The Mariners are not taking advantage of BABIP splits

The Mariners have had some good luck! It, uh, hasn’t helped much

The beauty of baseball is that the season is so long it is hard to take anything seriously for the first month or two.

In football, with its limited season, you can generally start to draw some meaningful and educated conclusions by Week 3. Basketball, with its 82 game schedule, usually is ready to go after the first month. In soccer, which apparently never ends, you just constantly made judgements year round. But baseball is its own beast. We get so excited for it to start, and then we have to wait a quite a bit of time to deliver any informative takeaways.

Luckily, no one said we only have to deliver informative takeaways. The small sample size is beautiful because is it a useless and fun exercise into a vast treasure trove of data, which at the moment, ultimately means absolutely nothing.

Which is why the headline up there also means nothing. In a couple of months, maybe it will mean something, but eight games does not make a trend in baseball. In other sports, perhaps. In baseball, not even a something worth writing about.

Right now (or prior to yesterday’s game), the Mariners had a rather interesting statistical split of sorts. The Seattle Mariners are No. 1 in BABIP, at 0.333. The Mariners pitchers are holding their opponents (aka the Cleveland Indians, the San Francisco Giants, and the Minnesota Twins) to a 0.249 BABIP, the fourth-best mark in the league. That vast spread equates to phenomenally uninspiring run differential of negative one, good for No. 15 in the majors.


team runs for BABIP runs against BABIP against run differential
Braves 62 0.325 33 0.276 29
Astros 47 0.317 25 0.298 22
Pirates 58 0.314 39 0.285 19
Diamondbacks 45 0.311 27 0.259 18
Mets 39 0.321 22 0.260 17
Red Sox 41 0.285 26 0.272 15
Angels 55 0.286 41 0.236 14
Yankees 54 0.281 44 0.300 10
Cubs 35 0.283 26 0.265 9
Blue Jays 49 0.276 42 0.283 7
Twins 31 0.282 26 0.230 5
Tigers 37 0.282 32 0.276 5
Phillies 42 0.302 40 0.296 2
Cardinals 35 0.284 35 0.315 0
Mariners 32 0.333 33 0.249 -1
Dodgers 25 0.262 27 0.292 -2
Giants 24 0.289 28 0.296 -4
Indians 26 0.181 32 0.262 -6
Nationals 44 0.270 50 0.317 -6
Rockies 37 0.283 47 0.271 -10
White Sox 37 0.291 47 0.273 -10
Athletics 44 0.307 57 0.292 -13
Padres 28 0.278 42 0.284 -14
Royals 15 0.238 30 0.236 -15
Brewers 33 0.294 48 0.305 -15
Rangers 35 0.287 51 0.327 -16
Orioles 36 0.270 54 0.303 -18
Rays 27 0.267 49 0.286 -22
Reds 25 0.293 49 0.290 -24
Marlins 28 0.286 58 0.314 -30

(for a better view and sorting click here for the Google doc)

Now what can we draw from this? Literally nothing! It has been only seven games!

But, if we were to be bored in the beginning of the season and to slightly extrapolate on this, it is a bit odd that the Mariners have the luckiest bats, some of the luckiest pitchers, and haven’t been able to translate this to much of anything.

Other teams with such wildly positive differences between BABIPs, have run differentials exactly how you would expect. Just take a quick look at the table above, paying close attention Mets, Diamondbacks, Braves, and Pirates. Those teams, like the Mariners, have pretty severe differences between BABIPs, yet their run differentials are much higher, in the case of the Braves, 30 runs higher than Seattle.

In the grand scheme of things that seem very “Mariners” to do. Being lucky at hitting, lucky at hitting, and doing very little about it seems right in line with the local legend of this team’s constant futility. If anything, if you want to take away one iota of meaningless information from this dumb exercise, the one thing the Mariners appear to be doing right: the negative one run differential currently equates to a roughly .500 record. That appears to be right in line with how baseball should operate.

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