Monday, April 15, 2013

Pete Kozma and BABIP

Ask any closet Sabermetrician and they will tell you that Pete Kozma's 2012 stretch run was a fluke.  Call it a small sample size aberration or just plain luck, but Kozma is NOT a .300 hitter and, after starting this season hitting .333 through the first 6 games, he is starting to come back to earth, hitting just .176 over his last 5 games.

Sabermetricians will point to Kozma's batting average of balls in play (BABIP) of .415 as the main indicator of his fluke status.  By way of comparison, Albert Pujols, for his career, has a BABIP of .308 and most hitters will hover around the .300 mark.

So, while Kozma will come down to earth and is unlikely to hit .300 for a season, what can we really expect from him?

If you look at his minor league stats, he has a career line of .236/.308/.344.  However, that comes with a BABIP of .278, which is low compared to the norm.  Is that the result of 6 seasons of bad luck or is a .278 BABIP Kozma's norm?

If we assume that Kozma is capable of posting a BABIP of .300 and adjust his career average (to date) based on this, he is a .246 hitter (through 130 At Bats).  However, if his true BABIP is closer to his minor league rate of .278, then he is a .231 hitter. 

What can we truly expect out of Kozma this season?  My feeling is that he will finish somewhere between the two levels established above--let's call it .240.  While not great, if he continues to play good defense, it should be acceptable (remember the Cardinals did just fine last year with Daniel Descalso hitting .227 as the regular second baseman). 


  1. Tell me how Albert Pujols can have a career BABIP of .308, when his career average is around .325. That would mean that he has a higher BA on balls not put in play than on those put in play. Even Albert is not capable of that.

  2. Remember that HR's are excluded from both the numerator and denominator in the BABIP calc as they are not considered "in play".

    BABIP = (H - HR) / (AB - HR - K's + SF)

    This is normally (for other, human hitters) offset by excluding strikeouts from the denominator, but because Pujols doesn't strike out much (career rate of 11%), this actually helps his average.

    If you look at Pujols' average for Balls Not In Play (HR/HR + K's), it is .379, which raises his batting average above the BABIP average.

  3. BABIP is just another numbers cruncher stat forget it.In the Majore it's what have you done for me lately?