Posted 03 May 2013 - 08:29 AM
This thread has been very educational - thanks everyone! Now.... let me see if I can do a little novice analysis of Joe Mauer using what I've learned in this thread. Feel free to laugh at this...
First, here are some stats from 4 selected years - 2 bad (2007 and 2011) and 2 good (2009 and 2012). My goal is to see if any of these years had some "random variation" that helped or hurt him. I looked up BABIB, AVG, and LD%, and added OPS, HR, and HR/FB% since HR is excluded from BABIP and I would think those stats would help tell the story.
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Here goes... 2007 and 2011 were two of Mauer's worst years, and both years had a BABIP that was 26 points below his yearly average. 2007 also had one of his lowest LD%'s, but 2011 had an average LD%, suggesting perhaps he was the victim of some negative "random variation." However, I'm sure we all remember the disaster that was 2011, and that he didn't seem like himself. I think the 2.7 HR/FB% gives that away. So, perhaps he was still hitting the ball hard (hence the LD% equal to career average), but not as hard as usual (the lower HR/FB%). This makes me think that the low BABIP in each of these years was not fueled by random variation, but by truly worse hitting. Of course, he had significant injuries in both of these years which is probably the real reason.
Now for the good years... as we all know 2009 was incredible. His BABIP was 28 points above his career average, yet his LD% was at career average, and the same as the awful 2011. However, the number that leaps off the page and tells the story for me is his 12.1 HR/FB%, which is more than double any other year he has had (except his rookie year with only 122 PAs). I think this means he was clearly stronger, "seeing the ball better," etc. suggesting that the BABIP was driven by truly better hitting.
Regarding 2012 - I called it a good year, but it was really average for Mauer (his average year is quite good!), Most numbers are right at career averages, but his BABIP was 19 points higher than his career average. Does this make anyone concerned that he wasn't quite as good as he seemed last year???
Okay, there's my first try. What do you think - did I go off the reservation?