by Matt Habel,  Trivia

RC+ Stat Stumper: BABIP Anomalies

Welcome to RC+ Stat Stumper!

We’re taking a longtime ballpark tradition and giving it a  modern twist. At Great American Ball Park, the Scoreboard Stumper tests your knowledge of baseball history and you might learn a little bit about the Reds as well. The RC+ Stat Stumper is a weekly question about the Reds that involves a newer statistic.

We invite you to post your guesses in the comments (no looking up the answers, please). The correct answers and winners will be revealed prior to first pitch that day. Enjoy and thanks for playing!

Here’s the first Stat Stumper of 2020:

Batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is down across the league so far this year and the Reds are no exception as they are currently last in MLB with a 0.229 (normal is around 0.300). RC+’s Steve Mancuso recently posted a terrific article detailing this statistic and how it has affected the Reds so far this year. Even with a shortened season, we can expect most players to see a return to somewhat normal numbers.

That being said, there are always some anomalies. Since 2015, there have been:

  • 3 different Reds players to finish a season (minimum of 250 plate appearances) with a BABIP less than 0.250
  • 3 different Reds players to finish a season (minimum of 250 plate appearances) with a BABIP higher than 0.350

Name the players to finish above and below each threshold, with bonus points for guessing the correct year. Hint: One of the players has finished with a BABIP higher than 0.350 twice in this time frame.

Matthew Habel was born and mostly raised in Cincinnati and was always a Reds fan growing up. Ironically, he did not become die-hard until moving to Pittsburgh after college and experiencing the 2013 Wild Card game behind enemy lines. While the "Cueto Game" is one of the worst sports moments of his life, he became enamored with the analytics side of the game after reading Big Data Baseball and watching the Pirates organization end their postseason drought. He started writing for Redleg Nation in 2017 and has enjoyed continuously learning more about the sport. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon where he loves exploring the great outdoors. Find him on Twitter @MattadorHeyBull

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Matt Wilkes
Matt Wilkes
2 months ago

This is a tough one. Here are my guesses:

Below .250: Adam Duvall (2018), Billy Hamilton (2018), José Peraza (2019)

Above .350: Joey Votto (2015, 2017), Scooter Gennett (2018), Phillip Ervin (2019)

Steve Mancuso
Admin
2 months ago

Agreed, this is a tough question:

Below .250: Dietrich (2019), Duvall (2018), Bruce (2015)
Above .350: Votto (2015, 2016), Gennett (2018), Peraza (2016)

Question about Dietrich is if he got to 250 PA.

Bruce had a low batting average in 2015 and a lot of home runs.

I would never have guessed Duvall or Gennett except for remembering an article I wrote about how unlucky and lucky they had been respectively. But that was during the middle of the season and I don’t know how they finished. Plus Gennett had a lot of home runs and that depresses BABIP because they are subtracted. Not confident.

I know Peraza is an odd choice for the Above category (I also considered him in several years for Below), but he did hit well above .300 in 2016, I think. Again, not sure about 250 PA. And he’s fast. Speed helps with BABIP. Which is why I kept Hamilton out of my Below list.

The only one I have confidence in for Above is Votto.

Thomas Green
Thomas Green
2 months ago

Great question. I’ll guess Duvall, Peraza, and Schebler for the under. I’ll guess Votto (for sure), Gennett, and Ervin for the over.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

Answers are:

Above 0.350:
Votto (2015, 0.371 & 2016, 0.366)
Peraza (2016, 0.361)
Gennett (2018, 0,358)

Below 0.250
Schebler (2017, 0.248)
Duvall (2018, 0.244)
Dietrich (2019, 0.176)

Thanks for playing!