Graph of the Intermittent Time Period

This one is very self-explanatory. The Phillies offense, runs be damned, have hit a lot of line drives. Presently, they rank third in all of Major League Baseball with an aggregate 20.6 percent line drive rate. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers (22.3 percent) and Chicago Cubs (21 percent) are better, and all three exceed the 18.6 percent National League average.

(Click to enlarge)

Pete Orr, last night’s hero, is crushing the ball despite a paltry .287 wOBA. Given Wilson Valdez‘s uninspiring 2011 season, Orr has made a case to remain on the roster once Chase Utley returns. Of course, Valdez has job security, so Michael Martinez should be the one worrying about his job status, even as a Rule-5 selection.

Another surprise is Jimmy Rollins. Everybody has been marveling over his walk rate (12 percent compared to his 7.5 percent career average), but he has been hitting the ball well — his .090 ISO is a liar!

Despite the plethora of line drives, the Phillies remain near the middle of the pack with a .298 BABIP. As a group, they have a .679 BABIP on line drives, which is 14th-worst in the NL and more than three percent lower than the NL average. If there is reason for optimism with regard to the Phillies offense, this is it. It is unlikely that the Phillies will be this unlucky on line drives over the course of an entire season, given how well they have been making contact.

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  1. The Citizens Banker

    May 12, 2011 01:47 PM

    More good work, you never let down. This is why BR lifts, I mean steals, I mean borrows, I mean links your stuff…

  2. Bill Pettti

    May 12, 2011 01:53 PM

    Great work. This is like the flip side of their hot start, where they had an insane BABIP–something over .400. They were scoring without the home run ball because 40% of what they put in play was falling in.

    Agree, though, that they have some room to improve.

  3. Josh

    May 12, 2011 02:21 PM

    What is the sample size required for a stable estimate of LD% over the course of the season?

  4. Jim

    May 12, 2011 02:52 PM

    Are there standards that are used in deciding which hit is a line drive vs. which hits are not? Put another way, how subjective is the data?

  5. Joe

    May 12, 2011 03:08 PM

    For the love of god, do something similar with Joe Blanton, GB%, and BABIP compared to career norms. His GB% is higher than ever and his BABIP is higher than ever. He is being brutalized by bad luck right now.

  6. Richard

    May 12, 2011 03:10 PM

    It’s pretty subjective, Jim, but it can’t help but be.

  7. DP...not that kind

    May 12, 2011 03:17 PM

    Joe, I’m pretty sure the 3 or 4 double plays in his last start made up for some of his unlucky BABIP. He had nothing that game and was lucky to only give up 3 runs in 5 inn. Couldn’t throw over 90mph and had a flat fb that was up.

  8. Richard

    May 12, 2011 03:26 PM

    I don’t know that it’s fair to say he had nothing. He was getting a lot of ground balls, many of which found holes (driving up BABIP), others of which were converted into DPs. He certainly was sharp though.

  9. Css228

    May 12, 2011 06:57 PM

    @Bill what are the odds their line drive rate stays the same throughout the season though?

  10. Bill Baer

    May 12, 2011 07:05 PM

    A 20.6% line drive rate isn’t outrageous. I would expect it to drop slightly (particularly that of the bench players), but otherwise, what you see is what you get as far as I can tell.

  11. Richard

    May 12, 2011 07:22 PM

    uh, I meant “He certainly wasn’t sharp” above…

  12. Josh B

    May 12, 2011 11:37 PM

    With regards to Victorino I would assume most of his contact rate translates to ground balls. And because ground balls are converted to hits less than line drives, does his low line drive rate indicate that his hot start is unsustainable?

  13. Css228

    May 13, 2011 01:31 AM

    Thanks Bill, I just wanted to make sure that we weren’t forgetting a variable that can cancel out any gains in BABIP. Basically you’re saying the gains in BABIP on line drives should far outweigh the decrease in line drives

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