And I mean this sincerely — why the reliance on BABIP? How is it so much better than ERA? Some pitchers, like Greg Maddux, pitched to contact with great effectiveness. All balls batted in play are not equal. BABIP assumes that everything is a line drive and it’s partly luck as to where they land.
How many dribblers were hit off Mad Dog and Glavine? Were they merely lucky for two decades or are there other ways to retire a batter than a strikeout?
There’s plenty of other examples. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer averaged just 5 strikeouts per 9 innings over his career — Warren Spahn, only 4.4 K/9. That’s a lot of BABIPs. Granted, Palmer had Belanger and Brooks Robinson behind him, but Maddux and Glavine had some of their best years backed by mediocre defenders like Jeff Blauser. I don’t have Johnny Logan’s UZR on me but one can assume that Spahn wasn’t backed by Gold Glovers for the duration of his 21-year career.
Perhaps I’m being too simplistic. If so, correct me, but please leave the Keith Law-esque snideness at the door.