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Labeling Hitters

I found this interesting and very different than what I expected. Using MLB stats, I would have thought that major leaguers would have been more diverse but they really aren't. The vast majority of players fit in just a few categories. About 1/2 of them are essentially replacement level players with below average hitting and power. Fascinating.

Each group has three letters, the first is hitting, the second is power and the third is speed. P is plus, A is average and B is below average.

What really surprised me is the lack of below average runners. They just don't exist in the majors. Yeah, there are players who are slow like Albert Pujols and the like but they are fast enough to still be average. That cuts the 27 groups down to 18.

I'm posting this more for myself than anything. I'll expound on it at some point but this is all I got for now. More will come in the future. While I don't know if anyone else understands or appreciates this at this point but I've spent a lot of time working on this and I think it's pretty awesome. 

Here is how they lay out:

AAA 8.32%
AAP 1.99%
ABA 0.14%
ABP 0.06%
APA 2.84%
APP 0.32%
BAA 18.46%
BAP 1.03%
BBA 51.85%
BBP 0.65%
BPA 0.19%
BPP 0.01%
PAA 2.87%
PAP 2.26%
PBA 0.00%
PBP 0.01%
PPA 6.33%
PPP 2.66%

AAA - These are standard MLB starters. Essentially what most would call a second division starter. None of these guys are impact hitters. Guys like Dustin Ackley, Nick Markakis, Mike Aviles and Jeff Keppinger.

AAP - This is typically a place for average SS, 2B and OF's. Cam Maybin, Dexter Fowler, Coco Crisp and Kelly Johnson are the guys that fit here.

ABA - The only recent examples are Cesar Izturis and Jamey Carroll and historically it's 2B and SS's. Luis Castillo, Felix Fermin and Jose Lind are others that have fit in this category.

ABP - Lets just call this the Otis Nixon. 4 of the 12 players in this group are the aforementioned.

APA - These are the corner power hitters. Guys like Chili Davis, Raul Ibanez, even Willie Mays and Reggie Jackson fit here.

APP - These are the power hitters up the middle or fast corner guys. Mike Cameron, Curtis Granderson, Torii Hunter and historically Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Bobby Bonds and Andre Dawson fit here.

BAA - These are guys who will make your team but are solid starters. They hit a little less, don't hit quite as many homers as you'd hope but end up as pretty solid players. Lucas Duda, Mitch Moreland, Derek Norris and  historically Scott Brosius, Todd Hollandsworth and Marty Cardova.

BAP - Tony Gwynn Jr., Elliot Johnson, Eduardo Nunez and Alexei Casilla are in this group. Historically Vince Coleman, Mark Mclemore, Felipe Lopez and Tom Goodwin are in this group.

BBA - This is where many of the replacement level players are. Jose Lobaton, Gerald Laird, Jason Bay, Lou unusal amount of catchers, I suppose due to the lack of playing time they end up here.

BBP - This is the home of the utility player and 4th OF'er. Dee Gordon, Darin Mastroianni and further back Miguel Cairo, Joey Gathright and Brian Hunter.

BPP - Kelly Johnson in 2011, Carlos Beltran in 2004 and Barry Bonds in 1999..that's it.

BPA- Guys who have contact issues but still hit with plus power fit here. It's rare. Guys with big power in partial seasons like Jose Bautista in 2012 or Garrett Jones in 2009 as well as guys who swing and miss a lot like Adam Dunn, Tony Clark and Rob Deer fit here.

PAA - Plus hitters with average power fit here. Usually middle infielders like Howie Kendrick, Yunel Escobar, Darwin Barney fit here. Joe Mauer, John Olerud, Tony Gwynn, Will Clark fit here as well.

PAP - Very similar to PAA just with more speed. Jason Kipnis, Elvis Andrus, Austin Jackson, etc.

PBA - Don Kessinger in 1966...that's it

PBP - Sandy Alomar, SR in 1969 and Sonny Jackson in 1966..that's it.

PPA - This is the cream of the crop. First division starters, all stars, MVP candidates. Robby Cano, Miguel Cabrerea, Josh Hamilton, Yadi Molina, etc. The best players in the game fit here.

PPP - The same as PPA just with more speed. Adam Jones, Bryce Harper, Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun, Andrew McCutchen, etc. These are the five tool studs.

This system doesn't work as well as the pitching label due to the fact that it's hard to label future major leaguers as below average hitters, below average power hitters with average speed and say they will be major leaguers but that is actually how it works.

There were 233 players that fit in the BBA category in 2012. Some of them have more potential, like Didi Gregorius and Avisail Garcia but then again, maybe not.

This is the home for players like LJ Hoes, Ryan Langerhans, Ivan De Jesus, Tom Neal, Alex Castellanos, etc. For the most part they are just replacement level players.

It will take some time to get used to this and it isn't as intuitive as the pitchers.


  1. I'm curious - I noticed that not a single hitter in rookie or short-season leagues has a hit tool ranked above "B" - statistical oddity, or by design? Thanks.

  2. It's because the hitter ratings are cumulative. It means that in the amount of games they played, they didn't have time to accumulate points to be rated anything but below average.

    I've been thinking about this the last few days and may re-work it so its based on rate stats similar to pitchers. I think that would help separate many of the BBA guys too.

  3. Very interesting work and really lets me know that you don't have to be AAA to be a MLB player! Great stuff!


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