Seth Smith: Man of Many Splits

By this point in the season, I think it's been made pretty apparent that I'm a giant fan of our own LF Seth Smith. I find his playing time to be incredibly lacking, considering his general batting efficiency, his fielding, and the fact that I hear he also can fly and does charity work for puppies with cancer in his spare time.

Seriously, though, his statistical breakdown is really interesting, considering the deficiencies he's supposed to have and the actual numbers he puts up, both home and away.

For starters, let's take a look at my favorite stat, IsoD (OBP - AVG) which, as we all know by now, is a measure of how well a player is able to take walks. The general idea of OBP, again, as we all know, is how often a player DOESN'T make an out. Right now, Smith is amongst the leaders in both categories for the Rockies.

Name

PA

AB

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

IsoD

IsoP

Seth Smith*

113

90

23

17

.278

.425

.489

.914

.147

.211

Omar Quintanilla*

24

19

4

10

.211

.348

.263

.611

.137

.052

Chris Iannetta

123

104

18

27

.231

.350

.510

.859

.119

.279

Ian Stewart*

129

111

14

35

.180

.287

.405

.692

.107

.225

Troy Tulowitzki

192

163

23

36

.221

.313

.387

.699

.092

.166

Dexter Fowler#

184

155

22

39

.258

.346

.394

.740

.088

.136

Garrett Atkins

189

168

18

26

.196

.275

.286

.561

.079

.090

Yorvit Torrealba

70

61

6

14

.230

.304

.344

.649

.074

.114

Ryan Spilborghs

180

161

15

35

.261

.330

.422

.752

.069

.161

Brad Hawpe*

167

145

18

26

.345

.413

.614

1.027

.068

.269

Clint Barmes

159

145

11

33

.262

.323

.469

.792

.061

.207

Todd Helton*

194

173

18

25

.312

.371

.503

.874

.059

.191

Matt Murton

42

39

3

6

.256

.310

.462

.771

.054

.206

Jeff Baker

24

23

1

7

.130

.167

.217

.384

.037

.087

* indicates LHB, # indicates Switch

The other number I love to see is that high IsoP (SLG-AVG), and it warms the cockles of my evil heart to see Seth Smith amongst the leaders in that category as well. However, whenever we see a player OPSing over .900, especially a Rockies batter, it can't be real, it's all Coors Field, he's actually terrible on the road, blah blah blah.         

Join me after the jump and we'll see what Seth Smith has to say about this.

When you talk Home/Away splits, Seth Smith has this to say:

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

K

SB

CS

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

Home

21

39

10

14

2

2

1

6

12

8

1

0

.359

.510

.590

1.100

Away

25

51

6

11

1

0

3

5

11

9

1

0

.216

.355

.412

.767

 

Oh.

That wasn't expected.

Before we automatically burn him at the stake for being a Coors Hitter (TM), let's break down some more numbers. Because that's what we do here in Counting Rocks.

AVG

OBP

SLG

OPS

IsoD

IsoP

Home

.359

.510

.590

1.100

.151

.231

Away

.216

.355

.412

.767

.139

.196

Well I'll be buggered. Will you take a look at that? Those Iso's are remarkable similar, home and road!

What this is telling me is that Smith is surprisingly consistent between home/road - in terms of his batting style. He's walking a very similar amount, when he makes contact, it goes a similar distance (if you'll give him the benefit of a bit of a Coors SLG bonus), he's just having trouble getting the actual hits.

Granted, it's a small-ish sample size, but something's clearly up. Smith is currently batting with a LD% of 23.6%, a whole .02% lower than his career line. He's clearly making solid contact when he makes it, so let's check out BABIP and see what secrets that can reveal for us.

PA

AB

BAbip

Home

51

39

.433

Away

62

51

.205

Season

113

90

.304

Well, just looking at those home/road splits, it's pretty apparent that neither BABIP is really sustainable. Smith sported a .349 BABIP in the minors, which indicates that his home split might not be TOO unreal, but it more points to the fact that he just can't find a hole when he's on the road.

His 2008 numbers show an exact opposite split:

PA

AB

BAbip

Home

43

35

.148

Away

80

73

.370

Season

123

108

.370

So given that Smith's splits have flip-flopped between the two seasons, I'm not ready to brand him a home or road hitter. Or really anything other than a very, very patient hitter.

The funniest split to look at this season is the only one that everyone seems to be behind: Seth Smith can't hit lefties. Well, can he?

PA

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

BAbip

vs RHP

101

83

23

3

1

3

18

15

.277

.406

.446

.852

.308

vs LHP

12

7

2

0

1

1

5

2

.286

.583

1.000

1.583

.250

An OPS of 1.583? And you people say this guy can't hit lefties? Looks to me like OWNS lefties!

(What do you mean 12 PA isn't statistically significant? Go away, I'm proving a point here.)

Well I'm clearly joking around about the LHP splits, but the Home/Road splits are...well, completely weird. They're both very AVG-driven, and that road BABIP is bound to come up. This isn't the case where he's magically slugging .200 higher in Coors than on the road and that fills out his entire OPS split, he's clearly batting pretty similarly both places. My thought? Give the guy more playing time. There's no way a guy with those peripheral numbers is seriously a .216 hitter outside of Coors Field.

So to conclude, Seth Smith is a very interesting batter. Fangraphs lists him as just shy of a win above replacement (which would more than likely be higher if he had full-time ABs), but his .409 wOBA puts him tied for 5th with Adam Dunn in MLB LFs (4th in the NL).

You ask me what I think about Seth Smith? He's badass.

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