Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jay Bruce's Struggling BABIP: Part Deux

Last night, first three at-bats...

1st inning: Smoked a line drive to deep right field, where it found the glove of a running Ryan Ludwick on the warning track.

3rd inning: Innocent two-hopper to second.

5th inning: Opposite-field smash that was hauled in at the left field wall.

As much as it seems like his first and third ABs are making my point about BABIP (and it does), his second at-bat does just the same. Did Bruce make solid contact on his 3rd-inning ground out? No, it was harmless. But he did make contact, and every once in a while those balls find holes (we call them "seeing-eye singles"). But Bruce hasn't found holes this year. And his soft liners haven't dropped in front of outfielders.

Perhaps to put Jay Bruce's poor luck in perspective we should take a look at Chris Dickerson: Last season he hit a luckiest-of-the-lucky .410 on balls put in play. This season he remains lucky at .318. Does anyone think Dickerson is in Bruce's stratosphere as a hitter? Of course not. Dickerson has very little power. And it's not like he's capable of magically placing the ball between infielders and in front of outfielders. He's simply been lucky.

Bruce is far from the perfect player, but with league-average luck you'd probably overlook his strikeout totals.

Two years from now you will be embarrassed you ever doubted Jay Bruce.

-Brad Spieser (


Stuart said...

I dunno if you read Red Reporter, but it's great. You were linked there the other day. You should read the article Slyde wrote about Jay Bruce. His BABIP is so low not because he is unlucky, but because his line drive percentage is so low and his fly ball percentage is so high. I have no doubt that he will be a great player, but he is really scuffling and hitting terribly at the moment. BABIP does not explain that away, it just illustrates it.