Thursday, August 27, 2015

Are triples the most random thing in baseball? (I bet you can't name the MLB leaders)

Most baseball stats are an indication of something.  There's usually a correlation between stuff like batting average, on-base percentage, home runs, RBI, etc. and how good a hitter somebody is.  In general, players also tend to put up similar numbers from one year to the next.

Triples, however, make no sense whatsoever and are entirely unpredictable.  Being fast helps, but that is a lose connection at best.  Take a look at MLB's top three triples leaders for 2015:

Kevin Kiermaier makes some sense because he has speed (15 steals), but he's also just a .257 hitter with a .290 OBP.  Similarly, Eddie Rosario (9 steals) is a rookie who's batting .275 with a .297 OBP.  Rosario also has only 331 at-bats, so it's pretty ridiculous for him to rank among the league leaders in anything.

But craziest of all is Evan Gattis (.276 OBP), a slow-footed power-hitter converted from catcher to DH.  Gattis had just one triple in his career prior to this season, and he's never stolen a base.

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