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There is No Such Thing as an “Average” Tapey Beercone Batter: How the uniqueness of the Tapey Beercone player base means no one is average.
Tapey Beercone has been chugging along for nearly 10 years now, and for the majority of that time detailed statistics have been kept on the games that have been played and the players that have played in them. In total, over two thousand individual plate appearances have been logged, and from those a clear and stable image has been deduced as to what average batting looks like in the sport of Tapey Beercone.
- An Average Batter:
- Has a batting average just north of .600.
- Reaches base safely about two-thirds of the time
- Slugs somewhere just south of .800.
- Drinks at a rate of about seven beers per six inning game.
There’s only one problem: There isn’t a player in the annals of Tapey Beercone that fits this description.
To better explain and analyze this, it helps to breakdown the various aspects of batting into a series of somewhat independent peripheral components. These are:
- Walk Rate: BB%
- Strike Out Rate: K%
- Isolated Slugging: ISO
- Batting Average on Balls in Play: BABIP
Tapey Beercone batters have averaged a walk rate of 9.8% versus a strikeout rate of 14.4%. Isolated Slugging measures the number of extra bases gained per at bat, and on average there have been 0.162 such bases gained in a given appearance. Lastly, BABIP measures batting average excluding the automatic outs from strike outs, and here batters have averaged a rate of .735.
You can see the divergence in the player base immediately in that first component. If you take the 15 players with statistical appearances in at least three games (The Recurrent Players who will be analyzed from this point on), just three of those players have a walk rate within 3.5% of the league average.Walk Rates for Recurring Players
You can instead divide the players into a large group of players who have no interest in walking, who swing at anything that looks hit-able. Taking those seven players the average is just 2.5%. For the other 8 players, who put greater emphasis on seeing more pitches, the average walk rate is nearly 14% or almost 1 out of every seven times up at the plate.
The divergence in the player base continues when looking at K%. Here, in fact, the divide is even starker. Just 3 batters have a strikeout rate within 6.5% of the league average rate! Those three are joined by four players with well below average strike out tendencies to form the half of the player base who as a group strike out at just about half the league average rate. The remaining eight players all strike out with much higher frequency, averaging as a group 29%, double the average rate.Strike Out Rates for Recurring Players
And this isn’t simply a measure of overall skill. While a few players manage to end up on the positive end of both peripherals, the opposite is more likely the case and there is a 40% positive correlation between BB% and K%. In essence these results highlight a dramatic dichotomy in batting strategy. Some players swing for contact, both walking and striking out rarely. Other players employ a disciplined approach, earning more walks but taking strikes as a result.
Moving on to ISO, the power metric, the disparities continue. While league average is .162, fully eight of the 15 players being studying have an ISO of .050 or less. These players are solid singles hitters, but rarely will they stretch it for extra bases. The other seven players all pose a legitimate power threat, and as a group their power rate is solidly above average.Isolated Slugging for Recurring Players
While the most powerful batters tend to be the best batters, once again this isn’t a direct measure of overall skill. Many of the lower ISO batter are high average slappy hitters who bat for great results. And a number of the higher ISO batters live and die on whether their power comes through game to game.
Lastly, BABIP, which has the highest level of randomness of all these metrics, trifurcates the player base. A third of the players have a BABIP nearly at the average level, a third have a BABIP over 100 points below average, and the last third BABIP over 50 points above average/BABIP for Recurring Players
Add it all up and you get something like this:Recurring Players Compared to Average on Four Metrics
The graph displays the four peripheral metrics described above, displaying how each player’s stats differ from the average. BB% and K% are displayed spatially, ISO is represented by the size of each data point, and the color represents each player’s BABIP, with greening meaning higher, and grayer meaning lower.
As you can see, the variety of playing styles is plenty, and no player comes close to matching the average, with the possible exception of Chris “The Rooster”/”The Dragon”. But here one would be mistaken to treat Chris as just one player with one data point.
Next time we’ll explore why “The Rooster” and “The Dragon” really should be treated as separate players, and prove that our only chance at a representation of an “Average Batter” in Tapey Beercone really is nothing of the sort.
Until then I would be remiss to not include an analysis on drinking within the recurrent player base. Here too, very few players match the league average BPI of 1.18.BPI for Recurring Players