FanPost

CarGo's home/road splits = Hope?

Today, Captain Andrew Martin said this in the comments:

"I don't have the time to look but xBABIP explorations would be someone interesting for Cargo's H/R splits"

Now first, we have to understand that Mr. Martin speaks a different dialect of English from the rest of us. Whereas we speak English, Mr. Martin speaks what is known as the ‘Preferred Queen's English'.

Utilizing the Yahoo/Altavista Babelfish Translator,


I was able to come to understand that what Mr. Martin meant by:

"but xBABIP explorations would be someone interesting for Cargo's H/R splits"

Was actually intended to read:

"But, xBABIP explorations would be pretty interesting for someone with Home/Road splits as extreme as CarGo's."

To which yours truly responded:

"uh oh, someone's making a quick and dirty fanpost!"

Challenge accepted!

For the unfamiliar, xBABIP is 'expected BABIP'. The work of Peter Bendix and Chris Dutton provides people like us with an xBABIP calculator that, after inputting of a number of different pieces of data, generates what a player's expected BABIP should have been for that time period.

So to do this I immediately went to Fangraphs.com. I was able to get a look at Carlos Gonzalez's data from 2010 through the present 2011. In the following table what you'll find are his total, his home, and his away stats for this time frame and specifically, the stats that the xBABIP calculator requires.

One quick note here is that while the bulk of this data was easily obtained, CarGo's raw number of fly balls, infield pop-ups, and groundballs decomposed in terms of home/away splits were not so easily obtained. To derive this, I would take CarGo's number of at-bats while away and subtract from that his number of strikeouts. The remaining number would then be multiplied by CarGo's road flyball/groundball percentages (which were easily available) and the resulting numbers I used as an estimate of how many actual types of batted balls CarGo hit. The one last thing I did was then take the resulting number of flyballs and multiply that by CarGo's infield fly percentage to derive the number of infield fly balls. This same process was also repeated for his home numbers as well.

So are these numbers perfect? Nah, not really. But they're close enough!

The following table was produced:

ab's

HRs

Ks

SBs

LD%

#flies

#infield flies

#grounders

2011 babip

Xbabip


Total

1002

57

223

43

19.4

281

33

349

0.354

0.357


Home

541

41

96

21

20.9

163

17

188

0.373

0.342


Away

461

13

127

22

17.4

116

14

159

0.33

0.335

WAS











0.338

ATL

0.33

MIL

You'll see I have three different expected away BABIP's for CarGo. The xBABIP calculator asks you to input which team the person plays for. Naturally, by playing in Coors, a player's BABIP and therefore xBABIP is higher. To get a better estimate of what CarGo's expected road BABIP would be, I did a quick look at ESPN's park factors and decided that Nationals Park, Turner Field, and Miller Park are all fairly neutral parks. Technically, I felt that Nationals Park was the most neutral but since that team had only been around for a few seasons when the xBABIP calculator was created - and that data may have contained data from RFK stadium, I just decided to present all three.

So what we see here is that en masse, CarGo's actual BABIP has been pretty much spot on with his xBABIP. Looking deeper, we see that he's gotten quite lucky at home and has hit with a BABIP one would expect on the road.

His lucky home BABIP may be due to him being a high-BABIP type of player who we feel is rather well-suited to hitting at Coors. Or it could just be random variation.

However, I was disappointed to see that what he's done on the road for the past 2 seasons is pretty much exactly what we would expect him to do (at least in terms of BABIP).

Looking at his road BABIP for just 2011 at Fangraphs however, one sees he is currently hitting with a .258 BABIP away from Coors. To explore this further, I decided to compute his xBABIP away for just the 2011 season.

Using the same process above, I arrived at the following numbers:

ab's

HRs

Ks

SBs

LD%

#flies

#infield flies

#grounders

2011 babip

Xbabip


2011

174

8

46

6

15.6

43

4

65

0.258

0.329

WAS










0.333

ATL

0.324

MIL

So according to this table, CarGo should be hitting with a BABIP of .329 or so on the road.

What does this mean? Well I figured out how many extra hits he would have had on the season had he been hitting with a BABIP of .329. It turned out to be 7 hits.

Assuming all of those extra hits were singles, this is what his avg/obp/slg slash line would look like with a .329 BABIP:

Actual Slash Line =  .230/.299/.414

Xbabip Slash Line = .270/.335/.444

Essentially, CarGo has been playing as a .713 OPS hitter on the road when, according to the xBABIP calculator he should be a .779 OPS hitter on the road, at least in terms of 2011.

Now this could just be normal variation. He could be getting somewhat unlucky on the road. Encouraging though is that his core peripherals - his k rate, walk rate, and power have all improved on the road in 2011 compared to 2010.

Personally, I think these extra-deflated numbers are a combination of some poor luck on the road + that insidious Coors Hangover effect.

Conclusions? CarGo seems like he'll always have some pretty strong home/road split differences, but going forward, they shouldn't be as extreme as they've been. And his improvements on the road bode well for the team in 2012. Let's hope he keeps it up and keeps on getting better.

As always, questions, comments, concerns are welcome and encouraged.

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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