Earlier today we took a look at which Rays are hitting well and who isn’t using wOBA. Now let’s look at who has been lucky and who could use an adjustment to their superstitious routines.

To do this, we are going to compare BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) to each player’s expected BABIP (xBABIP). Think of it this way: A certain percentage of balls hit fair become basehits. BABIP is how often they do become basehits. xBABIP is how often they should become basehits (players that hit the ball harder and players that are faster, typically have a better shot at getting a basehit).

If a player’s xBABIP is significantly higher than their actual BABIP, that is a good indication that the player has been unlucky. In other words, he is hitting better than his stats might indicate, but maybe his linedrives are finding gloves more often than they should. In theory, if the batter keeps swinging the same way, at some point, those line drives will start finding holes (check this link for an explanation of xBABIP).

Notes on the table are below (data through Sunday)…

Notes on the table…

  • “Luck” in this case is defined as the difference between a player’s actual BABIP and their expected BABIP (xBABIP).
  • We divided the players into three groups using arbitrary boundaries. Basically, anybody with a BABIP 40 points higher than expected has been lucky and anybody with a BABIP 40 points lower than expected has been unlucky.
  • Not surprising, Matt Joyce, Casey Kotchman, and Justin Ruggiano have all be lucky so far as more balls are falling for basehits than they probably deserve. But really, we all know those guys aren’t .330+ hitters. Their xBABIPs are still good. So they should continue to hit well, just not this well.
  • At the other end, we see several batters that we have been critical of. These guys aren’t producing, but it might not be entirely their fault.
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  1. Sarah says:

    So Dan Johnson was correct when he noted that they just didn't seem to be falling in for him.

    On the other hand, Elliot Johnson and Reid Brignac can't complain that they've been unlucky!

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