Is Freddy Sanchez for Real?

Is Freddy Sanchez for Real?





If you’ve recently been stuck in a 7-11 or a bookstore, and have had a few minutes to kill, than you’ve most likely browsed through a 2007 fantasy baseball magazine. And if you happen to come across Freddy Sanchez’s name, you will almost invariably see the publication warning you to steer clear of this former batting champ. Is this really warranted? I don’t think so.

We’re going to look at a few indicators before we get into a prediction of Freddy’s 2007.

Freddy led the NL in line drive percentage in 2006, at 27.5%. This was over 3% greater than second place Miguel Cabrera. One’s first assumption is that this number is a big fluke (which to an extent it was). But if we go back to 2005, Sanchez had a 23.5% line drive percentage. This placed him a respectable 18th in the NL, one place ahead of Chase Utley. So in his short career, he has a history of a high line drive percentage.

Earlier last season, Freddy was essentially a utility man behind a plethora of Bucs. In April, he only had four or more official at-bats in seven games. He didn’t start to get regular playing time until the start of May. This upcoming season will have Sanchez starting from the get-go, so look for an extra 80 or so plate appearances.

One area of concern would have to be his high BABIP. In 2006, he had the second highest rate in the NL, at .370. In 2005 he hit only .308. This is a huge rise, but there were a few good signs that went along with it. We’ve already looked at the high line drive percentage, but another positive factor is the drop in groundball %, from 45.9% in 2005 to 37.0% in 2006 (tied for 12th in the NL).

Another useful stat is hit rate. This is just BABIP but including HR. This simplification of the BABIP will allow us to come up with some hard numbers later on. His 2005 hit rate was .3165, and his 2006 hit rate was .37736.

In 2006, Freddy placed within the top 10 in a stat that I like to call BOB (Bat on Ball%), which is basically the percentage of plate appearances that’s final outcome ends via a batted ball (Plate Apperances – walks – strikeouts – HBP). His 2006 number was 85.8%. His 2005 number was 86.2%, both top 10 in the mlb. So Freddy is ultra aggressive, and takes matters into his own hands. This is important fact that will be used to prove his productivity.


Up to now we’ve seen a number of things.


  • Freddy is ultra aggressive at the plate, with over 85% of his PA’s being decided by his bat
  • Freddy has been near the top in line drive percentage in the past two seasons, a sign that he’s hitting the ball with authority.
  • Freddy has lowered his ground ball percentage.
  • His BABIP has been a tale of two cities
  • His Hit Rate has also been a tale of two cities
  • Avoiding injury, Freddy should receive at least 80 more plate appearances in 2007



Statistical Analysis/ Prediction for 2007:



  • 80 more PA yields a total of 712
  • His SH will stay at 2006 levels, but be pro-rated to increased Abs
  • Fact: His hit rate was .377 in 06, .316 in 05



Plate App  BOB% BOB AB Minus SH (pro-rated) Bat on Ball Abs
712 0.86 612.32 12 600



* Hit Rate
Calculated Hits
/Total AB (BOB+K)
600 0.32   192 658   0.291793
600 0.33   198 658   0.300912
600 0.34   204 658   0.31003
600 0.35   210 658   0.319149
600 0.36   216 658   0.328267
600 0.37   222 658   0.337386
600 0.38   228 658   0.346505


Now here’s where your own assumption comes into play. What will Freddy’s hit rate % be in 2007? If you think he’ll match his 2006 rate (.377) he should hit over .340. If he regresses down to a .320 rate he should hit .292. If you split the difference of his past hit rates, you come up with .346, for an average of .315. Any which way, Freddy should hit above .300 in 2007, and possibly much more. For you fantasy players out there, his high BOB rate turns him into an Ichiro type player, which is one that has a high level of at-bats, thus carrying your fantasy average. Baseball fans in general, and Pirates fan especially should look forward to another productive year from this former batting champion.

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6 replies on “Is Freddy Sanchez for Real?”
  1. says: Matt

    I’ve read that BABIP tends to equal approximately LD% + .120. For Sanchez in 2006, that would be .275 + .120 = .395. This would suggest that his 2006 BABIP of .370 would be below the expected number of .395, thus including some bad luck. So maybe Freddy’s AVG could end up even higher in 2007? Thoughts?

    Wait ‘Til Next Year

  2. says: Kman

    Thanks for the comment & question Matt!

    I’ve never seen that stat (yet I’ve never looked for it either), but I’ll assume it’s true. I don’t know if he’ll be able to maintain a 27.5% LD rate. That was over 3% higher than 2nd place in 2006. Also, according to the Hardball Times, a LD % over 25% has only happened 10 times in the past three seasons. A repeat is unlikely, but a return to a 23% (still top-level) wouldn’t be that unreasonable, giving him a BABIP of .350 with your +.120 stat. Of course, I used Hit Rate% instead of BABIP in my chart, but with Freddy a BABIP of .350 would translate into probably a .360 Hit Rate, since he hits mostly doubles instead of HR’s, which allows him the high BABIP in the first place. So, basically, yeah, I could see a hit rate of .360, which translates into a .328 average according to my numbers.

    This should give the Pirates a pretty deep lineup for the first time in years. Hopefully the young arms can come around (I could see an improvement from Snell), and Capps & Torres can somehow keep their arms attached to their bodies with all the work they’ll get in 07.


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