From this morning’s Enquirer:
John Erardi writes an interesting article on Jay Bruce and the luck he’s been hitting in…
Take Joey Votto, for instance. His batting average on balls in play last year was inordinately high (.372), even for a guy who line-drives 22 percent of the time on balls in play.
Conversely, Bruce’s BABIP was .221, inordinately low, even for a guy who hit only 13 percent line drives.
Votto was luckier than the average guy. Bruce was unluckier than the average guy.
How unlucky was Bruce? Would you believe that last year he was dead last in
BABIP in the entire National League? It’s true.
Even if we assume that Bruce’s approach last year was flawed – and we happen to believe it was (he swung at bad pitches, tried to jerk the outside pitch over the fence, and did not wait for his pitch) – he was still unlucky.
By the way, the early sample size from this season indicates he’s improving in all those categories.
I’ve seen estimates that Bruce’s BABIP with normal luck would have been anywhere from .270 to .294. That would have meant anywhere from 12 to 18 more hits during the year – or 35 to 50 points in batting average.
Thirty-five to fifty points!
Even if those 12 to 15 hits are all singles, that’s 60 to 100 points more of the beloved on-base average plus slugging.
And what do you think Bruce’s BABIP is this year? Would you believe that a week ago it was .205? He was hitting in worse luck than he did last year, when he was dead last in the league. But through Thursday’s games, he was up to .250, indicating that his luck might be improving.
And he’s been hitting the ball on the line 20 percent of the time. The estimators say his BABIP should be somewhere between .290 and .310.
Check it out, it’s a good read.
Also, John Fay has an interesting take on how Joey Votto approaches his at-bats…
All Joey VottoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s at-bats begin the same way. He sets his left foot, then his right. He stretches the bat across the plate, then assumes his stance. Bat high. Jaw clenched.
But it is whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going on inside VottoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head that makes him the hitter he is. And by the stat that best measures offensive production Ã¢â‚¬â€œ OPS (on-base plus slugging) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Votto was the third-best hitter in the National League last season, behind Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.
VottoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s something of a natural. Insiders in the Reds organization knew he would end up in the big leagues after seeing him put on a show at Cinergy Field a couple days after he was drafted in 2002.
Votto hones his craft. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one of the hardest workers on the team and he embraces the cerebral side of hitting.
What follows is a conversation with Votto about The At-Bat, the four or five times a day he steps in the box and battles a pitcher:
Interesting insight into Joey’s approach at the plate.