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Thread: Article: What is Sustainable for Danny Santana?

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    Junior Member Rookie glp_vt's Avatar
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    Article: What is Sustainable for Danny Santana?


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    Senior Member Triple-A
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    I'm not following your arithmetic. Based on his current rates (the "Bad News" paragraph), here's what we would expect over 100 PA:

    5 BB
    21 K
    74 balls in play

    Assuming a .297 BABIP, that would result in 22 hits in 95 ABs, which is a .232 batting average. I didn't run the numbers but the other scenarios look wrong too.

    So far as the topic itself, I think his true ability right now is in the .650 OPS range.

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    The next couple weeks ought to show if Santana is really that talented or scouting will catch up. Several players had a hot start and are no longer on the team. Santana could be one, or he could be legit.

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    Junior Member Rookie glp_vt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
    I'm not following your arithmetic. Based on his current rates (the "Bad News" paragraph), here's what we would expect over 100 PA:

    5 BB
    21 K
    74 balls in play

    Assuming a .297 BABIP, that would result in 22 hits in 95 ABs, which is a .232 batting average. I didn't run the numbers but the other scenarios look wrong too.

    So far as the topic itself, I think his true ability right now is in the .650 OPS range.
    Thanks for the comment. I alluded to the same projection system in my Aaron Hicks article a couple weeks back, and I've been meaning to do a full article on it. My projections use league-average BABIP for each type of batted ball (line drive, ground ball, fly ball) and applies them to the the player's current K%, BB% and Batted Ball Rates to come up with a "field-independent batting" type projection that normalizes things like good/bad defense and hit placement. Here's the calculation for batting average:

    Field Independent Batting Average = (K% * Batting average for K's, or 0.000) + (LD% * BIP% * league avg LD batting average) + (GB% * BIP% * league avg GB batting average) + (FB% * BIP% * league avg FB batting average)

    Here are the league averages according to Fangraphs:
    Lg Avg on LD: .695/.688/.894
    Lg Avg on GB: .238/.238/.259
    Lg Avg on FB: .220/.215/.620
    Lg Avg on K's: 0 (obviously)

    So we get the following:

    .237*.000 + .311*.763*.695 + .459*.763*.238 + .230*.763*.220 = 0.287

    Your math is sound for a league-average hitter who strikes out at the rate Santana does, but Santana's high LD% helps him here, as it should.

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    Senior Member All-Star Sconnie's Avatar
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    Well written article. I'm still fuzzy on your math
    Last edited by Sconnie; 06-19-2014 at 07:37 PM.

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    It's not a sound method of projection. Line drive % in particular is very problematic, because there is variation in how the batted balls are recorded on top of the variation that occurs on the balls in play themselves.

    I mean, there is a 0% chance Santana's true line drive ability is 31%+. So using that rate is an error. The only way to use it at all would be as a heavily regressed, speculative number within a sustainable range.

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    Junior Member Rookie glp_vt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sconnie View Post
    Well written article. I'm still fuzzy on your math
    I hear you. It took me some time to put together the method, and it isn't intuitive at first glance. I'll be sure to loop you in when I put out the follow-up with how I came up with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by drivlikejehu View Post
    It's not a sound method of projection. Line drive % in particular is very problematic, because there is variation in how the batted balls are recorded on top of the variation that occurs on the balls in play themselves.

    I mean, there is a 0% chance Santana's true line drive ability is 31%+. So using that rate is an error. The only way to use it at all would be as a heavily regressed, speculative number within a sustainable range.
    Genuinely appreciate the critique. I don't disagree with the subjectivity of batted ball rates, but in general we don't see the same modern field-independent statistics for batters as we do for pitchers. I think it's worth exploring, even if based on something that's a bit subjective.

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    I think this is a great topic. Thanks for the post. Really think he is tough to project. But Santana is a joy to watch run. That should keep his on base percentage decent. He appears to be a good bunter. I am rooting for your math. I think those would be outstanding numbers for his rookie year.

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    Senior Member Triple-A DocBauer's Avatar
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    OMG! I'm not dense, but I'm not a math guy. I'm an English major guy. Lol

    I'll let you guys and others argue stats and percentages and averages.

    I'm just going to argue what I see with my own eyes.

    Some talk about small sample size. I can't and won't argue. I could argue that 31 games and 111 AB's going in to tonight's game is only "semi" small, in that we're not talking about a 2 week call up, but a month plus of games. Still nothing long term, of course, especially if you follow the theory of at least a 1,000+ AB's before a hitter begins to get comfortable and actually gets an idea what's really going on.

    But there is something about this kid, and what he's doing, that seems to defy what we normally see. He seems to generally take very good AB's. Time and time again I see patience at the plate, fouling off pitches, that seem to defy the scouting reports on him. Nobody expects him to hit long term the way he has. But this kid doesn't seem scared or intimidated at the plate. He seems to have a solid approach when he goes up there, as if no-one has told him he should be doing what he has been doing.

    Tonight against the ChiSox, he stayed back on a breaking pitch, put the barrel on the ball, and had himself a quality, veteran kind of AB. Then he got a very good single in the 8th and took 3rd on a solid hit from Dozier before scoring. Point is, the kid just doesn't play like a kid.

    I think we're reaching a point where we might have to re-define what our expectations are for this talented youngster.

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    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Santana is really hard to project IMHO and that is a fun thing.

    He is still pretty young and has shown he can put up a decent average in the minors so I think he can certainly be able to hit for .280 or so, the key will be if this "power/pop" is legit or just a SSS mirage. He didn't show a ton of pop in the minors, but of course he is only 23 so there is plenty of time for that to develop/continue to improve. If the doubles power stays around and he is able to hit 6-8 HR a year, along with 20-25 SB potential, he could be a pretty nice mainstay at SS until one of the future studs is ready.

    If the power disappears you are probably looking at a guy whose skill set mirrors Nick Punto a bit just with a higher average more speed and more pop, which actually has a ton of value in itself.

    Ceiling: Solid SS for this org, not all star material likely, but could end up being at least league average which is a huge ++++++

    Floor: A rich mans Nick Punto.

    Nice guy to have in the org for sure!
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"- L. Harvey Oswald


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    Quote Originally Posted by glp_vt View Post
    Genuinely appreciate the critique. I don't disagree with the subjectivity of batted ball rates, but in general we don't see the same modern field-independent statistics for batters as we do for pitchers. I think it's worth exploring, even if based on something that's a bit subjective.
    You're right that it doesn't vary the same as with pitchers. The problem is that the league average batted ball results are washing out those differences. A slow player gets much different groundball results than a fast player. A player who hits the ball harder in general will get better line drive & flyball results.

    We don't yet have the data that would help determine the quality of contact being made. The speed part is easier. But without the "hit f/x" numbers, the batted ball info is essentially incomplete and not capable of yielding predictive information.

    For someone like Santana, the best approximation is to adjust his minor league BABIP & ISO and then apply that to a MLB plate discipline prediction.

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