Friday, July 11, 2014

Boom or Bust Astros

I was at last weekend’s Angels series in Anaheim, and every time George Springer came to bat, his numbers struck me as unreal.  Not necessarily their greatness, although some categories do impress, but their uniqueness.  

George Springer does not hit the ball in the field of play.

Of course, I knew his HRs, Ks, and BBs, elsewhere known as the Three True Outcomes (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=724), exceeded the norm.  However, lit up on the scoreboard in giant typeface, I couldn’t help notice how extreme Springer is.

Why does it matter?  If Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) is considered mostly luck, as has become pretty close to canon, an evaluator would seemingly get a more pure assessment of a player’s skill by looking at the Three True Outcomes.  

Springer’s small sample size perhaps makes that more pure assessment moot.   He is only a rookie and has plenty of room for development.  Further, a high rate of the Three True Outcomes is not inherently a good thing if strikeouts cause most of the phenomenon.

But, still, I wondered how Springer’s current numbers would stack up all time.

To the Three True Outcomes, I added HBPs, as any Astros fan can tell you from watching Craig Biggio that a certain amount of skill can create them.  I also added Sacrifice Flies to the Total ABs, reasoning that those balls, even though not counted as an AB, were in fact hit in play in normal swing circumstances.  The stat, with my adjustments, I called Balls Not in Play (BNIP).  The formula: (HR + SO + BB + HBP) / (AB + BB + HBP + SF).

Here are the top 20 all time in BNIP.  These stats reflect non pitchers with over 750 ABs.  Also, because of the database used, this year’s stats were not included.

Player
BNIP
totalAB
HR
SO
BB
HBP
SF
Jack Cust
0.5347
2581
105
819
444
12
18
Chris Carter
0.5222
969
48
336
118
4
9
Dave Nicholson
0.5190
1657
61
573
219
7
12
Russell Branyan
0.5141
3394
194
1118
403
30
27
Adam Dunn
0.5099
7815
440
2220
1246
79
36
Melvin Nieves
0.5025
1391
63
483
136
17
10
Mark Reynolds
0.5011
3945
202
1276
459
40
28
Rob Deer
0.4980
4510
230
1409
575
32
22
Kelly Shoppach
0.4935
1836
70
624
155
57
8
Frank Fernandez
0.4883
901
39
231
164
6
4
Jim Thome
0.4825
10312
612
2548
1747
69
74
Cody Ransom
0.4723
849
30
274
88
9
0
Carlos Pena
0.4704
5823
285
1566
813
75
45
Justin Maxwell
0.4691
874
34
275
93
8
5
Ryan Howard
0.4675
5018
311
1401
588
46
44
Mark McGwire
0.4664
7657
583
1596
1317
75
78
Mike Stanton
0.4660
2002
117
572
224
20
9
Mark Bellhorn
0.4655
2481
69
723
346
17
11
Bo Jackson
0.4558
2624
141
841
200
14
17
Juan Francisco
0.4540
771
32
259
54
5
3

As for Springer?  He did not disappoint.  His .527 BNIP  this year would rank him 2nd all time, just above teammate Chris Carter.   
BNIP
total AB
HR
SO
BB
HBP
SF
Springer
0.527273
330
19
109
37
9
2

How about Jon Singleton, you might ask?  His .517 BNIP would project to 5th all time (with Springer included).  
BNIP
total AB
HR
SO
BB
HBP
SF
Springer
0.527273
330
19
109
37
9
2
Singleton
0.517483
143
6
51
16
1
1

Three of the top five players in BNIP in history in the same lineup!
As I wrote, not inherently a good thing.  Jeff Luhnow has said himself that it’s not an ideal lineup construction, and Carter is the only player of the three he acquired.  Further, these stats might not surprise anyone who follows the squad.


But, BNIP puts into context how historically boom or bust this offense is.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Terrific look! 1oldpro

Anonymous said...

if carter is the measure of acceptability at the plate for the astros, we are in deep deep excrement