April 22, 2021

Tim Anderson’s High-Wire Act | FanGraphs Baseball (FanGraphs)

Tim Anderson is a befuddling player. Over the last two-plus seasons, he has posted a 133 wRC+ despite a minuscule walk rate (3.3%) that is the third lowest among all players with at least 500 plate appearances, ahead of only slap hitters José Iglesias and Hanser Alberto. That puts a lot of pressure on his ability to produce on contact. So far, so good: In that same time frame, he has a .390 BABIP, tops among all hitters and a full eight points above the next closest player (coincidently, his teammate, Yoán Moncada). The normal expectation is that a BABIP figure that high is unsustainable, and the projection systems tend to agree. The FanGraphs Depth Charts pegged Anderson for a .336 BABIP in 2021 and, correspondingly, a batting line just three percent better than league average.

If Anderson is going to be a productive hitter, then, one of two things needs to happen: He sustains a BABIP that is not just 100 points above the league average but also one of the best figures of all-time; or he improves in plate appearances that do not end with a ball in play. So how likely is either?

Let’s start with the BABIP. Anderson does not hit the ball especially hard. In the last two…

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