Pop-Up Duty


Looking at the Jays propensity to the pop-up.

I like the simple things in life. Take a computer for example. If I have a problem with web coding or doing some semi-advanced spreadsheet work, well it happens. If I click on a program icon to start something up and it hangs, well then I get a bit upset.

I feel same way about watching the Jays bat. If someone strikes out on a good pitch, it happens. DP off of a nice sinker, it happens.

Now hitting MLB pitching in any scenario isn’t easy. Regardless, pop-up after pop-up can drive me crazy. It’s a completely unproductive out.

The 2011 Jays lead the MLB by a wide margin in team pop-ups. The bluebirds have 103. Only two other teams are over 90 (96 & 90).

The MLB average for pop-ups is one per 18.3 PA. The Jays clock in at 12.6 PA.

Baseball Prospectus has recently updated their hitting stats. Unlike standard fangraphs hit data, they separate flyball & pop-up percentages.


Eight members of the Jays roster have 7 or more pop-ups. Five of these have over 10.

EE leads the MLB with 16

AHill is back to 2010 form with 11

Juan Rivera has 11 vs only 17 true flyballs

Rajai Davis, a speedster that is trying to ‘man up’ and muscle the ball has 10 in only 69 PA

Corey Patterson, another slash and dash type hitter has 10

Just missing the list at 9 pop-ups in 21 batted balls is David Cooper.

With these numbers I calculated Legitimate BABIP, keeping SF in due to simplicity of data.

(Balls in Play – Pop-ups) / (H – HR)

2011 Jays Legitimate BABIP (MLB avg is .298)


The Jays team avg of .301 is near the MLB avg. To be honest, I’m not really sure what to look for outside of outliers. Three Jays (Patterson, Hill & EE) are above .340. Rivera, Escobar, JPA & Snider are below league avg.

Even without knowing exactly what to look for, it appears that AHill is at least having some success when he’s not skying the ball in the air. And Rajai needs to ditch his off-season power focus and go back to his game of slash & dash.

Later this week I’m going to dive into a comparison of pre and post HR hitting AHill.

Note: Credit to Callum for coining the phrase ‘pop-up duty’

Stats: Fangraphs & BP

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10 replies on “Pop-Up Duty”
  1. says: daperman

    Go to the other extreme and check out Y Escobar and check how many times he grounds out. And he doesnt have the speed to beat any of them.

    1. says: matthias

      Yeah, that’s always been Escobar’s game. GB machine with 55% career avg. I’m sure he’s looking to pick up his LD% back to career norms of 18ish%

  2. says: mike in boston

    nice analysis, although the mention of an “unproductive out” will no doubt ruffle some feathers since it implies that there is such a thing as a “productive out”.

    i wonder how many pop-ups the Jays had last year, when they led the league in HRs. Is there usually a strong correlation between HRs and pop-ups, either at the individual or team level?

    1. says: Early

      Maybe you are arguing baseball theory here. But a leadoff triple followed by three pop-ups is an example of an unproductive outs. A leadoff triple followed up by a ground ball that scores a run is productive. Moving a runner over in a sac bunt situation without bunting is typically deemed a productive out.

    2. says: Matthias

      Re: IFFB & power

      It comes down to the hitter. Some players such as 2010 Jose Bautista (14.9%) will hit there share of pop-ups due to their swing, mechanics, power tendencies.

      Others, such as 2010 & 2011 Joey Votto (zero pop-ups in both seasons) can succeed at the power game without the IFFB.

      Although, when one team is so far and away leading the league in pop-ups (Jays led MLB in 2010), there has to be something pointed towards roster construction or mechanical issues arising from Mr. Murphy

  3. says: daperman

    Case in point Wed night vs Boston. Escobar Single pop up failed bunt attempt. Followed by Bautista PO and Rivera PO. Escobar single was Ground ball as are most of his singles.

  4. says: daperman

    Recent example of productive out Tuesday night vs Boston. David Cooper sacrifice fly in 10th inning. An out yet it leads to the game being won. Good as a single. RBI for Cooper no matter what. Good for pitcher at least as he gets an extra 1/3 of an inning for his ERA.

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