Outfield Battle: David vs. Goliath

I posted this idea in my Monday post here.

Basically on one hand we have a veteran player who’s been around forever that is starting to show signs of aging. Our Goliath.

On the otherhand we have a minor league journeyman who got a good chance this year and has taken advantage of it. Our David. Let’s compare their stats.

Goliath: .234/.310/.442. 6 homers, 12 doubles, 1 triple in 171 PA’s. Goliath has a .248 batting average on balls in play, or BABIP.

David: .257/.298/533. 7 homers, 4 doubles and two triples in 115 PA’s. David has a .317 BABIP.

Goliath is of course Matt Holliday, while David is Jeremy Hazelbaker.

This is actually closer than I thought it would be. Part of that is because Hazelbaker has cooled down quite a bit since the beginning of May. On May 1st he was hitting .313 while today on May 2t5h he stands at .257. Either pitchers are starting to figure him out or he’s slumping. Probably a little bit of both.

Holliday has also cooled down since the beginning of May though. May 1st: 256. May 25th: 234. The cool-down may not be as dramatic as Hazelbaker’s, but it is still there.

Two things stand out to me:

1) The discrepancy in slugging percentage. Hazelbaker has a .533 percentage while Holliday has a .442 percentage.

On the surface, the extra base hit totals are similar, with Hazelbaker having one more homer and triple while Holliday has 8 more doubles. But Holliday has 56 more plate appearances than Hazelbaker, so Jeremy has homered more in 56 less AB’s, leading in large part to the big difference. I’m sure the extra triple doesn’t hurt Jeremy either. Perhaps if Holliday wasn’t such a station to station runner at this stage of the game, some of his 12 doubles would in fact be triples and his slugging percentage would be closer to Hazelbaker’s.


Hazelbaker’s BABIP is .317, while Holliday’s is .248.

Given that Hazelbaker has put the ball in play less often than Holliday (55% as opposed to 70%) and that both players have roughly the same line drive percentage (20% for Hzelbaker, 21% for Holliday), Hazelbaker is getting quite a bit luckier than Holliday is.

Add all this up, and I think, while Jeremy is a great story, he’s right where he needs to be, on the bench. I’m betting Holliday’s luck will turn (this’d be the first year his BABIP was below .298, if things stayed the way they are) as will Jeremy’s. (As noted above, it likely already has begun to.) Jeremy is a great story though, and I’m glad he’s on the team.

Quick Hits:

1) David Schoenfield talks about some unintended consequences of the possible new strike zone here.

2) Crush that plane Joey! Crush it!

3) Looking back on the awesomeness that is Ichiro.


As always, thanks for reading.

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