Earlier this week, we looked at players who were potential sell-high candidates based on a high Batting Average On Balls In Play (click here to view).  Today, let’s look at the players carrying the ten worst BABIP and determine if they are worth buying:


1. Aaron Hill, 2B (Toronto Blue Jays): .180

It’s been a struggle for Hill, who may be trying so hard to hit for power that it is hurting the rest of his game.  Last season, he hit 36 home runs by posting a fly ball rate of 41.0 percent (and hitting .286 in the process).  This season, he has seen his fly ball rate increase to 50.4 percent, while his line drive rate has plummeted from 19.6 percent to 7.8 percent.  If some of those fly balls became line drives, the average would surely increase.  It’s not unreasonable, considering his career line drive mark is at 19.4 percent.

Would I give up a lot to get him? No, but he’s still showing the power (8 home runs in 172 at-bats) and the average should rebound fairly significantly. He’s a solid buy.

2. Aramis Ramirez, 3B (Chicago Cubs ): .189

Do you believe the thumb injury is the cause of his struggles?  That is the main decision to make when debating whether you want to acquire him.  His fly ball rate is ridiculously high this year, at 59.9 percent (from 2002 on, his career mark is 45.1 percent), which is also a factor.  Fly balls just don’t find holes as easily and, given his career track rate, you would have to think that his fly balls will decline, which should help the average. 

The thing is, that’s not why you’d be acquiring him.  You want the power, but right now is home run/fly ball rate is at a career-low 6.1 percent.  I have to think that the power is going to return, but that is far from a guarantee.  This makes him a questionable acquisition at this point, unless you get him significantly cheap.  With him on the DL, that is certainly possible.


3. Casey Kotchman, 1B (Seattle Mariners): .201

Who cares?  The Mariners obviously don’t think that much of him, after they recently recalled Mike Carp and gave him playing time at first base.  Clearly, he’s not a player to focus on.


4. Carlos Pena, 1B (Tampa Bay Rays): .202

As if his high strikeout rate (32.5 percent) wasn’t bad enough, his poor luck is causing just as big a problem.  You have to wonder by exactly how much Pena will improve.  Last season, he posted a strikeout rate of 34.6 percent, so if he regresses there, better luck won’t matter.  Pena has power, but his problems in the average department, coupled with the depth at first base, makes him a player I would avoid.


5. Carlos Quentin, OF (Chicago White Sox): .207

It’s all bad luck, and amazingly it is for the second consecutive season (he posted a .221 BABIP last season).  He doesn’t strike out much (15.7 percent).  He has a good eye at the plate (10.4 percent walk rate).  He should see an increase in the power department.  Better days are forecast for this season, so if someone has given up on him, I would be buying.


6. Akinori Iwamura, INF (Pittsburgh Pirates): .211

He’s lost his job and is not likely to get it back anytime soon.  That turns this into a scenario to avoid.  He’s just not likely to hold fantasy value this season.


7. Carlos Lee, OF (Houston Astros): .215

He has a long-proven track record, with a career .289 batting average.  Lee has actually posted four consecutive .300+ seasons.  He’s struggling thus far and he’s probably pressing to try to get things on track.  His strikeouts are slightly up (between 8.4 and 11.2 percent the past four years compared to 13.2 percent this year), and his walks are slightly down (7.2 percent for his career compared to 4.7 percent this season), but that’s not enough to be concerning. 

Lee has simply been unlucky.  Just how long can that last?  He still has power (between 26 and 37 home runs for each of the past eight years), which will also help his average recover.  I certainly would support buying him.


8. Nate McLouth, OF (Atlanta Braves): .218

This is one of the most perplexing collapses this season and, with him now batting eighth, you have to question McLouth’s upside.  It’s been so bad that people in five outfielder formats have flat-out dropped him.  The strikeout rate has increased (currently at 26.9 percent), which is never the type of player he’s been (13.9 percent over 2,101 career minor league at-bats).  Maybe McLouth has gotten homer-happy, but his fly ball rate (45.4 percent in ‘10) is right in line with his career mark (44.4 percent), so that doesn’t seem likely. 

The 20/20 potential is still there, and it’s unlikely that he hits .180 all year long.  I also don’t think he stays in the eighth hole, so I’m not completely jumping ship quite yet.  But I’m not making a big trade to get McLouth, either.  He really could go either way.


9. A.J. Pierzynski, C (Chicago White Sox ): .224

He’s struggling, but it’s simply a luck issue.  The bigger story will be if he spends the entire year in Chicago or if he is traded away to allow Tyler Flowers to assume the everyday job.  Either way, he’s just a backstop to be considered in two-catcher formats and the slow start doesn’t really change his value.  He is what he is: a .265-.280 hitter with 12-15 home runs.  Even with the slow start, I think he’ll get there, assuming he keeps his job, by year’s end.


10. Mark Teixeira , 1B (New York Yankees): .229

Let’s get real—it’s Mark Teixeira.  He’s going to turn it around and he’s not likely to be available cheap.  There’s really nothing to be worried about here.

The next five

  • Juan Rivera, OF (Los Angeles Angels): .231
  • Jose Bautista, OF (Toronto Blue Jays ): .237
  • Clint Barmes, 2B (Colorado Rockies): .237
  • Paul Konerko, 1B (Chicago White Sox): .239
  • Corey Hart, OF (Milwaukee Brewers): .242

What are your thoughts on these players?  Which do you think are the best buys?  Who are you avoiding?

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