When Alex Rodriguez went on the DL for knee surgery back in July, the Yankees had to make due with Eduardo Nunez. Nunez has had fielding issues and his hitting has been just slightly above replacement level since filling in for A-Rod.
But it appears he's also been the victim of some bad luck. Nunez has hit 40 line drives this season and only 20 have fallen in for hits. Of all hit types, line drives translate to hits more than any other. Nunez's .500 line drive BAbip is third worst among all qualified hitters.
Granted, not all line drives are equal, and it's possible that Nunez has simply hit more soft, or looping line drives than normal, which would make it easier for opposing fielders to make a play. But for the most part, line drives to the outfield, even weak ones, tend to fall in more often than not. And of the 20 outs that Nunez has made on line drives this season, 14 of them have been recorded in the outfield.
Statistically speaking, it is quite rare for a hitter to maintain a below .500 BABIP on line drives over the course of an entire season (no batter since 2008 has hit below .500 on line drives in play). More than likely, Nunez could see some correction in this area over the final two months of play. However, with A-Rod likely to return to the lineup soon, Nunez's line drive troubles probably won't matter much for the Yankees down the stretch.
Nunez hit another line drive last night against the Royals that was caught for an out in right field. He's now 20 for 41 bringing his batting average on line drives in play down to .488. And he's the only hitter with more than 30 liners who's BA(L)ip is under .500.