The 2012 Phillies and the De-Lucker X

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, December 20, 2012 06:40 PM | Comments: 13
Analysis, Posts

Martinez was the Majors eleventh luckiest hitter in 2012 according to FanGraphs. Really. Photo: AP

Fangraphs posted an interesting article today combined with a pretty neat sortable spreadsheet regarding “luck”. The article, entitled “De-Lucker X: The Final 2012 Numbers“, took a look at how the Majors fared when comparing fielding independent wOBA and xBABIP (click on the links for some nice explanations). When comparing the two, the resulting number attempts to measure luck, positively or negatively. How did the Phillies fare?

Most Phillies Were Slightly Luckier Their Stats Indicate – But So Was the Entire MLB

Not adjusting for plate appearances, Michael Martinez, yes that Michael Martinez of .174/.208/.252 line, was the 11th luckiest hitter in the Majors in 2012. Ryan Howard was the 32nd luckiest hitter in baseball, which translated into a line of .219/.295/.423. Placido Polanco was 54th, John Mayberry was 63rd, Domonic Brown 105st, and Juan Pierre 121st. It is worth noting that over 73% of Major League hitters were “luckier” than their wOBA indicated, so it should not be a surprise that 80% of the Phillies who spent the entire year with the team were luckier than their stats indicated.

J-Rol Played Almost Exactly to What Was Expected, Chooch Was Unlucky

Jimmy Rollins was the only Phillie who was eligible for the batting title in 2012 and his stats played about as true as you can get if you are a fan of the De-Lucker. The differential of his wOBA and xBABIP was .009, putting him generally in the middle of the pack for those who qualified for the batting title and 288 of 460 Major Leaguers. Carlos Ruiz placed 445 out of 460 with a -.026 differential and teammate Laynce Nix finished 454th with a -.036 differential.

Frandsen Was Unlucky? Really?

A lot of folks were wondering what to expect out of Kevin Frandsen in 2013. The De-Lucker X tool has Frandsen as the 430th luckiest Major Leaguer last year at a -.020 differential, making him, effectively, one of the least lucky players in the Majors, albeit in a small sample. What is important to remember about this tool is the disclaimer they offered in the beginning of the piece: it is a reflective, not a predictive, tool. It only reports what happened and has no predictive ability.

How the Rest of the Phillies Fared:

Positive Differential

Martinez (11)

Howard (31)

Polanco (54)

Mayberry (63)

Brown (105)

Pierre (132)

Chase Utley (136)

Freddy Galvis (163)

Mike Fontenot (171)

Ty Wigginton (181)

Rollins (288)

Erik Kratz (324)

Negative Differential

Frandsen (430)

Ruiz (445)

Nix (454)

Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 826 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

  • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

    Obviously, fangraphs should have titled their article, “Absurdism: Camus and Borges Explore Baseball.” The only luck Mini-Mart had was somehow remaining on the team for as long as he did, which when you think about it it is absurd in itself.

    I know it’s late, but nice job on all of your hot stove articles, Ian.

    • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      Appreciate it, Ed. Still a lot of FA out there; they’ve slowed down but they’ll continue through ST.

  • Posts: 1135 EricL

    Avatar of EricL

    Yeah, with 80% of the players in the league falling on the “lucky” side, I’d guess there’s some systematic error in the works, and from checking out the article, I think it might have to do with the xBABIP calculation, which systematically seems to overrate what the league-wide BABIP ought to be.

    Also, this DLX tool seems to overvalue big, slow, power hitters while undervaluing speedy gap hitters. But it’s still an interesting exercise to delve into.

  • Posts: 0 George

    I’d guess that something is wrong here, with the vast majority of hitters being lucky. Maybe it’s a one-year fluke, but I have my doubts.

    It would be extremely interesting if Fangraphs could come up with a way to guage pitchers’ luck. I’d laugh my butt off if they, too, were 80% lucky in 2012.

    • Posts: 442 Ian Riccaboni

      Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

      The “luck” measurement is still a work in progress but a majority of the players are only “lucky” single-digit times out of 1,000 in terms of getting on base. If you check out the distribution of that list, most are barely lucky.

      I think they’ll get closer as the years go on, or at least show a distribution scale. What’s particularly interesting to me is that some of the Majors’ worst hitters in 2012 were also among the “luckiest” according to this measurement, i.e. Stephen Drew (.223/.309/.348), Cliff Pennington (.215/.278/.311), and Brian Dozier (.234/.271/.332).

  • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

    gee i’m feelimg pretty lucky too. i expected to lose more hair than i did last year. but after counting them ? why i can’t believe how lucky that i only lost 1/3 of what i lost last year! whew what a relief.
    the end of the world as we know must be true. because either that, or these stat guys at fangraphs are really bored to death to actually come up with drival like that.
    and i gotta say big ed you had me rolling on the floor with your comment about mini mart! that was great man.

    • Posts: 5281 Lefty

      Avatar of Lefty

      So the xBABIP of your hair loss was .333 last season, not bad!

  • Posts: 19 Moondog

    Avatar of Moondog

    I love this stuff. And by the way the Mayans were right and the world will end tommorrow.

    • Posts: 0 Ryne Duren

      moondog i read that it’s supposed to end at the winter solstice which is at 6:12 am est. i’ll be sleeping if and when it happens. all i know is the phils won in 08! i have my family and my PN buddies! life is/was good! if it doesn’t end i’ll be back bitchin about a RF power hitter. adios amigos! for tonight anyway.

      • Posts: 0 George

        Well, it’s now after 6:12 A.M. EST. It appears to me that the only thing that’s come to an end are right handed power hitters (Cody Ross doesn’t really qualify).

  • Posts: 1 Matthew.J.Landis

    I am not surprised by Chooch being so low (or high) on the list. 3/4 times he hit the ball hard. It’s a shame his season is tainted ridiculously for the use of adderall. I mean, adderall? Chooch why didn’t you just get a Rx man??? 2 failed tests?

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    “And all the children are above average”

  • Avatar of "Big Ed" Delahanty

    Glad I could make you laugh. We need laughter in today’s cruel world, and what better way to obtain it then at the expense of Mini Mart!

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