By Nick Patterson Herald writer
EVERETT — Do you feel lucky?
Luck can play a role in baseball statistics. A player can hit the ball hard right at a defensive player and make an out, or a player can hit a blooper off the end of his bat that drops for a single. Standard baseball statistics such as batting average don’t account for such instances.
One way of trying to determine whether luck is playing a factor in the numbers is looking at batting average on balls in play (BABIP). A high BABIP can indicate bad luck for a pitcher or good luck for a hitter, and a low BABIP can indicate good luck for a pitcher or bad luck for a hitter.
The Northwest League’s BABIP going into Sunday’s games was .316, so that provides the baseline for each individual.
Pitchers’ BABIP tends to normalize toward the league BABIP because they have little control of what happens once the ball is hit. Therefore, pitchers who have a BABIP that deviates from the league BABIP likely have run into either good or bad luck.
So who are the Everett pitchers who have been lucky or unlucky? Among those who had thrown at least 20 innings, Hawtin Buchanan (.400) and Dan Altavilla (.388) are those who seem to have been unlucky with regards to balls falling in for hits. Therefore, Altavilla (4.88) and Buchanan (3.18) have probably pitched better than their ERAs — though both have had control issues, which wouldn’t show up in the BABIP statistic.
On the other side the outlier is Ryan Yarbrough. Yarbrough’s low BABIP (.242) indicates he probably hasn’t pitched quite as well as his 1.61 ERA, though he’s helped himself by walking just two in 28 innings.
What about batters? Batters don’t normalize to the league BABIP in the same way as pitchers because they have more control over how hard a ball is put into play, and running speed can also play a factor. Therefore, better hitters tend to have a better BABIP, rather than everyone gravitating to the league average over time. Still, numbers that are well off the league average could be an indication of luck.
So which Everett hitters may have been lucky or unlucky? The batters with low BABIPs who have 100-plus at bats are Phillips Castillo (.247 BABIP, .202 batting average), Corey Simpson (.257, .230) and Sheehan Planas-Arteaga (.264, .185), so they may have been unfortunate with regard to balls finding holes.
The only Everett batter with a high BABIP is Chris Mariscal, whose .370 BABIP may indicate his .265 batting average have been aided by a little good luck.
Everett catcher Adam Martin has a bruised right hand.
Martin had to leave Saturday’s game in the top of the fourth inning after taking a foul tip from the bat of Vancouver’s Ryan McBroom off his throwing hand. Martin writhed in pain for several moments and needed to be tended to by Sox athletic trainer Shane Zdebiak. Martin made an attempt to stay in the game, but he was unable to get the necessary grip on the ball to throw it back to the pitcher.
Zdebiak said Sunday that Martin was diagnosed with just a bruise. Martin was in uniform Sunday, but was held out of the starting lineup.
Martin has been one of Everett’s most productive offensive players this season. The Seattle Mariners’ 10th-round pick in this year’s draft is batting .255 with five home runs and 18 RBI in 46 games, and he’s second on the team in OPS at .766.