BABIP is one of those fancy stats Sabermetrics fans like to throw out. It means Batting Average on Balls In Play. I guess they thought “on” wasn’t important enough to include in the acronym. Or maybe BAOBIP reminded them too much of Bilbao and vacations they would never take. I don’t know. Either way, what does it mean?
BABIP measures how often balls “in play” go for a hit. That means any time a ball is freely wandering about the baseball field for any reason besides a strikeout, walk, hit batter, sacrifice bunt, or home run.
BABIP was originally developed to measure pitchers, not batters. Sabermetricians wanted to know how well a pitcher could prevent hits on balls in play. For example, if he was a contact pitcher, but contact resulted in outs more often than baserunners. Today it is used to measure both pitchers and hitters.
To calculate BABIP: Hits minus home runs, divided by at bats minus home runs minus strikeouts plus sacrifice flies. Super simple.
What’s the point?
Honestly, there is none. BABIP basically measures nothing you can use effectively. Pitchers for the Royals have consistently low BABIP, but is that because they are precise pitchers? Maybe. Or maybe it’s because they have the best defense in the league behind them. Or because they pitch half of their games in one of the largest parks in baseball. And then it could be because Salvador Perez and Ned Yost make an extremely smart team for pitch selection. There are too many outside factors for BABIP.
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