BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) measures a player’s batting average based solely on the balls he hits into the field of play.
For that reason, outcomes not impacted by the defense — such as strikeouts and home runs — are taken out of the equation.
For example, if a player goes 3-for-5 with two home runs and a strikeout, his BABIP would be .500 because he went 1-for-2 on balls hit into the field.
BABIP can be used to assess the performance of both hitters and pitchers.
With a league average around .300, pitchers who tend to induce weak contact will likely have a lower BABIP, while hitters with a knack for hitting balls hard will find themselves with a higher BABIP.
While defense and luck play a role in BABIP, it’s important to note that player talent is right at the top of the list.
Michael Conforto led the league in BABIP in 2020 at .412. Generally speaking, players who excel at putting the ball in play and have above-average speed, such as DJ LeMahieu or Tim Anderson, are those you expect to see at the top of the BABIP leaderboard.
BABIP in Sports Betting
The ability to understand BABIP helps in sports betting because it allows a bettor to evaluate a player’s performance.
It’s often very telling if a batter finds success when putting the ball into play or if a pitcher struggles due to giving up balls in play.