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Turning Two

This was supposed to be just a table post, but there was too much interesting data to make that work. So, now there's going to be words too. The table:

The Yankees have turned the second-fewest double plays in the American League. That sounds bad. But when you factor in opportunities, they're actually in the middle of the pack. Neat.

Due to their obvious rally killing nature, being able to turn double plays is an important aspect of any run prevention unit. To get a more nuanced understanding of the Yankees proficiency in this area, the event needs to be split into two different quantities: the ability of the pitcher to get the batter to hit the ball on the ground and the ability of the fielders to turn the double play.

To get an idea of how many true chances that the fielders have had to turn double plays, we'd need to reference a more absolute ground ball percentage. Against the Yankees, opposing batters have come to the plate 3213 times and hit the ball on the ground 1003 times. So, Yankees pitching has induced a ground ball 31.22% of the time.

This differs from the ground ball percentage that is commonly referenced, which only considers balls put in play. Meaning that if you hit five ground balls, three fly balls, and two line drives, your ground ball percent is 50%, completely independent of walks, strikeouts, or anything else that could happen in a plate appearance.

So, if Yankee pitchers induce a ground ball in 31.22% of opponent plate appearances, and there have been 509 plate appearances in "double play situations," we can calculate an expected value of 159 ground balls. Table number two:

As it turns out, the oft-maligned Yankees infield defense actually rates out pretty well. Yesterday, I was the one doing the maligning, but it only goes to show you that this is a complicated game with an impossibly large number of variables.

The most black-and-white statement that you should make while doing baseball analysis is that everything is a shade of gray.