I recently crunched some numbers aiming to figure out the predictive value of various April hitting statistics. By comparing April performances, PECOTA projections, and rest of season performances from the last three years, I developed models that predict how a player is likely to perform relative to his pre-season projection for for K%, BB%, ISO, and BABIP.
These four stats are pretty strong predictors of wOBA (R^2 of .98 for qualified batters in 2013 season), which allows me to get an estimate of what a change in these stats might mean for a player’s offensive output for the remainder of the 2014 season.
Based on my findings, here’s how I reckon the Yankees’ hitters who received at least 70 April PA’s will perform going forward, starting with the most improved:
Solarte carried over his excellent Spring Training into April, hitting an impressive .303/.404/.461. Solarte’s ISO and BABIP were both higher than projected, but these stats aren’t super-predictive in a one month sample. His walk rate’s somewhat believable, though.
All things considered, Ellsbury hasn’t done much to change his projected offensive output. Although he walked more than expected in April, his projected rest-of-season walk rate actually decreased slightly. This is because his April ISO — which is predictive of BB% — was lower than projected.
Thanks to a 3.8% April walk rate, Soriano can be expected to walk a bit less than his projection 6.1% mark going forward. His other stats weren’t all that different than his projection.
Jeter didn’t hit for a lick of power in April, which washes away any of the gains he made in terms of his BB%. His strikeouts are also trending in the wrong direction.
Like with Jeter, Roberts’ punchless April outweigh any gains to be had from his solid walk rate. All things considered, there’s not much to like about Roberts’ offensive prospects from here on out.
Although Gardner’s April wOBA was a respectable .318, his performance was largely BABIP-driven. His BB%, K%, and ISO were all worse than PECOTA called for over the winter, and his offensive output could be in for some downward regression.
Beltran hit for plenty of power in April, but otherwise, his offensive numbers were disappointing across the board. April strikeout and walk numbers tend to be most predictive of future performance, which doesn’t bode well for Beltran.
Pretty much any way you slice it, McCann got off to a terrible start to the 2014 season. Although he didn’t strikeout as often as usual, his walk rate cratered, while his ISO and BABIP also fell short of expectations. McCann’s obviously going to bounce back, but he’s almost certainly not quite the hitter we thought he was heading into the season.