- 1st: .259/.323/.412, .735 OPS
- 2nd: .270/.334/.433, .767 OPS
- 3rd or greater: .293/.357/.480, .837 OPS
- 1st: .269/.333/.421, .754 OPS
- 2nd: .276/.337/.432, .769 OPS
- 3rd or greater: .286/.346/.454, .800 OPS
Largest Increase in OPS, 1st to 3rd (or greater) Time
|Rank||Name||1st Time vs. SP||2nd Time vs. SP||3rd+ Time vs. SP||OPS Increase|
(1st to 3rd+)
|1||Ben Broussard||59 PA, .390 OPS||55 PA, .757 OPS||50 PA, 1.337 OPS||.947|
|2||Jason Kubel||115 PA, .567 OPS||109 PA, .914 OPS||92 PA, 1.233 OPS||.666|
|3||Milton Bradley||59 PA, .491 OPS||56 PA, .924 OPS||53 PA, 1.157 OPS||.666|
|4||Gregg Zaun||93 PA, .467 OPS||86 PA, .741 OPS||60 PA, 1.048 OPS||.581|
|5||Joe Mauer||106 PA, .529 OPS||104 PA, .786 OPS||112 PA, 1.048 OPS||.519|
|6||Juan Encarnacion||74 PA, .560 OPS||71 PA, .861 OPS||56 PA, 1.044 OPS||.484|
|7||Carl Crawford||140 PA, .639 OPS||136 PA, .829 OPS||146 PA, 1.114 OPS||.475|
|8||Jeremy Hermida||113 PA, .662 OPS||110 PA, .920 OPS||91 PA, 1.123 OPS||.461|
|9||Nate McLouth||83 PA, .594 OPS||67 PA, 1.024 OPS||67 PA, 1.055 OPS||.461|
|10||Chase Utley||131 PA, .706 OPS||129 PA, .922 OPS||118 PA, 1.151 OPS||.445|
|11||Jose Lopez||141 PA, .430 OPS||137 PA, .742 OPS||98 PA, .866 OPS||.436|
|12||Jason Varitek||122 PA, .493 OPS||117 PA, .841 OPS||81 PA, .901 OPS||.408|
|13||Ronny Paulino||121 PA, .556 OPS||116 PA, .823 OPS||72 PA, .962 OPS||.406|
|14||A.J. Pierzynski||117 PA, .536 OPS||112 PA, .762 OPS||95 PA, .941 OPS||.404|
I have a few things to note about that list. I stopped at fourteen because those were the only guys matching the criteria to see a 400 point increase in their OPS. A number of those low OPS's in the first column are due to a low Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP). If you're in a slump, it might be because bloop hits that were falling in last week are suddenly being caught more often or ground balls that used to sneak through the hole are finding their way into the shortstop's glove instead. This isn't really the batter's fault; it's just one of the vagaries of the game. BABIP is useful for quantifying those things.
I bring this up because Gregg Zaun's .467 OPS in the first column is affected by his very low .157 BABIP (the ML average last season was .305). Once his BABIP got to a more normal .279 in the second column, his numbers look more like his career numbers. It works the other way, as well. In the last column, Zaun's BABIP was .350; his OPS spiked upward as a result.
I find it interesting, however, that not everyone on the list saw their BABIP go up to such a degree across all the columns. Sure, Ben Broussard's BABIP jumped .276 from the first column to the last and subsequently he leads the list, but Sammy Sosa's BABIP only went from .317 to .338 to .323; for whatever reason the balls he did hit late in the game went for more bases, driving his OPS up.
Brad Wilkerson isn't one of the fourteen guys listed above, but he is another weird case. He had a .715 OPS when facing starters for the first time with a .357 BABIP. His second time up, those numbers changed to .826 and .217 -- by the third time, he was at 1.004 and .250, respectively. He managed to increase his OPS while getting hits to fall in less. Other players with a 200 (or more) point increase in OPS but an overall decrease in BABIP were Carlos Beltran (.278/-.051), Khalil Greene (.249/-.019), and Miguel Cabrera (.235/-.067).
Tomorrow I plan on looking at guys who bucked the trend and managed to hit worse as games wore on. A hint: of the four guys at the top (bottom?) of that list, one has been a mediocre hitter for most of his career, one was designated for assignment in the middle of the season, one was a big free agent signing, and the last was a big part of a trade last offseason.