Monday, May 3, 2010

Whither Art Alfonso Soriano, Version 2009?

The recent resurgence of Alfonso Soriano has really brought to mind the dismal season he had last year in 2009. In the first month of that year, Soriano had looked rock solid too. In the first 21 games that year, he enjoyed a .402 wOBA line, but then hit in the mid-.200s after that.

Fangraphs gives us hint as to what happened:

Soriano's wOBA crashed...

When his BABIP crashed.

Now, we have to keep in mind a few truisms about BABIP:

1) BABIPs tend to decline when players age -- they can't run out grounders as fast.
2) BABIPs tend to decline when players undergo leg-related injuries, for the same reason as #1.
3) BABIPs don't normalize quickly, but don't tend to shift quickly either. In other words, you get old slowly.

Can we expect the mid-season BABIP slump to return? Is this great Fonzy a foretaste of an impending 2009-like bad Fonzy? It's hard to say, but I think that 2009 is an aberration -- possibly a function of his injuries, maybe a function of a changed approach (also possibly caused by injuries). In other words, I think and hope Alphonso Soriano may be back.

In other news, Aramis Ramirez is hella-unlucky right now. Take a look at his BABIP chart and tell me which season doesn't look like the others:

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