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MLB Regression Report: Watch White Sox hitters, Angels pitchers

By Adam Burke  ( 

May 12, 2022 08:09 PM

A lot of baseball statistics take a while to reach what is called a “stabilization point.” That means a stat needs to have enough of a sample size to be considered reliable. Baseball stats and metrics are subject to a lot of randomness and variance, but we can start drawing much stronger conclusions as the number of data points increases. Some stats, like K%, BB%, ground ball percentage (GB%), fly ball percentage (FB%) and exit velocity for hitters, do stabilize very quickly. All of those stats have reached a point of significance this season and can be viewed as reliable.

Other stats simply cannot reach a stabilization point based on the length of the season. Stats such as batting average on balls in play (BABIP) require about 2,000 batted ball events to reach a point of significance. Batting average requires 650 batted ball events. Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks had the most batted ball events last season with 597.

As a result, stats such as BA and BABIP are always open to interpretation and are going to fluctuate. This is especially true of stats in certain splits, like with men on base or runners in scoring position. Isolating outliers in all sorts of stats can help us find pitchers, hitters and teams in line for positive or negative regression. That is the purpose of “The Regression Report.”

For the second installment of this feature, here are the teams and players on my mind.

Team Regression

I won’t do this every week, but to illustrate how the concept works, let’s look at the Toronto Blue Jays offense that I wrote about last week. Toronto had a .188 BABIP and a 56 wRC+ with RISP through last Monday’s games. Now, Toronto has a .211 BABIP and a 65 wRC+ with RISP through this Monday’s games. I also wrote about how Toronto had the fifth-highest strikeout percentage with RISP, despite the 15th-highest K% overall. They now have the seventh highest.

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