Dan Schwartz

Earlier today, I prepared a post on gr gr gr GREGORIUS for Fake Teams. It will be up tomorrow, 30May2013. I was qualifying his HR/FB ratio by looking at his average flyball and homerun distance according to Jeff Zimmerman’s leader board when I saw this:

 

Rank

Name

Stance

Hits

Dist.

Angle

HR/FB

FB%

Ct%

HR

PF

153

Jay Jon

L

27

276.72

-7.52

10.30%

27.10%

81.60%

4

0.93

154

Stubbs Drew

R

25

276.67

5.07

6.50%

42.20%

70.80%

3

0.93

159

Gardner Brett

L

43

276.06

-5.65

9.40%

37.30%

86.60%

5

1.16

161

Gregorius Didi

L

20

275.96

3.71

9.50%

46.20%

81.80%

4

1.02

162

Lowrie Jed

L

31

275.85

5.86

5.20%

38.20%

88.20%

3

0.94

163

Jackson Austin

R

31

275.75

14.2

5.40%

31.60%

83.30%

2

1.04

166

Freeman Frederick

L

27

275.62

-1.8

8.30%

31%

77%

3

0.99

168

Carpenter Matt

L

41

275.31

-4.48

6.90%

35.60%

90.70%

4

0.93

 

Prior to the season, in my ballsy forecast, I thought Freeman had a chance of going 100-30-100-285…89-27-99-2-.278/.357/.483 realistically. He currently has a .304 avg and .372 obp but a relatively sad .419 slg. by way of only (8) 2b and (3) HR to date.

 

Last year, he had a 36.9% Fly ball rate and 14.8% HR/FB rate – both slight enhancements from 2011. He’s only 23 this year so I thought we would see slightly better rates in both categories from an age trend perspective. Instead he’s currently at a 31% FB rate and a disheartening 8.3% HR/FB.

 

I was hoping the HR/FB ratio was a bit fluky, but according to the above list, his average FB and HR distance (275.62 ft.) ranks 166th – after guys like Jay, Stubbs, Gardner and Gregorious.

 

From a discipline perspective, there’s nothing really out of whack. While his BB% slightly dropped, his K%, out of zone swing%, zone swing% have all enhanced although his swing and miss rate dropped back to his 2011 level and his contact rate is about .5% below his career average:

 

Season

O-Swg%

Z-Swg%

Swg%

O-Ct%

Z-Ct%

Ct%

Zone%

F-Str%

SwStr%

2011

36.80%

76.40%

52.20%

66.10%

86.00%

77.40%

38.80%

60.20%

11.50%

2012

32.40%

78.50%

51.80%

63.70%

85.50%

77.60%

42.10%

62.90%

11.40%

2013

31.60%

80.20%

52.20%

63.10%

84.50%

77.00%

42.40%

59.20%

11.50%

Total

34.30%

77.80%

52.00%

64.70%

85.60%

77.40%

40.70%

61.10%

11.50%

 

With all this said, he’s got an elite Line Drive rate validating that balls in play (BIP) trend and his inflated BABIP (.372). In fact his xBABIP is beyond .400. Unfortunately, it’s consuming BIP’s that could be put in the air instead of balls hits on the ground. Here’s his BIP data:

 

Season

BABIP

GB/FB

LD%

GB%

FB%

HR/FB

IFFB%

2011

0.339

1.23

23.00%

42.40%

34.60%

14.00%

4.70%

2012

0.295

1.01

26.00%

37.10%

36.90%

14.80%

7.70%

2013

0.372

1.28

29.30%

39.70%

31.00%

8.30%

2.80%

Total

0.322

1.13

24.90%

39.90%

35.20%

13.80%

5.80%

 

As you can see, his LD% and GB% have both jumped taking away from potential FB%. With this said, if his average fly ball and homerun average distance remains less than 276 ft., we would probably prefer the LD% elevating his average. Ideally, he’ll turn more grounders into fly balls, and he’s got about another 100 more plate appearances until this data really starts to stabilize so keep an eye on this data as it relates to Freeman more than anything else.

 

I’m going to stick with my guts a bit and think 3% of his LD, and 2% of his GB turn into FB% giving him 36%. Let’s say his Ct% remains at 77% (I would have thought closer to 78% but this does stabilize after about 100 PA) and his HR/FB jumps back up to 14.5% the rest of the way, we should see something like this:

 

340AB left * 77% Ct * 36% FB * 14.5% HR/FB = 14 HR remaining.  I think we’ll see about 14-17 more homeruns, and while he missed a bit of time a total of 17-20 is disappointing for where his trends were pointing.

 

Reason for Positive Regression = When Offensive Stats Stabilize:

HR/FB stabilizes after 300 PA; SLG after 400 and ISO after 550. Even his Fly ball rate won’t stabilize for another 90 PA so don’t be too concerned with his BIP data just yet, but again, maybe more than anything else it’s what you need to keep an eye on if we’re including HR/FB. The other, naturally is his power – whether it’s ISO or simply by his average distance…

 

Last year, he was 76th on the average distance leader board at 289 ft. He was 42nd in 2011 at 292.6 ft. At only 23, I thought the average distance would jump back up beyond 290. We’ll have to wait and see, but it’s pretty clear he’s a line drive hitter. A 80-19-100-.300 1B is still pretty valuable but I was really hoping for 85-27-100-.290.

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