F/X VisualizationsOctober 06, 2009
Porcello Versus the Twins' Lineup
By Dave Allen

Yesterday I wrote about the Porcello/Baker pitching matchup, another interesting facet of tonight's game is the match up between Rick Porcello and the Twins' lineup. Porcello succeeds by getting lots of ground balls, over 54% per ball in play fifth best in the league. The Twins on the other hand have a high ground ball (3rd highest), high BABIP (7th best) offense. It seems this match up would play into the Twins favor, as their hitters hit lots of grounders and beat them out for singles or on ones through the gaps for extra base hits.

I wanted to see how much this is the case for individual Twins. So here are the career BABIP on grounders and SLG on grounders for some probable Twins starters. I also included the 2009 AL average for these values for comparison. I left out Jose Morales and Matt Tolbert as they had too few grounders. I sorted by SLG on grounders. All these numbers are from Baseball Reference.

                BABIPgb   SLGgb
Carlos Gomez     0.268    0.317
Denard Span      0.275    0.302
Delmon Young     0.260    0.281
Michael Cuddyer  0.252    0.277
Orlando Cabrera  0.240    0.263
Joe Mauer        0.253    0.261
Nick Punto       0.245    0.260
AL AVERAGE       0.240    0.260
Jason Kubel      0.197    0.211

With the exception of Kubel all these hitters have average or better slugging on ground balls. It looks like this may partially neutralize Porcello's main strength.


Might be worth knowing whether teams who have artificial surfaces at home do better in general with their GB's. If so, and if the Twins do better on turf than just the usual home/road split then they actually might have more of an advantage than the overall BABIP suggests.

That is a really good point I had not thought of. That is probably a big reason for the Twins having a high BABIPgb. Of course tonight's game is at the Metrodome on an artificial surface, so it is no help to Porcello.

The Twins had a BABIP of .306 at home and on the road this season. Unfortunately, the hit trajectory stats are not broken out by home and away (or at least not that I can tell). Minnesota's BABIP is .301 vs. RHP and .315 vs. LHP. The team's BABIP vs. GB pitchers is .327 and .315 vs. finesse pitchers (defined by B-R as "pitchers strike out or walks less than 24% of batters faced").