Though the league average is .290-300, players do tend to establish their own baseline. Also worth mentioning. Numbers over .350 put you on the major league leaderboard. Numbers over .380 give you a chance to lead the league.


.424 Marlon Byrd
.423 Jason Kubel
.415 Shin-Soo Choo

All three of these numbers are comically high. None will finish the year in the .400's. Period. Check out their career marks: Byrd (.327), Kubel (.306), Choo (.353). Note how much higher Choo is than the others which likely portends a softer landing than the other two over the remainder of the season (not to mention that he's simply a better hitter).

.394 Emilio Bonifacio
.392 Troy Tulowitzki

Speedsters can have high numbers with their ability to beat out grounders. Still Emilio's career mark, while healthy, is “only” .336. Tulowitzki's career mark is .319. He's been under .336 every season of his career.

.386 Seth Smith, Brett Gardner

Smith has a career mark of .308 and has never been above .324 in a season. Gardner has a strong .328 career mark but he's never been over .340 in a season.

.379 Dee Gordon
.378 Joe Mauer, Dayan Viciedo
.375 Matt Adams
.374 Melky Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew McCutchen
.373 Adam LaRoche, Howie Kendrick
.372 Yasiel Puig

Mauer owns a career .349 which is huge. He did finish last year at .383 but that's a massive number to repeat in back-to-back seasons Mauer has never had back-to-back season of .365). Adams not only has a massive BABIP but his line drive rate is insanely high at 27.2 percent (the league average is in the 19-20 percent range). Doom is in the future in terms of his batting average. On the other end of things Puig somehow has a .372 mark with a line drive rate of 12 percent. That makes no sense at all. He needs to start hitting more liners, but even if he does it's hard to buy the .380 BABIP he has in 138 career games – that would be the greatest mark in baseball history if I'm not mistaken if he kept it up over 1,000 career games.


The following batters are currently saddled with an impossible to comprehend BABIP on the downside. All of them should see substantial improvement as the season progresses – even Moustakas.

.141 Mike Moustakas
.161 Carlos Santana
.179 Jedd Gyorko
.198 Brad Miller

All of those guys could see a .100 percent increase and no one would bat an eye.

Some others on the low end.

.216 Brian McCann
.213 Brett Lawrie
.231 Pablo Sandoval
.242 Albert Pujols
.245 Brian Dozier

McCann has struggled, and he really needs to start working some walks, but it's also pretty hard to believe he'll finish the year that much below his .287 career mark though it should be noted the last two seasons that he's failed to post a mark of .265. Lawrie owns a career mark of .293, right on the big league average. Sandoval has a .312 career mark and has been over .300 each of the past three years. Pujols is an interesting case. He's never been a big BABIP guy. His career mark is .305 but get this – the last time he reached .300 was back in 2008. If things normalize the number is likely to be about .280 this year, so there's not as much to gain as you would expect. Be very, very nervous with Dozier. As a rookie his mark was .267. Last year it was .278. His BABIP could rise a bit, but not that he's not, simply put, a very refined hitter.

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The following hurlers – I won't even waste time trying to explain it. Odds are extremely high that every man above .350 will see a substantial regression toward the mean as the innings pile up. Yes, even The Freak.

.375 Stephen Strasburg
.370 Jordan Zimmermann
.364 Corey Kluber
.363 Tim Lincecum
.352 Cliff Lee
.351 Wei-Yin Chen
.350 CC Sabathia

Other hurlers that are currently being weighed down by a BABIP that is too high.

.346 Madison Bumgarner
.345 Chris Archer
.344 David Price
.343 Homer Bailey

MadBum has a career mark of .292. The .253 mark that Archer posted last season was likely a bit too low, but his current mark is way too high. Hopefully things settle around .280, his career mark. Defense can play a part, this cursory survey isn't digging that deep into BABIP, so it's worth noting that the two Ray's hurlers have marks as high as they do. In six previous seasons Price has never had a BABIP of .300. Not once. Bailey has the best GB/FB ratio of his career (1.70) but a lot of those grounders are currently finding holes (even though he's allowed a ton of homers remember that BABIP doesn't count big flies). Doesn't make much sense that after three years in the .284-.296 range that things would settle at .343 this year.

Now on to the men that have been far too fortunate. I'm not saying panic with these guys and sell them for .85 cents on the dollar, but just know that more hits are coming, and that obviously will take away from their current level of performance.

.160 Johnny Cueto
.188 Julio Teheran
.203 Jason Hammel
.211 Alfredo Simon, Tom Koehler

If any of those five men finish with .050 points of where they currently are that would be an extremely successful campaign. Odds of that happening? Pretty low.

Some others to note.

.226 Dillon Gee
.228 Tim Hudson
.247 Adam Wainwright
.254 Jesse Chavez, Garrett Richards
.255 Yordano Ventura, Jered Weaver

Gee has marks of .270, .301 and .296 the past three years (career .279). Hudson has been flat out locked in. I mean he's walked four guys in eight starts and has a 0.81 WHIP. He's also had a BABIP between .270-.281 the past three years and only once in his 15 year big league career has the mark been under .252. Wainwright has a .293 career mark. It's never been lower than .272 in a season. Chavez is right there as well with a .296 career mark. What do you know... Richards is an exact match at .296. One would think Ventura has the stuff that he could post a .255 rate an no one would be shocked. As for Weaver, his career mark is well below the rest at .270 so he's currently not that far off what should be expected.


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