Rickie Weeks (close to the 150 PA milestone) | a Contact %-K % correlation

(Rickie Weeks, in 144 PA:  K% 28.5 % / Contact % 71.8%)

Given what we've learned about the rate of stabilization of certain statistics – K%, for instance, stabilizes at ~150 PA Weeks's K% after 144 PA is 28.5%- there are already quite a few plate discipline and batted-ball-related stats we can look at as they are beginning to settle, right around the 150 PA mark. (On the same chart, BB% stabilizes at ~200 PA. Weeks's 13.9% is certainly high, but he's always had a healthy BB%, with his career average being 10.7%).

Now, Weeks's Contact% is 71.8% – the lowest it has ever been. From 2007 – 2012, the biggest fluctuation between two seasons has been a 2% decrease (between 09-08 seasons) – between 2009 & 2012, there has never been more than a 1.4% fluctuation, one of them being an increase of a % point from 2011-2012. So far, in 2013, his Contact rate has dropped 3.5% from last season, and his K-Rate is the highest it's ever been.

According to Charlie Adams, in an article written for Beyond the Box Score last month* (associated with the chart I linked earlier in this piece).  – there is a reasonably strong correlation between K% & Contact %… Improved Contact% / Decreased K% and vice-versa.*

(*=Adams modified it to players with 50 or more PA, at that time to figure it out. Currently, after 166 PA  from Jackson, his K% is still 2 pts lower than his previous season / contact rate is up by 3.7% (19.9/38.3). So this still holds up. Also, you may have noticed this is addressed to those involved in fantasy baseball. Not that it should matter, in this case. His piece was based off this Paul Swydan piece at fangraphs in mid April about Austin Jackson and the rate at which certain stats stabilize.)  

Since the chart shows that Contact % begins to stabilize after 75 plate appearances, paired with the accumulation of almost 150 PA for Weeks, (where K% stabilizes), and given the proof of a significant enough Contact%-K% correlation, Rickie's career-low 71.8% contact% is most likely going to be what we'll see this season.

The good news is, it's not all terrible contact! Hardly any of those pesky Infield pop-ups, and a career-high 22.0% line-drive rate! A .250 BABIP is well below his career .303 mark, and .035 points less than last season. He's not the baserunner he used to be, and his GB% is historically very high at 53.7%, so hopefully that will move closer to career-norm. And his FB% is also something to look at. At 24.4%, he's well below his 36.3% career average. Unless something else is going on. For instance, one thing to keep an eye on is that his 2.7% decrease in contact with pitches inside the strike zone (80.4%) in relation to last year's (84.1%), which is also nearly the same amount of a decrease from his career rate of 84.0%. This probably warrants a closer look at his splits from more recent plate appearances with regards to plate discipline, to see if maybe his zone contact has improved some.
 

#TeamTTORickie (Although, Three True Outcomes Rickie has a lot of catching up to do with the HRs!)

Jess Lemont

About Jess Lemont

Jess is mostly an illustrator, here, providing occasional theme music. As her profile picture would indicate, she does not (or, may not) have a the skill required for flipping bats, so a drawing has replaced it. Really, you could also think of her as the photographer without a camera, in that regard. And, really...maybe it's best not to ask beyond this point.

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