That quote comes from Joe Maddon after last night’s game (via Roger Mooney of TBO.com) and refers to the .179 batting average of Logan Forsythe. Here is the full quote:
“We do our work on him and ball off the bat, hard contact has been there…He gets at least one line drive caught a game it seems, and that kills the complimentary components. One ball falls in and you feel better. He’s not been nearly as bad as that one number indicates. I have not seen a whole lot bad. I think he’s a classic example of a guy you got to hang with, because it’s in there. His track record is good. He’s not really off of it outside of an actual number with the batting average, because otherwise a lot of the underlying noise is pretty good.”
Now, we all know by now that Maddon is not going to rip one of his players publicly if they are struggling as long as they are trying. But this quote is perplexing because it is just not true.
Here is a look at Forsythe’s line drive rate throughout his career, which is generally a good indicator of how often a batter is hitting the ball hard.
When Forsythe hits a ball in fair territory, only 17.1% of those balls have been a line drive.
Forsythe has hit the ball fair 70 times this season. That means he has hit 12 line drives in 93 plate appearances.
That is 12 line drives in 32 games (22 starts), not one every game as suggested by Maddon.
Forsythe does have a ridiculously low .214 bating average on balls in play (BABIP) which suggests he has been a little unlucky so far. But with such a low line drive rate against American League pitching, I wouldn’t expect that BABIP to be much better even if he wasn’t unlucky.
Of course, we are talking about a guy that will start 60-70 games this year and will disappear in most others. The Rays have bigger problems than Logan Forsythe. But right now he is not helping and there is little to indicate that this will change anytime soon.