Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pandamonium is Back

I wrote much of the following in response to an article on Sandoval, which basically took a jab at him for his free-swinging and eating ways, and thought I would post it here too, as I think the tide is turning for Pablo.  I also took a moment to explain a misconception.

Pandamonium is Back

First, hitters don't regress to the mean on BABIP, it is pitchers.  Just because the average BABIP is .303 has nothing to do with Pablo's BABIP, each hitter has their own level of BABIP.

Second, I think to get another view of this, one needs to break Sandoval's season into parts to try to see what might be happening.

Sandoval's OPS was over 1.000 at the end of April, so it is not like pitchers figured out something on him during the off-season.  Then he hit the wall in early May, but from mid-May to end-May, he was not Panda-esque, but his numbers were decent, great OBP, but only slightly above average OPS.  Basically, he lost his power stroke in May.  Then he hit another wall in early June before heating up with his first homer of June.

Showing this, his BABIP has fallen off the cliff.  In 2008, .356, 2009, .350.  In April, .382, but in May .269 and June .234.

Given the sequence of events, this would imply that after spending a whole off-season trying to figure out how to get out Sandoval, then suddenly one pitcher figured it out and then every pitcher in the league could pitch to him exactly how to get him out after that.  I don't think that is plausible.

To me, it is like something sapped his strength.  Like he had the mother of all colds or some soul-sapping intestinal bug in early May and he has been slowly recovering since then, then had a slight relapse (or just back luck with balls being converted into outs) in early June before recovering again.

The author's point about his line drives percentage being the same this season as last supports this scenario.  His line drives are basically the same as before, showing that his swing isn't the problem, but as noted, his average was down, which makes sense if his strength is weakened, they are then easier to get to and catch for outs. And they go for less extra-base hits:  his ISO on line drives in 2010 is 175 but in 2009 it was 366.

Though too early to say for certain, but I would bet that this article basically came out right when Sandoval finally got healthy or whatever you want to call it, and caught him just after his nadir.  In his last four games, he's hitting .333/.500/.917/1.417, blasting out two homers in four games, after just one homer in 37 games, 153 AB since the start of May.  

His power appears to be back, and thus his line drives should probably start falling in again (because there IS a lot of random luck involved with balls in play) if my theory is right.  And soon this blip will be in the rearview mirror and Pandamonium will reign again.

2 comments:

  1. Hi, I had a question for you about your. I just started my own blog on Blogspot, and I was wondering if you had an email address that I could send a question to?

    Thanks, I think your blog is really great.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a Yahoo account under my handle name, just address my blog name then Yahoo. Happy to answer any questions about how to use Blogger, though I'm no expert.

    ReplyDelete

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