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08-12-2011, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jester View Post
Lets deal with this in stages.

Calling 25% of a sample an "outlier" is like suggesting that a 6-sided die rolling 1 an outlier. If 25% of a sample is something... then it isn't an outlier. For example, if I just looked at the last three seasons... in 2 of the 3 he's had a higher BABIP with the bases empty than with RISP. Go figure.
Its actually nothing like that at all. Its much more like a running back in the NFL having 4 seasons where he rushes for 800 yards, and 1 where he rushes for 1,300 yards. Which one seems out of place? The die comparison is a horrible one because each side has a fixed probability of occurrence.

Breaking RISP out is actually (really) important. A runner on 1st doesn't really impact the shift much. A runner on 2nd has a HUGE impact on the shift, because they need someone by 3rd or the runner is just going to walk on over for a steal. And Howard actually has a lot more PAs with a man on 1st and no one else than he does in any other individual case. 129 of his 324 PAs with Men on last year were that situation.

So, if you really want to make an analysis of the influence of the shift, you need to look at what base runners were where.
Actually, having a runner on first does impact the defense alignment. The 1B has to play on the bag to hold the runner on, and therefore is not hugging the line at the outfield grass.

Regardless, Howard's BABIP from 2007-Present with no one on is .285

With a man on 2nd is .321, same as with a man on 1st.

With RISP its .351

None of this does us anything when it comes to dealing with Utley, who doesn't face the shift but also has a significant jump in his numbers with Men On. For his career, Utley's BABIP is 24 pts higher with someone on base. It's 44 pts higher with just a runner on 1st, which tells us something about the influence of the hole being open on the right side.
Ok, so Utley does NOT face the shift all that much. His BABIP JUMPS with a man on at 1st. His career BABIP with a man on 1st is .344. His highest mark of all the possible combinations of men on base.

There's a reason for that, too.

Utley uses the hole between 1st and 2nd when the 1b is covering the bag. Due to them not playing a shift, the 2b is in his normal position, which creates a larger area for Utley to hit the ball through then Howard has when he is batting.

Utley's career BABIP with no one on is .300, with RISP its .310, with a man on 1st its .344. That's a big difference and a lot of it is due to the defensive alignment.

Ryan Howard, with a man on 1st, has a .327 BABIP this year up from .229 with the bases empty. Importantly, that leap has nothing to do with the shift disappearing.
Ok then. How about his .381 BABIP with RISP, which you deemed to be much more important when talking about the shift?

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