Woolums: Understanding the impact of balls in play

From SABR member Ken Woolums at Beyond the Box Score on April 29, 2013:

WHB (Well-Hit Balls) data has been shown to be linked to positive offensive success and negative pitcher outcomes. At the core of WHB data is the fact that none of trajectory, velocity, or on-bat contact can produce a WHB on their own. In fact, it’s often the case that two of the three isn’t good enough. To further explain this, this installment is going to be all about Ball-In-Play (BIP) data. When I refer to BIP data, I am talking strictly about the type of ball put into play as recorded on sites like Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.

The distribution of GB, FB, and LD is often something that sabermetricians look at when analyzing offensive players and pitchers. This study has already been challenging key analytical concepts, so I wanted to keep going. I will test the very fundamentals of BIP data and see how they relate to WHB and overall success for both offensive players and pitchers.

Section One: FB% for Offensive Players 

The first thing I thought of when thinking about WHB and how they relate to BIP data was whether hitting fly balls was a skill that would lead to more WHB. Since WHB could already have a relationship with power and overall offensive success, I wanted to see how much fly balls played into that.

Read the full article here: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2013/4/29/4270326/changing-the-way-we-look-at-offense-part-four-balls-in-play

Originally published: April 29, 2013. Last Updated: April 29, 2013.