Thursday, April 11, 2013

BJfA New Game: Streak or Trend?

After eight games, we have enough data to make few conclusions, but we can play a fun round of Blue Jays from Away's brand new game: Streak or Trend?  We'll look at some numbers from around the Blue Jays and try to decipher whether they're a streak or a trend.  Today, we play the Hitter's Edition!

A streak is when a player gets unusually hot or cold and things just tend to go one way or another for a period of time before swinging the other way, balancing things out.

A trend is when things go in one direction or another and isn't coming back.  Jose Bautista's conversion into one of the game's elite power hitters in 2010 is a great example.  Looking back, you could see that his September/October 2009 numbers in which he hit 10 HRs in 109 ABs was a harbinger of things to come.

#1: Colby Rasmus.  In Colby's statistics, we have a constellation of contradictory numbers.  Colby has had 29 plate appearances, hit 3 HRs, walked 3 times and struck out 13 times.  This gives him an 10.3% walk rate and a 44.4% strikeout rate.

  • The 10.3% walk rate is most likely the most sustainable of his numbers.  While he took fewer walks in 2011 and 2012, Colby's career high (in the majors) is 11.8% in his outstanding 2010 season.  
  • The 44.4% strikeout is extraordinarily high and is most likely just a streak.  However, while this figure will normalize to a lower rate, I have a feeling that it won't get as low as it has been in his career.  His major league high strikeout rate was also in his career year of 2010 at 27.7%.  I'd say it settles in at close to 30% this season.
  • Colby has had 42.9% of his fly balls leave the park this season.  That's WAY above league average which is about 10%.  His career average is around 11.7% so expect to see this number normalize.
#2: Jose Reyes.  Jose has 13 hits in 32 plate appearances.  He also has 4 walks and 4 strikeouts to go along with two doubles and a HR.  
  • Jose's BABIP is .444, clearly an unsustainable figure over the course of the season, but he generally has slightly above average BABIPs (a career .313 rate).  He obviously won't hit .406 all season, but he did put up a .353 BABIP in 2011, and over his career, his batting average has settled in about 20 points below his BABIP, so if he is going to have a comparable figure in 2013, he may just be able to hit about .325-.330.
  • Both his walk and strikeout rates of 11.1% are only slightly above his career averages (walk is 7.2%, K is 10.2%).  I think that they'll both drop a little bit, but are pretty projectable. 
#3: J.P. Arencibia.  JPA is hitting .313/.333/.719 with 3 HRs and 13 Ks in 32 PAs.  This gives him a 39.4% K rate to go with a 3% walk rate.  
  • Well, I have a pretty good notion that JP's walk and strikeout ratios will normalize.  But when I say normalize, don't expect them to go very far.  His career walk rate is 6.1% and that's actually higher than the 4.8% percent he had last year.  Spring training is definitely not going to encourage any optimism as he only took two walks all spring.  His career K rate is 28.6%, so we should expect it to settle in around the 30% mark.
  • On the bright side, JP's HR/FB rating is not as out of whack as Colby's.  JP's coming in at 25% right now (meaning 1/4 of his fly balls are leaving the park).  However, his career average is 15.8%, which is well above league average, and last season his HR/FB rate was 16.5%.  
  • JP has always been streaky, meaning that while some of these numbers will certainly line up more with is career averages over time, I have a feeling that they're not too far off where they will end up.
So, Blue Jays fans?  What do you think?  Streak or Trend?  We'd love to see your thoughts in the comments below!


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