Monday, April 25, 2011

The Astros and luck

Zach Levine does a good job trying to dispel any rumors/indications of "Luck" in baseball, and notes the walk/strikeout rate among Astros hitters (short version: Bill Hall barely walks, and strikes out a lot. Less/more than just about anyone else, respectively).

But one person we need to examine a touch more closely is Chris Johnson.

In 2010, the NL average for BABIP was .298. Johnson had a BABIP of .387. He put 264 balls in play in 2010, and got 105 hits for a .308 average. If we reduce his BABIP to .298, then he would have managed about 79 hits, which would drop his average from .308 to a much scarier .229.*

(* - This is all provided that I'm doing my math right.)

If we run the same numbers for 2011, the NL average for BABIP is currently .299. Johnson's BABIP is .235, obviously far below the NL average, and he's currently hitting .181. Johnson has put 54 balls in play, resulting in 13 hits. If his BABIP was on par with the league average, it would result in three more hits, giving him 16 on the season, and a .222 average.

Unfortunately, we may have to come to grips that Johnson really is a .220-.230 hitter, and that luck BABIP has impacted him for better and worse in the span of 113 games with the Astros.