Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Austin Jackson and the Oddest Stats Ever

It was tough to see Curtis Granderson leave for most Tigers fans, but so far Austin Jackson has filled in admirably both at the plate and in the field. He has quite a few timely hits, and has made some Grandy-like plays out in CF so far. While Granderson is mired in a bit of a slump, AJax seems to keep chugging along, but he has some of the oddest stats you could imagine.

Everyone knows about the regular stats like batting average (.325) and the league leading strikeouts (32). A couple stats that contradict each other right off, but what about the geek stats that are out there?

Batting Average Balls in Play (BABIP) is one that should raise a few eyebrows at least. It is the amount of time when a hitter puts a ball in play that it goes for a hit minus home runs. AJax has only 1 HR so far so this is pretty easy to see. Currently according to Fan Graphs he leads the league in BABIP at an astounding .520. This means that at least every other time he puts the ball in play he is getting a hit. The league average is usually closer to .300 so this implies that he is getting a tad bit lucky so far this year.

Of course the strikeouts play a little role in this as well. Since a lot of his outs come from the KO his in play balls tend to be better hit. Although this has some effect, it still doesn't take away the fact that he is still "hitting them where they ain't" so far this season. Something that can't possibly continue and will look like you took some irvingia to his BABIP at some point most likely.

On top of the BABIP being really high, AJax is 3rd in the league with a 34.7% Lind Drive % (LD%). This stat is considered to be one of the better indicators for hitters to keep their BABIP at a higher level. Basically, the more line drives you tend to hit, the more often you do get a hit.

His Ground Ball % (GB%) is at 36.7% as well, which means that with his speed it helps even more. I'm sure you have seen him get a bunt single at least once so far this year. This leaves his Fly Ball % (FB%) all the way down at 28.6%, which means he isn't swinging for the fences much.

So...where does this leave us? To be honest I have no idea. It's really quite an interesting set of stats to me as it contradicts itself in some ways, and supports itself in others. At the very least we can probably assume that hitting .325 is quite a bit high for him, and won't continue forever. Odds are he moves down to at least the .270s-.280s eventually and standardizes there, but you never can tell.