FanPost

The Rockies and BABIP


It's a scene that's played out far too often this season.  The Rockies have men on, the batter smokes the pitch, and it finds an opponent's glove.  Rockie fans everywhere curse the luck dragon and threaten to rip the BABIP Fairy's voice box out - (Come on, you know you've done it).  Whether the Rockies have been unlucky when it comes to BABIP this season is not debatable, the only question is just how unlucky have they been?  Let's find out.

Note:  (If you're unfamiliar with BABIP, you can read about it here.)

Second Note: All numbers in this piece reflect what they were entering Thursday's game.

Here are the Rockies BABIP splits as a team so far this season.

Home BABIP  .291
Road BABIP  .276
Overall BABIP .283

 

Okay, so what does it mean?  Without context, an overall BABIP of .283 doesn't sound so unlucky, and certainly not unfortunate enough to have a huge impact on a team's season; but that's only a small piece of the puzzle.  To find the real answers, we must dig deeper into the numbers.  So let's see how the Rockies overall BABIP ranks among other National League teams.

 

1) Astros  .316
2) Cardinals .315
3) Cubs .313
4) Mets .305
5) Reds .301
6) Dodgers .296
7) Pirates .290
8) Marlins .289
9) D'Backs .288
10) Padres .287
11) Brewers .287
12) Giants .284
13) Rockies  .283
14) Phillies  .279
15) Braves .279
16) Nationals  .277

 

13th is certainly not satisfying, but it also doesn't look too bad in Washington, Atlanta, and Philadelphia right now either.  Looking at this alone, it would seem as though the Rockies BABIP woes this season have been greatly exaggerated.  Except for one thing; it fails to take into consideration the most important factor of all - Coors Field; and what it reveals, is astonishing.

Below I have taken the Rockies team BABIP for each of the last ten seasons and calculated where it ranks in the N.L.

 

Year Team BABIP N.L. Rank
2001 .322 1st
2002 .311 1st
2003 .302 3rd
2004 .314 1st
2005 .307 1st
2006 .310 1st
2007 .322 1st
2008 .308 4th
2009 .305 4th
2010 .310 3rd
Average .311 /

 

Look at what playing half their games at Coors Field does to the Rockies BABIP!!!  This should be anything but a surprise but it does do an excellent job of putting that 2011 team BABIP of .283 and NL rank of 13th into perspective.  Once you realize that the Rockies average BABIP over the last ten years is 28 points higher than it is right now and that the Rockies have never ranked lower than 4th in this category in team history, you can start to understand just how awful their luck has been this season.

It gets even worse when you just look at the numbers at Coors Field.  Here's what they look like over the last 10 years. 

 

Year Team BABIP at Home
2001 .358
2002 .342
2003 .320
2004 .337
2005 .337
2006 .331
2007 .333
2008 .316
2009 .323
2010 .341
Average .334

 

Now consider that the Rockies have a .291 BABIP at home and a 13-15 record at Coors Field entering this series against the Dodgers.  The season suddenly makes a lot more sense.  The Rockies have survived on the road (16-17 with a slightly below average BABIP) but have gotten burned at home (the place where they usually excel) by a BABIP that's 43 POINTS below what the average has been over the last ten years.  In other words, the Rockies' opponents have been benefitting from the generous BABIP Coors Field provides and they have not.

Nowhere is this truer than in Troy Tulowitzki's splits.  Heading into this series against the Dodgers, his numbers were considerably better out on the road than at the friendly confines of Coors Field.

 

~ PA BA OBP HR OPS BABIP
Home 119 .238 .298 5 .727 .220
Road 143 .280 .364 6 .884 .264

 

What's about to happen here should be obvious.  Tulo's remarkably unlucky .220 BABIP at Coors Field will rebound in a huge way and his numbers will soar.  (They pretty much has to; Tulo's BABIP is 104 POINTS below his career BABIP at Coors of .324)  And the best news of all, whenever Tulo's numbers start to skyrocket, the Rockies record usually follow suit - (See September 2007, June 2009, September 2009, the 15 game stretch last September where Tulo hit 14 HR's, and April of this season for reference).

Throw in the rest of the team who has also been unlucky at Coors this season and the fact that the Rockies are entering a stretch where they play 16 of 22 games at home, and it looks like things are about to get awfully fun in the LoDo.

_____________________

Sources: www.fangraphs.com  & www.baseballreference.com

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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