The Basic Fortune Index (Or bFI, If You Are So Inclined)¹

Note: I have no idea if I’m the first to do this, but quite frankly I don’t care.

Last Friday against the Rockies, Matt Wieters had a plate appearance that perfectly epitomized his 2013 season. Coming to the plate in the bottom of the 3rd, with the Orioles up 2-0, two outs in the inning, and the bases loaded, Wieters worked Juan Nicasio for an eight-pitch full count; on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Wieters hit a perfect, textbook line drive…right to DJ LeMahieu at second, for the third out of the inning.

While watching this game with my father, I was forced to restrain him from destroying the flatscreen upon which this atrocity had been viewed. My level of outrage was not nearly at that of my progenitor’s, however, for I–being more statistically inclined than him–knew that Wieters had been rather unlucky on batted balls this season; after another lineout in Saturday’s game, and two more on Tuesday against the Diamondbacks², Wieters now has a .596 BABIP on line drives, “good” for 170th out of 183 qualified players. At this late in the season, a player’s numbers start to level off to what they’ll be at season’s end, and despite the reassurances of experts, Wieters has not ceased to be unlucky.

Which got me thinking…

Would there be a way to measure how lucky or unlucky a player has been as a whole? Not just for one individual stat, but for an entire stat line, over the course of a whole season? After exhaustive Google searches returned nothing, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Using my rudimentary statistical knowledge, and the findings of Mike Podhorzer–who created equations for xK% and xBB%–and Jeff Zimmerman–who devised an xBABIP equation–I created a basic equation to determine how lucky a player has been 0verall³. Because I have absolutely no idea how linear weights and all that shit works, I kept it simple:

bFI = 100*((xK%–K%) + (BB%–xBB%) + (BABIP–xBABIP))

I call it the Basic Fortune Index; I would’ve called it the Luck Index, but I didn’t want to confuse it with Leverage Index. Basically, I took the difference between each player’s xK% and K%, BB% and xBB%, and BABIP and xBABIP, added them together, and then multiplied it by 100 for shits and giggles. Since a lucky hitter would have a lower K% than expected (as opposed to a higher BB% and BABIP than expected), I took the difference from xK% to K%, instead of the other way around. A positive bFI would indicate a lucky player, and a  negative value would indicate an unlucky player. Also, due to time constraints, I was only able to compile stats for the AL.

On to the leaderboards⁴!

Player K% xK% kdiff BB% xBB% bbdiff BABIP xBABIP bdiff bFI
Joe Mauer 0.175 0.218 0.043 0.12 0.119 0.001 0.383 0.343 0.04 8.4
Miguel Cabrera 0.144 0.147 0.003 0.138 0.097 0.041 0.363 0.335 0.027 7.1
Billy Butler 0.145 0.18 0.035 0.129 0.116 0.013 0.323 0.304 0.019 6.7
David Ortiz 0.138 0.156 0.018 0.123 0.109 0.014 0.333 0.301 0.032 6.4
Josh Donaldson 0.168 0.2 0.032 0.109 0.109 0 0.33 0.319 0.012 4.4
Mike Trout 0.17 0.194 0.024 0.138 0.13 0.008 0.376 0.366 0.01 4.2
Jhonny Peralta 0.225 0.221 0.004 0.08 0.087 -0.007 0.379 0.339 0.04 3.7
Mike Napoli 0.337 0.336 0.001 0.109 0.119 -0.01 0.36 0.314 0.046 3.7
Evan Longoria 0.238 0.235 -0.003 0.108 0.111 -0.003 0.318 0.279 0.04 3.4
Torii Hunter 0.164 0.166 0.002 0.042 0.042 0 0.343 0.316 0.027 2.9
Dustin Pedroia 0.113 0.165 0.052 0.108 0.102 0.006 0.317 0.347 -0.03 2.8
Adrian Beltre 0.097 0.113 0.016 0.07 0.069 0.001 0.324 0.317 0.007 2.4
Carlos Santana 0.178 0.218 0.04 0.135 0.133 0.002 0.299 0.317 -0.018 2.4
Jose Bautista 0.16 0.2 0.04 0.129 0.131 -0.002 0.259 0.274 -0.015 2.3
Jacoby Ellsbury 0.145 0.149 0.004 0.077 0.088 -0.011 0.34 0.311 0.029 2.2
Jason Kipnis 0.215 0.23 0.015 0.115 0.13 -0.015 0.35 0.329 0.021 2.1
Victor Martinez 0.107 0.148 0.041 0.08 0.092 -0.012 0.298 0.306 -0.008 2.1
Daniel Nava 0.178 0.195 0.017 0.1 0.111 -0.011 0.342 0.327 0.015 2.1
Kendrys Morales 0.17 0.176 0.006 0.067 0.077 -0.01 0.325 0.3 0.025 2.1
Adam Lind 0.202 0.216 0.014 0.1 0.099 0.001 0.319 0.314 0.004 1.9
Desmond Jennings 0.202 0.218 0.016 0.091 0.099 -0.008 0.306 0.299 0.007 1.5
Chris Davis 0.292 0.277 -0.015 0.103 0.103 0 0.354 0.327 0.027 1.2
Lorenzo Cain 0.197 0.216 0.019 0.08 0.079 0.001 0.317 0.326 -0.008 1.2
Colby Rasmus 0.301 0.271 -0.03 0.08 0.099 -0.019 0.363 0.306 0.057 0.8
Prince Fielder 0.175 0.19 0.015 0.11 0.103 0.007 0.288 0.303 -0.015 0.7
Ben Zobrist 0.143 0.136 -0.007 0.103 0.094 0.009 0.302 0.298 0.003 0.5
Kyle Seager 0.165 0.19 0.025 0.088 0.104 -0.016 0.309 0.313 -0.004 0.5
Mitch Moreland 0.206 0.234 0.028 0.08 0.091 -0.011 0.265 0.279 -0.014 0.3
Robinson Cano 0.13 0.133 0.003 0.115 0.095 0.02 0.311 0.333 -0.022 0.1
Nick Markakis 0.099 0.124 0.025 0.079 0.075 -0.004 0.295 0.318 -0.022 -0.1
Alejandro De Aza 0.217 0.224 0.007 0.073 0.094 -0.021 0.33 0.317 0.013 -0.1
Jason Castro 0.261 0.258 0.003 0.098 0.103 -0.005 0.345 0.343 0.001 -0.1
Eric Hosmer 0.138 0.153 0.015 0.068 0.071 -0.003 0.32 0.333 -0.013 -0.1
Nelson Cruz 0.239 0.234 -0.005 0.077 0.089 -0.012 0.299 0.284 0.014 -0.3
Alex Gordon 0.207 0.217 0.01 0.08 0.098 -0.018 0.311 0.306 0.005 -0.3
Justin Morneau 0.179 0.193 0.014 0.066 0.07 -0.004 0.294 0.308 -0.013 -0.3
Brandon Moss 0.275 0.267 -0.008 0.09 0.087 0.003 0.29 0.289 0.001 -0.4
Adam Jones 0.185 0.177 -0.008 0.03 0.029 0.001 0.33 0.328 0.002 -0.5
Albert Pujols 0.124 0.159 0.035 0.09 0.089 0.001 0.258 0.288 -0.031 -0.5
Shane Victorino 0.114 0.141 0.027 0.052 0.068 -0.016 0.309 0.327 -0.018 -0.7
Chris Carter 0.368 0.355 -0.013 0.118 0.112 0.006 0.296 0.296 0 -0.7
Manny Machado 0.156 0.136 -0.02 0.039 0.056 -0.017 0.338 0.31 0.028 -0.9
James Loney 0.128 0.13 0.002 0.074 0.066 0.008 0.337 0.357 -0.019 -0.9
Ian Kinsler 0.093 0.132 0.039 0.088 0.109 -0.021 0.271 0.301 -0.03 -1.2
Mark Reynolds 0.317 0.32 0.003 0.11 0.107 0.003 0.288 0.306 -0.018 -1.2
Vernon Wells 0.163 0.148 -0.015 0.062 0.047 0.015 0.266 0.28 -0.013 -1.3
Howie Kendrick 0.171 0.171 0 0.051 0.051 0 0.344 0.357 -0.013 -1.3
Edwin Encarnacion 0.098 0.142 0.044 0.122 0.117 0.005 0.255 0.317 -0.063 -1.4
Erick Aybar 0.088 0.103 0.015 0.043 0.44 -0.001 0.299 0.328 -0.029 -1.5
Brett Gardner 0.201 0.202 0.001 0.083 0.097 -0.014 0.333 0.336 -0.002 -1.5
Nick Swisher 0.218 0.23 0.012 0.121 0.118 0.003 0.292 0.322 -0.03 -1.5
Michael Bourn 0.228 0.216 -0.012 0.063 0.073 -0.01 0.344 0.338 0.006 -1.6
Mark Trumbo 0.26 0.254 -0.006 0.083 0.07 0.013 0.274 0.298 -0.024 -1.7
Austin Jackson 0.21 0.208 -0.002 0.095 0.083 0.012 0.32 0.35 -0.03 -2
Salvador Perez 0.12 0.093 -0.027 0.042 0.038 -0.004 0.299 0.29 0.01 -2.1
Alexei Ramirez 0.1 0.071 -0.029 0.03 0.008 0.022 0.314 0.328 -0.014 -2.1
Jed Lowrie 0.136 0.106 -0.03 0.083 0.081 0.002 0.315 0.308 0.007 -2.1
Nate McLouth 0.14 0.147 0.007 0.088 0.084 0.004 0.305 0.338 -0.033 -2.2
Coco Crisp 0.114 0.148 0.034 0.109 0.11 -0.001 0.256 0.312 -0.056 -2.3
Alex Rios 0.167 0.151 -0.016 0.066 0.07 -0.004 0.315 0.318 -0.003 -2.3
Ryan Doumit 0.168 0.19 0.022 0.084 0.094 -0.01 0.272 0.308 -0.036 -2.4
Yunel Escobar 0.124 0.125 0.001 0.086 0.092 -0.006 0.286 0.308 -0.022 -2.7
Drew Stubbs 0.29 0.257 -0.033 0.072 0.068 0.004 0.333 0.333 0 -2.9
Yoenis Cespedes 0.233 0.23 -0.003 0.076 0.079 -0.003 0.256 0.283 -0.027 -3.3
Mike Moustakas 0.137 0.14 0.003 0.066 0.086 -0.02 0.251 0.268 -0.018 -3.5
Jose Altuve 0.133 0.107 -0.026 0.055 0.041 0.014 0.311 0.335 -0.024 -3.6
Brian Dozier 0.188 0.212 0.024 0.081 0.094 -0.013 0.278 0.327 -0.049 -3.8
Lyle Overbay 0.222 0.207 -0.015 0.068 0.076 -0.008 0.303 0.318 -0.015 -3.8
Adam Dunn 0.285 0.286 0.001 0.132 0.145 -0.013 0.283 0.31 -0.027 -3.9
Matt Wieters 0.172 0.175 0.003 0.081 0.088 -0.007 0.244 0.28 -0.036 -4
Michael Brantley 0.108 0.094 -0.014 0.073 0.076 -0.003 0.3 0.323 -0.023 -4
Elvis Andrus 0.143 0.155 0.012 0.081 0.098 -0.017 0.301 0.343 -0.041 -4.6
Paul Konerko 0.146 0.158 0.012 0.078 0.071 0.007 0.26 0.326 -0.066 -4.7
J.J. Hardy 0.118 0.124 0.006 0.057 0.07 -0.013 0.253 0.296 -0.043 -5
Matt Dominguez 0.164 0.162 -0.002 0.038 0.056 -0.018 0.248 0.283 -0.035 -5.5
Josh Hamilton 0.246 0.24 -0.004 0.067 0.067 0 0.264 0.317 -0.052 -5.6
Alcides Escobar 0.126 0.118 -0.008 0.032 0.025 0.007 0.271 0.325 -0.055 -5.6
Alberto Callaspo 0.106 0.159 0.053 0.072 0.119 -0.047 0.256 0.319 -0.064 -5.8
Asdrubal Cabrera 0.22 0.211 -0.009 0.06 0.075 -0.015 0.288 0.323 -0.035 -5.9
Ichiro Suzuki 0.097 0.108 0.011 0.045 0.047 -0.002 0.292 0.364 -0.072 -6.3
Maicer Izturis 0.094 0.097 0.003 0.069 0.066 0.003 0.248 0.326 -0.078 -7.2
Raul Ibanez 0.256 0.249 -0.007 0.069 0.084 -0.015 0.278 0.33 -0.052 -7.4
David Murphy 0.117 0.128 -0.011 0.076 0.083 -0.007 0.228 0.288 -0.061 -7.9
Jeff Keppinger 0.088 0.07 -0.018 0.039 0.049 -0.01 0.263 0.33 -0.067 -9.5
J.P. Arencibia 0.295 0.255 -0.04 0.04 0.06 -0.02 0.253 0.324 -0.071 -13.1

Wieters ended up 70th out of the 85 players, as his xBABIP wasn’t as high as I thought it would’ve been.

After compiling this table, I noticed a trend (one that has been noticed by others before me): the “lucky” players were mainly good players, whereas the “unlucky” players were mainly bad offensive players. I then matched each player’s wRC+ up with their bFI, and made a table of the result⁵:

Player bFI wRC+ Player bFI wRC+ Player bFI wRC+
Joe Mauer 8.4 143 Nick Markakis -0.1 91 Coco Crisp -2.3 96
Miguel Cabrera 7.1 207 Alejandro De Aza -0.1 104 Alex Rios -2.3 99
Billy Butler 6.7 124 Jason Castro -0.1 120 Ryan Doumit -2.4 91
David Ortiz 6.4 160 Eric Hosmer -0.1 114 Yunel Escobar -2.7 101
Josh Donaldson 4.4 139 Nelson Cruz -0.3 123 Drew Stubbs -2.9 87
Mike Trout 4.2 179 Alex Gordon -0.3 99 Yoenis Cespedes -3.3 98
Jhonny Peralta 3.7 125 Justin Morneau -0.3 101 Mike Moustakas -3.5 80
Mike Napoli 3.7 109 Brandon Moss -0.4 115 Jose Altuve -3.6 83
Evan Longoria 3.4 138 Adam Jones -0.5 125 Brian Dozier -3.8 100
Torii Hunter 2.9 118 Albert Pujols -0.5 111 Lyle Overbay -3.8 98
Dustin Pedroia 2.8 110 Shane Victorino -0.7 102 Adam Dunn -3.9 121
Adrian Beltre 2.4 142 Chris Carter -0.7 108 Matt Wieters -4 91
Carlos Santana 2.4 127 Manny Machado -0.9 110 Michael Brantley -4 106
Jose Bautista 2.3 133 James Loney -0.9 124 Elvis Andrus -4.6 69
Jacoby Ellsbury 2.2 110 Ian Kinsler -1.2 101 Paul Konerko -4.7 77
Jason Kipnis 2.1 137 Mark Reynolds -1.2 96 J.J. Hardy -5 99
Victor Martinez 2.1 101 Vernon Wells -1.3 79 Matt Dominguez -5.5 80
Daniel Nava 2.1 123 Howie Kendrick -1.3 116 Josh Hamilton -5.6 93
Kendrys Morales 2.1 124 Edwin Encarnacion -1.4 145 Alcides Escobar -5.6 54
Adam Lind 1.9 124 Erick Aybar -1.5 94 Alberto Callaspo -5.8 94
Desmond Jennings 1.5 110 Brett Gardner -1.5 104 Asdrubal Cabrera -5.9 91
Chris Davis 1.2 183 Nick Swisher -1.5 111 Ichiro Suzuki -6.3 78
Lorenzo Cain 1.2 88 Michael Bourn -1.6 90 Maicer Izturis -7.2 63
Colby Rasmus 0.8 122 Mark Trumbo -1.7 114 Raul Ibanez -7.4 122
Prince Fielder 0.7 115 Austin Jackson -2 103 David Murphy -7.9 75
Ben Zobrist 0.5 113 Salvador Perez -2.1 85 Jeff Keppinger -9.5 51
Kyle Seager 0.5 128 Alexei Ramirez -2.1 84 J.P. Arencibia -13.1 70
Mitch Moreland 0.3 99 Jed Lowrie -2.1 112
Robinson Cano 0.1 136 Nate McLouth -2.2 105

Apparently, the correlation was not as strong as  I had initially hoped (thanks, Dunn and Ibanez!), as the .53746 R Squared implies.

In the end, it’s probably not a very good statistic–more of a Pseudometric–which, to be fair, is why I named it the Basic Fortune Index. Like most everything I post here, there really wasn’t a point to this whole thing. In addition, it’s fairly likely that, if this is actually published, someone will be so kind as to inform me that there is already a better stat out there for determining the luck of a hitter, and that–despite the disclaimer–I should care about this. If, however, this is an original idea, I invite those more statistically knowledgeable than myself to expound upon it (assuming, of course, I receive all the credit).

———————————————————————————————————————————-

¹How should that be capitalized?

²I refuse to use their nickname, and usage of it by anyone else should be considered cause for legal euthanasia.

³I wanted to use HR/FB%, but since Parts 6 and 7 of this series were never released, I was forced to go without.

⁴All stats are as of Tuesday, August 20th.

⁵I tried to put in the graph, but couldn’t figure out how.

We hoped you liked reading The Basic Fortune Index (Or bFI, If You Are So Inclined)¹ by triple_r!

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Triple R enjoys pestering the writers at Camden Depot. He can be called R Cubed if you are so inclined. Referring to him by any other eponym may result in the infliction of great amounts of physical, mental, or emotional pain upon yourself, possibly inflicted by him, possibly inflicted by a third party. He is a terrible person. This is all you need to know about him.

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