February 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm by Ben Duronio under Atlanta Braves, Statistical Analysis
Here is a summary on xBABIP from The Hardball Times.
Below is each players BABIP and xBABIP, followed by their actual slash lines against their expected slash lines
Most of the players received less luck than expected. The only players who actually had a BABIP higher than their expected mark were Freeman and Bourn, and most of Bourn’s plate appearances were in Houston (both he and Schafer’s above marks are overall totals, not just with Atlanta). While lack of patience was a big part of the Braves’ offensive issues last year, poor luck on balls in play was also a problem.
That is not a very impressive list of slash lines. Only three players have a combination of an on base percentage above .340 and a slugging percentage over .400. For a borderline playoff team, it is astonishing that the Braves had so much success without much offense. Consider the fact that two of the three players who qualified for the above benchmarks missed several games, and it becomes even more astonishing that the Braves won 89 games.
That group of lines would cause one to believe that the offense should be upgraded. The below chart shows why Frank Wren and the Braves’ front office were wise to keep this offense in tact.
Now this is an offense that should be in the upper echelon of the National League. Prado and Chipper should have been .300 hitters according to xBABIP, and Jason Heyward would have had a solid sophomore campaign. Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer actually look like better players too, but as we stated here many times during Schafer’s hot streak, McLouth is the better hitter– this shows that as well. Uggla’s expected line actually has the biggest change from his actual line. Those numbers are in line with his career rates, more or less. A year like that out of Uggla this year would be huge, to say the least.
While the offense’s BABIPs are not expected to match their xBABIPs perfectly, having so many under-perform is simply bad luck. A few recording marks lower than expected is understandable, but basically the whole offense hitting worse than they should have is an anomaly. Expect the Braves to hit much better this year, specifically Prado, Heyward, and Uggla.