clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Indians are still contenders in the AL Central

Every single player who has received a significant amount of at bats for the Cleveland Indians has been unlucky on balls in play, with the exception of Grady Sizemore.

Take a look at this chart:

 

Expected BABIP Actual BABIP Difference
Jhonny Peralta 0.29 0.257 -0.033
Ryan Garko 0.282 0.254 -0.028
David Dellucci 0.253 0.243 -0.01
Grady Sizemore 0.256 0.269 0.013
Asdrubal Cabrera 0.331 0.248 -0.083
Franklin Gutierrez 0.311 0.303 -0.008
Victor Martinez 0.375 0.327 -0.048
Casey Blake 0.331 0.27 -0.061
Travis Hafner 0.37 0.268 -0.102
Jamey Carroll 0.334 0.271 -0.063
Andy Marte 0.253 0.2 -0.053

A negative number in the "Difference" column tells us that a player's actual BABIP is lower than his expected BABIP - in other words, that player has been unlucky on balls in play.

 

Talk about bad luck. There’s no better recipe for a disappointing offense than to have nearly every hitter on your team be unlucky on balls in play.

Despite their struggles to get hits, the Indians are third in the American League in reaching base via other methods besides a hit (walks, intentional walks, and hit-by-pitches). Additionally, they are very patient as a team: they lead the AL in pitches seen per at bat (3.97) by a large amount (the second place team, Toronto, has seen 3.87 pitches per at bat).

Their atrocious team batting average of .236 should improve as the various Indians hitters see their actual BABIP regress to the mean . The Indians have proven that they have the ability to be patient and get on base via other means than a hit; when they start getting on base via hits as well, they will begin to score more runs.

So far this season, despite their 26-31 record and offensive struggles, the Indians have outscored their opponents by 14 runs. The Tribe has excellent pitching, spearheaded by the resurgent Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia, who, after a slow start, has rediscovered his Cy Young form. Based on their current runs scored and runs allowed, the Indians should have a 30-27 record (this is known as a team's Pythagorean record).

The bad luck that has afflicted nearly every Tribe hitter should regress to the mean as the season progresses. Additionally, the bad luck that has caused the Indians to underperform their Pythagorean win/loss record should regress as well. These two regressions should allow the Indians to score more runs and win even more games.

Don't count the Tribe out of the hunt for the Central Division crown just yet.