In my last post on explaining pitchers’ BABIPs by way of their batted ball rates, I was very careful to say that it was applicable in the long run, as it’s hard to be accurate over a short number of innings pitched, due to all the “noise” in BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play). I only used pitchers with a qualifying number of innings pitched (IP) in the calculations, for that reason. After writing the post, I did some messing around with the data, to find out just how much of an effect IP had on the predictability of BABIP.
Hold on to your propeller beanies, fellow stat geeks: the correlation between xBABIP and BABIP went from 0.805 when the minimum IP was set to 1500, to 0.632 at a 200 IP minimum, down to 0.518 at 50 IP. OK, maybe it’s not that surprising. Still, I thought I’d better show you how confident you can be in my xBABIP formula’s accuracy when you take the pitcher’s innings pitched into account.
The formula, again: xBABIP = 0.4*LD% – 0.6*FB%*IFFB% + 0.235
And remember, that formula is primarily meant to be a backwards-looking estimator of “true,” defense-neutral BABIP. My next article will (probably) discuss another formula I’ve come up with that’s more forward-looking.