Checking in on BABIP studs and duds

No hitter in baseball has had better luck than Christian Yelich .(USATSI)
No hitter in baseball has had better luck than Christian Yelich. (USATSI)

With most teams having played fewer than 25 games, we're still dealing with some pretty small sample sizes at this point in the season. While we are seeing fewer outlier performances as each week pases, this is still very much the silly season for MLB

Some outliers can't be explained away easily; I'm still not sure what Aaron Harang is doing, but I'm pretty sure it's magic. But other seemingly breakout performances have at least some underlying cause, and one of the simplest to track down are those players who have been propped up or held down by their luck on batted balls. 

Though it doesn't explain away everything, Batting Average on Balls In Play can at least get us started when trying to make sense of some of the least sensical performances so far this season. 

NameBABIPCareer BABIP+/-
Christian Yelich .459 .401 +.058
Chris Colabello .453 .324 +.129
Justin Upton .439


Everth Cabrera .426


Jason Kubel .422 .305


  • Though his career rate suggests it might be sustainable, Yelich's career is still in the very early stages; we can't take much out of 367 career at-bats, even as impressive as Yelich has been. He strikes out a bit too much to sustain a .300-plus batting average, especially with how rarely Yelich deposits the ball in the seats. Yelich is on a 30-plus steal pace which couples very nicely with his .329 average, but he might end up being just a one- or two-category contributor when his average starts to come back to earth.

  • Colabello is off to a heck of a start, but this will also probably end up being the best month of his professional life. If you picked him up early, you've already banked those 26 RBI and .346 batting average, which should put you ahead of your peers. Don't marry yourself to him just because of this start. Colabello is the definition of a sell-high candidate.

  • Upton, Cabrera and Kubel all have had their uses in Fantasy over the years, so they might not be candidates to regress as much overall as the first two. Upton, in particular, can weather the storm of a few extra singles failing to fall in, given his proven ability as a run producer. His strikeout rate is higher than ever right now, which is concerning, but shouldn't sink him.

NameBABIPCareer BABIP+/-
Jhonny Peralta .130 .312 -.182
Mike Moustakas .132 .267 -.135
Brett Lawrie .138 .289 -.151
Pedro Alvarez .143 .291 -.148
Zack Cozart .158 .278 -.120
  • Four of the five names on this list all share at least one thing in common, as Cozart is alone in having failed to hit at least four home runs. Through the season's first three weeks, Cozart has seen his strikeout rate fall for the third season in a row, so there is some hope for him to pull out of this tailspin. Still, his upside is limited enough that you probably shouldn't be waiting on it, especially if he isn't providing power to go with a low average.

  • Interestingly enough, K-happy free-swinger Alvarez is sporting a career-low strikeout rate right now despite remaining on a 30-homer pace, which bodes well if he can sustain it. I would guess we'll start to see his strikeouts rise along with his average moving forward, but there are some signs of an age-27 breakout brewing if he keeps making contact. He has swing-and-missed on a lower percentage of pitches than ever before.

  • Peralta has hit .299 or better in two of the previous three seasons, so there is plenty of reason to think this is just a case of bad luck with his new team. Especially since other indicators are pointing in the right direction. His K-rate is down and he is already one-third of the way to surpassing his homer total from a year ago. Peralta was drafted 212th on average in Fantasy leagues, but his ownership is down to 66 percent. Peralta's owner might be wavering in the midst of a six-game hitless streak, and this might be the perfect chance to swoop in.

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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