I was playing around with some spreadsheets this passed weekend, using some underlying stats to adjust a player’s batting line, and I thought it would be fun to use it on the Orioles’ hitters so far (coming into Saturday’s games, at least). First thing it does is use ball in play rates (line-drives, flyballs, pop-ups, and groundballs), strike-outs, and home runs to find a player’s expected BABIP^ using the tool found here. That’s used to adjust the player’s hits, while keeping the proportion of singles, doubles, and triples the same. Then I input a HR/FB%^ – usually a weighting of recent years’ rates or career rate but sometimes adjusting a little based on observation (such as Markakis not exactly hitting a lot of deep shots) – to adjust the home run totals. Extra home runs are distributed between singles, doubles, and outs. The plate discipline estimator developed by Jeff Zimmerman at BtB uses swing and contact rates for pitches in and out of the strike-zone to predict walk and strike-out rates. The final adjusted batting line gives an idea of how the batter “should” be hitting. (It’s still a work in progress though.) The projected lines are the community projections from before the season started.
The strike-outs are down and the walks are up – and more or less in line with the projections. He’s not elevating the ball enough (51.3% groundball rate), which is a large part of what’s suppressing the power. That’s not terribly unusual for young hitters, and if he has hitting as many flyballs as he did last year (41.9% GB rate), then that by itself would raise his slugging percentage by over 30 points.
His power has dropped off every year, and I decreased it a touch further to just 7% HR/FB rate. The big increase in swings at pitches out of the strike-zone is partially responsible for his drop in walk rate from recent years.
Even dropping away his crazy start with home runs, he’s hitting quite well.
He’s swinging a whole lot – especially at balls – but making contact. The power looks like it’s come back a little this year as well.
Izzy’s .224 BABIP is what’s keeping his line way down, not that he’s a particularly good hitter anyway.
Nolan is still showing good plate discipline, but he isn’t hitting the ball with authority much (12.5% line-drive rate) and is striking out too often to keep his average up.
He’s chasing 40% of pitches out of the zone, which is amazingly terrible. Just 4 walks on the year. Gonna be hard to be valuable with the bat doing that.
Nick’s not driving the ball very often this year, but he’s done a fine job of getting his OBP back up after the drop last year.
I’m concerned that he’s chasing more pitches out of the zone and walking much less, but the batting average and power are more or less there.
The totals for these batters – weighing by plate appearances – is:
Some definite under-performing going on, especially in the power department. The team overall is hitting groundballs more frequently than any other team in the AL, which isn’t exactly conducive to extra-base hits. They’re also swinging at a lot of balls – 29.9% of pitches out of the zone – which helps explain the AL worst 7.1% walk rate. A lot of these batters are really going to need to pick it up soon for the offense to end up even close average this season.