A Deeper Look at 2009 Batting Splits: By Position

Well, a week or so ago, I wrote what I considered to be my final, consummate analysis of 2009. This seemed reasonable, given that Spring Training was right around the corner and I'd have something else to do. Well, I admit now that seeing pictures and videos of the Cubs running drills and playing catch has not in fact sated my desire for statistical games -- it's only increased it. So, without any new statistical information (the games don't start until next Thursday), I must continue to plow through 2009 data to remind myself that 2010 is full of potential.

Anyway, one thing I want to look is the old, manager's axiom: "We've got to have better situational hitting." This tired, old statement seems to spill out of each manager's mouth at some point in the season and can mean a lot of things, but typically it's about hitting well with runners on -- when the run expectancy is highest. I'll get to that eventually, but I want to also peruse some other topics of the Splits nature:

By Position

First, how much production did we get out of each position? I've included BABIP (which gauges luck) and wOBA (which gauges overall offensive ability):

In 2009, MLB average BABIP was .300, so pretty much anything under that line was a little unlucky, anything above was lucky. Of course, BABIP can be different for different players or positions. Faster guys, like Ichiro Suzuki, tend to have higher BABIPs (Ichiro's career BABIP = .357!). So, it helps if we look at league averages in comparison:

As a whole, our left fielders were unlucky. The majority of that is Alfonso Soriano, who was also struggling with his aging knees. That's not good for BABIP; it's also not good for professional athletes as a whole. If his knees are better this coming year, we can expect good things in general. If they start hurting again, we might be in for another low-BABIP from Soriano. I tend to think things might turn around for ol' Alf. If we look at this BABIP near the end of 2009, we can actually see he may have been getting better...

(Source Fangraphs)

...even if his power (ISO) didn't really return like we'd hope (notice how the 2009 above makes a "V," while the 2009 below makes a backwards check mark):
(Source Fangraphs)

The other thing we note from the previous graph is how little production we got from our second basemen. Here, Baker's lucky BABIP combined with Fontenot's low BABIP to equal an NL average BABIP, with an extra low wOBA. Keep in mind: we don't want league average. League average implies that we are as good as the half of the league that watches the playoffs and doesn't play in them. Being below league average (with our budget, no less!) is kind of unacceptable.

Phew! This is already a way longer post than I intended. Next, we'll look at our actual batting order results and see what's going on there.

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