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Marlins Hold Opponents to Incredibly Low Average on Balls in Play

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I hate to harp on this (and I'll also acknowledge up front that this thought isn't as well developed as it should be), but eventually this run of great starting pitching that the Marlins have had is going to dry up and it sure feels like the Fish will be hovering around .500 then.  That will be unfortunate because the Marlins are getting some generally great starting pitching for the time being, and ideally that would translate into a substantially better than .500 record.

Many people have done some pretty sophisticated analysis that concludes that 30% of all balls that are put into play (i.e. not home runs or strike outs) turn into hits - actually, it works out to a batting average of .288.  So far this year the Marlins are doing much better than that.  Looking at the starters only, they're all doing better than that - Brian Moehler included.  The trouble with this is that it's generally not sustainable.  Over the course of a season or a career, every pitcher - generally speaking - from Greg Maddux to Mike Maddux - will have 30% of the balls that are put in play against him turn into hits (singles, doubles, or triples).  While the Marlins are outperforming that benchmark so far this year, that just means they're on a run of good luck - and some bad luck (or poor pitching) is bound to catch up with them sooner or later.

How are the starters faring?

Brian Moehler leads the starters by only allowing a batting average of .105.  If his stuff was really that good, he wouldn't be an occssional starter.  Dontrelle Willis, at .195, is also holding hitters below .200 when the ball is in play.  While it's great to see the hot start from the D-Train, don't expect that to hold up through the year.  Unfortunately there will be more innings that look like the 7th last night.

Al Leiter (.235), Josh Beckett (.239), and A.J. Burnett (.265) have also had a high percentage of the balls put into play against them turn into outs.  While this is encouraging and great to see - they too are probably going to see those numbers increase to the .280 - .300 range by the end of the year.

Hopefully by then the Marlins will be scoring enough runs in close games to make the issue moot.