Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's Wrong With Jorge Posada?

If you're reading this you probably want to know what is going on with Jorge Posada and why he asked out of the lineup on Saturday night?

I have no idea.

If you want to know why Jorge sucks so bad thus far this season, I also have no idea, but its always fun to look at numbers.

As of today Posada is 'hitting': .165/.272/.349.  That looks really ugly but it's only a 70 wRC+, which means that Posada is hitting 70% as well as the average major league hitter.  That's not good, but it's not horrifyingly horrific.

Let's break those numbers apart a little bit.

Posada is still drawing walks at the same rate he has been recently and at a better rate than league average.

*Click to make bigger

He's striking out a bit more than he has recently

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But his power is still well above average

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So in three of the most important things that a batter can do, he isn't showing much decline.

So, what's wrong?

BABIP.  His BABIP has fallen completely off of a cliff.  Posada has the worst BABIP in the majors at .164.  36 points below the second worst player (Vernon Wells .200).

Problem solved, right?  He's the victim of bad luck.

Not so fast...There's also this

Posada's line drives are way down while his ground balls are way up.  More ground balls usually increase BABIP, but that's probably not true for slow-footed 39 year-old catchers.  In fact, Posada has just 6 hits on ground balls this season and is 0-36 on balls fielded on the infield.

He has a .135 BABIP on ground balls.  .240 is considered average.
He has a .038 BABIP on fly balls.  .140 is considered average.
He has a .600 BABIP on his 10 line drives.  .740 is considered average.

One of two things, or-more likely-a combination of them both, Posada is having horrible BABIP luck or/and he's not hitting the ball hard.

His line drive percentage is just 11% this season after he averaged 21% between 2005 and 2010.  Those line drives appear to be traded in for mostly ground balls.  Posada's ground ball percentage in 2011 is 48%, up from 40% in 2005 to 2010.  His fly ball rate has been static at 41% in 2011 compared to 40% in 2005-2010.

Can Posada turn it around and start hitting line drives again on balls he's been grounding out on all season?

I don't know.

*Stats from FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference

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