BABIP: Winners

We’re looking at my projected leaders for BABIP among Starting Pitchers and the effects these numbers have on FIP and ERA. When I make a projection for ERA, I do not look at previous ERA numbers. I completely ignore past numbers and calculate Earned Run Average based on Strikeouts, Walks, Home Runs Allowed and BABIP. I use the FIP formula and incorporate Batting Average of Balls In Play. This tells me how many Hits are either saved or allowed. Those Hits are equated into Runs and the rest is simple math. Among the leaders in projected BABIP, you’ll notice many Fly Ballers, Pitchers who limit Line Drives and those who are backed by a strong defense. We’re comparing Career FIP/ERA to my projected FIP/ERA and Marcels’ projected FIP/ERA. Marcel is a three-year weighted average that is run by the creator of FIP, Tango Tiger. Make the jump for more damning evidence against the fallacies of xFIP/FIP and why mdsFIP is the shit.

Mat Latos ascended through the minors at break-neck speed. We were supplied with nothing but small sample sizes as he soared to the show. His longest tenure at one stop was the 47 Innings he pitched at AA in 2009 (.256 BABIP). His 2010 season included four months of sub-.255 BABIP baseball. It’s hard to believe, but it took a .393 BABIP in Sept/Oct to bring his total to .273. I’m very optimistic with this projection, but Mat’s career 15.8% LD% is spectacular and the SD defense was one of the league’s best in 2010 (50 team UZR).
Career FIP 3.37 BABIP .268 ERA 3.29
MDS FIP 2.76 BABIP .260 ERA 2.39
Marcel FIP 3.35 BABIP .288 ERA 3.30

Jeremy Guthrie is another wunderkind when it comes to limiting Line Drives. His 17.4% LD% from the past four years in the league’s 6th best mark. His BABIP during this stretch was .265, which trails only Ted Lilly. Four straight years of BABIP numbers that were much better than the league average should be all you need to project a beautiful BABIP for 2011.
Career FIP 4.73 BABIP .270 ERA 4.15
MDS FIP 4.37 BABIP 2.63 ERA 4.08
Marcel FIP 4.57 BABIP .277 ERA 4.09

Ted Lilly is a BABIP monster. He’s got six seasons under his belt in which he’s posted a BABIP at or below .270. This comes from a LD% that is consistently below 20% and a career 46% Fly Ball%. Lilly has sported a league best .260 BABIP during the past four seasons. He’ll take his career .271 mark to La La Land where they have a Pitcher’s park, but an ugly defense.
Career FIP 4.43 BABIP .271 ERA 4.18
MDS FIP 4.16 BABIP .265 ERA 3.83
Marcel FIP 4.00 BABIP .279 ERA 3.63

Daniel Hudson posted a .241 BABIP as a rookie. As a Diamondback (79.2 IP) he posted a stupid .216 BABIP via a 16.8% LD% in front of the league’s best defense (58.3 team UZR). In the minors he was posting numbers between .252 and .286. We don’t need Captain Obvious to warn us of the soon-to-be regression in BABIP, but we do need MDS to tell us what to expect. Expect more of the same.
Career FIP 3.70 BABIP .240 ERA 2.61
MDS FIP 3.44 BABIP .265 ERA 3.11
Marcel FIP 2.66 BABIP .271 ERA 3.20

J.A. Happ didn’t have a track record of limiting Base Hits in the minors, but he’s done it three years running in the majors. Two of those three years came with reduced Innings though. Happ has been limiting Line Drives the past two seasons, but his career K/9 (6.85) and BB/9 (3.71) hinders his ability to help our fantasy teams. If he can get back to his ’09 form that could change, but pitching for Houston is no picnic.
Career 4.41 FIP BABIP .266 ERA 3.27
MDS FIP 4.32 BABIP .267 ERA 4.01
Marcel FIP 4.32 BABIP .282 ERA 3.98 

Ian Kennedy posted BABIP numbers ranging from .231 to .276 in the minors so it’s not much of a surprise to see his .256 BABIP with Arizona. For five of six months we saw Kennedy post a sub-.275 BABIP. The track record is extending past the minor leagues. If he continues to limit Line Drives (18.8%) and Arizona continues to play great defense, Kennedy’s ERA will benefit.
Career FIP 4.48 BABIP .268 ERA 4.33
MDS FIP 4.12 BABIP .267 ERA 3.78
Marcel FIP 4.21 BABIP .280 ERA 3.95

Bronson Arroyo has pitched seven full season in the majors; we’ve seen BABIP numbers of .286, .278, .270, .309, .314, .265 and .239. He’s not a lock to limit Base Hits, but he’s a solid bet. Especially now that Cincy’s defense is better than it has been in years passed.
Career FIP 4.46 BABIP .282 ERA 4.19
MDS FIP 4.71 BABIP .270 ERA 4.37
Marcel FIP 4.52 BABIP .275 ERA 4.00

Matt Cain is the poster child for discrepancies between ERA and xFIP/FIP. This is because he has the ability to limit Base Hits (18.3% LD%, 45.3% FB%) and Home Runs per Fly Ball (7.0% HR/FB%). Cain also benefits from Frisco’s defense, one of the league’s best (56.4 team UZR in ’10). I don’t care that Cain’s numbers would regress if he wasn’t a Giant. I do care about that sore elbow though, be careful.
Career FIP 3.84 BABIP .266 ERA 3.45
MDS FIP 3.61 BABIP .271 ERA 3.31
Marcel FIP 3.74 BABIP ERA 3.45

Felix Hernandez is one of the few Pitchers included that induces more Ground Balls than Fly Balls. The King’s LD% since 2006 (17%) is the league’s fifth best percentage. His BABIP has been below average in only three of his six seasons so he’s not a fool-proof bet, but his 2007 BABIP (.333) was hurt by Seattle’s league-worst defense and his 2008 BABIP (.314) was hurt by the Mariners’ below-average defense. The Mariners’ defense in 2010 was above average (15.8 team UZR) and the additions they made in the off-season have improved their defensive outlook. I’m optimistic here.
Career FIP 3.43 BABIP .295 ERA 3.20
MDS FIP 3.06 BABIP .271 ERA 2.78
Marcel FIP 3.19 BABIP .281 ERA 2.84 

Ubaldo Jimenez is another Ground Baller who made the Top Ten BABIP list. His 17.7% LD% since 2006 is the league seventh best percentage. Ubaldo is so damn good he can limit Base Hits even though he induces more Ground Balls than Fly Balls and pitches in front of a sub-par defense (-107.1 team UZR since ’07). I just wish he wasn’t so expensive.
Career FIP 3.58 BABIP .279 ERA 3.52
MDS FIP 3.09 BABIP .271 ERA 2.82
Marcel FIP 3.27 BABIP .287 ERA 3.22 

More SP with a projected BABIP below .283

Tim Hudson
Career FIP 3.82 BABIP .280 ERA 3.42
MDS FIP 3.98 BABIP .272 ERA 3.68
Marcel FIP 4.03 BABIP .275 ERA 3.41

Trevor Cahill
Career FIP 4.73 BABIP .254 ERA 3.76
MDS FIP 3.87 BABIP .272 ERA 3.56
Marcel FIP 4.31 BABIP .257 ERA 3.53

Jonathan Sanchez
Career FIP 4.08 BABIP .289 ERA 4.26
MDS FIP 3.84 BABIP .273 ERA 3.60
Marcel FIP 3.92 BABIP .288 ERA 3.76

Jon Garland
Career FIP 4.69 BABIP .284 ERA 4.32
MDS FIP 4.42 BABIP .274 ERA 4.19
Marcel FIP 4.36 BABIP .293 ERA 4.02

Erik Bedard
Career FIP 3.66 BABIP .301 ERA 3.71
MDS FIP 3.87 BABIP .276 ERA 3.60
Marcel FIP 3.93 BABIP .291 ERA 3.71

Colby Lewis
Career FIP 4.64 BABIP .309 ERA 5.27
MDS FIP 3.79 BABIP .277 ERA 3.60
Marcel FIP 3.75 BABIP .295 ERA 3.80

C.J. Wilson
Career FIP 3.88 BABIP .287 ERA 3.90
MDS FIP 3.60 BABIP .277 ERA 3.42
Marcel FIP 3.70 BABIP .288 ERA 3.54

Johan Santana
Career FIP 3.40 BABIP .275 ERA 3.10
MDS FIP 3.97 BABIP .278 ERA 3.76
Marcel FIP 3.63 BABIP .291 ERA 3.32

Shaun Marcum
Career FIP 4.46 BABIP .271 ERA 3.85
MDS FIP 3.66 BABIP .278 ERA 3.47
Marcel FIP 3.94 BABIP .286 ERA 3.70

Travis Wood
Career FIP 3.42 BABIP .259 ERA 3.51
MDS FIP 3.61 BABIP .278 ERA 3.42
Marcel FIP 3.54 BABIP .285 ERA 3.49

Jake Peavy
Career FIP 3.50 BABIP .284 ERA 3.36
MDS FIP 3.99 BABIP .279 ERA 3.89
Marcel FIP 3.76 BABIP .288 ERA 3.74

Jeremy Hellickson
Career FIP 3.88 BABIP .267 ERA 3.47
MDS FIP 3.84 BABIP .279 ERA 3.69
Marcel FIP 4.08 BABIP .288 ERA 3.87

Tim Stauffer
Career FIP 4.30 BABIP .289 ERA 4.06
MDS FIP 4.02 BABIP .279 ERA 3.80
Marcel FIP 3.74 BABIP .289 ERA 3.36

Clayton Kershaw
Career FIP 3.32 BABIP .284 ERA 3.17
MDS FIP 2.92 BABIP .280 ERA 2.79
Marcel FIP 3.15 BABIP .289 ERA 3.07

John Danks
Career FIP 4.21 BABIP .284 ERA 3.96
MDS FIP 3.88 BABIP .280 ERA 3.69
Marcel FIP 3.82 BABIP .279 ERA 3.54

Jered Weaver
Career FIP 3.75 BABIP .283 ERA 3.55
MDS FIP 3.40 BABIP .281 ERA 3.27
Marcel FIP 3.57 BABIP .291 ERA 3.50

David Price
Career FIP 3.85 BABIP .267 ERA 3.31
MDS FIP 3.42 BABIP .281 ERA 3.26
Marcel FIP 3.74 BABIP .281 ERA 3.37

Barry Zito
Career FIP 4.29 BABIP .268 ERA 3.86
MDS FIP 4.16 BABIP .281 ERA 4.02
Marcel FIP 4.23 BABIP .295 ERA 4.17

Chris Carpenter
Career FIP 3.89 BABIP .296 ERA 3.79
MDS FIP 3.57 BABIP .282 ERA 3.43
Marcel FIP 3.50 BABIP .289 ERA 3.24

Matt Garza
Career FIP 4.26 BABIP .285 ERA 3.97
MDS FIP 4.25 BABIP .282 ERA 4.08
Marcel FIP 4.19 BABIP .279 ERA 3.81

Anyone else think it’s funny/ironic how the creator of FIP, which says Pitchers do not have the ability to limit Base Hits, is running a forecast system that ignores his FIP numbers when projecting an ERA? You think Tango Tiger ponders the possibility that his FIP formula is insufficient when he sees the numerous discrepancies? You think he’ll try to adopt me if he comes across mdsFIP and the immaculate numbers that I project? It’s beyond obvious that Pitchers can limit Base Hits, here’s the statistical evidence if you want it. There is absolutely no reason to calculate ERA without using Base Hits or Team Defense. The Voros McCracken days are long gone. This is fantasy baseball circa 2011 and I’m busting out the best ERA forecasts you’ll find. Period.

BABIP: Losers

All numbers provided by Fangraphs