Stat Chug: Can Season 6’s Exceptional Start Hold Up?

Stat Chug: A specially brewed stats based draft.

Season 6’s Exceptional Start: Can the powerful offensive start of this season hold up?

Runs come easy in Table Beercone compared to other base and ball sports. Whereas the MLB average is roughly one half run per inning, the Tapey Beercone average is over two! And yet the way those runs score in TBC runs contrary to the MLB trend. In MLB nearly one half of all runs score by way on a home run, whereas in TBC home runs are so rare that there are only a handful hit each season. It is this stat that exemplifies how the three games of Season 6 stand out so far, perfectly captures by Frank “The Student”‘s second at bat in the most recent Oregon Tapey Beercone Invitational.

Now that’s easy power! But was it too easy? Could Tapey Beercone be dealing with it’s own juiced (buzzed) ball crisis? It’s time to explore further.

Frank’s Home Run was the most impactful play of the 6th annual OTBCI, and with that swing he become just the 4th player to hit a home run in a TBC stats game. Yet, he was also the fourth player to hit a home run this season! In total, by the end of the game the season total for home runs stood at seven, the most hit during any three game span in the statistical history of TBC. Seven home runs is as many home runs as were hit during the entirety of season’s 4 and 5! More impressive still, all three games in Season 6 have been multi home run games which already eclipses the total of two such games during all prior seasons! But it’s not just home runs propelling Season 6’s power trend.

Bat on Ball.

To investigate this it would help to define some statistics. Most readers will be familiar with Slugging Percentage (SLG), calculated as Total Bases over At Bats. A derivative of Slugging is Isolated Slugging (ISO), measured as (Total Base – Hits) over at bats, or more simply, Extra Bases over At Bats.

ISO is a better measure of raw power, as it gets to how each at bat does damage beyond a single. And it’s here that Season 6 sticks out like a Miller High Life.

Season 6 has seen a significant rise in basic power metrics compared to previous seasons.

Season 6’s rise in power looks even more stark when you consider another factor, that being the increased strike out rate. While roughly 14 percent of plate appearances ended in a strike out prior to Season 6, during the current season this rate has spiked to over 22 percent, a 50 percent increase!

Strike Out rate has been steadily trending down until the huge spike to start Season 6.

These two graphs look very similar, as if the trend in power matches a trench in strike outs. Are batters trading more swing and miss for more hard hit balls? A method to factor out strike outs is to look strictly at At Bats that end with a ball in play. There are two very useful metrics that help in this effort: BABIP, Batting Average on Balls In Play, and ISOBIP, ISOlated slugging on Balls In Play.

By stripping away At Bats that don’t result in balls hit into the field, these statistics shed significant light on how power hitting, and hitting for extra bases, plays into the current game’s stark contrast to previous seasons. What we see is a slight increase in hits, but the major increase in the power of these hits. Basically with all other offensive measures either holding steady or trending down, it’s ISOBIP, Extra Bases on Balls hit into play, that has been fueling offenses this season.

So far this all makes sense. Batters appear to be trading more strike outs for added power. And this increase in SLG isn’t created by a bunch of fluky singles, but by home runs and solid extra base hits. That could be the in end of the story, but with Tapey Beercone’s advanced stats we can go a layer deeper.

Tapey Beercone utilizes state of the art stat keeping technology.

Since the second half of Season 3, all Tapey Beercone stats games have recorded not just basic batting and pitching stats, but detailed fielding stats as well. To grade fielders with any accuracy requires that all batted balls be classified. The details of this classification system are best left for a later post, but the key takeaway is that over the course of three plus seasons the data from these classifications yield great information as to the expected outcome of any given batted ball.

For instance, a batter may hit a hard line drive toward the shortstop position right at a fielder who catches the ball for an out. In this case the play has a BABIP of .000 and an ISOBIP of .000. But, if based on all similar batted balls 90% lands for hits, 25% turn into doubles and another 10% end up as triples, than the expected outcome of that bated ball (independent of fielder positioning) would be a BABIP of .900 and an ISOBIP of .450, the batter got unlucky.

The discrepencies goes both ways. Sometimes, as here, a more routine play could be made, but the fielders just aren’t quite in the position to make it. Leading to a lucky hit.

This allows for the creation of the X Stats: Expected BABIP (xBABIP) and Expected ISOBIP (xISOBIP). Basically by averaging the expected outcomes for a given set of batted balls, one can predict what the most likely average outcome of those batted ball will be. This system if very robust. Over the last two seasons among players with simply ten batted balls or more just two players have recorded a BABIP exceeding their xBABIP by more than .055 points, and no player has scored an ISOBIP exceeding their xISOBIP by over .051 points.

The X stats are even more predictive for all players over the course of a season, with the average seasonal difference between ISOBIP and xISOBIP being just .027, at least until Season 6…

So far this season is an outlier, with ISOBIP far exceeding expectations.

Now that’s an outlyer!! After three seasons with both ISOBIP and xISOBIP trending down in tight alignment, the Season 6 boost in ISOBIP isn’t nearly entirely absent in xISOBIP. While Season 6 ISOBIP is 50% highest than Season 3’s previous high, Season 6 xISOBIP can’t even top Season 3’s mark. This is an alarming observation, and suggests that batters have received some lucky extra base hits. It means all the extra strike outs that batters have taken might not be being traded for legitimate power. If Season 6’s power were to fall back down to the trendline, it would wipe away all the offensive gains seen this season.

There might be one last savior: Season 6 is exceptional in a second way, beer have gone down faster this season than in any other. As has been examined previously, increased drinking may lead to better offense. Maybe all this extra drinking holds the key to sustaining the power outburst.

And as long as it does, it’s facilitated to look at the greatest outcome from Season 6.

The beers are going down easy in Season 6, and anchoring an all time high in CHG

As long as league average Slugging and BPI remaining at all time highs, league average Chugging is out of the park! In fact if Season 6 as a whole was counted as a player it would have finished second place in Season 5! The mystery of Season 6’s powerful start isn’t solved, but as long as it continues let the beer flow!

That’s all for now.

Cheers!

Author: The Coach

#8 The Coach, founding Regent of Tapey Beercone.

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