Search Archives
Follow Us

Featured Sponsors


Mailing List
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust
Twitter Feeds

This site utilizes the MLB analytics platform powered by TruMedia Networks

Entries in Chicago Cubs (33)

Saturday
Apr092011

Marlon Byrd Hitting Ropes

Marlon Byrd's .417 BAbip heading into Saturday's action put him 14th among all batters this season with a minimum of 30 plate appearances.  Byrd has a lifetime .327 BAbip, and while there is an element of skill involved in BAbip, it tends to decline with older players.  Part of this is due to a decline in speed - older players aren't able to leg out infield singles like they could in their younger years.

For the Cubs Marlon Byrd, it's quite clear what's propping up his BAbip early in the season.

Marlon Byrd through April 8, 2011
PAAVGSLUGBABIPHR%
Totals31.323.419.4170.0%
Line Drive7.8571.286.8570.0%
Fly Ball3.000.000.0000.0%
Ground Ball12.333.333.3330.0%
Pop Up2.000.000.0000.0%

Six of Byrd's line drives in play have resulted in hits so far this season. Compared to his previous three year average, Byrd has been a little lucky so far this season.

Marlon Byrd 2008-10
PAAVGSLUGBABIPHR%
Totals1691.291.456.3242.7%
Line Drive258.7581.043.7491.2%
Fly Ball362.269.723.17011.1%
Ground Ball600.252.283.2520.0%
Pop Up65.092.108.0920.0%

I guess what's most surprising, if anything could be labeled as such this early, is that Byrd has hit more line drives than fly balls so far. Although it's always important to note that line drives are subjective calls and interpretation varies depending on the scorer. Lastly, compared to his previous three seasons, Byrd has been somewhat lucky on his ground balls so far. Expect his overall BAbip to regress in the coming months as his averages on ground balls and line drives come back down a bit.

Tuesday
Apr052011

Willie Bloomquist's Wrigley Field Dinger

Arizona Diamondback Willie Bloomquist rocketed a leadoff home run off of Chicago Cubs starter Randy Wells yesterday afternoon.  It was only the 14th HR in Bloomquist's major league career; in fact, he has more triples in his career (15) than home runs.

Taking a look at Bloomquist's slugging percentage heat map, we see that while he doesn't generate a lot of power, he does hit inside pitches well.

Willie Bloomquist 2008-10
(Click to enlarge)

Randy Wells threw Bloomquist a 2-1 cutter that came up and in, usually a very tough location for a batter to turn on.  However, Bloomquist deposited it into the left field bleacher seats at Wrigley.

Willie Bloomquist vs. Randy Wells (Top 1st, 4/4/11)
(Click to enlarge)

The home run traveled 379 feet.  In 2010, Bloomquist, then a Kansas City Royal, hit a game winning home run off a 92 MPH fastball from Detroit Tigers' Alfredo Figaro, which traveled 385 feet and landed in an almost identical location in the left field seats, albeit in Comerica Park.  Where was that pitch located?

Willie Bloomquist vs. Alfredo Figaro (Top 12th, 8/25/2010)
(Click to enlarge)

Bloomquist isn't a home run threat by any means.  But pitchers should probably avoid that upper inside portion of the zone to keep it that way.

Saturday
Apr022011

Marmol's Strikeouts

Carlos Marmol struck out all three batters he faced Saturday as he earned his first save of the season for the Cubs.  Among pitchers with 1000 batters faced since the start of the 2008 season, Marmol strikes out the highest percentage of batters, and it's not even close for second place.  The following table shows the top 20:

 

Pitcher

Plate App

K Per PA

BB Per PA

BABIP

Carlos Marmol

1026

0.339

0.154

0.238

Tim Lincecum

2905

0.277

0.083

0.301

Brandon Morrow

1207

0.262

0.119

0.300

Rich Harden

1655

0.26

0.117

0.277

Yovani Gallardo

1751

0.247

0.106

0.304

Ryan Madson

1010

0.246

0.067

0.311

Clayton Kershaw

2113

0.245

0.111

0.288

Jonathan Sanchez

2330

0.244

0.116

0.286

Max Scherzer

1778

0.239

0.087

0.307

Edinson Volquez

1369

0.237

0.12

0.296

Jake Peavy

1569

0.235

0.081

0.282

Justin Verlander

2812

0.234

0.08

0.303

Dan Haren

2811

0.232

0.047

0.298

Jon Lester

2740

0.231

0.081

0.298

Jorge De La Rosa

1882

0.231

0.106

0.308

Josh Johnson

1989

0.23

0.068

0.303

Javier Vazquez

2469

0.229

0.069

0.296

Joba Chamberlain

1479

0.229

0.095

0.323

Ricky Nolasco

2318

0.228

0.051

0.302

Zack Greinke

2685

0.226

0.06

0.308



The stats that really make Marmol interesting, however, are his high walk rate and his extremely low BABIP rate.  He walks batters 15.4% of the time, while the major league rate is 9.4%.  The walks don't hurt him however, since batters only hit .238 when they put the ball in play, while the major league average stands at .302.

The idea behind BABIP is that once a ball is put in play, the pitcher doesn't have much control over what happens.  The results of these batted balls should be random and dependent on the strength of the defense.  If you look at this group of high strikeout pitchers, the top 20 in K per PA since the start of the 2008 season, very few of them post a BABIP well over the league average.  It seems the same quality that make contact with the baseball difficult also leads to balls in play that are easier to field.  If a batter has difficulty making contact in the first place, he should have difficulty squaring up the ball in general.

Note that Marmol's BABIP probably isn't as good as shown here.  As a pitcher with both a high walk and strikeout rate, the balls in play against him represent a small sample size.  As time goes on, I suspect his BABIP will regress toward the league mean, but as long as his K rate remains high, he's likely to beat the MLB average.