Jameson Taillon has been Victimized by BABIP

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jameson Taillon
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Jameson Taillon /

The past two months have been very inconsistent from Pirate starting pitcher Jameson Taillon and a high batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is a big reason why

League average for batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is .300. Whenever a pitcher has a BIBP significantly lower than .300 it indicates they are due for regression and have benefitted greatly from good luck and defense. When it is significantly higher than .300, it indicates that a pitcher has been victimized by poor luck and defense and is due for improvement.

For Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, BABIP has been a big story of his 2017 season. Taillon owns a 4.73 ERA this season, however, as his 3.53 FIP indicates he has not pitched nearly that poorly this season. A big reason his ERA has ballooned is due to his .363 BABIP.

The past two months have been incredibly inconsistent for Jameson Taillon. In 10 starts since July 25 Jameson Taillon owns a 7.21 ERA and a 4.06 FIP. During this stretch he has allowed two earned runs or less in five starts and four or more earned runs in five starts.

In these 10 starts Taillon’s BABIP is .389. This unsustainably high BABIP is a big reason why Taillon has an ERA of 7.21 the past two months. It is also one of the main culprits in Taillon having allowed 68 hits in 48 1/3 innings pitched in these 10 starts.

There is reason to believe that Jameson Taillon’s BABIP will revert back closer to league average in 2018 and in turn lead to a lower ERA. A big reason for this is Taillon’s hard contact rate. His 30.1 percent hard contact rate is league average. During his inconsistent stretch the past 10 starts his hard contact rate sits at 30.5 percent, so it has not been an increase in hard contact allowed that has led to his struggles.

If Taillon was allowing hard contact at an above league average rate there would be more reason for concern. However, this is not the case. Furthermore, his 0.74 HR/9 this season is the third lowest in the National League.

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While the past two months have been up and down for Jameson Taillon, his 2017 season has still been a successful campaign. A 3.53 FIP and a 2.6 fWAR in any pitcher’s first full Major League season is great. Mix in the fact Taillon missed time this year due to testicular cancer and it makes those results even more impressive.

The one issue that has plagued Taillon this season is an unsustainably high BABIP. Assuming this number comes back down closer to league average in 2018, it should be an even more successful season for Taillon.