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What About Line Drives?

Thomas McFeeley Staff Writer January 30, 2013 11:08PM EDT
In Fantasy Baseball, we hear a lot about groundballs and fly balls. We measure the groundball to fly ball ratio, see if a pitcher’s groundball rates are falling, and calculate how often a hitter launches fly balls. The ugly (or misunderstood) stepsister is line drives. We love a “line drive hitter,” though we’re not sure what a good line drive rate is; but what about pitchers? Who are the “line drive pitchers” and does it matter to their overall, or Fantasy, performance?

Let’s start with what we know, at least from the 2012 season. We at RotoExperts crunched the numbers and here’s what we’re working with: last season there were 58,037 groundballs and 43,685 fly balls. Of those, 42,856 groundball outs were recorded (74 percent) and 34,005 fly ball outs (78 percent).  So for all the talk about groundballs and fly balls, roughly three out of every four of either batted ball type led to a recorded out. (Obviously groundball hits are much less damaging than fly ball hits, 51 percent of which are for home runs. HRs account for 11 percent of total fly balls.)

What about line drives? Well, last season batters hit (or pitchers allowed) 26,882 line drives, resulting in 8,424 outs. That’s good for just over 31 percent of line drives turned into outs. (In fact, there were slightly more line drive hits than groundball hits, and about twice as many hits from liners than fly balls.)

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