A word (or 300) about BABIP

Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) is a good way to measure how "lucky" a player has been. It shows what happened on those at-bats which didn't end in a walk, strike-out or home-run. A low average indicates that players have been tending to hit the ball at opposing players; a high one, that balls have tended to fall in. Batters do have a little more control over this than pitchers - line-drive hitters will likely have a higher BABIP - but anyone who is extremely out of line, in either direction, is likely to find this corrected going forward. If your BABIP improves so, generally, will your batting average; the reverse also holds true.

Before looking at specific batters, the baseline for NL hitters is .296. The range for teams is between .271 (Brewers) and .325 (Cubs); as with players, you can generally expect these to tend towards the norm, so Milwaukee will get better at the plate. Probably not soon enough to save Ned Yost's job though. Arizona comes in at .310, which is somewhat above average, but not disturbingly so. Part of this is likely due to Chase being a hitter-friendly park generally: the Cubs also benefit, Wrigley's park-factor being second only to ours so far this season.

Now, turning to the figures for Arizona's players, where the range for regulars runs from .231 to .400. The former belong to Eric Byrnes, so it seems that his slump is not *entirely* due to the EB Pop-o-Matic operating on full power over the past month. At the other end is Justin Upton: a .400 BABIP is simply not sustainable. While his skills are undeniable, he appears to be primed for a return to more reasonable levels.

Looking at the rest of the team, Snyder is higher than might be expected at .338, and a number of the bench players  also have a BABIP which is a great deal above average. These include Augie Ojeda (.386), Miguel Montero (.406). and we should also toss Micah in there, since his BABIP is up at .450. On the other hand, Chris Burke's figure is only .228, so it's no great surprise he hasn't been performing as well as hoped. Past performance is no guarantee of future success, as they say on those financial adverts, but if I was a betting man, I'd look for a rebound from Byrnes and a drop-off from Upton in the second quarter of the season.